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«HISTORY OF EMIGRATION FROM NORDMØRE - Stangvik and Surnadal parishes»
* For disclaimer, please see end of text
This book is a collection of bits and pieces from a complex and grand drama. It is not a complete account of emigration from Stangvik and Surnadal. For that, available material and time were far too limited.
Nevertheless, with the scraps of information collected in this book, many will be able to select information and connect the "bits" into many interesting and thought-provoking patterns. For example, with the aid of the emigration listings and the Hyldbakk books as references, one can discover how emigration evolved within individual clusters of farms and individual families. Thus the book should become a source to turn back to many times. Much lies between the lines and behind the words. On this basis I hope many may find entertainment and learning - both by the fireside and in school.
Hyldbakk's books on family histories and general local lore are therefore intended as introductory and reference material for this book. Or conversely, one might say that this is a supplement to the Hyldbakk books.
It is Hyldbakk's frequent "emigrated to America" which unleashed my growing curiosity about what happened after the boat rounded the headland and they had looked in upon the fjord for the last time.
The western sky over the Trongfjord has always captivated me. No other place have I experienced such a great variation in the effects of lighting. So the Trongfjord became the gateway to the wide world and the future - every time one stretched one's back behind the hayrack and in the cabbage patch while growing up. And out there was America!
Gradually, as hundreds upon hundreds rose up from the records in the National Archives, it seemed like a procession of people going out into the sunset. I remembered the packages from America, which were opened on the long bench with great reverence. It was as if a golden light shone from them filling the whole room. It was a mystery and a miracle for the 3-4 year-old in 1948-49. Dolls that cried and slept. Dolls that could be fed with baby bottles and had to have diapers. Silken dresses with lace collars, chicklet chewing gum, marshmallows - big, pink, soft - green coffee and hair ribbons of pink, light-blue and plaid silk. All of America arose from the box, and America was the land where people drank an everlasting afternoon coffee under shady trees beside their cottages.
I knew that three boys had banged the same doors as I in our house, each having been the youngest in his turn. Where had they gone? We knew of one, Nils. Mother corresponded through an interpreter with his daughter "Kate" (pronounced as in Surnadal!). The other two had vanished into utter darkness.
Not until 1983 was I able to gradually draw away the "veils", one after another, and gradually see what had happened to them.
The process became so fascinating that my interest became an obsession, the first round ending at the National Archives in Trondheim at a furious tempo, in order to manage to get through the records during a one-week leave of absence.
This is a book written about Nordmøre people for Nordmøre people. It is more human documentation than statistics and data. Where people have given artistic expression to their experiences as emigrants, I have let them have their say, whether they be naive or more professional. I leave drawing conclusions to the professional historians and sociologists.
Probably this book will reveal a new facet in the story of Norwegian emigration. In any case it is a new source of material. Professor Lovoll, author of "The Promised Land" (recommended as reference material), is also editor for the archives of the Norwegian-American Historical Society. He said that there wasn't anything in this archive about Nordmøre emigration before the lists herein were submitted.
My hope is that this book will open a "peephole" for those of us who stayed behind - on our emigrants and what happened after the boat rounded the headland and the fjord of childhood closed behind them. Was it only silken gowns, coffee klatches and hair-ribbons? Believing that would be superficial.
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* Copyright Dordi Glærum Skuggevik 1986 - ISBN 02-991394-0-6. Please note: The original text and photo captions in Norwegian – and any digitisation and translation thereof - contain information from public, private and personal sources and may contain unintended errors, inaccuracies or omissions. The author - and as applicable: the digitiser and translator - accepts no liability for any such errors, inaccuracies or omissions. To continue, the reader must accept all limitations of liability and the text ‘as is’ - or should refrain from further reading.
The above content is from the book "Utvandringshistorie fra Nordmøre - Stangvik og Surnadal Prestegjeld" (History of emigration from Nordmøre – Stangvik and Surnadal Parish (Norway)) - published in 1986 by Dordi Glærum Skuggevik - and is used by the author's kind permission. All photos are used by the owners' kind permission.
The English text - except for part VII and photo captions - is a private translation from Norwegian by Sjur Sivertson, used with his kind permission (copyright Sjur Sivertson).