It’s June 16th, 2015, and we, Ann Haggen Roushar and Joe Roushar, are boarding a plane for Paris, France for a short transfer, then on to Oslo, Norway to find our Norwegian roots. We already have a bunch of good information that we have stored on a website called FamilySearch.org. W e also store our genealogy information on a program called Ancestral Quest on the laptop. Ancestral Quest: I like that name. This trip is a quest of sorts for our Scandinavian ancestors.
The preparation work for this trip began years ago in work done by other family members. The information on our family history, names, dates, places and information sources has been carefully assembled, copied, annotated and digitized into meaningful nuggets of information. The pedigree chart and much original source information is stored on systems like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, and the pictures and maps that give the information more depth are everywhere: in family bibles, photo albums, ancient and modern maps and you name it. Some of the contact information we needed to find the people we planned on meeting is in little notepads and obscure e-mail messages. We have used just about every form of communication, except Morse code, smoke signals and semaphores to plan this trip.
Grant and Arlene Haggen (lower left) are Ann’s parents. Our visits to Haugesund and Stavanger brought us to Grant’s parents’ (Blue Star) original homes. We saw the streets and probably the homes where they grew up. The green arrows point to Arlene’s Norwegian ancestors with whom we met distant cousins living in Norway who shared wonderful stories with us and welcomed us with open arms. Arlene’s Mom’s side is from Sweden (purple marks), and we would like to visit their ancestral homes in a future trip.
|June 2015 Norway Trip|
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The internet has been the main thing for us, as we booked our flights at the airline site, our rental cars at a travel site, our train trips at Norway’s NSB train site, and our accommodations through a social travel site called AirBnB (Bed and Breakfast). This is not the first time Ann and I have collaborated over weeks of planning to create a trip like this. One time we planned an around-the-world trip to pick up our son JC at the conclusion of his Mission in Mongolia. This was before AirBnB so we did much of the planning using a regular travel site and staying in hotels. There’s something cold and antiseptic about hotels, though. So staying in people’s homes, mostly with the people present also, has made this trip more rich, and more like immersion. Note: The house shown below from the Norsk History Museum in Oslo is not representative of the places we stayed.
Another difference in this trip is that we purchased an international phone and data contract for my cell phone. This made it possible to use my cell phone to call and text message our hosts in each city, and navigate using the phone’s built-in navigation system. This has increased our freedom to improvise during our trip, go places we hadn’t planned, and get fantastic tips from our hosts about places to go and things to see.
We hope you we are able to share the pleasure and wonder – and connection we felt as we traveled to these places. The Bible says that the spirit of Elijah is about the hearts of the children turning to their fathers, and we feel profoundly and deeply bound to our heritage, especially as we walked the streets where they walked and breathed the fresh summer air of the home of our people, Norway.