In the early 1900's, Martin Ulvestad traveled widely among the Norwegian settlements in the Midwest and Canada. He is reported to have sent 450,000 questionnaires to Norwegian-Americans and institutions in his attempts to collect information about the settlers in each community. His compilation of "Nordmændene i Amerika" (Norwegians in America) was published in 1907. The Samband has an original of the two volume set plus a digitized copy on CD.
Follow the links for names of "Valders" pioneers specifically identified in county histories. The county histories provide the names of many of the earliest Norwegian settlers, but the place of origin is often omitted. It would be nearly impossible to correctly identify all of those who might have been from Valdres. Although "Nordmændene i Amerika" is a valuable historical source, not all early settlers are listed in the Ulvestad book. If you understand that an ancestor was among the first to arrive in an area but his/her name does not appear in these histories it does not mean your understanding is not correct.
The histories often include first-hand accounts that paint a picture of what life was like in the Norwegian settlements. For example, from Trempeleau County, Wisconsin:
In Blair, the Norwegians were so overwhelming that people of other nationalities had to speak Norwegian. Dr. Thomas Bodom enlightens us with an example, "One day, I was going to see a sick farmer in my district" he tells, "I was wondering if the man was from Solør or that region. I asked him and got this answer; 'I am not Norwegian, I am a Bohemian!"
Nordmændene i Amerika, p. 54
Translated by Olaf Kringhaug, British Columbia, Canada
Excellent images of the pages from the original work can be viewed at http://da2.uib.no/cgi-win/WebBok.exe?slag=lesbok&bokid=ulvestad
English translations of this valuable record are available from Astri, My Astri publishing.
As is the case in the county histories, many names are included without indication of their place of origin in Norway. It should also be noted that there is a town called Valdres in Wisconsin, and this might be the "Valders" being referenced.
The Vesterheim provides an online database of Norwegian Civil War soldiers drawn from multiple sources at http://vesterheim.org/CivilWar/
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Last updated: December 26, 2016
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