It happened during the SeaDream I sailing, July 26 – Aug. 8, 2014 from Bergen, Norway to Copenhagen, Denmark.
SeaDream guest, Carole Serine Einarsen Alfriend shares her special story with SeaDream blog readers.
This trip was especially meaningful for me, as I am Norwegian on my father’s side. The voyage stopped in Lillesand, Norway where my paternal grandmother’s family lived (my great-grandparents came to America from there.) I worked with a genealogist in Lillesand and on our stop there, I met cousins that I never knew that I had! It is a most remarkable memory and it was a fabulous afternoon that we had there. I am attaching the Lillesands-Posten newspaper article about my visit and an English translation. Thank you to SeaDream for this most memorable trip.
-Carole Carole Serine Einarsen Alfriend
(newspaper article below was translated from Norwegian to English. Pardon possible errors)
Discovered a new family Carole Serine Einarsen Alfriend had a friendly meeting with her relatives in Norway and had the opportunity to visit her ancest0r’s homes, when the mega yacht, SeaDream was visiting Lillesand on Sunday. The Stangeby family had large parts of their family tree in place, thanks to John Gustav Johansen. It all started with the fact that the local history team got a somewhat unusual request from the USA. Could they help Carole Serine Einarsen Alfriend with some information about her ancestor’s history? The result was a tour in Lillesand and Høvåg, meeting distant relatives in this little town & people not knowing that they had family across the ocean. John Gustav Johansen was put on the case. As an experienced producer of genealogical tables, he got tabs on Carole´s family tree. One of those who showed up was Kurt Stangeby from Lillesand. Stangeby, a local man interested in history, agreed to help John Gustav and his wife Bergliot Øie Johansen in organizing the visit for the distant relative from the United States. “This is something I will never regret doing”, Stangeby says, because he, his wife Evy and his sister Irene too, had an unforgettable day. Stangeby not only got to know that he had relatives in the United States, John Gustav Johansen worked out most of the genealogical tree on his mother’s side as well. “I did not know that I had family in the United States”, Stangeby says, and he tells us that Aanon Anderssen from Ågerøya is his and Carole´s common great-great grandfather. Aanon lived from 1819 to 1904 and was married to Oline Marie Andersdatter (1821-1900) from Åmland. Their son Aanon Olevinius (Aanonsen) Andersen (born 1859 in Høvåg) and his wife Severine (born Børresen, 1863 in Lillesand) emigrated to the United States and became Carole’s great grandparents.
Carole Serine Einarsen Alfriend had also visited Lillesand in 1976, but had no contact with anyone at that time. This time, however, Stangeby had worked out a full program for Carole, her husband, Malcome and friends Rob and Bill to visit the places of interest in Lillesand. John Gustav Johansen and his wife had come up with all the information that was needed about their ancestors and for the journey. During the five hours SeaDream was docked in Lillesand, the four visited the school, in which the great grandmother was a student, they visited the churches in Vestre Moland and Høvåg , and they also visited the houses at Åmland and in the Oddekleiva where, respectively, the great grandfather and great grandmother grew up. It was a great experience for both the Norwegians and the Americans. “It was great fun. We learned a lot about the whole family and about the American family in particular”, Evy Stangeby says. She has a long time been doing research on her husband´s family tree. Now she’s got most of the pieces on her husband’s mother’s side in place, thanks to information provided by John Gustav Johansen. “The funny thing about this, is that suddenly half of Lillesand´s inhabitants were related to each other”, said Kurt Stangeby laughing, referring to the Commerce Manager and the Minister of Development, and a whole lot of other well-known Lillesand names, appearing on the family tree.
A successful visit
Kurt had agreed in advance with the owners of the homes on Åmland and Oddekleiva that the group could pay a visit there. Together with his sister Irene, he was the driver for the group. The group was invited into both locations and both Erik Florvaag and Johan Chr. Gunnufsen were genuinely interested in meeting the Americans. “They talked about the homes and even got new information about who had lived there”, Kurt Stangeby said. “So it was a pleasant experience for us all”, Kurt Stangeby says after delivering the Americans to the Dybvannskaia dock and waved goodbye to his newly discovered relative. Carole for her part will never regret getting in touch with the local history team and selecting this cruise which came alongside the dock in Lillesand.
SLEKTNINGER: Carole Serine Einarsen Alfriend met her relatives Irene Stangeby and Kurt Stangeby in Lillesand. Alfriend was a guest aboard the cruise ship, SeaDream I.
MIDDELSKOLEN: John Gustav and Bergliot have taken her to the «Middelskolen».
FIKK INFORMASJON: Carole gets information about her ancestors´ house at Åmland by Erik Florvaag.
PÅ KIRKEGÅRDEN: The Americans were surprised that the ownership of a grave ends after 20 years. In USA they last forever.
I KIRKEN: Carole gets information from Bergliot Øie Johansen in Høvåg Church.
ÅMLAND: The group was heartily welcomed at the house of Carole´s ancestors in Høvåg. THE JOURNEY: They all agreed that the trip had been a success.