Knudson Family Ancestors
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You are alive because of your ancestors. Without them you would not have a life today. So, first a little terminology. The word "ancestors" refers to the people in your family that came before you, the mothers and fathers of the generations before you. The word "descendants" refers to the people who come after you, your children, grandchildren and so forth.

This page is about ancestors. The Family Tree Page is about the descendants of Clarence and Ina Knudson and Clarence's brothers and sisters. The Where From page is about the parents of Clarence and Ina. This page is about the earlier forbears of the K-Family.

Our ancestors on both sides of the Knudson family came from Norway in northern Europe. At the bottom of this page you will see maps of Norway.

We also want to create pages for the family backgrounds of spouses of Knudson descendants. An example is The Bahr Family; this is the family of Linda Bahr Knudson, the mother of Sonja, Thanh, and Rachel, the grandmother of Brayden and Jacob Buchanan and Sofia and Mickie Wilkinson.

Crossing the Ocean

On this page we are going to focus especially on those hardy souls who made the decision to leave Norway, to pack up their belongings in their trunks, get on a ship, and cross the Atlantic Ocean to reach the United States. My father, Clarence Knudson put together a family tree book and I have typed his words into this page below.

This geneology stuff gets complicated right away. We have, to begin with, four sets of forbears to consider, two for Clarence and two for Ina. It is going to take me a while to get clear on this myself. If you see mistakes here please contact me.

For Clarence we have ancestors of his father, Edward Knudson, and his mother, Julia (Jorund) Vigen. Then for Ina we have two more sets of ancestors, one for her father, Lars Quammen, and another for her mother, Margit Hegland. So, to keep things clear, let's name these four sets of ancestors as follows: 1. The Knudson Heritage, 2. The Vigen Heritage, 3. The Quammen Heritage, and 4. The Hegland Heritage. We will organize this page using these four categories. Remember that we have varying levels of information about each of these, so this page is a work in progress.

We also include here what we call The Homme Heritage about a sister of Clarence Knudson's great aunt, Gyro Kvasaker Homme, who came to this country in 1865 to Yellow Medicine County in Minnesota.

1. The Knudson Heritage

  • Knute K. Kvasaker IV, b. 1826, d. 1876, m. Torbjor Knutsdotter Aakre, b. 9-20-1825, d. 8-6-1909, came to America from Valle, Setesdal, in 1861, with six children (see large photo below)
    • Knut Knutson Kvasaker V, b. 2-19-1846, d. 2-24-1878, m. Ingeborg Trydahl Knutson, b. 12-1-1850, d. 4-10-1945, six children (These are Clarence Knudson's grandparents.) He fought in civil war. Ingeborg later married John Aakre in 1879.
      • Knut Knudson VI (1868-1927) m1. Julia Knudson m2. Maggie Thompson (1884-1969), five children (Note: This is the first time I have seen Knudson spelled with a "d".)
      • Osmund Knutson (1871-1945) m. Gunhild Upsahl (1874-1923), eleven children
      • Ole Knutson (1873-1889)
      • Torbjorg Knutson (1874-1938) m. Herman L. Norley (1876-1949), three children
      • Edward Knudson b. 5-2-1876, d. 3-19-1958, m. Julia (Jorund) Vigen, b. 5-15-1879, d. 11-10-1936, eleven children
      • Lisle Knut Knutson (1879-1901) - Attended St. Olaf College, sent letters to his brother Edward.
    • Lisle Knute Knutson Kvasaker (1848-1891) m. Bergit Kveste (1850-1916)
    • Thora Knutson Kvasaker (1851-1888) m. Ole Nelson Loyland, Jr. (1842-1932)
    • Halvor Knutson Kvasaker (1853-1890) m. Enger Nelsdotter Loyland (1859-1927)
    • Jon Knutson Kvasaker (1857-1892) m. Gyro K. (Hoftuft) (1859-1931)
    • Tone Knutson Kvasaker (1860-1861) (died at sea) Next children born in U.S.
    • Ole Knutson Kvasaker (1862-1915) m. Torbjor Olson Sagneskar (1875-1947)
    • Tone Knutson Kvasaker (1865-1879)
    • Bergit Knutson Kvasaker (1869-1918) m.Andreas Aanundson Sannes (1865-1934)
    • Jorond Knutson Kvasaker (1869-1951) m. Olav Olson Sunsdahl (1866-1939)

Notice the Knudson Heritage in America begins in 1861 so they had a decade's head start on the others. The Quammen and Hegland Heritages in this country both began in 1872. The Vigen Heritage began in 1875. The question arises, what was happening about this time in Setesdal and Hallingdal that led these familes to leave to come to America?

