Matt Hemmingsen 1876-1967: In The Beginning Again.

We can never get to the beginning, but for a solid Generation One we will settle on Hemming Sivertsen and his wife, Guro Olsdatter.1 They were born about 1762 and 1771 respectively, of heritage long established around the Trondheim area of Trondelag County, Norway.

OH! Those names may be familiar. We published Early Hemmingsen Ancestry: Circles of Norway, 23 Nov 2019. It is still available, with fan charts circling back to the early 1600s.

Matt Hemmingsen was our Granddad and their descendant, a century down the path. We have just recovered output from an audio tape that his cousin made; Gina Plocker (Rued). It expands his own memoirs and will guide some new research. These works of their elder years in the 1950s recall 1880s Norwegian emigration from Nordland County, to Wisconsin. This short re-tell will write-in a broader base of migrant kin on whom to optimize this new resource.

Hemming and Guro made Norway’s 1801 census, where he was listed as a farmer, with a wife and two children. They would have four surviving, so were constant entrants in the Church Books of the Trondelag Parishes of Stjordal and Meraker. These elders passed on by 1820.

CLICK PDF for ENLARGEABLE DISPLAYS and sketches on superscripted# persons.

Hemming was a ‘huusmand med jour”; he rented a small cottage on a small piece of land to farm for his own use. As was usual for the day, his children farmed too. All those in Generation Two were married by 1836 and they charged the wind with change.  


Two children became our great-great-great grandfathers: Paul and Ole. Ole left the area around 1841 to settle some 400 kilometers north in the Helgeland Region of Nordland. Paul followed. It was probably land that drew them2. They rest in peace less than a degree of latitude below the Arctic Circle, in Hattfjelldal. Reindeer did live on their farms.

Cousins married downstream. Several family censuses for 1865 Hattfjelldal Parish frame that case and set the scene for our ancestors’ ensuing American adventure; they will act as pictures for the words that shall come from Matt and Gina. Paul and Ole’s households are displayed first. Their children were now grown, being over two decades after the move.

Emigration began a couple of years after that census take, making it a baseline on which to imagine family dynamics and the drama of the rollout. Our direct lineage is posted in blue font. Most of our stories will feature them, but a spotlight will be cast on others when they took the lead. Sketch data on still others will be provided, plus added general content, but off-loaded to the above PDF, as noted by the superscripts. The PDF is of those and the scene, left behind.


Typical of the time, Paul and Ole each had a married child at home with offspring of their own, along with the yet unwed. Other married children had farms nearby. These were often huge households in small homes on land that was becoming increasingly scarce to subdivide amongst themselves. Family lore says that Ole was an army officer as well as a farmer.

Paul’s son, Hemming (1826-1905) and Ole’s daughter, Gurine (1830-1915) married in 1851. Their farm was Grorli, where farmer Hemming was also a blacksmith. The first child of this cousin union was our great-grandfather, Ole Mathias Hemmingsen, who, it is said, secured a Civil Engineering education at the university level.

Ole married Beret Has Mathisdtr in 1874. They are pictured side-by-side in their respective parental homes of 1865, those of Hemming Paulsen and Matis Bentson. The many red bullets on this display suggest Generation Three will shed many a tear of leave taking, intermingled with hugs for health and good luck, as it becomes increasingly apparent Generation Four will not work nearby farms. The superscripted hold the home story.


The stage is almost set for new posts, but our previous iteration spoke to the New World quest through male voice. The fact is, the first to make passage to America in our family came from “Ggranny” Beret Has Mathisdatter’s side. As to her husband, Ole Mathias Hemmingsen, it was his Aunt Elen who paved the way. Then, his own sister, Pauline, beat him to Wisconsin. The plain truth is, those many decades back, while it was an in-county migration, Mali Hemmingsdatter left her brothers behind in Stjordal, moving south to Strinda Parish, then home again, before joining them in Nordland.

Mali does not rest in peace in Hattfjelldal with her brothers, rather, she is good for another surprise and her husband, yet another.


Even before Mali’s earliest journey, Ggranny Beret’s people trudged from Vaage to Vefsen, roughly 700 kilometers. Her side of the family again. That means Beret’s ancestry is needed, before sails set for the west, and for new posts to be delivered.

