"Holbeck Family Lineage Remembered,"

from Norway to America in the 1900s

Information As Given in the Den Stadem Samtaleran, August 2013,

& A Short Bio by Mrs. Walter Koster,

& Genealogical Research and Pictures

Provided by Arne Age Holbek, Kristiansand, Norway

Youngest Child, Bergit on Left in Lace Collar

The grandparents of Kathrine, Andrew, and Bergit were: Andreas Andersen Holbek (1812-1882) and Berte Katrine Tormundsdatter (1817-1886) ["Tormund's Daughter" being her last name, taking her father's name, as was customary, with her into the marriage] were married in 1839.

Seven of their nine children lived to adulthood. The fourth child Anders would be the father of Kathrine, Andrew, and Bergit Holbek. Anders Andreassen Holbek (1848-90) and Peterine Andrea Tomasdatter (1850-1899) were married in 1873. They had seven children born to them. One, Inger (1874-1891) died at age 18,and three lived through adulthood. The grandparents and parents were buried in the Holmesogn Church cemetery at Vatnedal, near Mandal, Norway.


Holbek House, Mandal, South Norway

[The genealogical records we now have reveal that Holbek family line of our history emigrated in the early 18th century from Holbek, a seaport of Denmark, to Mandal and Kristiansand and Holm, Norway.].

[So the Holbeks (who were Andersons in name also, and could be called Rasmussens too, apparently) were Danish originally. This was evidenced in the Holbek's strain of red heads, which the Norwegians thought was a clear sign of their Danishness.

Even today, the redheads are going strong as evidenced at a reunion on Plain View Farm, Bryant, SD!].

[Anders Rasmussen Holbech moved from Holbek, Denmark, to the Holm district in Norway. This is attested by the document copied here that was sent by Arne Age Holbek from Norway. He is referred to as an "ordinary" person, but he chose a work that involved compassion. He worked as a hospital attendant for the poor.]

[The Holbek line continued, regardless of Anders' death from a disease probably contacted with his compassionate work among the district's sick and poor people. He (or his descendant) was also a kind of "facilitator" or what is called in Norway a "klokker" or "degn," who, though not considered part of the upper class, represented the cleric of the church to the community, and was highly regarded by both classes, lower and upper, in that demanding and responsible role. His descendants also served in that capacity, and the evangelical fervor never died as we can see by the Christian bookstore operated by a Holbek until recently.].


Kathrine Berte Holbek was born in 1880, Andreas Andersen Holbek was born in 1882, and Bergit Vilhelmine Holbek was born in 1885.

When their faither died these children were ages 10, 8, and 5. Nine years later their mother died. Kathrine went to Mandal to work, Andrew and Bergit remained on the farm the rest of the summer and winter, barely able to secure the bare necessities of life. During this time Rev. Haaland came back from America to visit relatives. He got acquainted with the children and their circumstances. Arrangements were made that Andrew would go back with him to America in the spring. The cows and a few other things were sold to secure the price of the ticket and traveling expenses.

One spring day in 1900 Andrew bid goodbye and left for the other world it seemed. The farm was rented to a neighbor. Bergit, the last one at home, picked up the cat, put it in a basket,closed the door and set off for Suvatne, a place about 28 English miles away (2 Norse miles)[they take giant steps in Norway, not small, dainty English ones!--Ed.] where it had been arranged for her to work.

She worked for various families and had good and bad experiences. Two years later with instructions from Brother Andreas (now Andrew), Katrine & Bergit had the remnants of the dear old home place sold by auction, and with that money secured the tickets for voyage and railroad-fare to Bryant, SD where Andrew was. In the spring of 1903 Kathrine and Bergit boarded a small steamship, Ryvigen, at Mandal en route to Kristiansand.

At Kristiansand they boarded the Hellig Olaf for their trip to America. [This was a large, modern steamship at the time].

[After "processing through" Emigrations and Customs of Ellis Island with hundreds or thousands of other emigrants as well as immigrants embarking at the Port of New York City, Bergit and Kathrine entrained and traveled from from the East Coast to South Dakota].]

Bergit worked for the Rev. Haaland family in Bryant for one week to learn English and to learn the American way of doing things in baking bread, cake, pie, etc. Mrs. Haaland became like a mother to Bergit, and was a wonderful Christian woman. Bergit became acquainted with the Peter Stadem family because their step-daughter Marie, chummed with sister Kathrine.

The Peter Stadem family then moved to Canton, SD. A while later Kathrine traveled to Canton to visit Marie and secured work there. She later persuaded Bergit to go to Canton.

Bergit had been working for the George Cole (Bryant banker) family and they did not want her to leave. She arried in Canton in the summer of 1905 and worked at different homes. She worked for the Edgar Dean family (Methodists) for two years.

During this time Katrine had married Albinus Lundring. In the fall of 1907, one evening, girlfriend Marie (who formerly chummed with Kathrine until she got married) said to Bergit, "I'm going down to Ma and Pa Stadem tonight, Alfred is coming home."