Notice also how big these familes were!! Women in those days seemed to have a baby every two to three years. This created lots of uncles and aunts for my father, who was born in 1905. Several of them lived long enough for them to be alive during his younger adult years, yet we later family members know so little about them, even about his grandparents. It is probably that we just were not paying attention. So we are faced with questions. Who were these people? Where did they live? What did they do? Where are their descendants now?

It would be wonderful if various younger family members would take on projects of finding answers to such questions, pick a person and do some research. I'm sure there are a lot of fascinating stories to be told. In my father's family tree book we have mostly names and dates. (And see about the Homme-Kvasaker Family below.) It must have been an incredible task to put this all together. But we don't know much about so many of the people here, at least I do not.

2. The Vigen Heritage

  • Thor O. Vigen (Tor Viki), b. 1847, d. 1928, m. Anne Anundsdotter Moi, b. 1846, d. 1-3-1881, came to America in 1875 with two children
    • Julia (Jorand) Vigen, b. 5-15-1879, d. 11-10-1936, m. Edward Knudson b. 5-2-1876, d. 3-19-1958, eleven children, Clarence was oldest
      • Clarence Edward Knudson b. July 2, 1905, d. July 14, 1992 (see Family Tree)

Anne Omundsdatter

Born 5-24-1846     Died 1-3-188_

Anne - Daughter of T.O. and A.O Vigen
Born 1-1-1881     Died 7-21-1881

Amund - Son of T.O. and A.O. Vigen
Born 9-21-1876    Died 9-15-1879

In my files I have a small piece of paper with my mother's handwriting. She writes: "This is what the tombstone says" and then she has copied what is seen above about the death of Anne Omundsdatter, wife of Thor Vigen. She says the stone was chipped so the "1" at the end of 188_ was missing. Then it is written, "She died in childbirth."

Look carefully at these dates and consider the heart-ache this represents for Thor O. Vigen who probably was the one who had this tombstone made. He shares with his wife, Anne, the experience of leaving Norway and coming to this new land in 1875. Then, just four years later their son, Amund, who was born the year after they arrived, dies, in 1879, at three years old. Then in 1881 Anne dies in childbirth and a few months later that baby, Anne, dies in the same year. These were not good years for Thor Vigen.

But notice also that a new baby had arrived a few months before Amund died in 1979. This was Julia Vigen, my father's mother, my grandmother, the great-great paternal-maternal grandmother of my grandchildren. Julia was just two years old when her mother died in childbirth.

I remember as a boy my parents talking about this in the car as we drove around the area in Minnesota just across the Red River from North Dakota. But I do not remember details. So, watch for much more to this story of what happened to Thor as other family members offer their own memories.

The entire booklet my father prepared on the Vigen - Moi Ancestors is available on this website. This is a photo of my father's mother, Julia Vigen.

