July 2, 2011
2:00 pm at the Hendricks Pioneer Museum
the launch of the English Version of
by Alvera Johnson Westberg
The first book about the early settlement of Hendricks that is available both in Norway (in Norwegian) and America!
Hopefully we will have photos of the launch after the 2nd.
- - - - - - - - - - Below is an ongoing discussion about this book starting back a year ago - - - - - - -
The story of the book One House began with an email sent March 8:
Kan jeg skrive på norsk til denne adressen? (Please tell me if you prefer English)
Har funnet 2 kart over Lake Hendricks på Hendricks MN Family Tree Project og har spørsmål om vi kan få tillatelse til å bruke det.
Det gjelder en bok-oversettelse.
Kan noen hjelpe oss?
Med vennlig hilsen
Evelyn og Petter Sirevåg
I asked for more information (and in English) and received and forwarded to the Hendricks group the following and I asked if anyone knew of this family:
I just this morning received an email from Norway, replied, and got the following reply. Does anyone know of the book One Family or the Johnson family that is the subject? Here is the email (and I sent her the maps she wanted):
My name is Evelyn Sirevaag. We live in Moi in Lund community, Rogaland, Norway.
My husband Petter's great grand parents emmigrated in 1876 to Brookings county (and some to Lincoln County). They changed their name from Jenssen to Johnson
I translate Alvera Johnson Westberg's book ONE HOUSE to Norwegian. She belonged to the Johnson-family at Orness P O south of Lake Hendricks. The book don't have pictures or maps, but relatives will give pictures and permission for publishing. I found 2 nice maps on internet. I want to use them, but don't know if there is copyright. Where may I get permission? See attatchment! I am not sure if the one from 1915 is from your pages.
Our History group are interessed to print my translation, and we will meet them March 11 to make more plans. If the book will be published, it will be about 1000 copies.
The book ONE HOUSE is not for sale, only made a few copies for the family. I borrow one. The main character is Jacob E Johnson born in Norway Febr 17 1856, who married Annie Olava Johnson born in USA April 6. 1860. The story (part 1) is until year 1914. The book tells about neighbours and has some names from Singsaas area. They started South Lake hendricks Mission Society. I would like to know more about that.............
We visited the relatives at their resthouse by Lake Hendricks 2 years ago. And some of them has been here. We visited Singsaas church etc. We want to go there again. To see the museum and more. I learned a lot looking at your great Hendricks Project!
Now we bought by internet 3 music CDs from Singsaas church, and was very surprised to find a picture of a relative's tomb stone !
I would be very happy if I can get help to use the old maps. Thanks!
That started the "Hendricks One House" group distirbution and several emails back and forth. It included the following from the daughter of the author:
Evelyn Siraveg sent me your email address and recent email about One House and your Hendricks Trilogy. The author of One House is my mother, Alvera (Johnson) Westberg. When she wrote the book, she made copies for family only--self-published, of course and it didn't go any further than that. She wrote the book on an old word processor that is now gone, so the disk that has the original on it is useless. I do have a couple of hard copies, though (in English). If there is interest, I could perhaps have a master made from one of them and have copies made and bound. Is this something you are interested in? If it's just a single copy you're looking for I might be able to find one around here for you.
I am interested in finding out about your Trilogy, as well. How much are you charging? I live in Tacoma, Washington and have never lived in Hendricks, but I visited my grandparents' farm every summer growing up, and still go every few years for our family reunions. Since my mother (and father) died in 2001 I have been trying to make connections with relatives and family and appear to be the keeper of the history in our family (I have 2 sisters). The 3 of us visited Norway a few years ago for the first time and were able to make the connection with both sides of my mother's family, including Petter and Evelyn.
I know the Winsness name and have pictures of Winsnesses among my mother's photos. Might these be of interest to you? Are we related? I'm not clear on all these connections but would appreciate information.
Thanks for your hard work on all this history--it's important and under-appreciated.
Ruth Tiger (Westberg)
And today, March 28th, how Evelyn got involved was explained:
I think the ONE HOUSE group is growing!