Oppland County is landlocked in the lower bulb of Norway, just south of Trondelag. Nordland is just north of Trondelag, in the slenderest part of the country, connecting its two bulbs.

Vaage and Sell Parishes are somewhat north in Oppland, while Vefsen and Hatfjelldal Parishes sit south in Nordland. Stjordal Parish, which holds Meraker, is in between, in Trondelag. Perhaps, the Trondelagers waived the Opplanders through to Nordland. We shall never know.

The earliest available evidence of Ggranny Beret’s maternal family in Hatfjelldal is Marit Hansdatter’s death at Susendahl in 1836, at 48. Hopefully she had been made comfortable in Nordland for some time before she passed. Jon Torgersen remarried there, in 1839. The die was cast, for next we know, Ole Hemmingsen b. 1800 Meraker, located to Nerli in Susendahl.


The forces were assembled for Granddad to be half Trondelager and a quarter Opplander. His final quarter came from Nordland; Grane, near Hattfjelldal. He was the firstborn son, second child of Ole and Beret. Here is his Nordlander crew.

Ole Hemmingsen, born at the dawn of the 1800s assembled a great family that made its mark in Hattfjelldal, then lent some of its asset to the New World. He quit his witness in a life of consequence, four years shy of the magical hundred, which would have been 1900.


Norway took a census in 1900 on December 3. Our farms were Ugelvatnet with seven residents, Grolien, with ten, and Nerlien with fourteen. Our footprint though, was much larger than that.

Sara Hemmingsdatter, with Ivar Ivarsen were the farmers fully in-charge at Ugelvatnet. Andreas Olsen and Karen Larsdatter were the elders at Nerlien. Andreas was both farmer and builder.

Hemming Groli aka Hemming Paulsen and Gurine Olsdtr were at Grolien. He was still a blacksmith, while each were described as Føderåd, meaning they had written the farm over to another, usually a family member, and in exchange they would be cared for. That person was Magnus Ingvald Nilsen or his wife, Albertine Marie Pedersdatter. Stories may unravel those relationships and superscripts will disclose why not their own child.

Hemming Paulsen Groli had another five years on life’s ledger. His son, our great grandfather, Ole, who left for the US with much promise in 1882 had three. With that hope, Ole also had dealt himself a hand of hardship, as our stories do tell.

We now close this chapter of the re-tell, and await some new and some revamped stories. Many will stand as they were written.

Copyright © Marilee Wein and DoubleGenealogyTheAdoptionWitness 2018-2023, author and owner. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without prior written permission of the copyright author and owner.

Updates: This story was updated on September 12, 2022. The updates are disclosed on the above PDF. Also, the blogpost “Those Fiplingkrogen Tales of Mali Hemmingsdatter’ was published in August 2022; its PDF carries information on likely parentage of Hemming Sivertsen and Guru Olsdatter. The PDF was updated again on March 2023 as “Hattfjelldal Norway In The Beginning Again.”

Notes and Sources

1 The primary source for our Norwegian emigration is the first person account of Granddad Matt Hemmingsen who arrived in Wisconsin in 1887, at eleven. His son, John Oliver Hemmingsen, our Dad, gives a second hand listen. Granddad’s cousin Gina Rued Plocker, born in Wisconsin in 1888, into a new immigrant household, provides a first generation American, second hand account.

Dad wrote the Family History of John Oliver Hemmingsen and Mary Margaret Dickson in 1999. Granddad, Matt Hemmingsen (born Mathias Berg Olsen) wrote his memoirs ca 1954. Both were unpublished. The author has been using these genealogical assets for a decade. Recently, damaged audio tape made in 1959, by Matt’s cousin, Gina, became available. The author publishes these stories after verifying details at official archival sources.

We have expanded on this backdrop of information and verified facts at and etc., as we develop stories that exist under the tab “Before Memories” – as noted in those individual stories. Sources for new findings in subsequent posts, are provided within, in their displays and, in this case, continued in the attached PDF.

2 AARHUS University, Nordics Info “Population Movement To and Within Norway, 1830-1914, Internal Movement”, author Jan Eivind Myhre

3 The attached PDF carries much source documentation.

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