3. The Quammen Heritage

  • Sven Quammen, b. 4/1/1850, d. 12/29/1920, eighth of ten children, m. Ingeborg Larsgaard, b. 10/1/1845, d. 4/11/1902 (They left Hol, Hallingdal, Norway, on their wedding day, April 1, 1872, for America.) Both buried at Rosendal Cemetary, Bentru Township, Grand Forks County, North Dakota.
    • Engebret S. Quammen, b. 12/26/1866, in Norway, d. 2/201910, from pneumonia and is buried in the Quammen family plot in the Reynolds Americus/St. Olaf cemetery, m. Julia Haug in Reynolds, N.D. (Ina Knudson's "Aunt Julia").
      • Sidney Quammen
        • David Quammen
        • John Quammen
    • Inger Caroline Quammen, b. 11/29/1872, d. 8/9/1933, m. Asle Sondrol
    • Ole Quammen, b. 11/4/1874, d. 12/28/1881 (died at seven years)
    • Edward Quammen, b. 1/3/1877, d. 2/10/1878 (died at one year)
    • Emma Quammen, b. 12/24/1878, d. 7/17/1935, m. Gilbert M. Evenson, buried in Nymore, Minnesota
    • Christine Quammen, b. 3/17/1881, d. 8/28/1955, m. John Bye, buried in Bemidji, Minnesota
    • Ole Quammen, b. 2/19/1883, d. 1/5/1943
    • Lars Quammen, b. 1/10/1885, d. 12/1/1959, m. Margit Hegland, b. 7/14/1885, d. 2/__/1984
      • Ina Elvira Quammen b. August 27, 1911, d. December 03, 1985, m. Clarence E. Knudson on April 20, 1931, in Grand Forks, North Dakota
    • Selmer Quammen, b. 3/7/1888, d. 7/31/1961

To the right is a photo of Sven Quammen, Ina Quammen Knudson's grandfather, and my great-grandfather. In his lap is his niece, Adeline Quammen, born 1913, the daughter of his son, Selmer Quammen. Hugging the bear is Ina E. Quammen, born August 27, 1911. The picture was taken when Sven was living in Reynolds, North Dakota, in 1913. Ina's father, Lars Quammen is the son of Sven. This information is written by Ina on the back of this photo.

My father's family tree book indicates Lars was the fifth of eight children. But the Old Settlers Pioneers book lists Lars last. But a one-page sheet I found in my files dated November, 1961 (typed by my father, maybe), contains biographical data on Sven and Ingeborg Quammen including dates for their children which I have entered in the above information. Lars is the second to the last of the children. That sheet indicates the address of Sven and Ingeborg as "Whynot" North Dakota. (How's that for the name of a town!)

My mother was very active in visiting her aunts and uncles. Christine Quammen Bye lived, for a time at least, in Bemidji, Minnesota. I remember visiting her house as a boy. They didn't want children in the house, I guess, because we had to play on the front porch. The inside of that house was always a mystery to me. Sometimes these were very long visits.

I also remember my mother stopping at a very small cabin-type house in Bemidji, just off the old Highway #2, where she would go in for a half-hour or so. My brother, Curt, and I stayed in the car. This was the home of her uncle, Selmer Quammen. So there is an early Bemidji connection with two of my mother's relatives. And then later I found that Emma Quammen, who married Gilbert N. Evenson, is buried in Nymore, now part of Bemidji. I very faintly recall my mother visiting a relative in Nymore, but Emma died in 1935 so it may have been one of her children.

It is an interesting fact that Sven S. Quammen and Ingebord Larsgaard married on April 10, 1872, in the Hol Church in Hallingdal, Norway, and on that same day emigrated to the United States. My wife and I visited that church in 1993, an old stave-style church.

Sven and Ingeborg "lived four years at New Sweden, Nicollet County, Minnesota, one year at Lake Park, Becker County, Minnesota. In 1877 they came to Grand Forks County (North Dakota) and homesteaded in Sec. 28 in Bentru Township." (from the Pioneers book)

The same book indicates that my grandfather, Lars Quammen, "was a Trustee of the Old Settlers Memorial Association for many years." This is the group that published the book. I remember as a boy my parents would take me to a very large picnic celebration at a park down below where the Rosendal Church is located. They had a stage where music was played and speeches given. This was a big event for me.

Sven and Ingeborg donated the land for the Rosendal Church and cemetery. They are buried in that cemetery, along with Lars and Margit. The church itself was intentionally burned down a few years ago. My brother, Curt, at an auction of artifacts of the church, bought me an offering plate used there which I still have.

Sven was fifty-seven when he died in 1920. This is my mother's paternal grandfather. She, Ina Quammen Knudson, would have been nine years old when her grandfather, Sven, died. Ingeborg, my mother's paternal grandmother, was seventy when she died.

Sven and Ingeborg are the brave ancestors on the Quammen side who had the courage to leave Norway, cross the sea, and create a life in this country for themselves, and the rest of us who have come after.