Somebody is asking how
I got involved with the book ONE HOUSE. Here is the story, very short:
In 2004 three sisters (Alvera Johnson Westberg's daughters) Judi Westberg Warren, Ruth Tiger and Carolyn Westberg visited Norway. Through my husband Petter's 2.cousin Trygve Ege Olsen (who is the real genealogist among the relatives)we were contacted since we live near the farms and places they would like to see. The 3 sisters and Petter (and Trygve) are 3.cousins . Sara Elisabeth and Kristian Jenssen Tjellesvik were their great great grandparents. That couple emigrated in 1870's with 8 children, only one daughter Severine was left in Ege farm, Norway, since she was married to Peder Ege. Severine and Peder were Petters great grand parents. Trygve has listed about 800 descendants from Severine and Peder.
The question was: Will we find proof of communication between Ege ans USA from about 100 years ago? When the sisters visited Ege and found pictures from the HOUSE (ca 1899) and from Jacob E Johnsons family, tears flowed. "There is Grandpa Grant's house in Lake Hendricks!" THEN they told about their mothers book ONE HOUSE! (Later we learned that their aunt Grace visited Ege many years ago. And we found a letter about Severine's inheritance when her parents died).
I did not see the book until we attended the July 4. family reunion 2008. Then I found Severine was mentioned in the book. I really wanted to read the book, but it was unpossible to buy. I was SO happy, back in Norway, when Trygve told me that he got a copy and he willingly let me borrow. After reading, one year ago, I understood that the story has a great value. I want more people to know about it.
Wish you a blessed Easter time! We already started the holidays, and we will relax at home, going to church and spend time together with grandchildren who just returned after their family visit to Philippines.
OK - Show me the book! :o)
Name it: One House - One Book
The Norwegians are translating it, but the Americans do not have it in an electronic format - YET!
Americans - use OCR or just retype it and put both the English and Norwegian versions in
One House - One Book
This is tantalizing - but at least we now know that this is a fantastic story unfolding where the Norwegians are so delighted to have finally reconnected to the American side that they are enthusiasticly translating the book. And through Evelyn's email, a group has begun forming which can further connect the US and Norwegian relatives. I'll keep adding any progress reports here!
The current people involved with this 'group' are:
Tryve Ege Olsen
July 11, 2010
Reluctantly, I'm not pursuing the publishing of this book further as it has created some dissent within the families of the author.
In summary though, I believe the document should be considered as an “historical novel” as it presents the views, not necessarily facts, of the author as documented at one time of her life. It is certain that if she had written the book at a different time, her views could have changed entirely. The fears of the family are that some of her views as expressed at the moment of writing the document, could hurt feelings of living descendants of those about whom she speaks.
Having researched for over 20 years my ancestry, I have found an incredible number of what my mother proudly would have described as “white lies” - misrepresented history created in order to not provide future generations with any disparaging information concerning honored ancestors. I understand her reasoning, but she was terribly wrong.
Only because some people and some documents were found did I find and publish the true history of my family and only through that do can my descendants fully understand the greatness of those ancestors. My ancestors did not make mistakes – they sometimes responded to human desires but always eventually recovered in the most astonishing ways and I am very proud to tell those stories.
My recent attempt to revive this project was described as 'convoluted' and I guess that is a correct assessment from that person's perspective. I brought it up again when having read the 3 act play Our Town and saw the similarity to One House. My first emails about the book came when I was contacted by a Norwegian who was translating the book for publication in Norway and she asked if I could provide a photo I had on the website. Never have I been contacted by a family member first to request help although many are now very supportive of publication while others are not. So yes, it's a convoluted story.
Is it possible though that the author, having given up on trying to plant ideas in the heads of her family, might be approaching this now through others? If that sounds impossible, I'm sorry, but to people researching genealogy, we all feel we get some guidance nudges from such sources at times.
In the song “Swimming To The Other Side” is a stanza:
All of those who came before me
stand together to be my guide.
Loving spirits I will follow,
we are all swimming to the other side.