31 January 2011

Another Norwegian-American who might run for GOP nomination

Earlier this month I wrote about Republican politicians who are considered as possible candidates for GOP nomination in 2012. One of them was the Norwegian-American Senator John Thune (SD), whose grandfather Nikolai Gjelsvik came to the United States in 1906. According to Naustdal Sogelag (Naustdal Historical Society), Nikolai and his brother Mattias (Matthew) emigrated from Gjelsvik (in today's Askvoll municipality, Sogn og Fjordane) in Førdefjorden. I believe I have found the above-mentioned brothers in the emigrant protocol here. I haven't yet got the time to look for their registered christenings and confirmations, though.

In the blog article I joked that "Of course the world needs a President of Norwegian ancestry!" I didn't know by then that another possible candidate for GOP nomination, Michele Bachmann, is also of Norwegian ancestry. Congresswoman Bachmann is representing the 6th District of Minnesota. I didn't include her in my list of potential candidates, though - I guess I found her to be too right-wing to have much chance. The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten wrote about her today, describing her as a ""Norwegian" challenger to Sarah Palin", yet another candidate linked to the Tea Party movement.

Bachmann has got some attention for her speech at an Iowan for Tax Relief event (see also here and here) where she told that "her ancestors did not come to this country for handouts, welfare and socialized medicine, but for mere opportunity". Oh well, there could have been different "pull and push" factors which made her ancestors to emigrate to the United States, and a homestead was probably one of them. Couldn't that be described as a "handout"?

Anyway, Michele Bachmann's maiden name was Amble, and some of her ancestry has been published at Rootsweb. Her great-great grandfather Nils Anfindsen Amble came from Sogndal in Western Norway. The information should be double-checked by using primary sources in Norway, though. Only references to the bygdebok (parish book) seem to have been given so far.

Postscript 1 February 2011 at 19:40: I have created two new discussion threads at the Norwegian Arkivverket's Users' forum:

Michele Bachman, née Amble: Topic 69. Created 1 February 2011.
John Thune: Topic 70. Created 1 February 2011.

Hopefully more information on their ancestry will be added eventually!

Updated on 3 February 2011 at 11.00 (typos corrected).


27 January 2011

"The Royals" on Ovation TV (USA)

American readers of this blog - and most of the blog followers actually come from the USA - might be interested in hearing that Ovation TV, a multiplatform network focusing on art, design, culture, dance and entertainment, will from 6-12 February 2011 be running a special on The British Royal Family including programs on Diana, Princess of Wales' life and the upcoming wedding between Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton. The program can be viewed here (Ovation TV's subject titles):

The Royals on air highlights

The King's Speech: An Inspirational Story of an Unlikely Friendship
Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 07:00PM
Monday, February 7, 2011 - 02:30AM

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 08:30PM

Friday, February 11, 2011 - 01:00AM

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 03:00PM


Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 08:30PM, 11:00PM
Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 05:30PM

Monday, February 14, 2011 - 02:00AM

Icons: Princess Diana

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 08:00PM, 11:00PM
Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 02:30PM

Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 04:30AM

William and Kate: A Modern Royal Romance

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 08:30PM, 11:30PM

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 05:30PM

Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 04:00AM

How to Be a Prince: Part 1 of 2

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 09:00PM
Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 12:00AM, 02:00AM

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 06:00PM

Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 02:00AM

How to Be a Prince: Part 2 of 2

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 10:00PM
Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 01:00AM, 03:00AM

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 07:00PM

Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 03:00AM

Bertie and Elizabeth

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 09:00PM, 11:00PM
Friday, February 11, 2011 - 02:00AM

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 03:30PM

Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 01:30PM

Diana's Dresses

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 08:00PM, 11:00PM

Princess Diana: Her Life in Jewels

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 09:00PM
Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 12:00AM

Diana Everlasting

Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 10:00PM
Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 01:00AM

"The Royals" Online Highlights

William and Kate: A Modern Royal Romance
How to Be a Prince

Icons: Princess Diana


24 January 2011

Guests at the British Royal Wedding 2011, one confirmation

Ever since the engagement between Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton was announced in November last year, royalty watchers and the media have been busy guessing about the guest lists to the wedding and reception.

Today we got the first official confirmation, as the Public Relations Office of HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia (Yugoslavia) announced in a press release that Crown Prince Alexander and his wife Crown Princess Katherine have received an invitation from HM Queen Elizabeth to the wedding on 29 April 2011. Their Royal Highnesses say they are delighted to attend the marriage and are very happy for the young couple. Queen Elizabeth is, by the way, Crown Prince Alexander's godmother.

I am sure we will get far more details about the guest lists when we get closer to the wedding. Many courts will mention the royals' attendance in their lists of official engagements. There are some courts, however, which believe that attending a royal wedding is not an official engagement, so for some of the royals we just have to wait until they appear at Westminster Abbey. I am confident, though, that Buckingham Palace (or Clarence House) will publish the lists in due time.

Many have suggested that because it is not the heir to the British throne that is getting married, "only" the heir to the heir, the number of royal guests will be lower than we witnessed in 1981 when the Prince of Wales got married to Lady Diana Spencer. I think we can expect a great royal turn-up, though, and that most, if not all, of the European royal and princely families will be represented.

Concerning the speculations that have been going on, The Daily Mail claims to know that Sarah, Duchess of York, former wife of the Duke of York (Prince Andrew), is to receive an invitation. If the article is correct, I would not be that surprised, despite all the headlines the former duchess created last year (and in earlier years). But The Daily Mail has also claimed that President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have been "left off the guest list" as it is not a state occasion. I cannot understand why anyone would believe that they would be considered for an inviation in the first place. Then again we all know that The Daily Mail and other British tabloids should be read with a critical eye.