4. The Hegland Heritage

  • Knut K. Hegland b. February 22, 1849 in Bygland, Satersdal, Norway, d. December 17, 1926 at age 77, m. Signe (Olson) Olsdatter Austad-Hegland, b. December 3, 1848 in Ose, Saterdal, Norway, d. July 25, 1939 at age 90; they came separately to America in 1872.
    • Knutel Hegland
    • Asbjor Hegland, m. _______ Grundeyson
      • Sig Grundeyson, m. Art Dutt (confirmed with Ina Quammen Knudson at Rosendal Church in 1926)
    • Ole Hegland
    • Ole Hegland
      • Kenneth Hegland, b. 10/30/1916, m. Evelyn
        • David Hegland
        • Michael Hegland
      • Corrine Hegland, b. 12/22/1918 m. Charlie Barr, b. 6/17/__, d. 10/4/1989, 10538 Plunkett Street, Bellflower, CA 90706.
        • Allen Barr
      • Olaf Hegland, b. 4/21/1919, m. Elsie Gangelhoff, 2809 S. 150th, Seattle, Washington
        • Caroline Hegland
        • Bill Hegland
        • Ricky Hegland
        • Rita Hegland
      • Morris Hegland, b. 6/16/1920, m. Doris
        • Larry Hegland
        • Patricia Hegland
        • Duane Hegland
        • Anetta Hegland
        • Robert Hegland m. Donna Breidenbach
          • Bob Hegland
          • Randy Hegland
      • Julia (Judy) Hegland, b. 9/2/1922 (triplett), m. Richard E. Gordon, Green Castle, Pennsylvania
      • Vernon Hegland, b. 9/2/1922 (triplett), 7919 8th Avenue S., Seattle, Washington
      • Signa (Sue) Hegland, b. 9/2/1922 (triplett), m. John Lutke, El Segunda, California
      • Adeline Hegland, b. 11/2/1932, m. Charles Nelson, 13352 Prairie Avenue, Hawthorne, California
        • Wayne Nelson
    • Margit Hegland, b. 7/14/1885, d. 2/__/1984 (98 years old!) m. Lars Quammen

The Heglands lived in Bentru Township, Grand Fork County, North Dakota, on a farm one mile east of where Ina Quammen Knudson grew up. The Hegland farm is close to the Red River.

In a book titled Pioneers published by The Old Settler's Memorial Monument Association there is an entry under Bentru Township for Ina's maternal grandfather, Knut K. Hegland, and her maternal grandmother, Signe Olson. It indicates that they came separately to America in 1872. Signe came to Fisher, Minnesota, in the spring of 1872. Knut K. Hegland came in the same year and stopped first in Glenwood, Minnesota, and later came to Grand Forks County.

So both Signe and Knut were born in Norway. She from Ose, Satersdal, Norway, and he from Bygland, Satersdal (Setesdal), Norway.

Five years after they each arrived, they were married in the Bygland Church, Polk County, Minnesota, on April 13, 1877, by Pastor Solstad.

They homesteaded in section 21 of Bentru Township where they built what is said to be their "first log cabin" (see photo) indicating there may have been a second one. They are both buried in the cemetary of the Rosendahl Lutheran Church where Lars and Margit Quammen are also buried.

Be sure to go to the page entitled Homesteading in Bentru Township for some very interesting stories about life for the Quammens and Heglands there.

I remember as a boy visiting the two-story house that was built on this Hegland farm which included a barn and other out-buildings.

There are photos of Ina and her grandmother and her aunt Asbjor on the Where From page. Click the above photo of Knut and Signe to see a larger version.

I have added in the above Hegland tree the children of Ole Hegland from a one-sheet piece of paper I found in my files entitled "Uncle Ole Hegland's Children" with notes on it in my father's handwriting. It appears from this that we have cousins on the Hegland side in both California and Seattle, Washington.

Heglands on the Web. This is a whole website on the Heglands in America which deserves further review. At this site there is an interesting life story of Thor Mikkel Hegland 1858-1941 who lived for a time in North Dakota and then in McIntosh, Minnesota. This is the kind of information it would be fun to have about each of our own ancestors in terms of their life experience in this country.

