Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sending love to Norway / Great Aunt Julia / Mystery ship / Dancing boy from Norway

This last weekend my cousin invited me over to see her father's scrapbooks and photo albums that she had recently brought back from Montana, where her mother lived after her father died. Wonderful to see old photos from the 1920s and 1930s and 1940s of our fathers and uncles and aunts and cousins and great aunts and uncles, and grandparents and our great grandmother, Mary. I was surprised and delighted when my cousin gave me an oil painting she had brought from Montana of a sailing ship at sea, painted by our Great Aunt Julia:

Without thinking too much, we assumed the flags were Norwegian, which is our heritage on our fathers' side. When I looked around on Google, I discovered that the flags look more like flags of Iceland but don't have the white edge on the red-orange cross on the blue background that would made them clearly Icelandic.

Although I looked around on Google images for a similar sailing ship that Great Aunt Julia might have used as a model, I was unable to find one. Anyone know anything about sailing ships?

The painting is hanging over my art work table now. Our Norwegian great grandparents came to the United States (Minnesota) on a much larger sailing ship in the 1800s by way of Quebec. They came on a new ship that was not built for passengers, according what our grandfather wrote in the 1940s. Our grandfather was the first in his family to be born in the United States.

"... My parents left Norway [am's note: They were from Nordfjord] for America in May 1871. They had four children who were born in Norway, two girls died in infancy and two boys, Christian and Mons, who went with them to America ... The ship on which they crossed the Atlantic was called Argo. It was a new ship. It had made only one previous trip and that was to South America. They had to wait for it for over a week in Bergen, because they had to make new accommodations on the ship for emigrants, because the ship had not been previously built for that purpose ... My brother, Christian, at that time was only a little over five years old, and as mother could not look after him [am's note: He writes earlier that she was seasick for most of the trip] and he being somewhat wild at the time, had a wonderful time running around on the deck and even tried at times to climb the ropes connected with the sails because it was a sail-ship. It has been said that he would dance around like little boys of that age would do and the passengers enjoyed it very much and they encouraged him by throwing little pieces of money to him in order to have him continue ..."

(written by our grandfather in the 1940s)

I just found this on Google, from the passenger list of the Argo in May 1871:

Lasse Christian Rake 44 m farmer
Dorothea !! Rake* 37 f
Christian !! Rake* 5 m
Mons !! Rake* 2 m

Amazing what can be so easily found on the internet today.

Our grandmother Amanda and her sister Julia's grandparents (family name Kongslien) came from the area of Vang, Valdres in Norway in 1852. With a little searching, I could probably find that a passenger list for them, too, but I have to work today ...

Sending love to the people of Norway.

Read this from Sabine.


Taradharma said...

amazing! (when you're not working) I encourage more searching!

Ciara said...

Amanda, I have an online friend in Norway from whom I have learned that Norway became an independent country only in the early 20th century. Perhaps the flag on the ship is a historical flag, rather than a modern one?

am said...

Taradharma -- I remember when I was first reading your blog that you posted old black and white photos from your family. Genealogy is fascinating, especially these days with all that is on the internet.

Ciara -- I'll keep searching. Thank you for your suggestion (-:

Unknown said...

Hi, just came across your blog re. the ship "ARGO" of Bergen and I also know the Rachie (Rake) family very well. They are close relatives to my wife and we are close to all their family members in the USA. Thank you very much! Best wishes from Jorill and Paul.

am said...

Dear Paul and Jorill,

What a wonderful surprise to find your comment on my blog this morning!

Kind wishes,

Anonymous said...

Greetings Amanda,

I was looking for (web search) for an Amanda Lien Rachie who put together an unpublished (at mine isn't) 92 page The Lien Linage. My family tree starts (nearest one to me) on page 22 of this document. My e-mail is
I am updating this document as it pertains to my family. Not sure exactly, there is a protocol, but one of the flags would be from where the ship was coming from (on rear mast) and the other would be a flag (front mast) showing ships destination. This ship in the paint appears to be of 18th or early 19the century. Yes, I have a Nautical background.
Richard (Rick) Neely