Celebration of Restoration

Restoration and Celebration in Spring Grove October 30
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center in Spring Grove has been renovating a historic building at 163 West Main and is ready to reveal all the changes accomplished to date on Saturday, October 30 beginning at 6:45PM.
A gala celebration with valet parking, a string quartet from Luther College, and a gourmet meal lend themselves well to a program honoring Georgia Rosendahl, local historian and genealogist.   Georgia is a very modest, retired dairy farmer who now is able to work just as hard on an avocation, researching genealogy and recording history.
Her father Oscar Kroshus, and her neighbor, Percival Narveson were the historians who first kindled Georgia’s passion of learning who people’s families were.  They kept newspaper accounts of people in the area, and Georgia too started pasting obituaries and articles into scrapbooks.
Later when the computer age came along, Georgia shifted to storing information electronically and has worn the letters off four keyboards, “filled up” those computers with so much genealogical info that it made them crash.  She currently has 40,059 names in her latest working computer. People call and E-mail her on a regular basis from around this country and the world seeking information about people in their family trees who have connections to Spring Grove.  It is surprising how much information she is able to recall without looking data up in the computer.  It seems she uses the technology only to verify what she remembers, and to be able to share it in a usable format.  One of her greatest pleasures is to hear or read expressions of joy and gratitude from those she assists.
She maintains a very large library as well, and some years ago purchased a huge bookcase from a Main Street business in Spring Grove, and then built an office large enough to accommodate the bookcase.  Some of the reference books belonged to Percival Narveson, and the rest she has collected at farm auctions and estate sales, and by purchasing new genealogical resource books as they are printed.
Authors such as Kathy Stokker and Chad Muller seek out Georgia as a resource when they write books about Spring Grove’s people, history and traditions.
Georgia is a very active member of the Houston County Historical Society’s Board of Directors and also the Sons of Norway Lodge in Spring Grove.  She has gone around the Midwest presenting programs on Ola and Per who were created by her father-in-law, Peter J. Rosendahl.  Ola and Per is the longest continually running comic strip in the United States.
Giants of the Earth recognizes what a national treasure Georgia is, and she will be the first Honoree of this organization at a dinner in the newly restored room of the Ballard House on October 30. 
The room has been painted this past week by a painter from Norway, Sigmund Aarseth who received the King Olav Medal this year from the Crown, and his American collaborator, Sallie Haugen DeReus, a Gold Medalist rosemaler in the annual Vesterheim competition.  The walls around the room show their interpretation of the areas of Norway from which immigrants of this area came, the bunads of those areas, and historic aspects of life in Spring Grove through time.
For more information concerning the festivities of October 30, please call 498.5617, or read more on the Aart Stravaganza post.

Årt Stravaganza Poster

Click on Image for Printable PDF

Update: The 24th was a smashing success with hundreds of people attending!

The October 30th Gourmet dinner has been so popular that it is filled up and there is a waiting list for seats. Call immediately to get on the waiting list, just in case seats open up for this extravagant Spring Grove event.