Torbjor Knutsdotter Aakre

A photo of my father's great-grandmother, Torbjor Knutsdotter Aakre, is in his book, "Knutson - Kvasager Ancestors." She is seated on the right in this photo. She was born in 1825 and died in 1909 so she lived a long life of eighty-four years. She came to America from Valle, Setesdal, in 1861, with six children. Since my father was born in 1905, he would have been four years old when his great-grandmother died.

She married Knute K. Kvasaker IV who died in 1876. So Torbjor lived thirty-one years past her husband. He lived just fifteen years in this country before he died.

In his book my father says this: "Knut and Torbjor left Valle, Norway, in 1861 with six children, ages 1 o 15 years, and came to Harmony, Minnesota. Later they moved to Walle Township, North Dakota. The one year old, Tone, died at sea and was buried in the ocean."

The oldest son of Knut and Torbjor, my father's grandfather, another Knut Knutson Kvasaker, b. 1846 in Norway, is not in this photograph. The other children of Torbjor in the picture are:

    Seated left to right:
  • Ole Kvasager, b. 1862 in Fillmore County, Minnesota, m. Torbjor Bjugson. Children lived mostly in Grand Forks area.
  • Tore Kvasager, b. 1851, m. Ole Loyland, lived in Thompson, North Dakota.
  • Torbjor Knutsdotter Aakre, b. 1825, d. 1909, m. Knut Kvasager
    Standing left to right:
  • Lisle Knute Kvasager, b. 1848, m. Birgit Kveste. He was a farmer, and a County Commissioner of Grand Forks County, died 8-4-1891.
  • Halvor Kvasager, b. 1853, m. Enger Loyland. The children lived in Thompson and Reynolds, North Dakota, in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, and the Twin Cities, Minnesota.
  • Margit (Birgit?) Kvasager, b. 1869 in Greenfield, Minnesota, m. Andreas Sannes, b. 7-27-1865 in Fillmore County, Minnesota. Children lived mostly in Thompson and Reynolds, North Dakota.
  • Jon Kvasager, b. 1857, m. Guro Haugom. She later married Ole T. Kvestad, lived and farmed east of Oklee, Minnesota. Children lived in Alberta, Canada, Portland, Oregon, and Minnesota.
  • Jorand (Julia) Kvasager, b. 1870, m. Ole Sunsdahl, lived in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.
The details about the lives of these folks and their progeny are the content of my father's book, "Knudson - Kvasager Ancestors".

The first place they stopped when Knut and Torbjor came to America was Harmony, in Fillmore County, far southeastern Minnesota. The name "Harmony" represents the hopes and dreams of many immigrants to create new communities of peace and harmony in this country. There are towns named Harmony across the western United States.

The Homme Heritage

There is another major branch of Kvasaker's that came to America included in my father's book on "Knutson - Kvasager Ancestors." In the introduction to that book he writes:
It seems that my great grandfather, Knut Knutson Kvasaker, born 1826, and his sister, Gyro (Guro) Kvasaker, born 1833 and married to Olav G. Homme, represented the principal branches of our family who immigrated to the USA.

My great-grandfather, his wife and six children, came to Harmony, Minnesota, and later to Walle Township, Grand Forks County, North Dakota, in 1861. Gyro Kvasaker Homme and family came to Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, in 1865, and lived there the rest of her life.

Doing an internet search for "Homme, Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota" I found an interesting Facebook page for the Homme Family with lots of stories and history. They have had an annual reunion for 76 years!!

Wikipedia describes the country this way: "Yellow Medicine County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2010, the population was 10,438. Its county seat is Granite Falls. The Upper Sioux Indian Reservation is entirely within the county." It is located in southwestern Minnesota, quite a ways from Grand Forks.

In the photo below on the far right you will see the person who is the key connection between the Knudson and Homme families, Gyro Kvasager Homme, born 1833 in Norway, who came to America in 1865 at the age of thirty-two, the great-aunt to my father, Clarence E. Knudson. There is a long section of his book dedicated to the Homme family.

