The Norwegians are coming to A.L.

Published 9:50 pm Saturday, June 13, 2009

David Olson was born Aug. 29, 1870, in Freeborn County to Gundor Olson Bjornemyr Vistad and Sigvor Davidsdatter Herheim. His family later moved to Lake Mills, Iowa.

He became involved in construction at an early age and spent his life in the lumber and building industry. On May 1, 1895, Olson married Ida Knutsdatter Haga in Scarville, Iowa. They had five children. His wife died, and Olson married Johanna Knutson on June 21, 1934. Olson passed away on Sept. 13, 1957, and was buried in Mason City, Iowa.

This information is a result of some of the research done by Vivian Gullickson White in the past year to make contact with descendants of the original charter members of Vosselag.

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“Many descendants have lost the threads and don’t know if their grandparents and great grandparents were connected to the original established organizations,” said Vestlandslag newsletter co-editor Richard Flisrand. “We are doing what organizations do, promoting it to people looking for their roots and a time to enjoy themselves.”

The Vestlandslag is an organization for people with ties or an interest in the southwestern areas of Norway. There are several subgroups, one of particular significance is Vosselag because it is celebrating its centennial in the city of the subgroup’s birth — Albert Lea — Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Americas Best Value Inn, formerly the Ramada Inn.

The event, Vestlandslag Stevne 2009 Vosselag Centennial, is expected to bring in 200 people, including a delegation of about 40 people from Voss, Norway, to help celebrate the occasion.

Flisrand encouraged locals with Norwegian heritage to check it out and perhaps reconnect with their past. The group wants to find what happened to some of the descendents of the founders of Vosselag.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. Thursday. The geneology research will take place 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. People curious about their lineage can stop by during those hours.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, Albert Lea historian Roger Lonning will present “Researching Newspapers and Probate Records.” At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Blaine Hedberg, executive director of Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naesath of Madison, Wis., will present a program called “Five-volume Immigrant Directory Project.” At 7 p.m., Hedberg will present “Norwegian-American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library.”

Friday is Vosselag Centennial Celebration Day. It will feature speakers and an evening banquet, where many will be dressed in traditional folk costumes unique to their Norwegian birthplace, and traditional foods will be served. Saturday is set aside for individual meetings and a presentation by Eric Dregni titled “In Cod We Trust.”