|If your Norwegian is not too bad, read more
in: Hjartdalsoga - the history of farms and families in Hjartdal,
"...for at finde en blidere Skjebne"
Volunteers wanted for translations!
Saulandtunet is the center of Hjartdal kommune
Hjartdal is a small "kommune" of app.1700 inhabitants in the county of
Telemark (Telemark fylke) in Norway.
Hjartdal consists of three parishes (bygder): Tuddal, Hjartdal and Sauland.
The nearest town is Notodden, east of Hjartdal (app.8000 inh.) and the distance from our capital, Oslo is app.140 kilometers (90 miles) north-east.
Hjartdal is rural, small, safe and traditional.
Nature is beautiful, with lots of wild animals: moose, bobcats, roe deer, deer, reindeer, beaver, occasionally bear and even wolves are seen.
There are an exceptionally large amount of farmhouses from the middle ages, but our last stave church was taken down in 1860.
A lot of local history is written and published, but in Norwegian of course.
We've got a lot of young good skiers, and many young musicians, from Harding-fiddlers to blues/jazz-musicians. And of course a lot of other people of all ages and skills.
One of the main roads between east and west of Norway (E-134) runs through Sauland and Hjartdal.
And our local bank runs very well and celebrates its centennial in 1998.
Telelaget of America can tell you more about Hjartdal in English.
So to a main point of this page:
Hjartdal had a tremendous number of people emigrating to America. From 1839 between 1500 and 2000 people left for the New World. So there must be several thousand Americans with Hjartdal ancestry today. (They are all welcome to visit our pages, tip them).
The first Norwegian emigrants traveled from Stavanger in 1825. The following years a few more Norwegians from the west coast left. But then in 1837 the rumor of America reached the inner and eastern parts of Norway, and Hjartdal's neighbor areas (Tinn and Numedal) had some real pioneers leaving.
Then in 1839 a big group left from Hjartdal. So we are really talking about the pioneers among pioneers here. The big numbers of Norwegians didn't emigrate untill the 1860-s and 80-s.
Some of the first ones settled at Fox River, Illinois, but a group of them settled at a place called Muskego (close to Milwaukee) in Wisconsin. This made the direction for the continuing settling east and north through Minnesota and the Dakotas. Southern Wisconsin became the base of Norwegian settling in USA with places like Koshkonong, Stoughton and Jefferson Prairie to be remembered.
At least Three men and one woman of Hjartdal origin should be remembered:
|Erna Oleson Xan:
Her grandparents left the Gjuv-farm Hjartdal in 1866, and her mother was born in Wisconsin just after that. Erna wrote a great book about her family's life both in Norway and USA, based on her mother's stories. The book is called Wisconsin my Home, and is published by the University of Wisconsin Press in Madison.
|Ole Andrewson: (Ola Andresson Aasen)
This young schoolteacher was the son of a "Husmann" (a man who rented a little house and land just enough to produce his own food) from Sauland. He emigrated in 1841 and became a farmer and lay preacher.
He was president of the Norwegian Augustana Synod in his old years.
|Halvor Nelson Lonar.
He left Norway in 1842, and in 1844 he built the Muskego Church. This was the first Norwegian church built in USA, and he was the carpenter in charge of the logging work. He seems to have been an active person in the Muskego community and lived there for many years after.
The last bear killed in Sauland. People from Oeyen and
The Swedish prince and princess as tourists, visiting Boen in Tuddal, 1900
Old bridge across Rohoelen, close to Omnesfossen in Sauland
From Moen on the road to Tuddal
Parts of the entrance of an old stave church in Tuddal
Early store, cheese factory and telephonecentral in Sauland
Kjetil Viken travelling past Rogneroe in Vikdalen in Tuddal
The taken down stave church of Sauland
Sauland in the 70-s
Schoolchildren, Sauland 1933
School in Sauland 1950
Workers at a spinning and weaving factory at Omnesfossen at the turn of the century
Omnesfossen painted by Gude, 1859
Modern history: The King and the Queen visiting Hjartdal. August 1996
1. Are there any fairs, festival, parades or big holiday events that are celebrated in your area?
Yes, in September every year one of the biggest fairs in Norway are held in
Hjartdal's neighbor kommune, Seljord. It's called
2. How do people make a living? Is there a major industry?
Hjartdal is traditionally agricultural. The little town of Notodden, 20 km away,
provided industrial work for lots of people for several decades, but now people work in
most all kinds of common occupations. (Farming and forestry, teaching, office work,
construction work, transport etc.)
Notodden earlier had a huge iron works, and Norsk Hydro (the biggest company in Norway), in fact started in Notodden at the turn of the century.
3. How do you heat your homes in the winter?
Mostly by wood and electricity. Electricity has been quite cheap. Hjartdal has a big hydro electric power plant.