UffDa Fest 2010

by Jill Storlie

UffDa Fest Uff Da Fest Flier V1 Sept 24 2010 for Heritage Center events

On Saturday Oct. 2, choose from so many events in Spring Grove – in the Fest Building, Viking Park and Syttende Mai Hus, Bluff Country Gallery and more!
Visit http://www.uffdafest.com/UffDa_Fest_in_Spring_Grove_Minnesota/uffdafest.com.html for the full invitation and schedule and see the Spring Grove Herald.
In the mean time, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, your new area volunteer “non-profit educational institution, is dedicated to honoring, preserving, and interpreting the history and heritage of the people from Spring Grove’s Norwegian Ridge in southeastern Minnesota.”   Check out our website at http://www.springgrovemnheritagecenter.org/ 
We are excited to bring more programs to the community.  Remember last spring we hosted Scott Wolters presentation on The Kensington Rune Stone and Hooked X Rune? and 17th Mai drawings for memberships and events and last year`s Uff Da Fest monkey fist knot typing sessions of kids? and always genealogy introduction and research.
Check out our attached schedule of events centered around Spring Grove`s Cinema (what a great screen for videos and speakers), SG Library, YOOH and The Ballard House -our new home (currently under interior 1st floor reconstruction and about to host Norwegian interior mural painter Sigmund Årseth).  The Sons of Norway, Valdres and the Viking Boat will join us to expand our kids activities, photo opportunities, and food options at Uff Da Fest on Saturday October 2.  Please print this attached schedule to choose from and join us in Spring Grove for the events of your choice.  Sign up for our drawing at the Cinema or Ballard House and bring your stories to the video sessions at the Library.  You and the kids can learn about the OLD OLD RUNES, or alphabet and how the letters reflected nature and had special meanings or learn the old chants you might sign up on the mountaint with the sheet and cattle in the summer where you connect with the universe and called the animals with your voice and staff (stav) or see the hilarious and challenging experience of a group of Americans in series where they explored their Nordic heritage.. for the first time.. and ate a sheep`s head as is the tradition in say, Voss. ugh.
If you like a festive day in the fall, Spring Grove is the place to be – rain or shine – you will end the day satisfied with your selections of fun, culture and food. 
Any changes will be posted at our website and available on the day. 
See you next SATURDAY
We welcome new support in the form or members, contributors, volunteers and promoters.  Please consider an individual or family membership of 35 and 50 dollars or even a philanthropic level!  We appreciate all your support and good will – that is what fuels our volunteer energies in this fast-moving and engaging project.
Watch for our fall events as well…
Oct 24th afternoon Sunday, Sigmund Årseth painting to music at the Cinema… An event you will not see anywhere else.  A 9 foot by 15 foot canvas painting in about an hour plus great music.
Oct 30 evening Saturday, Multicourse Dinner and Preview of Sigmund`s work on the Ballard House, Heritage Center Walls
Nov 13 all day Saturday beginning and review ROSEMALING course
Nov 18 evening Thursday, with Sons of Norway presentation by Roar Moe of Litle Færøy, Sogn og Fjordane… Friluftliv, Coastal Culture and Nature life history preservation and student programs in Norway, a multimedia presentation on the big screen at Spring Grove Cinema.
Nov. x,  grand opening of Heritage Center at the Ballard House Historic Hotel, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center new digs.

The Norwegians are Coming!

The first 2 pages summarize the Norwegian professors and researchers visiting SG (Madison, Blair, Decorah and Westby) on Sept 11 and 12th, 2010.  Prepared by Jill Storlie  Sept 1, 2010 version 1.
This is hosted by GIANTS OF THE EARTH HERITAGE CENTER.  TO become a member, please stop by the Ballard House for a membership brochure. Basic memberships are 35 dollars, less for seniors.  Become members TODAY so the genealogy volunteers can concentrate on the Heritage center and not on soliciting your membership!!
The Norwegian speakers have volunteered to meet with the Norwegian researchers, be interviewed and recorded on Saturday and Sunday.  Volunteer speakers are our residents and neighbors, maybe relatives,  who learned an earlier Norsk dialect from first, second, third generation immigrants.  forelders – bestemor, farmor, oldemor, oldefar.
The volunteers include these local colleagues who are meeting for conversation, interview and recording at several locations on Saturday and Sunday.  More volunteers are encouraged .. call Jill Storlie to volunteer  5634190986 or 5074983586  (Marlene make sure if you list these names you say INCLUDE so as to not limit it.. I think there are some more pondering the idea or maybe have agreed by the time of printing.  We want to encourage all and there are options to include them Saturday and Sunday.
Our dialects from the 19th century are no longer spoken regularly in Norway.  This is a very special chance to document our history and provide a something for our Norwegian cousins too.

