Matt Hemmingsen (1876-1967) Memoirs: So, Was Ed Hemmingsen At The Wedding?

Enquiring minds nudged us to reconsider if Matt’s brother attended his 1910 wedding. On doing so, one thing led to another, bringing some interesting new insights on our characters. Plus, we offer updates on Ed, Matt’s only surviving full brother and introduce Anna, his formidable wife.

As to the question, Matt, himself, did not say. Nor had Matt told us that Ed was best man at his earlier marriage to the now deceased, Caroline Dybedal.  Recall, it took newly-found long-lost kin to inform of that.

Everything we knew pointed to a lightly attended, simple manse service in the Comox Valley of Vancouver Island. The bride, after all, was poor. The groom was fresh to the west coast, an unknown in the area, albeit, up-and-coming in the lumbering industry.

Ed went unaccounted at this wedding to Margaret Alexander, while seeming to lurk nearby. As we said, he was listed as foreman at a Comox logging camp in Canada Census 1911.1 It noted he had entered the country in 1909, along with Anna and their son, George. But where were they, in 1910?

Newly known kin to the rescue again!2 Here they are in 1910, at Yellow Point, British Columbia. They are certainly dressed for a fine occasion, but the photo is only dated to the year.

Yellow Point is down island from the wedding venue in Courtenay B.C., by about 125 kilometers, or 78 miles. Immigrants of one year, it is highly unlikely they owned a car. Even with a car, travelling time on their trails of the day would have prevented them from tarrying at a photographer, if they wanted to be seated for the wedding. Horse and buggy would have required departure a day prior, so they are probably not on the way to the wedding.

The picture does not answer the question, but suggests that while Ed was in B.C. since 1909, he was probably unavailable in the wedding area on June 2, 1910.


We will bring Ed and Anna’s story current to 1911, after which they will meld into the continued rollout of Matt’s Memoirs. The pictures below fit within this timeframe. Next, we will present their early lives; their journeys from Norway, an attempt at their courting timeline, plus, odd insights into our genealogy that came as gifts of this particular extra research.


Matt did not mention Ed in his Memoirs, until 1901.3 That was right after their brother, Harry, died in a logging accident at 22. Ed was 18; Matt 24. The heartbroken Matt abruptly quit his lethal cant hook work forever, and very reluctantly began to work a short stint for his father, Ole, with whom he had some differences. “Us” below, are Matt and Ole.

However, I finished the winter of 1901 as foreman successfully for both of us, and my brother, Ed, then 18, made himself useful as a horse teamster.

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

Ole died in 1903, after which Matt and Ed embarked in a long dance of sometime partners, in logging ventures on the west coast of Canada. Ed peppered his career with farming in the US and inn keeping at Cowichan Lake, B.C.

Insight 1: At four-fifths complete, it is evident that Matt’s draft “Memoirs” are long on the development of a lumberman, and sparse of family story. We have already read his succinct fifteen words on “the best girl in the world”, in the post on their wedding. Family “facts only” seem interjected when necessary as time markers. That is only so, after his initial anguished digression on events he misinterpreted as a boy; “misfacts” he held onto lifelong, concerning his mother’s death, his memory-suppressed immigration and his father’s remarriage to ‘the housekeeper” – on whom we have fresh detail, coming up.


Recap: Ed was born April 1, 1882, in Hattfjelldal Norway, and baptized on the 16th.4 He may have celebrated March 31, but the document declared April 1. He was born Einar Olsen, son of Ole Mathias Hemmingsen and Berith/Beret Hass Mathisdatter. It seems that it was on Ed’s account that his mother and siblings detained in Norway, while Ole immediately left for Wisconsin. Ed emigrated in 1886, as Einar Mathisen, with his mother, Berith, and the younger two of his siblings, leaving siblings Henriette and Matt behind. All reunited in Wisconsin, in December 1887, where Berith’s demise was had, or looming, after she birthed George, that very October.

Insight 2: With renewed and more informed scrutiny on Ed’s documents, the name Alette Ingebrigtsdatter popped out as a witness on his birth and baptism record. She became his stepmother ten years later.

It is not at all unlikely that Henrietta and Matt were familiar with Alette in Norway – first. as a friend to Berith during the four years she detained there, after Ole left and then, as potential care giver during the year the children were without both parents.

Insight 3: Since Alette was obviously closer to family while in Norway, than previously suspected, we relooked at her documents, too. Torger, born 1887, was Alette’s child with Arne Tollefson. We now realized that Arne and Berith were cousins through her father and Aunt Luissi Bentsdatter/Bendigtsdatter. So, Torger, already second cousin, added step-brother to his relationship with Berith’s children, when Ole married Alette.

