One of the Norwegian branches of our family tree, it seems, passed through Lillehammer long enough for our great-grandmother, Petra, to have been born there. The story is that Petra’s father (shown here) moved from Oyer to Lillehammer for a time before migrating with his family to America, eventally settling in Central Iowa. Oyer and Lillehammer are not far from each other by modern standards, and both are in Norway’s valley region of Gudbrandsdal. I’ve already posted about the ancestors’ home in Oyer but am eager to learn more about their time in Lillehammer, an area that is apparently closer to where Petra’s mother originated. From Lillehammer, our ancestors appear to have migrated to America when our great-grandmother was still a girl. I am still looking into the details of their journey, which seems likely to have wound through Quebec and Chicago before culminating in Hamilton County, Iowa, where some of our Malum ancestors are laid to rest.
I have to confess that my knowledge of the Lillehammer roots is still tenuous and developing. It comes from bits and pieces passed down from my grandparents through my father, research by others that traces our ancestors’ migration from Norway to America, and other informal sources. I have found nothing that contradicts the Lillehammer information, but I continue to seek proof-worthy documentation as time permits. Like many Americans, I retain popular images of Lillehammer associated with the 1994 Winter Olympics.
While I have never been to Lillehammer, everything I see suggests to me that it is a beautiful place. Rumor has it that Petra was born in the village of Fåberg, later incorporated into Lillehammer. Indeed, in searching the Internet for pictures of Fåberg, I came across this gorgeous one of a Fåberg church on Wikimedia Commons. The owner of the photo appears to share Petra’s family surname (alternative spelling), which originated as the farm name Maehlum. Small world, right? To me, the surrounding landscape in this photo is truly one of peace and beauty … as are the subtle rolling hills of farmland in Iowa, where the American Malums eventually settled. Some weeks ago I was told by a tour guide at an Iowa museum that I really must get myself to Norway … he may have a point.
By Mahlum (Own work), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
See similar posts in this series: They came from …