Norris Storlie,
Milford Landsom,
Emma Landsom,
Geneva Tweeten
Truman Omodt,
Marlin Omoth,
Richard Storlie,
Georgia Rosendal,
David Storlie,
Nels and Helen Gudbrandsen
James Wilhelmson
Own Hegge
Harold Olerud,
Carol Gaustad
Here are the Professors coming to do the interviews along with a student from Madison.
Janne Bondi Johannessen, prof., Univ. of Oslo
Kristin Eide, prof., Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
Arnstein Hjelde, associate prof., Høgskolen i Østfold
Signe Lake, research assistant, Univ. of Oslo
Beate Taranrød, student, Univ. of Oslo
Marit Westergaard, prof.,  University of Tromsø
Luke Annear, student, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Here is the project leaders contacdt information
Janne Bondi Johannessen
Professor, The Text Laboratory, ILN, http://www.hf.uio.no/tekstlab/
President, NEALT, http://omilia.uio.no/nealt/
University of Oslo
P.O.Box 1102 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
-Tel: +47 22 85 68 14, mob.: +47 928 966 34
Participants for field work in Spring Grove:
Janne Bondi Johannessen, prof., Univ. of Oslo
Kristin Eide, prof., Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
Arnstein Hjelde, associate prof., Høgskolen i Østfold
Signe Lake, research assistant, Univ. of Oslo
Beate Taranrød, student, Univ. of Oslo
Marit Westergaard, prof., University of Tromsø
Luke Annear, student, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Our goals are:
To meet descendants from Norwegian immigrants who came to America
before 1920, and who learnt to speak Norwegian in their family.
To record their speech
To talk to them about their lives an their identity as Norwegians or Americans
To find out about their language: how fluent are they, how much do
they speak Norwegian, how is their language compared to Norwegian
spoken in Norway, and compared to other places in the Mid West.
To start research cooperation with the University of Wisconsin,
Madison, about immigrant language
To learn about heritage associations like Giants of the Earth.
 To have the university seminar in Madison.
We are greatful to you and the others we have talked to, who have been
very enthusiastic and helpful to us in planning this field work. It
would have been impossible without this cooperation.

Palmer Overstrud, Spring Grove; David Storlie, Spring Grove.
On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 5:00 AM, <jillellyn@jillellyn.com> wrote:
Sat. Sept 11 plus evenings of Sept 9 through 13 are the openings for Giants to schedule our neighborhood Norsk speakers who learned the language from relatives.. Not from living in Norway or taking classes at college.  Prof. Johannsen is bringing a group of adults from Oslo to do field work to interview and record older folks mostly. Karen Gray and I heard of 4-5men in the nursing home who speak old Norwegian- likely gammel Halling -every afternoon.  We want to arrange a time to visit them.  They already agreed to be recorded by Giants so hopefully they will like this too.  It would be great to get 10 more people too

WANTED.. NORWEGIAN SPEAKERS who learned from their earlier relatives!Did you speak Norsk with bestefar din?
We will host Norwegians who are learning about the dialects from as far back as the 1850`s when our relatives may have come to Spring Grove from Norway.  They would like 15 or more people to talk to.  Please contact me by email or let Rachel Grippen (soon to be Storlie) know at the Ballard House or call Georgia Rosendahl.
 language workshop in Madison 16.+17 Sep.? You can read about it here: http://csumc.wisc.edu/?q=aggregator  It is open for all interested, and day 2 is assumed to be interesting for laypeople (non-experts).

Phone:  (507)498-3904 Mobile:  (563) 4190986 e-mail:  jillellyn@jillellyn.com

Investigating immigrant languages in America

Note: The schedule below may be subject to change.

