Thursday, August 30, 2007

Deaths in the Family

Rosemarie Anderson Kohler's husband Al died July 31, 2007, of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and a short battle with pneumonia and heart arrhythmias. He had been ill for some time. There were no services. He was cremated and his urn placed in a crypt in Oceanside, CA.

Richard Jeffers, husband of Connie Nornes, took his own life this morning, August 30, 2007. I will write further about this when I have more information.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Genealogy Website

I came across a new web genealogy site on which I can transcribe the entire genealogy and all family members can easily access it without contacting me through this blog. Anyway, I'm going to try it. It will take me all winter to type in all the information, but I'll start it and see if it's worth the effort. The URL is

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reunion History

In 1953 the first family history and genealogy was published - genealogies and obituaries dittoed and put together at the Climax High School.

In 1959, the 25th reunion, a special program featured movies of previous reunions. One hundred twenty-five were in attendance. The 50th reunion in 1983 featured commemorative T-shirts and the baptism of Daniel Zerrot. The program consisted of historical skits of Bernhard's and Bendik's immigration and early pioneer lives. Attendance was 167 including the Norneses from New York.

Because of dissatisfaction with the upkeep of the Farmer's Union Camp facilities, the site was moved to the Fertile Community Center in 1991 and then to Moorhead's Gooseberry Falls Park in 1982 with catered dinners rather than potluck. The day was changed to Saturday to accommodate attendees returning to their homes on Sunday. In 1996 we moved to Elks Point Park on Wall Lake at Fergus Falls. This site seemed to meet all criteria with camping spaces, a shelter, etc. With families now spread all over the world, we were pleased in 1997 to have an attendance of 95 people.

For the 70th reunion we changed back to Sunday and rented space in an Alexandria motel.

A newsletter has been published twice a year since 1987 to maintain communications among the family members. An extensive family history and genealogy was published in 1998 - From the White Islands to the Red River Valley. More genealogical information has been accumulated and the book updated.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Reunion History - Beginnings

"On the 46th wedding anniversary of Bernhard and Petra Nornes, July 8, 1934, the Nornes families met for a reunion at the Nornes home. ... The families enjoyed a picnic dinner at noon. A table was set for the wedding couple and Bendik and Sina Nornes. In the afternoon the men and boys enjoyed a kitten ball game while the ladies visited, compared babies, administered cod liver oil, orange juice, etc.... It was further decided that the head of each family make out a history of his family to be recorded by the Secretary. Also that all grownups pay ten cent dues and children five cents. This would take care of any expenses that might occur."

Thus began the series of family reunions that have continued for 74 years. The families met every summer at a family member's home. Cars were not always so reliable in the Thirties, so in 1939 Maurice Bursheim secured a school bus that he drove with all the Winger families as passengers to the reunion at Bernhard's. Lunch and program committees were appointed during the early years. But the year they met at Hermodsons', Irene and Agnes cooked cream cans full of mashed potatoes and meatballs for the entire group. All events took place outdoors, and they were never rained out until 1953.

In 1954 they began to hold the reunions at the Farmer's Union Camp on Lake Sarah at Erskine, and the meals were potluck. One hundred and three family members attended the first reunion there. The change was necessary because farm kitchens and plumbing were not adequate to take care of the growing numbers. The Camp was an ideal place because it had dormitories where family members could stay overnight. There was an assembly room with a piano, and a large kitchen. Those who stayed overnight enjoyed a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning organized and supervised by George.

Until 1991 the reunions were held on Sunday. They were formally organized with four officers and a treasury. The program opened with the raising of the Norwegian and American flags and singing of the national anthems. Uncle Jacob had presented the family with a Norwegian flag upon his visit here from Norway in 1937. A family member would give devotions or a sermonette, hymns were sung, and family members sang solos or played piano solos. Sometimes the men formed a chorus and sang, sometimes the women. With all the musical talent in the family, there was always someone to perform. The hymn singing was special, with the entire family as a grand choir, Norah accompanying, playing any hymn the group wanted to sing. After a potluck dinner, the men played softball - marrieds against the singles - and women visited. After an afternoon lunch of cake, pie, and ice cream, everyone went home.

In 1939 the organization was in the red. They owed Helmer $2.50. The next year they collected $10.15, paid Helmer back, and spent $6.50 on ice cream. At no time did the treasury hold more than $10 until the late Forties. During the war special collections were taken up to send food packages to the aunts and uncle in Skudeneshavn. In 1947 they voted to send a bedspread as a wedding present to their cousin Conrad Bjornsen in Stavanger.

Officers, etc.


PRESIDENT: Lowell Bennes,
VICE PRES.: Jacalyn Nornes,
SECRETARY: Connie Jeffers,
TREASURER: Maren Ogdie,

ADDRESSES: Shari Nornes,

GENEALOGIST: Anne Marie Aanden, .

NEXT REUNION: August 10-11, 2008, Site yet to be determined.

Back copies of the newsletter, Nornes News Notes, can be obtained from Anne Marie as well as orders placed for the history book, From the White Islands to the Red River Valley, $35.

To report a marriage or a new birth, e-mail or click comment in lower right-hand corner.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Nornes Blog/web site

I tried to set up a web site on GeoCitiesYahoo but had no luck. I decided I could do just as well in a blog because readers can use the comment link to get information to me or the officers. Now I have to figure out how I can edit the template for this and I can get going.