I present Ingeborg Olsen Bakke Brynestad to you today:
She was my grandfathers paternal aunt, born on the Bakke farm (where I’m from) in 1869 in Hornindal, Norway. She emigrated to the US in 1893, and settled in Minnesota. This is the picture she sent home to her family shortly after, so around 1895.
The late 1800s were hard times in rural Norway. Crops failed and people were starving. The homes were crowded, most families had many children (Ingeborg had 7 siblings) and making a living other than farming was very difficult. While the farmers had previously hired help, thus provided work for other non-farmes, they were now forced to cut back and stop hiring. So if you were not the oldest boy in a family and taking over the farm, or if you were a girl unable to marry a farmer, you were running out of options. Some decided to move to the cities, but mainly this meant finding a living, but only to cope in poverty. Some brave frontierers decided to try America, and they found acres and acres of land, cheap and waiting for hard working people to farm it.
Of course their letters home about the “Golden country” were very promising to those with no prospects at home. For a period of approx 30 years, numerous Norwegians emigrated and settled all over USA and Canada, although a majority can be found in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Today the American Norwegians in USA count around 5 million people, a population equally big as the population of Norway itself! It also means that the American Norwegians are the 10th largest immigrant group in the US.
Look at the hat and all the details of her dress! I think she was very beautiful! She looks a little sad in the picture, maybe she missed her loved ones back home, she never got to see them again. I hope you can use my Ingeborg for some fun crafting project, enjoying that you know a little about her too!
Now for the mystery: I’m working on a genealogy site to trace family members and share these old pictures, and I’m trying to find living relatives of Ingeborg. Ingeborg died in 1919 and her husband Edwin Brynestad (also Norwegian) died in 1931. I belive they had (at least) 3 children: Esther(1901), Helen(1903) and Oscar(1906). Places like Ellendale, Owatonna, Albert Lea, Minneapolis keep coming up when I try to research this… I believe they are all part of Steele County, Minnesota? If I had access to US registers, I’m sure tracing them all and also finding living relatives would be easy, but I don’t…. so I’d love to get help from anyone from Steele County, Minnesota, or from anyone interested in genealogy with access to US registers 🙂
The file is free for your personal use and enjoyment. I scan all my ephemera in 600 dpi. Go to the download folder below to grab your high quality PNG-file (transparent background):
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