Please join us for a conference on “Investigating immigrant languages in America”, September 16-17 of 2010, in the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. This event will bring together a set of scholars with the aim of creating new collaborations in linguistics and related areas. The program is free and open to the public — everyone is invited. Wisconsin has a long tradition of research into immigrant languages in the North America, led by luminaries like Einar Haugen (Scandinavian Studies), and others including Frederic Cassidy (English / Dictionary of American Regional English) and Lester W.J. Seifert (German). Haugen, a Norwegian-American bilingual from the Upper Midwest, was one of the creators of modern sociolinguistics, and made great contributions to our understanding of language structure, bilingualism, language contact and language history. This conference builds very directly on that tradition, presenting new research on all the just-mentioned areas. Indeed, the program includes a presentation on Haugen’s work, and research founded on insights in his Bilingualism in America. The conference aims to reach two distinct audiences. The first day focuses on linguistics, more directly intended for linguists faculty and students. Particular attention is going to syntax, an area long ignored in the study of immigrant languages. The second day aims to attract and engage a broader public, including language learners, members of heritage communities and those interested in American dialects. Program: “Investigating immigrant languages in America” Thursday, Sept. 16 9:00 Introduction, Janne Bondi Johannessen and Joe Salmons, UiO and UW 
 9:15 Two dialects, one syntax: Wisconsin High German as relexified Pomeranian, Mark Louden, UW 
 10:00 Wisconsin West Frisian morphophonology, Joshua Bousquette and Todd Ehresmann, UW 
 10:45 Break 
 11:15 Einar Haugen’s study of Norwegian in America, within a Matrix Language-Frame-model adapted to Principles and Parameters, Tor A. Åfarli, NTNU 
 12:00 Lunch 
 1:30 Intricacies of interrogative morphosyntax across Norwegian dialects, Øystein Alexander Vangsnes and Marit Westergaard, UiT 
 2:15 The distribution of verb particles in some Norwegian dialects, Leiv Inge Aa, NTNU 
 3:00 Break 
 3:30 Syntactic stability and change in American German, Dan Nützel, IUPUI, and Joe Salmons, UW 4:15 Preliminary investigations into immigrant Norwegian dialects in 2010, Janne Bondi Johannessen, and Signe Laake, UiO 

