From Nes, Hedmark, Norway

1829: Mathias KNUDSEN (EVENSTAD) and Oline OLSDATTER

1986 Family Reunion in Fargo, North Dakota

1988 Family Reunion in Norway.

Ole Olsen Evenstad on Ola Klefsaas web page near Elverum.


From jan.erik@online.no Mon Nov 29 10:18:44 1999
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 00:11:21 +0100
From: jan erik brenden Click for Email
To: mgordon@orneveien.org
Subject: greetings from Norway

Here you have our new address. We have now moved to Hamar, and have a nice flat very close to the city. Everything is OK here in Norway, even though we are waiting for the snow. We hope you are allright, and that you will send us a mail back. Our mailadress is: j-brend@online.no"

Please tell us how everything is over there.

We want to give you a lot of greetings for the forthcoming Christmas-celebration. Send our regards to all our relatives in America.

Greetings from

Jan Erik & Anne Katrine Brenden.



The Evenstad Family

Photo of Evenstad Farm in Norway

Photo of Oline Evenstad

Caroline Brein Family Photo

Gilbert Gordon Page and Photos

Three Gordon's Poem

Photo of Three Gordon's

Photo of Haakon Evenstad

Photo of John & Mabel Christianson

Photo of Nels, Amelia & Mabel Evenstad

Close-up Map of Evenstad Farm Area

Wider area Map of Nes (Evenstad on the west)

Estimated Population of Norway During Last 3200 Years

Numbers of Ancestors by Generation

Emigration From Norway

The Family Tree

List of Abbreviations

Evenstad Family Statistics

Our Norwegian Ancestors

Descendants of Mattias & Oline Evenstad

Ole Evenstad Branch

Martin Evenstad Branch

Caroline Evenstad Brein Branch

Olava Evenstad Gordon Branch

Kjer:stine Evenstad Nelson Branch

Haakon Evenstad Branch

Amelia Evenstad Regstad Branch

Andrew Regstad Family


By James Gilbert Gordon, 1985

I'm not sure what triggered my interest in this project, but it has been very interesting and has led to many other new interests. All of my great- grandparents came from Norway in the second half of the 19th century. I have family trees for all four sets of great-grandparents and all (or most) of their descendents. I also have joined Sons of Norway, studied Norwegian history, begun studying the Norwegian language, have become something of a genealogist, and visited Norway in 1984, and again in 1985.

Genealogy has proven to be an interesting hobby. There is an excellent Mormon library in Los Angeles that is very useful. Through the library there are 7000 rolls of microfilmed Norwegian records available as well as numerous other records, such as the 1900 census. Most of the research is akin to playing detective. It's very rewarding and exciting when new data is discovered. I've also corresponded with many cousins and met several of you. I have traveled to Norway and visited some of the family farms that have been located. I have also met numerous of our cousins in Norway. The result of all of this is the Family Tree. It could not have been developed without the cooperation and efforts of most of you. I want to express my thanks to the following persons who made major contributions:

My mother, for answering a thousand questions and contributing towards a most enjoyable trip to Minnesota to research our "roots" in June, 1983;

My daughter, for typing and editing this document;

Michael Gordon, for helping to develop the format and early typing support via computer;

Chester Christianson, for all his knowledge of the family, and his years of effort in uncovering information;

Jean Jacobsen, for sending me the majority of information contained within this document and her major contribution in developing the information in this document;

Kjellaug Vold for supplying all the information on the Norwegian branch;

John Lukens for designing the cover.

I'm sure I have missed some people, to those my apologies.

There is more to be accomplished. This edition likely contains many errors and obviously a lot of missing data. This is my first chance to contact some of you to request old photographs and other items of interest that should be included. Also this is your first chance to edit and correct the data and supply missing information. Assuming that a significant amount of new data is collected, a second edition might be considered. I would like to apologize for any errors that may have crept into the data. Errors can occur in transcribing or in typing. I also, on occasion, received conflicting data. I have even found government records with conflicting birthdates, etc. Please send any corrections or new material to:

Jim Gordon

[Editor: Old address removed. Contact me, Michael Gordon via email]

The Gordon's are having their 50th Annual Family Reunion on Sunday, June 15, 1986 at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. This should prove to be a large gathering and an event not to be missed. Several of us westerners are planning to attend. I figured why not an Evenstad Family Reunion on Saturday, June 14. All descendents of Gilbert Gordon are also members of the Evenstad family. They can attend both reunions and make the journey worthwhile!

