Peder and Regina LERFALD’s 50th Anniversary


Source: 50th Anniversary of Peter and Regina Lerfald. Photograph. 7 June 1931. Original in the possession of Troy Midkiff [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

The couple sitting on the bench are my husband’s great-great-grandparents, Peder Johnsen LERFALD (1855 – 1936) and Regina Olasdotter LERFALD (1859 – 1943), celebrating the 50th anniversary of their marriage, which took place 7 June 1881, probably in Goodhue Co., Minnesota. The photograph was likely taken at their home in Woodville, St. Croix Co., Wisconsin. Peder and Regina are not only husband and wife; they are also first cousins. But not, despite their surnames, are they both related on their fathers’ sides.

Peder was born 25 April 1855 to John Nilssen LERFALD and Sigrid Lassesdotter LERFALDBJØRG, near Trondheim, Norwary. He was the fourth of seven children (one died in infancy) in a family that immigrated to America in 1866. His mother appears to have died shortly after they arrived, and his father remarried to Randa [–?–].

Regina was born 2 Apr 1859 to Ola Pedersen FORDALSHAUGEN and Ane Nilsdotter LERFALDHOLMEN, also near Trondheim. In fact, both Peder and Regina likely were born in or around the community of Lerfald, to the east of Trondheim. Regina was the sixth of nine children and her mother and siblings immigrated to the U.S. in 1874 after her father’s death two years previously.

Peder’s father John and Regina’s mother Ane were brother and sister. You can see they both had the patronym “Nils…”, meaning of course, their father’s name was Nils. But they had different surnames because Norwegians at that time and place used the surname for the location in which they lived or the farm on which they worked. Their surnames would change with their location. When they immigrated to the United States, sometimes they used their latest surname, and other times they used their patronyms. The ladies often used the masculine version of their patronyn, becoming Ane “Nilssen” instead of Ane Nilsdotter, even though it didn’t make sense. Americans were used to names ending in -son or -sen, not -dotter. I’ve found Regina in records where she used Lerfald as a surname and at other times used Olsen. Because of the many different names that were used, I’ve actually had a harder time finding my husband’s ancestors after they arrived in the U.S. Their family histories in Norway have been very easy to trace using bygdebøker, a unique combination of census, family histories and farm histories within a parish.

Peder and Regina had six children: Sofia, John, Anna, Ole, Rena (my husband’s great-grandmother), and Nannie, who died in infancy. John and Ole never married and are pictured in the photograph above. The woman is probably Anna, who lived nearby in Eau Claire, Eau Clair Co., Wisconsin with her husband and family. Sofia lived in Montana and Rena lived in Washington State – both with their respective husbands and families, so it’s unlikely they were present for this celebration. We have a few other photos from this day, and neither Rena nor Sofia appear in them. The photos were probably sent to the daughters to share with them the celebration.
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We’ve had some interesting conversations at my home regarding this photo:

“Norm, do you realize you’re your own 5th cousin to yourself, and to your siblings? And our kids are 6th cousins to themselves and each other. You and the kids aren’t just father and children, you’re 5th cousins, once removed!”

“Look at the size of Peder’s hands! Holy cow!”

“Wonder what the dog’s name was?”

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Wordless Wednesday: Peder and Regina LERFALD’s 50th Anniversary


Source: 50th Anniversary of Peter and Regina Lerfald. Photograph. 7 June 1931. Original in the possession of Troy Midkiff [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

Postcard from Sophie ALMLIE to Randi LERFALD, 2 Aug 1908

Here is the third and last of the 1908 postcards I found I had scanned out of date order.


(front)


(back)

Source: The Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, Vancouver, Washington.

I’ve been puzzled by this postcard ever since I read it. Dated 2 August 1908 from Baltic, Minnehaha Co., South Dakota, it is written by Sophie ALMLIE to her cousin Miss Randi LERFALD of Baldwin, St. Croix Co., Wisconsin, care of “S. LOKKE.” It appears to have been postmarked 3 August 1908, but Rena has written “Aug 8,” probably misreading the 3. Originally, the postcard was addressed to Woodville, also in St. Croix County, but as you can see, the city name was crossed out and Baldwin written instead. In fact, it appears that “Baldwin” and “c/o S. Lokke” were written by a different person than Sophie, as if it had been mailed to Woodville and someone there (the postmaster, a relative?) had readdressed it. The card reads:

Dear cousin,

Its a long time since I sent you a picture but I havent herd any about it so you must write tell me. we are all well from,

Sophie Almlie

I simply have no idea who Sophie nor Randi are, nor why Rena had this postcard in her possession. Rena did not have any siblings named Randi, and I cannot find any of her cousins with that name, although it is entirely possible, since the information on her family tree is incomplete enough that I could be missing many relatives. Rena did have an older sister named Sophia, but she married an Alpha LINE, so ALMLIE was not her last name. I can’t find any cousins with the name Sophie or Sophia, either, and no one with the last name LOKKE. You’ll notice the English grammar and punctuation aren’t very good, so it’s possible that Sophie was a native speaker of Norwegian. I’ll have to do some digging in the census records to see if I can uncover some answers, and perhaps future postcards will reveal more clues to help me solve this little mystery! The next group featured will be from the year 1909.

