making connections

and fixing a family tree.

On Sunday, April 19, 2015, a family reunion took place, as Gunlaug Solås and Jim Gundersen met in Bolingbrook, IL, USA. Their grandfathers were brothers, growing up at Hageland, Mandal, VA in Southern Norway, but Jim and Gunlaug knew nothing about each other until quite recently.

History shows that Gabriel G. Hageland (1881–1969) – Gunlaug's grandfather – took over the farm at Hageland, Norway.
Gustav Gundersen (1890–1953) – Jim's grandfather – crossed the ocean and settled in Chicago, USA.

All contact between the Gundersen family in the US, and their relatives in Norway, seem to have ended some time around 1950, and it sure took a while for them to recon­nect.

The more recent story is that Jim reached out to Gunlaug via Facebook in late February this year. Gunlaug and I then visited Jim and his wife Carol for the first time, at the start of our 16 days round-trip across the North and East of the United States, in mid/late April.

We had some wonderful days in Bolingbrook and the wider Chicago area, thanks to our excellent hosts.

visiting the Botanical Gardens.

Tip of the day: If you want to make Gunlaug happy, just invite her to spend time at a place that has lots of living plants of all kinds. Works every time…

The weather was not the best when Jim and Carol took us to the Chicago Botanical Gardens on Monday. It was cloudy with light wind, and a little on the cold side. That didn't matter at all inside the large greenhouses with exotic plants though, and it wasn't all that bad on the outside either.

The visit to the Botanical Garden was a real treat for Gunlaug, and I enjoyed it very much myself. A pity we could not take any of the plants with us.

from both sides of the pond.

In the picture:
James (Jim) Gundersen – Carol Gundersen – Georg Sørtun
seated in front: Gunlaug Solås.

Still a lot to find out about Jim and Gunlaug's family trees, but now we are at least that little bit closer. Once back in Norway, Gunlaug and I have some digging in old archives to do, and local minds to pick for additional infor­mation and stories to add to what little that is known about their ancestors.

Gunlaug and I  intend to play snowbirds in Florida every winter from now on. And, as road-conditions improve up North in the spring, we will of course head across the border to see more of the US. We have so far only crossed pretty limited parts of this country.
So, providing all goes more or less as planned in the years ahead, this most certainly was not the last time we saw Jim and Carol. Bolingbrook, IL is after all just a short drive from our place in Weeki Wachee, FL – less than 24 hours up the US highways.

Hope that Jim and Carol will find time to visit us too some day. Maybe they will come down to our tiny recreational retreat here in Florida, and/or fly all the way over to visit us at the farm in Southern Norway where Jim's grandfather grew up.
Wouldn't that be something…

sincerely  georg; sign

Weeki Wachee 12.may.2015
last rev: 13.may.2015

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