 Friday, Sept. 17 9:30 The Nordic Dialect Corpus and Database, Janne Bondi Johannessen, UiO, and Kristin Hagen, UiO 
 10:15 Some features of Scandinavian and Germanic influence on the English language in the Midwest, Bert Vaux, Cambridge University 
 11:00 Break 
 11:45 Immigrant language in Norway: Social network analysis, multilingualism and identity, Elizabeth Lanza 
 12:30 Lunch 
 2:00 Code Switching as Literary Device in Norwegian-American Writings: Examples from O.E. Rølvaag and Johs. B. Whist, Ingeborg Kongslien 2:45 The language of Gudbrandsdal immigrants in the 1980s, Arnstein Hjelde, HiØ 
 3:30 Break 
 4:00 What remains of Norwegian in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Louis Janus, University of Minnesota 
 4:45 Closing discussion
 http://folk.uio.no/jannebj/ Academic Interests My interests are in three different areas: theoretical linguistics (syntax and morphology) and dialectology, linguistics methodology and language technology. The last few years my involvement in dialectology has combined these two interests. I am part of several Nordic networks focussing on dialects and language variation, and as a manager of the Text Laboratory, I am pleased that we have been in charge of developing The Nordic Dialect Corpus and Nordic Dialect Database. My linguistic research has recently focussed on Scandinavian demonstratives (especially what I call Psychologically Distal Demonstratives), dialect differences related to dative case and word order variation, and the mapping of grammatical isoglosses, but I am still interested in my old research topics coordination, negation and negative polarity items, compounding, and correlative adverbs. My research languages are Norwegian and the other Scandinavian and Germanic languages, but I have also done research on Modern Greek. My outlook is usually one of a wider cross-linguistic perspective. My linguistics methodology interests are linked to the use of empirical data, from collecting data to using data. Corpus linguistics comes under this heading. My language technology interests are closely linked to my role as head of the Text Laboratory, and my work here is very much part of a collaborative effort. The projects include: part of speech tagging, named entity recognition, corpus (text and speech) and interface development, grammars and treebanks, grammar checking, grammar games, statistical methods, computational lexicography. Areas of supervision Nordic linguistics: syntax, lexicon, dialectology Theoretical linguistics: Syntax (minimalism), morphology. Language technology: a wide range of topics related to Text Laboratory project Students that I have supervised for MA and PhD theses Projects / Ongoing Research • I head the big project Norwegian Dialect Syntax (NorDiaSyn), financed by the Norwegian Research Council 2009-12. Read about it at the NFR pages and on the project homepage. The project is a collaboration with researcher Øystein Alexander Vangsnes at UiT and Professor Tor Anders Åfarli at NTNU. • I also head the NordForsk-financed project Scandinavian Dialect Infrastructure: Corpus, Database and Dialect Maps 2008-9. NordForsk has also financed our international PhD training course: “Infrastructural tools for the study of linguistic variation” at Fefor Høifjellshotell 2.-6. June 2009. I am a member of the following Nordic collaborations networks and projects: • NORMS – Nordic Centre of Excellence in Microcomparative Syntax (NOS-HS) • ScanDiaSyn – Scandinavian Dialect Syntax • RILIVS – Research Infrastructure for Linguistic Variation Studies See also the link Prosjekter on the Text Laboratory Scandinavian Dialect Infrastructure: Corpus, Database and Dialect Maps Janne Bondi Johannessen University of Oslo Norway Project Summary Our aim is to complete and enhance a common language infrastructure by putting efforts into the Scandinavian Dialect Corpus and Database, with Digital Maps. This infrastructure will reach the first stage of completion in 2008. The complete corpus and database will: contain spontaneous speech and systematic data from Scandinavian dialects be represented in a web interface with an advanced search interface have an advanced presentation of text, sound and picture (video). We want to: A.Supplement individual language resources For Swedish: Use questionnaires, re-take recordings in some dialect areas, transcribe these. For Finland Swedish: Supplement with questionnaires. For Danish: Supplement with recordings of young people, plus transcribe. B. Enhance the technological aspects of the infrastructure Investigate technical map solutions Investigate how to make the maps interactive w.r.t. geographical and grammatical information, and implement. This will be done in cooperation with the Dutch SAND and Edisyn project. Develop and program ways of searching and representing dialect-specific features and isoglosses in processing-effective ways. Find ways of representing dialect texts in a multi-lingual interface. Our own (Text Laboratory, UiO) program GLOSSA will be used, since it contains facilities for bilingual and parallel texts. Complete our partly developed transliteration tool that transliterates from phonetically transcribed speech to orthographical transcription. Research training course: “Infrastructural tools for the study of linguistic variation”

Norwegian Speakers Wanted

WANTED.. NORWEGIAN SPEAKERS who learned from their earlier relatives!
Did you speak Norsk with bestefar din?

We will host Norwegians who are learning about the dialects from as far back as the 1850`s when our relatives may have come to Spring Grove from Norway. They would like 15 or more people to talk to. Please let us know in one of the following ways:
email Jillellyn Storlie at jillellyn@jillellyn.com
tell Rachel Grippen (soon to be Storlie) at the Ballard House
or call Georgia Rosendahl.

Nordic Fest 2010

Giants of the Earth Heritage Center will have a table displaying some of the results of its genetic genealogy during Nordic Fest 2010.

The Giants table will be located at the famous Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

Dr. Johnathan Storlie will be present at the table on Friday( July 23) from 9:30 to 5:00 and on Saturday (July 24) afternoon to share information regarding the use of genomic analysis for genealogy research, such as finding relative in Norway and identifying ancestral European farms.

Dr. Storlie will have a number of cutting-edge technology complete genomic kits (valued at $500) available for those who join Giants of the Earth at a King Olav level. Unlike most genetic kits made popular on television, which only analyze a dozen markers on a single small chromosome (yDNA/mitochondrial analysis), the kits Giants of the Earth uses analyze 1/2 million nucleotide polymorphisms over the entire human genome, and allow one to identify hundreds of long lost 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th cousins. Further, the interface for the results are very user friendly, allowing people with very little knowledge of human genetics to still use it with great productivity. A similar SNP based genomic test has been used on most of the Icelandic population.

The Giants of the Earth table will be located on the air conditioned 3rd floor of Vesterheim’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center.

