Thursday, September 9, 2010

Searching in the Past for Family Connections

I spent several vacation days this past summer exploring the stomping grounds of my Minnesota ancestors. My mother's people settled in the west central part of the state, her mother's folks in Dawson and her father's folks in Madison. I visited the area many times as a child, but didn't really get a feel for the intensity of the connections until now.

My first stop was the Lac qui Parle Historical Society in Madison where I was able to locate newspaper obituaries of many of my kin and also identify the relevant cemeteries in the county. Between all the members of my family in the county, we were major land owners. My mother's uncle, Sam Holtan, owned a farm that was larger than 500 acres, probably the largest single holding in the county at the time. None of these properties passed down more than a generation.

I appreciated the opportunity to visit the graves of my great-grandparents, Hansine and Nils Tryggeseth and my great-great-grandparents, Johanna and Ingebrit Lindeseth. I felt as though I've known these folks my whole life, but finally got the chance to actually meet them. It was a little strange, but very powerful. It took me about 45 minutes to actually locate the Lindseth's. Their headstones were completely covered by an overgrown bush. I had to hack away a number of branches before they were easily visible. It was worth the effort.

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