Granddad and Caroline Dybedal: Wedding Photos 1905 … her story


We celebrate the wedding of our beloved Granddad, Matt Hemmingsen, to Caroline Dybedal, his first wife. They married March 17, 1905, at the Moland Lutheran Church, Mason, Bayfield County, WI. He was 28, and she, 22.1   2  


Caroline was born in September of 1883 in Norway and emigrated to the Mason area – Pratt Township, in 1886.3

Updated on 23 SEP 2020: Her travel documents (departed Kristiania NO on 10 June 1886, arrived Ellis Island, NY on 25 June 1886) were made in the name of Karoline Dybdahl. She was accompanied by her mother, Karin, 35, and siblings Inga, 7, and Jens, 4. Their Norwegian domicile was in the Sandsvaer Parish in Buskerud [now Kongsberg]; their destination was Cumberland, WI.U1

Caroline broke Granddad’s heart; she soon grew gravely ill and succumbed to galloping consumption in 1907. It was a particularly virulent form of TB.

In time, Caroline’s brother, Ed, would marry Granddad’s half-sister, Mildred. We have established a wonderful new connection with descendants of Mildred and Ed. They graciously shared the photos displayed here.

Great Uncle Ed Hemmingsen (1882-1966) is below, second left, next to Caroline’s sister Inga.  Our Dad more resembled Ed than Granddad, in this picture.



The Wisconsin State Census, conducted June 1, 1905, was the couple’s only census. They were next door to Lars and Pauline Rued. Pauline was sister to Matt’s father, Ole.

The newlyweds would leave on their ill-fated migration west, to British Columbia.  Matt brought her home again; she rests in Mason WI. Matt did not re-migrate, until she passed.

Updated 23 Sep 2020: Matt wrote this this in his Memoirs; it carries an inconsistency of dating which we can now address:

I started for the West Coast and arrived at the destination June 2, 1906. I had been married for about one month before going west, which culminated a sad honeymoon, for my wife’s health began to fail on the way west. On September 1st, we started our way back home. She passed away in February with what the doctors called galloping consumption.

The Memoirs of Mathias Hemmingsen – Victoria, B.C. ca 1956 U2

Analysis of our proposed correction to these Memoirs (which we restate, were found in draft form): Wisconsin’s historic documents verify 1905 marriage, residence of June 1, 1905 there, and death in February 1907.U3 Matt’s arrival (in British Columbia) on June 2, 1906 is consistent with his previous narrative.  Therefore, “married for about one month before going west” should have read for “about one year”.


Caroline’s father, Jens or John, left Norway in 1883.3 His wife, Caroline or Karen, arrived in 1886, accompanied by her children.  John was a farmer. He and Karen were born in 1853, so were same aged as our great grandmother, Berith Mathisdatter. Karen claimed to be mother of eleven children, six of whom survived. Their Wisconsin-born included: Henry b. 1887, Carl E. b 1891 and Julia b. 1894. 3 Carl was likely Edward, who married Mildred Hemmingson. 


Farmor is one’s Norwegian paternal grandmother.  Usually, a step-farmor would come after one’s farmor, but we can be flexible. Although the couple had no issue, Caroline is ours, so she has us. Granddad did not shy of remembering her in his memoirs. She impacted his life. Granny, Margaret Naysmith Alexander (1891-1979), was confidently inclusive to allow it. Granny’s attitude hints to a nuance that reflection can bear out.

Just a few generations ago, blended families were ever so common and driven by early death. Today it is more likely due to divorce, with feelings of jealousy and fears of divided loyalty. Bereaved families of yesteryear were apt to be grateful to step-parents who allowed fathers to work and/or shielded mothers from poverty – “that’s life”.  

In our family, Granny honored her step-father Dugald Buchanan Mitchell.  In no way did she diminish her deceased Dad, when she second-forenamed her son Buchanan. Then too, Granddad appreciated his step-Mom, Alette, without upstaging his mother, Berith.  All Good. 

Matt and Caroline’s married life was short. Still, they would have celebrated a most joyous family Easter in 1905 at their Moland Lutheran Church.4  That year’s census told us they were still in town.  We shall leave them on that happy note. 

We previously discussed the couple on this blog; those posts can be accessed by entering “Dybedal” in the box entitled “Search this Blog” found at the top right of this page.


1 The Hemmingsen Family Collection including “John O Hemmingsen / Mary Margaret Hemmingsen (Dickson)” authored 1999 by John Oliver Hemmingsen. All materials posthumously published here are copyright © Marilee Wein 2018-2019.  All rights reserved.
2 The Kofal-Dybedal-Hemmingson Family Collection © 2019.
3 Norway Census, BMD and Emigration data, plus US Immigration, Census, BMD, Lutheran Church and Draft Data, plus State Census and BMD on Hemmingsen Family members have been detailed in three previous posts on (1. Dear Granddad: If Only November Had Been August, 2. If Only November Had Been August: What Came Next, and 3. TB Was Not On The Draft Card: Was Disaster?”) Posts authored by Doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness are copyright © Marilee Wein 2018-2019.  All rights reserved.
4 Moland Lutheran Church Mason, Bayfield County WI found at  

U1 National Archives of Norway Emigrants from Kristiania 1871-1930, edited version. Karoline Dybdahl. Archive Reference: SAO/A-10085/E/Ee/Eef Source ID: 100098.

U2 The “Memoirs of Mathias Hemmingsen – Victoria B.C.” is a 25-page volume dictated to his daughter Margaret Henrietta circa 1956. It is unedited and unpublished, and graciously provided by Mathias’ grandson, Matt via the Matt Hemmingsen Family Collection. This passage is from page 17. The work is protected here and published at copyright © 2018-2019. All rights reserved.

U3 Wisconsin Historical Society Wisconsin Pre-1907 Vital Records Collection

12 thoughts on “Granddad and Caroline Dybedal: Wedding Photos 1905 … her story

  1. That is so sad yet very common in the past. I couldn’t figure out why my aunt through marriage had a half sister but her mother had been widowed twice and yet lived to 99.


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