Bergit went along too. Alfred had been farming and batching up in Clark County for two years. Bergit had seen him a few times before. He was eating supper when Marie and Bergit got to the Stadem home. It became Marie and Bergit's privilege and habit to go to the Stadems on Sunday afternoons, visit, play and sing. They were always welcome. They would have supper, and then go to Luther League. This Alfred and Bergit soon became real good friends and were married on August 8, 1908.--End of the Den Stadem Samtaleran Account, but there is promised more of the story to come.


[Bergit naturally thought she was native Norwegian as anyone could be, but in fact she had Danish great-grandparents or great-great grandparents. It is not known what she may have thought of Denmark as her ancestor's land (if she or her siblings ever suspected they came from there, it was never proven). But we definitely know what she thought of Norway, and the cool spirituality developing there even in her rural Christian circles was profoundly unappealing to her, and she was glad to emigrate to America when the chance came, hoping for more vibrant Christian fellowship, in which hope she was not disappointed.

Is there much difference between Danes and Norwegians? What differences would there be, besides the red hair color that Bergit herself had? The Danish kings ruled Norway for centuries. Copenhagen was probably a more cultivated, cosmopolitan city, being on the European heartland, than Christiania, the smaller and more provincial Norwegian capital of this rather lop-sided Dual Dano-Norwegian Monarchy. But Bergit Holbek cared little or nothing for the city life or its worldly allurements. She dearly loved her humble little home and family in Mandal and her mother dearly, and her Savior, Jesus, most of all. She was very glad to get out of Norway, such as it was at the time. She had one rich aunt there she would never forget, however; a miserly aunt (by marriage,not blood-kin) who schemed to get control of her as an orphan and, fortunately, failed in the attempt to make an unpaid servant and household drudge of her poor, young relation.

Just the same, her aunt being hopefully the exception not the rule, we have a considerable body of Holbek cousinry residing in the same area today, and among them are some vibrant believers in Jesus Christ, evidenced by one who operated a Christian bookstore for years and even requested that we descendents of the Holbeks join him for purposes of prayer!--Ed.]


Andrew Holbeck as a Young Seminary Student or Ordained Minister, Back Row, 2nd from Left; Bergit is the Bride


Note: A fine young man came all the way from Norway to marry her and take her back, thinking he was favored by her, and she regretted that she might have led him to think that, but had to decline, as she truly favored Alfred Stadem as her first choice for life mate--Ed.

Katrine Holbeck Married Albinus Lundring


Bergit's firstborn, Pearl Andrina, was baptized soon after birth Sept. 13, 1909 as a member in this church, though the church building was still under construction in 1909, so the baptism was held in Augustana College and Normal School's Chapel in "Old Main" instead. Years later at age 99, she toured the former school's grounds with her son. A picture of her and her son was taken showing them by a commemorative plaque she contributed to on the campus of the school, which tells of the 100 plus years of the Norwegian-American pioneer school's history.

Admidst the Tetlie family, on left side, Mrs. Tena Lundring holding baby Lawrence, and her other boy is Axel:

Katrine Lundring's Son Axel Lundring

Katrine (Tena) Holbeck Lundring in Later Life


All Nine of Bergit and Alfred Stadem's Sons & Daughters:

Bergit's Son-in-Law Bob Ginther, husband of her eldest daughter Pearl, brought his plane to Plain View Farm:

Tragedy struck the families with a crash due to the malfunction of a plane Pearl's husband Bob Ginther was purchasing for some partners, carrying him and his young college student brother-in-law Art Stadem to their deaths in January 9, 1947.

In "retirement" in later years from the farm, she and her husband turned to strenuous fund-raising and othermissionwork support in Mexico with the Latin American Lutheran Mission. Here they are having fun with the idea, since they drove a car and a trailer hitched to it called "The Snuggery".


Evidence of the Long-Lived Holbek Strain in America: Her farmer husband Alfred lived to 77, but Bergit Holbeck Stadem lived to the ripe age of 98.

Her eldest child Pearl surpassed even her mother and lived to 101 years of age. She was born in her Aunt Tena Lundring's bedroom in Canton. Here she is at 101! She has a sister Cora Taylor too, a missionary in Brazil still actively engaged in mission work, who in 2013 turned 98.


In Later Life, Rev. Andrew Holbeck Preaching as a Guest Speaker at Bryant's Scandinavian Lutheran Church


For More Biography of Bergit Holbeck:

Two Poems in Tribute to Orphan Sisters Katrine and Bergit Holbek (Holbeck) & Their Epic Journey to a New Life:

Vision Poems, by Ronald Ginther, a Tribute to Grandmother Bergit, and Aunty Tena

Ballad on the Voyage of Victorious Faith," a Trbute to the Epic Voyage of Bergit and Katrine Holbek from Norway to America, in 1903, and continuing Onwards, by Grandson and Nephew, Ronald Ginther

"Our (Stadem/Holbek) Immigrant Ancestors," or How We Got the Way We Are, by Rennard Svanoe

"Evangelism on Plain View Farm," Parts I & II, by Ronald Ginther, Grandson of Alfred and Bergit Stadem

"More on Evangelism" Part III

Ministry Central for Stadem Family Line and Descendants



Mama Bergit's Own Story, from Norway to America, and Onward

For the Prairie Farm site of PLAIN VIEW FARM on Angelfire:


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