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The Oldest Bygdelag in America - 1899

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WANTED: Participants
Can you help tell the story of how your family and Norwegian-American society evolved?

Terje Hasle Joranger (a Norwegian member since 1991) wrote his doctoral dissertation on the migration from Valdres to the Upper Midwest, tracing 22 families to two settlement areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Terje studied events based on oral interviews and archival sources at the State and County levels - using church histories, County histories, family histories, etc. in order to learn the history of the areas of study they kept Norwegian traditions tied to inheritance and intergenerational land transfers for three generations in the USA.

Terje has now started a new project; he is currently researching the Norwegian population in rural America at large. He is studying the identity formation and the ethnicization process among Norwegian immigrants and their offspring from the time of settlement through three generations. He will be comparing Norwegian settlements in the Midwest, in the Rockies region including the states of Montana and Utah, the Pacific Northwest, and in the South including Texas. As for areas of study, he will concentrate on the strongholds of Norwegian settlement in Illinois (few Valdres immigrants here), Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska. The states of Montana, Idaho, and Utah are representative of the Mountain region of the Great Divide. In the Pacific Northwest, the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound regions are areas with a large concentration of Norwegians. Terje is also looking for areas where Norwegians made up a minority of the population, such as in Kansas and in Texas. Sources on Norwegians in Canada are also welcome.

Terje is looking for primary sources (original sources) from various parts of the USA, especially narratives such as diaries, letters, autobiographies, also including literature that relates to the Norwegian presence in the local area. He will be looking at the farm population as well as people who resided in small towns and who were engaged in non-agricultural pursuits. His primary interest is getting in touch with people that live in the areas mentioned or know about the source material that relates to the Norwegian-American presence in these areas. Terje would be happy to interview individuals that possess knowledge about the Americanization process of their own family. Among others, Terje would ask questions that relate to the use of the Norwegian versus the American language, socializing with Norwegians or other ethnic groups, if the family attended Norwegian ethnic or American festivals, etc.

We hope some of you would be interested in contacting Terje to share your experiences with him and to help with his research. It would be greatly appreciated. In advance, thank you very much and you may contact Terje at tmh-jora@online.no



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Last updated: December 26, 2016

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