My grandmother at work 100 years ago: Frieda Hann Loe (second from right) worked as a seamstress and tailor her entire life in various Chicago sweatshops. She was born in 1896, two months after her father died, and left school after the 8th grade to help support her mother and siblings. My grandmother was about 17 in this photograph and had been been working full-time for about four years.
Is there anything more satisfying that figuring out primary source records in another language? I don’t think so! And Norway may be the exception to the rule that it’s easier to do overseas research in SLC than it is in the country in question. Today I’m updating my search for the birth and baptism of Hans Loe.
Some time ago, I wrote of my beginning attempts at Norwegian genealogical research, attempting to find the birth and baptism of Hans Christensen Loe, my great-grandfather, in Norway. This included a fruitless attempt in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library.
I was getting nowhere fast, until I discovered that the National Archives of Norway (Arkivverket) has a Digitalarkivet containing census and parish registers and that this vast digital set of primary sources is free to everyone. I also found a tutorial that helps you navigate the records. Marvelous!
I’m delighted to say that the photograph of my grandmother, Frieda Hann Loe, at work in a Chicago sweatshop c. 1912 has been selected as one of 12 winners in the Illinois State Genealogical Society’s Ancestor Photo Contest.
Visit ilgensoc.org to see the other winners.
It’s only three letters, but if I had a quarter for every time I’ve had to spell my last name, spell it again, and still ask to have the “w” removed, I could fund a dozen instant research trips to Europe, just like I was starring in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are. (Seriously, what fills me with envy every single episode is the celebrity finding out what town they’re from in some far-off country and the next day they jet over to check it out.)
In the fall of 2007, I started a serious search for my father’s father’s father’s line. Family lore provided only this:
My great-grandfather, Hans Loe, came to Chicago from a town called Drammen in Norway at some unknown date.
- His last name used to be Christianson, but it got somehow changed along the way.
- He was a tailor in Chicago, but used to be a lumberjack […]