Photos from 1986 Evenstad Reunion in Fargo

My trip to Minnesota in June, 1983 was a smashing success. It was the first vacation I had taken with my mother in over 30 years. We visited Glen Brooks in the Minneapolis area. We went to the 46th Annual Gordon Reunion in Bemidji. Visited Alice Ambeuhl in Ada. Found the church in Nielsville (St. Petri) that my great-grandfather Hans Larson Gordon founded. Visited Owen Evenstad, Grace Bennefeld, Tony and Charlotte Gress at their place on Lake Coromet.

My trip to Norway in 1984 was fantastic. I met several of my Evenstad cousins who live in and near Hamar, Norway (about 60 miles north of Oslo). They really treated my wife and I in royal fashion. They are great people! The Gordon's came from the same area. I found the farm that my great-grandfather, Hans Larson Gordon, came from in 1860. To my utter amazement, I also located the farm his ancestors came from--dating back to the early 1600's.



In the far north, there is a nation called Norway. (Norge "Nor-gay" in the native language.) This country is the same latitude as Hudson Bay, Siberia, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland. It is approximately 1600 miles long and shares borders with Russia, Finland and Sweden.

Along time ago, in the 1700's, two children were born in this far north country. Their names were Jens Halvorsen and Birgit Knudsdatter. After 20 years or so, they wed. They had a son, Ole Jensen, born January 1, 1796 in Gol, Hallingdal, Norway.

Also in the 1700's were born a boy Haavors Arnesen (1781) and a girl, Kristi Olsdatter (B. 1777 also in Gol, Hallingdal). Haavors and Kristi had a daughter, Mette Haavorsdatter, born in 1798 in Gol.

Ole Jensen married Mette Haavorsdatter and lived on the Taskerud farm in Hedmark province some distance from where he was born (60 miles as the crow flies). The Taskerud farm is on a little pennisula surrounded by Lake Mjosa (Norway's largest lake) to the northwest of Nes. Nes is west of Hamar across the water. Hamar is 60 to 80 miles north of Oslo. This area is known as the eastern valley district of Norway. Ancient Rome knew of the tribes living in this area. Ole's third child was Oline Olsdatter.

Kari Tostendatter was born in 1795. She married Knud Knudsen who had been a soldier and a salesman. They had several children, one of which was Mattias Knudsen. They lived on the Evenstad farm which is only about a half mile (one kilometer) from the Taskerud farm.

Mattias Knudsen Evenstad married Oline Olsdatter on January 2, 1856. They had seven children: Ole, Martin, Caroline, Olava, Kjersti, Haakon, and Amelia. Martin, the pathfinder, left Norway for America on August 30, 1880, Mattias, Olava and Kjersti immigrated to the United States in 1882. In 1884, Oline, Ole, AmeIia and Haakon followed. They settled on a farm near Hendrum, Norman County, Minnesota. Caroline, the only child that remained in Norway was already married.

The beginning of the Gordon (Odegaarden) Clan:

In 1797, a court representative, Mr. Schwabe signed a purchase-right agreement for the farm "Rønnebershaugen" (farm tract #43, lot 1) to Peder Larsen (B. 1748, D. 1825). Peder was married to Kari Erichsdatter (B. 1760, D. 1820). This farm is three miles northeast of Brummunddal up the Brummundriver Valley. The farm is about ten miles from the Evenstad farm. Kari had four children, the first being Lars Pedersen who was born in 1781. Lars married Kari Hansdatter. Their children were Kristian (B. 1821), Hans (B. 1825), Marte (B. 1826). Apparently, Kristian, being the oldest son inherited the farm. He sold it in 1829 for 490 specie dollar. Hans married Kjerstin Nielsdatter of Veldres. Hans, Kjerstin and their six children immigrated to America in 1860. In Ameriea they had five more children. Hans enlisted in the Union Army in January 1865 and served four months. His seventh child was Gilbert Gordon (B. 1862) who married Olava Evenstad . An explanation of Norwegian names: In the old days, people in Norway were identified by their Christian names and their father's name. For instance, Mattias Knudsen was the son of Knud. Oline Olsdatter was the daughter of Ols. "sen" and "son" both meant son; "datter" means daughter. In addition, a third name was often used, usually a farm name. Mattias Knudsen Evenstad came from the farm "Evenstad".

Why did so many leave for America? The population in Norway was expanding rapidly. Not enough land, jobs or food. America offered hope for a better life. The story unfolds . . .




Year Population

8000 B.C. First

3700 B.C. 15,000

1500 B.C. 50,000

500 A.D. 100,000

900 A.D. 200,000

1300 A.D. (Pre-Plague) 400,000

1360 A.D. (Post-Plague) 190,000

1500 A.D. 140,000 to 200,000

1800 A.D. 880,000

1845 A.D. 1,300,000

1890 A.D. 2,000,000

1980 A.D. 4,100,000


Each of us has two parents, four grandparents, eight greatgrandparents, etc. This chart shows the numbers going backwards 21 generations. It is also generally accepted that there are three or four generations per century.

