This English translation brings to life a history written over a century ago by Hjalmar Rued Holand, a Norwegian-American living in Wisconsin. Holand combed the countryside for 13 years, collecting stories from first- and second-generation Norwegian pioneers living in the Upper Midwest. The book was first published in Dano-Norwegian Gothic text.
Lovers of history will enjoy this compilation of pioneer sagas in chronological format, starting with the Vinland voyages and ending with Dakota settlement. In between are the personal stories of the new immigrants as they spread from the East Coast, advancing into Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Through the pages of the book, readers will travel the trails with the pioneers as they embark on the long, arduous canal/Great Lakes trek from New York harbor to homes farther west. They’ll learn about the new settlers and their struggles to overcome malaria, cholera and other deadly diseases, as well as famine, floods, fire, and grasshoppers.
Sprinkled throughout the hardcover book’s 512 pages (63 chapters) are beautiful lithographs, water-color illustrations and closeup inserts from antique maps. A full-color section in the heart of the book contains maps of the Norwegian fylker (administrative districts) and the kommuner (municipalities). A bonus for readers seeking ancestral connections: Along with the names used by the settlers when they first arrived (3,800 names are indexed in the back of the book and searchable via the website below) are their places of origin in Norway.
Noted Norwegian scholar and writer Steinar Opstad, Ph.D., one of three reviewers, sums the book up thus: “Hjalmar Rued Holand deserves credit for being one of only a few who gave us documentation of the Norwegians’ first years in the U.S. ... This publication is an important milestone, one that will serve as a foundation for future generations of Norwegians on both sides of the Atlantic.”
A translated and expanded version of De Norske Settlementers Historie
and Den Siste Folkevandring Sagastubber fra Nybyggerlivet i Amerika:
For a list of 3,800 immigrants listed in the book by first name ONLY visit:
Hjalmar Rued Holand deserves credit for being one of only a few who gave us documentation of the Norwegians’ first years in the U.S. While Holand may at times be criticized for his reliance on secondary rather than primary sources, his book provides an engaging and enthusiastic depiction of the struggles as well as the triumphs of pioneer life. His stories will appeal to a broad spectrum of interest levels, from the grass roots to academia. This publication is an important milestone, one that will serve as a foundation for future generations of Norwegians on both sides of the Atlantic. This new book will create discussion, proof of important work done.
— Steinar Opstad, Ph.D., Sarpsborg, Norway, Norwegian scholar and writer
Hjalmar Rued Holand captured on paper the captivating sagas of the early Norwegian immigrants and the settlements they established across the Upper Midwest. This translation of Holand’s writing lets readers trace the trails of their ancestors through Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas as they explore new frontiers and build new communities. Along the way lurk killer diseases, grasshopper plagues, prairie fires and loneliness. Thanks to this book, countless Norwegian- Americans will be able to learn more about their own heritage from the pioneer sagas recorded here and to pass these stories down to their children and grandchildren.
— Walter F. Mondale, Minnesota, former U.S. Vice President, 2005 Norway Centennial Chairman
History of the Norwegian Settlements gives today’s generations of Norwegian-Americans fresh insight into their heritage. This new 512-page, hard-cover book details the unprecedented migration of the Norse people to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries and their struggles to build a better future. Holand’s translation also describes the importance of faith and worship to the new immigrants. The impact of the pioneer pastors to the settlers and their new communities is beyond measure. Indeed, some such as Pastor C. L. Clausen explored new territories and established colonies to help the new arrivals.
— Pastor Jens Dale, Norway, 2002-05 at Mindekirken in Minneapolis, Minnesota
History of the Norwegian Settlements: A translated and expanded version of the 1908 De Norske Settlementers Historie and the 1930 Den Siste Folkevandring Sagastubber fra Nybyggerlivet i Amerika by Hjalmar Rued Holand, Astri My Astri Publishing, 2006 www.astrimyastri.com