Postcard from Sophie ALMLIE to Randi LERFALD, 2 Aug 1908

Here is the third and last of the 1908 postcards I found I had scanned out of date order.


(front)


(back)

Source: The Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, Vancouver, Washington.

I’ve been puzzled by this postcard ever since I read it. Dated 2 August 1908 from Baltic, Minnehaha Co., South Dakota, it is written by Sophie ALMLIE to her cousin Miss Randi LERFALD of Baldwin, St. Croix Co., Wisconsin, care of “S. LOKKE.” It appears to have been postmarked 3 August 1908, but Rena has written “Aug 8,” probably misreading the 3. Originally, the postcard was addressed to Woodville, also in St. Croix County, but as you can see, the city name was crossed out and Baldwin written instead. In fact, it appears that “Baldwin” and “c/o S. Lokke” were written by a different person than Sophie, as if it had been mailed to Woodville and someone there (the postmaster, a relative?) had readdressed it. The card reads:

Dear cousin,

Its a long time since I sent you a picture but I havent herd any about it so you must write tell me. we are all well from,

Sophie Almlie

I simply have no idea who Sophie nor Randi are, nor why Rena had this postcard in her possession. Rena did not have any siblings named Randi, and I cannot find any of her cousins with that name, although it is entirely possible, since the information on her family tree is incomplete enough that I could be missing many relatives. Rena did have an older sister named Sophia, but she married an Alpha LINE, so ALMLIE was not her last name. I can’t find any cousins with the name Sophie or Sophia, either, and no one with the last name LOKKE. You’ll notice the English grammar and punctuation aren’t very good, so it’s possible that Sophie was a native speaker of Norwegian. I’ll have to do some digging in the census records to see if I can uncover some answers, and perhaps future postcards will reveal more clues to help me solve this little mystery! The next group featured will be from the year 1909.

Postcard from John LERFALD to Rena LERFALD, 1 Apr 1908

Here is the second of the 1908 postcards I found I had scanned out of date order.


(front)


(back)


Source: The Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, Vancouver, Washington.

This postcard appears to be from Rena’s older brother, John LERFALD. There is obviously no message, so I am wondering if the purpose of this card was to show Rena where he lived, worked, or attended school in Valley City, Barnes County, North Dakota. John would have been 23, almost 24, at this time, so it is doubtful to me that he was attending school here, although not impossible. I haven’t researched enough of his life to really know; I do know from family oral and written history that he never married, and died at the age of 82 in 1966, probably in Wisconsin, outliving his younger sister Rena by five months.

I am planning on sending a copy of the postcard front to the Penny Postcard site.

Postcard from John LERFALD to Rena LERFALD, 1 Apr 1908

Here is the second of the 1908 postcards I found I had scanned out of date order.


(front)


(back)


Source: The Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, Vancouver, Washington.

This postcard appears to be from Rena’s older brother, John LERFALD. There is obviously no message, so I am wondering if the purpose of this card was to show Rena where he lived, worked, or attended school in Valley City, Barnes County, North Dakota. John would have been 23, almost 24, at this time, so it is doubtful to me that he was attending school here, although not impossible. I haven’t researched enough of his life to really know; I do know from family oral and written history that he never married, and died at the age of 82 in 1966, probably in Wisconsin, outliving his younger sister Rena by five months.

I am planning on sending a copy of the postcard front to the Penny Postcard site.

Postcard from Unknown Sender to R. LERFALD, 17 Mar 1908

Recently, my father-in-law loaned us a pile of postcards that had belonged to his maternal grandparents, George Rice WESTABY, III and Rena LERFALD. Actually, the majority of them belonged to Rena. I hope my readers will forgive me, but I have found several scanned postcards out of date order! Here is one of them:


(front)


(front)


You can see that this postcard is postmarked from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The date was very difficult to make out for certain, because the card is embossed, causing the ink to not adhere to the back of the card very well. I believe the date is 17 March 1908, although it could be any date between the 10th and 19th of March. I don’t know who lived in or near Minneapolis, but I wonder if it was one of Rena’s older siblings. The handwriting does not match her sister Anna’s or her brother John’s. I’ll check later to see if it matches any other family member’s. Too bad that Rena didn’t mark this postcard with the sender’s name later, but perhaps she didn’t remember who it was!

Source: The Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, Vancouver, Washington.