4. How much snow do you get on an average year and how long does it last?
The first snow fall comes in October/November. It's all gone during April in a normal
year. But the snow differs a lot from year to year.
Between 50 cm and one meter snow is normal in the lowland. In the mountains there may be much more.
5. How cold is normal in winter, and how hot is it in summer?
5 Fahrenheit below is a really cold winter day. But we may sometimes have more than 20
below. A normal January day may be 15 above.
In summer we sometimes have 85, but normal in June/August is 60 to 80.
6. How much daylight in summer, and how much daylight in winter?
At Christmas time darkness comes app. at 16.00. Daylight app at 9.00.
It never gets really dark in June-July
7. Do you have a downtown district? What stores do you have?
Sauland has "Saulandtunet" with a food shop and a gas station, the
"kommune" offices, a bank, some other offices and health center.
I wouldn't call it a Down Town area. But it serves its purposes quite well. Otherwise Notodden is our downtown district.
8. What kind of car would an average person drive?
German and Japanese cars are most common. Cars are expensive in Norway. A new car costs from 130.000 kr. (More than half a years salary) (1$=8,50 kr). But people on average may have cars up to 300.000 kr. Most families need two cars. Many Norwegians care very much for their cars.
9. Are there any ski resorts near? What about skiing?
Skiing has been and still is popular. Sauland has a very good group of young cross country skiers. Hjartdal has cross-country tracks and jumping hills, not big. Neighbour kommunes like Tinn, Rauland and Kongsberg have ski resorts.
10. What about hunting & fishing?
This is quite popular. Farmers have their own lakes in the mountains and they go fishing, but mostly for recreation. Local kids may fish anywhere for free. Some farmers rent out lakes for fishing, but it's not a big business. Rein deer and moose hunting is common every fall. This is mostly for the farmers/land owners. Hunting is also rented out: Hare, birds and roe-deer (a small white tailed deer).
11. Do you have wild berries? Or Cloudberries?
We have bluberries and cowberries, strawberries and wild raspberries. Cloudberries are found some years in the mountains.
12 Do people go camping? If so where?
Many people do. But most often they go for one day hikes in the mountains. Or they overnight in cottages.
13. Do people garden? If so when do they plant, and what grows best.
Most people have their gardens with fruit trees, flowers and maybe some vegetables. Small greenhouses are common. Planting time may be in May outdoor.
14. What do farmers grow? Or is there farmland there. Or is it too mountainous?
Farmers grow hay, oats, barley, a little wheat and some potatoes.
A few still have cows, and some have sheep. The sheep are sent to mountain pastures in the summer, but predators are becoming a problem now. (Lynx and very seldom bear)
Sauland is 100-200 meters above sea level. Tuddal and Hjartdal is higher. (200 - 600 m)
15. What kind of trees are native to the area, and what kind are grown for timber? Is timber an industry there?
Spruce and pine are the most common forest trees, and have been a good source of income for the farmers for centuries. They are used for timber, or go to paper mills. Birch, aspen and maple grow all over. Oak and ash are not as common.
16. Is it true that Norwegians don't use cream or sugar in their coffee?
They don't in North Dakota.
Cream and sugar were commonly used in the coffee earlier (in the 1950-60 years). Most people skip it today, I think they skipped it for health reasons first. Now, it's normal to have the coffee black (and stronger than in American taverns.)
17. Are the roads maintained year round?
It depends. Many mountain roads have to close in winter. But the main road to western Norway (E-134) are kept open except for special nights with really heavy snowfall. The mountain road from Sauland through Tuddal to Rjukan and Tinn is closed in winter.
18. How much rainfall in an average year? When is the rainy season?
(I'll get the figures later) Rain falls at any time, most in fall , but Hjartdal doesn't have too much rain in an average year.
19. Is there a Bunad design for the area?
Yes, really. Telemark has maybe the most colorful bunads in Norway, Queen Sonja and
Princess Märtha Louise often use eastern Telemark bunads.
The King and the Queen visited Hjartdal i 1995 This was our first royal visit after Norway got its own King in 1905. On this picture you see the king - and the queen (with sun-glasses and "our" bunad). At the king's left hand is our Mayor, Torunn Hovde Kaasa, wearing the same kind of bunad.
20. Are there lodging places in the area?
Yes. The big taverna, Fossen kro, have some motel rooms. And there are camping sites in Tuddal and
Hjartdal. And some rent out cottages or rooms.
In Tuddal you'll find Tuddal høyfjellshotell.
21. What is the name of the rest of the kommunes and parishes in Telemark?
Have a look at the site Telamork to find out
Americans asks us if there will be
made English translations of articles on this website.
We don't have the resources for this, therefore we would like people who could volunteer on this to contact us.
There are big and small jobs.
This site is constructed by Leif Skoje with great
Bob Tweeten, a "Tuddal-American" living in Los Angeles.