For more information on the technology, click the Find Relatives, Find Homelands, or Genealogy page links above.

Speaker April 27th!

Foreword from  

The Hooked X: Key to the Secret History of North America  


by Scott Wolter  

who will be speaking Spring Grove on April 27, 2010-for details click here  

or for a printable flyer, select one of the options below: 



Kensington Runestone shown to be older than 200 years old

History needs to be rewritten.   


The North American Continent is awash with evidence of pre-Columbian visitors who left their imprint on the landscape and their writing on stones and boulders as markers for those who followed.  Ogham and Runic inscriptions tell a story of Celtic and Viking penetration into the very hinterland of the New World (North and South America).  


These early seafarers must have felt very much at home as they found one watercourse leading into another with a never-ending string of lakes replete with fish and waterfowl to meet their inner needs.  They had found a Paradise – a Garden of Eden – which was rich in wild grapes, blueberries and huckleberries, and which was so teeming with game that the word wild seemed to be singularly inappropriate to describe animals who had still to learn to fear the sound of gun-shot.  


What happened to bring an end to this idyllic scene? Historians have been singularly slow in finding an answer or, when they can’t explain the presence of runic inscriptions, they describe them as ‘fakes’ which, as will be seen, is a convenient excuse to hide their own ignorance.  Fortunately, there are those who have been prepared to challenge such arbitrary findings so that we might have a better understanding of those who left their imprint on pre-Columbian America.  One such man is Scott Wolter, whose new book The Hooked X: Key to the Secret History of North America, is a masterly combination of science and logic, as well as being a gripping detective story which leaves no stone unturned (literally as well as figuratively).   


Scott’s book is guaranteed to make us take a fresh look at the rich evidence which lies beneath our feet and which, even when discovered, has been brutally pushed aside by the academic establishment for no better reason than to protect the ‘status quo’.   


I have read Scott’s book. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for the perseverance and determination which he has shown in bringing an important part of America’s early history to light. In his book, he quotes an inscription which is to be found in the Sinclair family chapel at Rosslyn in Scotland. In ends with the words: “The truth conquers all”. There can be no better summary to describe Scott’s richly revealing and richly rewarding manuscript. It deserves to be read.  

                                                                   – Niven Sinclair  


Niven Sinclair, born in Scotland in 1924, is chairman of the Friends of Rosslyn (the chapel featured in the film The Da Vinci Code), Founder of the Niven Sinclair Library and Study Centre at Noss Head, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (Scotland). Mr. Sinclair is a businessman, filmmaker, writer, broadcaster and has traveled throughout the world. He served as a Major in the Seaforth Highlanders and Kings African Rifles in Ethiopia and Burma during World War II. Prior to his work with the BBC, he farmed in Tanganyika for thirty years.   

“Genealogy for Beginners” class


“Genealogy for Beginners” class offered through Spring Grove Community Education

 When: March 2, 9, 16, 23, 2010 6:00 – 7:30

Topics: March 2 – What does Giants of the Earth have to offer genealogists and non-genealogists?

March 9 – How do I add my family story to the Spring Grove Collaborative Database and to my family history?

March 16 – What other resources are out there and how can I take advantage of the subscribership sources as well was the free sources?

March 23 – What can i do now to further my search for my family history?

Fee: $5 for Giants of the Earth members $10 for nonmembers

Site: Spring Grove High School Computer labs located on the lowest floor of the high school on the south end of the building.

Spring Grove has been a starting point for Norwegian immigrants in America. Local genealogists have compiled a database of more than 30,000 names using Ancestry.com as a host. These records represent decades of research. Giants of the Earth is committed to providing help to genealogists of all skill levels. These sessions will teach how to use this database and well as how to contribute to the database. Our local writing guru Mary Deters will be available to assist those who wish to write their family stories on March 9th. Attendees will have time to explore various family trees from Ancestry.com as well as free genealogy resources on the net.

Questions about the class may be directed to Bill Fried at bfried@springgrove.coop or by calling 507 498-5611 after 5:00 pm.