Year at 3 Year at 4

Generations Generations

Generation Numbers Per Century Per Century

 1         2 Parents
2 4 Grandparents
3 8 G Grandparents
4 16 1900 GG Grandparents
5 32 1900 GGG Grandparents
6 64 GGGG Grandparents
7 128 1800 GGGGG Grandparents
8 264 GGGGGG Grandparents
9 512 1800 GGGGGGG Grandparents
10 1,024 1700 GGGGGGGG Grandparents
11 2,048 GGGGGGGGG Grandparents
12 4,096 GGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
13 8,192 1600 GGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
14 16,384 GGGGGGCGGGGG Grandparents
15 32,768 GGGGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
16 65,536 1500 GGGGGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
17 131,072 GGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
18 262,144 GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
19 524,288 1400 GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
20 1,048,576 GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents
21 2,097,152 1500 GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Grandparents

Assuming four generations per century, 21 generations ago, I had over 2 million direct ancestors--this number is greater than the population at that time. Obviously, cousins must have married cousins many times over. Resident population by county

Percentages of total population

County            1801    1845    1875    1900    1930    1970
Østfold 49999 73622 107562 136886 167030 218505
Oslo/Akershus 66142 109432 191733 343854 490063 799598
Hedmark 61384 88105 119449 126182 157942 178557
Oppland 66154 101889 115522 116280 137710 171855
Buskerud 63658 83918 101712 112676 143073 196315
Vestfold 39947 63070 89344 104554 134107 173401
Telemark 47447 72891 83570 99052 127754 156917
Aust-Agder 34521 52408 75609 79935 73816 80178
Vest-Agder 41508 63442 77059 81567 81233 123048
Rogaland 41134 78210 113675 127592 173258 266271
Bergen/Hordaland 78947 116989 155672 208003 262679 370963
Sogn og Fjordane 52601 77978 86108 89041 91808 101064
Møre og Romsdal 57329 81314 116781 136137 165064 223378
Sor-Trøndelag 60376 89183 116722 135382 174946 232147
Nord-Trøndelag 42704 65553 81421 83433 96016 118150
Nordland 52192 66379 103369 152144 186920 243179
Troms 19288 31351 53931 74362 97467 136563
Finnmak 7707 12737 24185 32952 53308 76379
Total 883487 1328471 1818853 2240032 2814194 3866468

Notes: 1801 census includes 449 persons with residence unknown.
1845 census includes 5429 persons with residence unknown.


AL Alabama       
AK Alaska
AZ Arizona
AR Arkansas
CA California
CO Colorado
CT Connecticut
DE Delaware
DC District of Columbia
FL Florida
GA Georgia
GU Guam
HI Hawaii
ID Idaho
IL Illinois
IN Indiana
IA Iowa
KS Kansas
KY Kentucky
LA Louisiana
ME Maine
MD Maryland
MA Massachusetts
MI Michigan
MN Minnesota
MS Mississippi
MO Missouri
MT Montana
NE Nebraska
NV Nevada
NH New Hampshire
NJ New Jersey
NM New Mexico
NY New York
NC North Carolina
ND North Dakota
OH Ohio
OK Oklahoma
OR Oregon
PA Pennsylvania
RI Rhode Island
SC South Carolina
SD South Dakota
TN Tennessee
TX Texas
UT Utah
VT Vermont
VA Virginia
WA Washington
WV West Virginia
WI Wisconsin
WY Wyoming

Other Abbreviations

Minneapolis Mpls

Thief River Falls T.R.F.

Norwegian Grove T.S. N.G.T.S.

Pelican Rapids P.R.

Township T.S.

Birth B

Confirmation C

Marriage M

Death D


Lives/Lived L

Direct Descendent DD


Total Number of People Listed - 886

Generation 1 - 2

Generation 2 - 15

Generation 3 - 111

Generation 4 - 224

Generation 5 _ 327

Generation 6 - 179

Generation 7 - 28

Number of Direct Descendents - 595

Number of Spouses - 291

Number Born 1965 and Later - 214

Number of Deceased - 119

Number of Living - 767


This section lists the ancestors of the Immigrants. The first entry is "1", which is the entry for the male immigrant, followed by his wife. As you read down, from "1" to "A" to "B" to "C", you are going further back in time. It gets a little confusing, because for each generation you go back, the number of entries double. To overcome this confusion, we have listed the parents and children for each person. The immigrant man and wife each had a set of parents--these are listed as "A". The grandparents of the immigrants are listed as "B", great-grandparents as "C".