The first son of Gyro and Olav was Gjermund (Jim) Homme, born in Norway 10-28-1857, came to America with his parents in 1865, and died 10-17-1953. He was a sheriff for Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, for twenty-two years, also a state legislator. He homesteaded at Grafton, North Dakota in 1881, but returned to Minnesota. He is the first person standing on the left in the photo below.

Homme-Kvasager Family Early Ancestors

    Standing - left to right:
  • Germund (Jim) Homme b.1857
  • Ole Homme b.1861
  • Knute O. Homme b.1862
  • Halvor Homme b.1865
  • Turi Homme b.1869
    Seated - left to right:
  • Tora (Thora) Homme Finnes b.1873
  • Olav Gjermundson Homme b.1829
  • Torjus (Tom) Homme b.1878
  • Guro (Kvasaker) Homme b.1833

Father's Father

The following is reproduced from a book titled "Knutson - Kvasager" written and published in 1975 by my father, Clarence E. Knudson. Here he identifies his great-grandfather as Knute K. Kvasaker, born in 1826, as the person who came to America in 1861. This would be the father of my father's father, Edward Knudson, who was born in this country in 1876. If the first generation in this country starts with Knut, then my grandfather is the second generation, my father is the third generation, and I am the fourth generation of Norwegians in this country. Most of the book is not narrative, but lists of names.

Early records indicate that the Knutson-Kvasaker relations lived mostly in Valle, Setesdal, Norway. at least from about 1600 A.D. We have been unable to trace the record back earlier than 1600 A.D. but we are sure that if time were available a search would disclose additional information.

The Satesdal Valley is long and narrow and hemmed in by unbelievably tall mountains on both sides. The only reasonable means of ingress or exit to the valley is at either end, and, during the early days, part of the valley (Bykle) could be reached by foot. Never-the-less, people did find their way to Bykle and settled there at least as early as1200 A.D. when the old Bykle Church was built. When we were in Norway in 1972 we were shown the church and the old path (Stigen - meaning stairway) which was used in carrying on foot the provisions and belongings of the people who settled in Bykle. Why people felt they had to make this tedious journey we will never understand.

Now there is a good hard surfaced road, known as Setesdalsveien, extending from Kristiansand to the other end of the valley, about 150 miles in length. Valle is about 100 miles from Kristiansand and Bykle is about 20 miles beyond Valle. Trydal, where my paternal grandmother (Ingeborg Trydahl) was born is between Valle and Bykle. The Aake's (my great-grandmother's family) also lived in Valle. There are both Aakres and Kvasakers still living in Valle and we visited several of these families.

There is one Kvasaker who left Valle, Setesdal, and went to live in the Telemarken Valley over the mountains. His name was Knut Kvasaker but he took the name Halvorson when he moved. He was born in 1604 and died in 1668. He married Ragnhild Olavsdotte Tortveit of Telemark whose father was Olav Knutson Spokkeli, Tortveit, Telemark, Norway. Their children were as follows:

  1. Elvind Halvorson - Single
  2. Olav
  3. Halvor Halvorson - Returned to Setesdal and lived there in 1738. Seems he returned to exercise his rights to the Kvasaker farm in Valle. This was the farm where my great-grandfather, Knute K. Kvasaker, was born 1826, lived before he went to America in 1861. Seems that we do not now know the name of Halvor's wife or children or the line to our great-grandfather. Knut Kvasaker, b. 1902, now owns the farm. Knut's father, Ole K. Kvasaker, was a half brother to my great-grandfather, Knut K. Kvasaker, b. 1826.
  4. Sigurd - 1664
  5. Eli - Died unmarried in a fire in 1738.
  6. Gro - Died unmarried in a fire in 1738.
  7. Bergit - Died unmarried in a fire in 1738.
  8. Guro - Died unmarried in a fire in 1738.
  9. Gunhild - 1667, died unmarried in Li in 1737.
Whether descendents of the foregoing children are still living in Telemark, Norway, is not known. As you can see, most of them died single. Whether Olav and Sigurd had children which survived is not known.

Written by Clarence Knudson, 1975

The map to the right shows where Norway is located in the world: (click for larger image)

And below is a map of Norway itself in relation to Sweden, Finland, and Denmark: (click for larger image)

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