If only we could decipher the underlined illegible words at the bottom of the largest column!

EARLY LIFE: ANNA HEMMINGSEN (1884-1954) [Danielsdtr/Tobiasdtr/Thomson]

Thomson/Thompson: We cannot yet account for the use of this surname as pertains to the wife of Ed. However, it is repeated across major documents after 1906, so cannot be ignored. Thoughts are that it is an artifact of naturalization where one can choose an Americanized name, or to a previous marriage, or even to a name changing event within her nuclear family.

We will continue to search for these support documents with our rollout, but, pieces of family lore to be presented later, allow us to believe in Anna Danielsdatter, as the birth identity of Ed’s wife. It can be noted that she named her son George Daniel Hemmingsen; George, likely for Ed’s deceased brother, and Daniel, equally for her father and mother. We certainly welcome any contradictory evidence.

Danielsdatter: Anna Danielsdatter was born in Mosjoen, Nordland on 13 May 1884.4 Her parents were Daniel Tobiassen, b 1840, and Brigitte Danielsdatter. b. 1856. That birthdate and venue coincide with our Anna. Moreover, hers was the only birth on that date in the Mosjoen register, and the only Anna born there, in 1884. Following Anna Danielsdatter seems to lead us to Anna Thomson.

Tobiassen: The 1891 and 1900 Censuses for the Daniel Tobiassen family at Mosjoen, show that their children’s traditional Norwegian surnames of Danielsen/Danielsdatter were being conformed to that of their father: Tobiassen.5 In 1891, only one sister’s ledger was annotated Tobiassen, but by 1900, all siblings presently at home, were so named. Thus, Anna Jorgine Danielsdatter had become Anna Jorgine Tobiasen/Tobiassen.

Hemmingsen: Ed Hemmingsen’s Anna arrived in the US in 1901, according to their US 1920 Census in Acme, Washington.5 That self-reported fact can be matched by Anna Jorgine Tobiassen. We took due care, because there were competing 17-year-old Anna Tobiassen persons, under immigration that year. The selected outbound (emigrant) record shows Anna Jorgine Tobiassen, 17, of Mosjoen, leaving Trondheim Norway on 23 Oct 1901, for Portland, Maine, on the Dominion Line’s Tasso.4 Incoming records at Portland Maine, show Anna Tobiassen landing from Liverpool, on 10 Nov 1901, on Dominion’s SS Vancouver.5 This was an immigration record, which now reflected Anna, as “through to Canada” without further specification. This actually supports family lore that says Ed and Anna met in B.C.

Confirming and Confounding Timeline; 1905: Anna also said that she naturalized in the US in 1905, in that 1920 Census. That would mean she was in the US by 1903, but, where? On the Hemmingson side, Ole had died in 1903, and neither Ed, nor his sister Henrietta Church were around for the June 1905 Wisconsin State Census. Henrietta likely went to Washington State; Ed may have tagged along, or gone logging in B.C. Matt, on the other hand, had just gotten married in Mason, WI. His Memoirs show the couple arrived in B.C. in June of 1906, and returned to Mason that September.

The comings and goings of 1906: Just as Matt and Caroline were returning to Mason, an appropriately aged, single, Anna Tobiasen, was arriving in neighboring Ashland WI – 26 September, 1906, from Trondheim to Boston!4 5 The odds that she was Ed’s Anna were increased as her residence was recorded as “America” and she answered “1901” on the ship manifest question regarding previous entry to the US. Her destination was an Ashland address for Theodur Tobiassen. Her brother, Theodur, had immigrated to Wisconsin, prior.

That was it, for Anna “Tobiassen”.

Great things on the west coast; August 1907: Matt returned to British Columbia to attend to the Tsolum River logjam in August 1907. On 31 Aug 1907, Ed Henningsen, so spelled, married Anna Thompson in King County, Washington.5 On 4 Dec 1907, Einar Hemingson (maybe he had one too many) registered the birth of his son, George Daniel, to Anna Thomson, at Monroe, Snohomish County, WA. 5

Wanderings of 1908: As previously posted, Matt quit his job right after clearing the logjam, to find himself in Sandpoint ID for a year. That was close to his sister, Henrietta Church in Spokane WA. The Churches lived the rest of their lives in Washington, in the Seattle area. It appears, though, that Matt and Ed connected, on a move back to Vancouver Island.

Canadians in the making 1909-1911: Matt said that in April 1909, he landed back on Vancouver Island to where he started out – the Chemainus area, with a contract to fulfil. Then Humbird rehired him for the Comox area, up island. If Ed and Matt had tracked together, that would explain why Ed was in Yellow Point, in 1910. He apparently fulfilled his contract too, and then headed north, in time for the 1911 Census.

