Second half-cousins Hemmingsen and Hemmingson meet on Hemmingson Road.

So honored and grateful to return from a great vacation, aka heritage meeting, with a splendid carved gift in hand.

It shall ever remind of three prevalent and memorable sounds of Wabana Lake’s Birch Bay Resort: the call of the loon, quiet – except for the russle of birch leaves and the song of the chickadee. Oh, add in, the crackling of fire at s’mores time.

Wood Carving by Belva Shelhamer (Hemmingson), Grand Rapids, MN

With my Maryland crew, we came to the Grand Rapids area of Minnesota, to acquaint in person, with some of our co-descendants of great grandfather, Ole Hemmingson (1851-1903).

All aboard! Jonas, Grandma, Jung, Sam, Chelsea

Ole had two wives. Our grandfather, Matt, was born of the first; Berit, in 1876 in Norway. Their grandfather Paul, was born 1903, in Wisconsin, of Aletta. Our respective fathers were John and Ronald. We discovered our co-heritage through the roll-out of Matt’s memoirs, on this blog.

Paul was featured in our post on “Boy Soldier Descendants of Ole Hemmingson”. His was a WW I experience. Matt’s brother, Robert, was profiled as a boy soldier of WW II.

Ron, born 1927 in Chicago, was Paul’s only child. He married Beverly Joan Schirmer in 1953. Ron retired as a police lieutenant for Barrington Il. in 1976. By 1979, the couple owned and operated Hemmingson’s Birch Bay Resort on Wabana Lake. He died in 1993. The resort has remained in family hands, and is currently with Jeff Yeschick and Lorrie Yeschick (Hemmingson). Ha! Lorrie is hardly idle; she is also president of Torrent Technologies, Inc. in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Birch Bay Resort, Wabana Lake. Office and Store. Lorrie and Marilee, co- descendants

Ok, while Birch Bay Resort is really on Zims Lane, one sign does say HEMMINGSON RD. and Hemmingson was echoed on our boat’s seat cushion, so … what’s in a name?

Birch Bay Resort, Boat Paddles and Hemmingson Cushion, Wabana Lake, September 2020

What was in that name? Ole started out as Hemmingsen. He was Norwegian born, the child of Hemming Paulsen. Son of Hemming, you see, so Boy Hemmingsen in Norway, although to be true, some would have gotten Hemmingson. Once in the US, he took “son” the more Americanized version. Now, only three of Berit’s children survived to adulthood and they migrated west. Etta was already Church, by marriage. Matt and Ed, who migrated northwest to Canada, reverted to Hemmingsen. Aletta’s children, remained in the Great Lakes area and held onto Hemmingson. Some of Matt’s descendants have emigrated, bringing his Hemmingsen stamp to the United States.

Bringing us to this heritage event, John had two sons and two daughters, Hemmingsen. Ron had three daughters, Hemmingson, whom he brought to Wabana Lake. It is a beauty among a chain of spectacular basins.

Click here for an enlargeable PDF of Wabana and surrounding water. We spent our time reminiscing, boating and hiking. Plus, enjoying Lorrie’s family recipe Banana Bread (her Mom’s). Memorably, we followed an almost imperceptible and shallow channel between Wabana and Bluewater Lake. Signage cautioned to leave no wake. Our passages were wakeless, deliciously quiet, so worth the slow and deliberate.

Ole would surely be pleased! Minnesota has happened; can Wisconsin be far behind? Return to Lake Cowichan? Norway?


NOTE: Click here for a reading guide to the Memoirs of Matt Hemmingsen (1876-1967)

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