Orneveien: The Eagle Way

The Norwegian American Connection


Bennefeld Evenstad , from the farm on Nes, Hedmark, Norway. Haugtvedt , from a farm north of Jevnakar (home of Hadeland Glassverk) and west of Gran. Olsen Jensen
Dyste or Dysthe Only one farm in Norway has this name, so if you have it, we are (almost certainly) related. Gordon , from the farm Odegaarden north of Moelve at the north end of Lake Mjosa, east bank.

In particular, the photography and genealogies compiled by Charles Gordon, James Gilbert Gordon and Michael Gordon. Some of these web pages may be restricted to descendants and cousins of these Norwegian families. Access is easy to get, just send me an email, but I do not want web-crawlers going through finding spammable email addresses.

Table of Contents

  1. Estimated Population of Norway During Last 3200 Years
  2. Numbers of Ancestors by Generation
  3. Origin of the Christmas Tree Contributed by Patricia Salas.
  4. Shevlin, Minnesota, Cemetary headstone photographs .  Photographed June 21 by Michael G. Gordon.  Nearly all headstones photographed in high quality double-vga (1280x960) with a Nikon 5000.  Images available in tiny thumbs (1/3 vga) for rapid selection, vga for slide-show stepping through the whole collection, and zoomed to maximum size to inspect detail, download, save and print as desired.
  5. Ada, Minnesota, Cemetary headstone photographs .  Photographed June 21 by Michael G. Gordon.  Nearly all headstones photographed in high quality double-vga (1280x960) with a Nikon 5000.  Images available in tiny thumbs (1/3 vga) for rapid selection, vga for slide-show stepping through the whole collection, and zoomed to maximum size to inspect detail, download, save and print as desired.
  6. Concordia Cemetary headstone photographs , Norman County, Minnesota.  Photographed June 20 by Michael G. Gordon.  Nearly all headstones photographed in high quality double-vga (1280x960) with a Nikon 5000.  Images available in tiny thumbs (quarter-vga) for rapid selection, vga for slide-show stepping through the whole collection, and zoomed to maximum size to inspect detail, download, save and print as desired.
  7. Clearwater Historical Society Museum , Shevlin, Minnesota.  22 June 2002.


Email: mgordon@orneveien.org

List of Abbreviations




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 ,3QO ,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

Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 20:00:07 -0600
From: Patricia A. Salas
Subject: History of the Christmas tree

The origin of the first Christmas tree dates back to the Middle Ages in Western Germany. The people during this time period participated in and watched dramatic plays called miracle and mystery plays. These plays were performed to teach the common people about religious truths that were contained in the bible. There were no printed books available, and pictures were scarce during this period of time. "As laymen joined with the clergy, the individual plays were arranged in a lengthy series or cycle throughout the church year" (Foley, pg. 39). In this way, peasants were taught about the Old and New Testaments of the bible.

During the Christmas season, the Paradise play was presented. This play depicted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. On stage was an evergreen tree, covered in apples, which showed Adam and Eve's sin and later banishment from the garden. The tree received particular attention because it was the only prop on the stage. This symbol remained firmly planted in the minds of spectators and actors. Later, after the plays "ceased to be performed in Germany" ( Foley, pg. 41), people began putting their own trees in their homes.

This early Paradise tree had a lot of value to the Germans. By having the tree in their home they were able to teach their children the story of Adam and Eve. They taught this story through symbols. The evergreen tree symbolized immortality because it stays green all year. The apples on the Paradise tree symbolized Adam's sin. Round wafers and cookies were also added as decorations. They represented the fruits of redemption.

Candles were also important symbols to the Germans. The candle was their main source of light, and it represented Christ being the Light of the World. The candles were placed on a wooden pyramid structure with shelves called the lightstock or Christmas pyramid. This pyramid stood next to the Paradise tree. This candle holder was also decorated with tinsel, paper or cloth roses, and a star was usually placed on top. After some years the two were combined. The Christmas tree we know today is a combination of the Paradise tree and the Christmas pyramid.

From Germany, the idea of a Christmas tree spread. As Germans left the Rhineland to settle in other places, they took their proud custom with them. In England, German settlers had brought the idea of a Christmas tree over. It wasn't until several decades later that it was formally introduced by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, a German. At first the Christmas tree was found only in the homes of the upper-class English. The idea soon gained in popularity and became an English sensation. It became a Victorian symbol "laden with ornaments and surrounded with gifts" (Foley, pg. 65).

Hessian (German) mercenaries fighting for the British during the Revolutionary War, most likely introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to America. Tradition says that these soldiers set up Christmas trees for the colonial children. They did this so they would be able to cherish their homeland customs, since some of them had been away from home for three Christmases. No documentary evidence has been found to support this tradition, however, only stories.

Documented evidence of the Christmas tree began showing up in the early 1800's and continued to grow steadily. Most of the information is from the personal accounts of German settlers. The earliest illustration of a Christmas tree in America was from a book entitled The Stranger's Gift by Herman Bodum, printed in 1836. The Christmas tree began to spread rapidly throughout America. By the year 1850, the Christmas tree had become the fashionable thing for the holiday season.

Today most Christians celebrating Christmas have a Christmas tree in their home during the holiday season. They have their own special traditions involving the cutting and decorating of the tree. Many people view the Christmas tree as the most glorious and best-loved symbol of the Christmas season.