Anna Tobias Hemmingsen (as noted on her death certificate): As for Anna, it seems she spent most of her first eight years in the US, after leaving Norway. Her first census capture in North America was that of Canada 1911. She left Norway alone at 17. Ten years later, this extraordinary young woman had made multiple transatlantic and transcontinental passages. She naturalized, married and had a child, then expatriated. We are anxious to continue her remarkable – and increasingly complex genealogical tale.

1913 VEFSN: JOHAN SKOG wed Johanna Karoline. Born Daniels(sen/dtr) of Daniel Tobiassen, she and her siblings changed their surnames to Tobiassen, then to Thompson – creating ancestry havoc. Her niece, Thora, had a son, Lloyd Bailey, who dubbed himself Baron of Skog-Vefsn, in fun for family history. He died in 2006, after leaving a key clue for our story series – CLICK HERE for list.  

Please leave comments, questions and corrections below notes and sources.

Notes and Sources

1 Canada Census 1891-1921 British Columbia: Library and Archives, Canada: 1911 for Ed Hemmingson: British Columbia, Comox-Atlin, Comox,

2 The Kofal-Dybedal-Hemmingson Family Collection at copyright © 2019 -2020, plus conversations on social media.

3 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. The work is protected here and published at copyright © 2018-2019. All rights reserved.

4 The National Archives of Norway, the Digital Archives. a) For Einar/Ed Hemmingsen Archive Ref: SAT/A-1459/823/L0325 Church book from Hattfjelldal parish 1878-1898 (1826P) – Born and Baptized 1882 and Out-migrated 1886. Transcribed by Jostein Mediaa. b) For Anne Danielsdatter Archive Ref: SAT/A-1459/890/L0296 Church book from Mosjoen parish 1880-1903 p. 12 Quick link: c) Anna Jorgine Tobiass. to Portland, Maine 1901-10-23 Tasso Dominion Archive Ref: SAT/A-1887/1/32/L011  Trondheim politikammer, 1/32 Emigrant protocols, no. 11: Emigrant protocol no. 10, 1895-1902 d) Anna Jorgine Tobias. b. 1884 Residence America, Dest: Asland WI Trondheim politikammer, 1/32 Emigrant protocols, no. 13: Emigrant protocol no. 12, 1904-1907 Cunard Tasso leave 12 Sep 1906 Archive Ref: SAT/A-1887/1/32/L0013

5 a) 1891 Norway Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2019. Source Citation – Riksarkivet: The National Archives of Norway; Norge;Norway; 1891 Norge Folketelling;1891 Norway Census and Norge; 1900 Norge Folketelling. Original data: 1891 and 1900 Norge Folketelling, Arkivverket, Norge. b) US Census 1920 for Hemmingson.  Census Place: Acme, Whatcom, Washington; Roll: T625_1944; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 199  (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls) c) Anna Tobiassen, Liverpool to Portland, Oct 31 to Nov 10, 1901, Dominion line SS Vancouver U.S., Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, 1820-1873 and 1893-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2010.d) Anna Tobiasen Liverpool to Boston, arrive 26 Sep 1906, Ivernia: Massachusetts Passenger and Crew Lists 1820 to 1963. e) Henningsen-Thompson 31 Aug 1907 Washington, King County, marriage records, 1855-1946; index, 1889-1946 f) Washington, Birth Records, 1870-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.

6 Royal BC Museum: BC Div. Vital Statistics Death Registrations: Edward Hemmingsen, Reg. 1966-09-007132, Anna Tobias Hemmingsen 1954-09-00863, George Hemmingsen 1967-09-013599

10 thoughts on “Matt Hemmingsen (1876-1967) Memoirs: So, Was Ed Hemmingsen At The Wedding?

  1. My ancestry is for Norwegians who emigrated to Wisconsin or Washington, on whom I’ve not found naturalization papers – rather, the self-reported notation “na” for the Citizen Q on Censuses. In all cases to date, sons and daughters have assumed their father’s Norwegian surname in America, or close to it. In Norway their surnames were “sen” or “datter” added to their father’s forename. Our Jewish names were truncated, but I don’t know if any of these instances actually happened at the naturalization event. I do know that I was asked what name I wanted to go by, when I naturalized. I got all the questions right, except for that, which I had not anticipated; missing the chance to select a doozie.

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  2. Weddings and funeral are opportunities for families to gather. But so much life happens “in between” those momentous occasions. You have pieced fragments together using everything from official documents to personal letters and photos, Marilee. The result is a much richer and more detailed picture of the lives of earlier generations.


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