I will surely return with more comments on the guest lists as we get closer to the wedding.


Scouting New York: Houdini's Final Vanishing Act in Queens, New York, USA

In one of my blog articles yesterday, Sunday 23 January 2011, I shared the link to the blog Scouting New York's article Three Private Graves in Manhattan with you. The blog has been added to my Selected blogs website, as I really enjoy reading the articles Nick Carr writes in connection with his work as a film location scout in New York City.

Another article I would like to give a mention is Houdini's Final Vanishing Act in Queens, published on 20 December 2010. The blog article deals with the grave of the famous magician Harry Houdini (real name Erik Weiss), who is buried at Machpelah Cemetery. It cannot be spotted in the map that NY Scout has provided, but it is situated at 8230 Cypress Hills Street, Ridgewood, between the New Union Field and Hungarian cemeteries.

For a "cemetery geek" like me I think the Cemetery Belt in Glendale, Queens, would be interesting to visit one day. Of course there are so many other interesting things to see and do in New York City, so it would not be on the top of my list, but if I get a few hours for myself, perhaps. I have been to New York City 3 times already, but it is a city you just have to get back to. My next trip to the United States will not be to New York, though, as my wife and I have friends in other states that we have promised to visit first. But one of these days...


23 January 2011

The Three Private Graves in Manhattan, New York, USA

The blog Scouting New York had a really interesting article the other day, Three Private Graves in Manhattan. It has also been mentioned at A Morbid Fascination, which I have included in my Selected blogs website, but as Jeffrey Smith and I probably don't share that many blog readers, I thought it was an idea to mention it here too.

I visited Grant's Tomb in July 2006, by the way. Obviously I missed the grave of St. Claire Pollock, as most people seem to do.


Cemetery for Distinguished Citizens, Poznan, Poland, Part II

Now, what is the story of these beheaded monuments, I wonder...

See also the photo blog article Cemtery for Distinguished Citizens, Poznan, Poland, Part I.


Cemetery for Distinguished Citizens, Poznan, Poland, Part I

I discovered this sign on my way out of the cemetery. I only wish I had seen it earlier on, and it would of course have been an advantage if the snow had not covered up the whole map!

I was at least the first human being who visited the cemetery that day.

Grave of Stanisław Mikołajczyk (1901-1966), Prime Minister of the Polish Government in exile during WW2, and Deputy Prime Minister in Poland before the communists took control of the government. He was married to Cecylia Mikołajczyk, née Ignasiak (1900-1951).

The Preiss family grave.

Rydlewski and Kasiewicz family grave. Celestyn Rydlweski (1875-1940), a Polish officer and WW1 hero, killed in 1940. Here I would be pleased if (any) Polish readers could add more information about him.

Wojciech Szczęsny Kaczmarek (1942-2009), president of Poznan 1990-1998.

I visited the Old Parish Cemetery, now Cemetery of Distinguished Citizens, on my way to the Old Garrison Cemetery (I will return to this cemetery later on) during my visit to Poznan in November 2010. The entrance is from Ks. Jozefa not far from downtown Poznan.

The information at the gate of the cemetery says:
Old Parish Cemetery, currently Cemetery for Distinguished Citizens
Established in 1810 as a parish cemetery, it was surrounded with a fence in 1829. Closed down at the end of the 19th century. Since 1936 under management of the city, since 1948 known as the Cemetery for Distinguished Citizens on which famous Great Poles are buried and on which gravestones of high artistic value from closed down cemeteries are gathered. The cemetery features numerous examples of precious tombstones, mainly from the 19th century.
In Polish named Cmentarz Starofarny/Cmentarz Zasłużonych Wielkopolan, in German Alter Pfarrfriedhof/Friedhof Verdienter Großpolen.

See also Cemetery for Distinguished Citizens, Poznan, Poland, Part II.


Glimpses of Poznan, Poland

(1) Photos no. 1 to 12 are taken at the old town square of Poznan, Stary Rynek. The photos were taken on different days during the last days of November 2010, and I wasn't always lucky with the light conditions (at least I will use that as an excuse!)









(10) Statue of a Bamberg woman. The printed version of Poznan In Your Pocket guide describes her as "a peasant girl carrying pails of water", but she looks more as a woman to me. Anyway, the Bambergers were poor Catholic farmers from the Bamberg district of Bavaria, Germany, and they arrived in Poznan about 300 years ago at the invitation of the city authorities. They were to help rebuild villages devastated by the Northern War of 1700-1721 and depopulated by the spread of plague. The statue is from 1915 and is situated behind the town hall at Stary Rynek.




(14) This should be the backside of the local government building. The park is named after Chopin.

(15) Christmas decorations in one of the local malls.




(19) Monument of Hipolit Cegielski (1813-1868), a Polish businessman/industrialist who founded the Cegielski factory

(20) My favourite teams in football (soccer) and ice hockey, Norwich City FC and Manglerud Star respectively, both play in yellow and green. I had to love the Poznan trams as well!

All photos from Poznan were taken during my visit in November 2010. I took a direct flight from Sandefjord Airport, so Poznan, the 5th largest city of Poland and known for trade, industry and education, was easy to get to. It has a lot to offer in terms of history, museums, shopping malls, spas and great restaurants and is among the 4-5 cities of Poland one "has to" visit.