Romundstad - Madson

Pioneer Days in Romundstad Valley, Norseville & Strum, Wisconsin
mid-late1800's --

A Pre-1910 Photo of Romundstad Valley --
part of the
Extended-Family Farm Village of Norseville,
North of Strum, Wisconsin
  Norseville, Wisconsin, pre-1910:  Romundstad Farms:  Big Ole, Even, Anders
Showing are 3 of the 5 Romundstad cousins' farms:
Left to Right: Big Ole Romundstad, Even J. Romundstad, Anders J. Romundstad

Off the photo:
Center left:  Fredrik Olsen's farm
Lower left:  Ole J. Romundstad's farm -- his field has the horse in it .
Lower right:  Lars Rone's farm.
Upper right:  Hanson farm and the Hagestads' first farm
Center background, hidden behind a grove of trees:
Norseville School, Hagestads' second farm, and a farm of another Olson descendent.

Twenty miles south of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA, is the little farming hamlet of Norseville. The first settlers to come to Norseville from Rindal-area Farm Villages was the Frederick Olsen family.  Frederick had been born and raised in the Oppistua Farmhouse of the Romundstad Farm Village, and in 18__ had left for Trondheim.  In 1861, Frederick and his wife Serianna Halvorsdatter Varmdal and their 5 children had left Trondheim for America.  They first lived in two other parts of Wisconsin, then in Spring 1869 arrived at their final destination of Norseville.

Later that year of 1869 and in years to follow, the Frederick Olsen family was joined in Norseville by many of Frederick's relatives from the extended-family Farm Village of Romundstad :
-  All of his seven orphaned nieces and nephews from his own home, the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse
-  Three of his cousins from next door, the Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse:  Even, Ole. J. & Anders Romundstad.
-  Many of these folks' cousins and neighbors from other Rindal-area Farm Villages

Led by Fredrik Olsen from the Romundstad Farm Village, in the mid-1800's these young Rindalings left their ancient, ancestral, Norwegian farm villages in Rindal. They came to Wisconsin and built farms next to each other, creating a new farm village which they named Norseville. In doing this, they brought their Old World Norwegian tradition of living in farm villages to their New World of America.

These young Norwegians also brought along their Old World tradition of interweaving their families through marriage.  Some came here already married and with children.  Other Rindal-area immigrants intermarried after arriving in Norseville and Strum. For example, in Norseville, Fredrik Olsen's niece Gjertrud Romundstad who had been born at Romundstad Oppistua, married Ole J. Romundstad, her 2nd cousin who had been born at Romundstad Austistua. Also, one of Fredrik Olsen's grandsons married one of his grandnieces: Chester Olsen and Esther Stomprud -- the young people -- were 2nd cousins. 


Origins in Norway for Norseville & Strum's White Settlers

Hardanger & the Vesterallen Islands

Hagestad Family History

by Jennie Hagestad Stomprud
(1866 - 1942)

Jennie Hagestad Stomprød's enchanting account of her childhood in Norseville & Strum.

Nils & Anna Hagestad were great friends of Frederick & Serianna Olsen -- see
Olsen Family History

The Olsens & the Hagestads first  homesteaded in southern Trempeleau County, Wisconsin. Then in Spring 1869 they travelled together to their final homesteads in Norseville.

1860's-1911:  Emigrants from the Rindal-area
An annotated list of people from Rindal-area extended-family Farm Villages
who moved to the American Midwes
t -- primarily to Norseville & Strum

Rindal-area Farm Villages

Rindal Farm Village --
a little south of the town of Rindal


Birthplace of widow Mali Rindal & her __ children, including Mikkel Rindal.

They came to Norseville in 1911, and Mali married Lars Haltli -- her long-ago sweetheart from Rindal.

They bought the farm of Even Romundstad, one of the brothers from the Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse.
Mildred Romundstad Madson, 1897-1992
Romundstad Farm Village - - southeast of the town of Rindal

The cluster called "Inner Romundstad" - -
with its 3 Farmhouses:  Oppistua, Austistua, & Nestua 
Romundstad,  Inner - - by Gunnar Bureid -- Rindal website
by Gunnar Bureid
  from website for Rindal, Norway

Olsen Family History
by Laura Olsen Brill
(1893 - 1980)

  In 1829, Frederick Olsen Romundstad was born at the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse.  In 1853 at age 24, he left his Romundstad Farm Village for the Trondheim- area settlement of Strinda.
In early Spring 1869, he became the first Rindaling to settle in Norseville - - along with his wife Serianna & 5 children

From 1869-1874 followed all 7 of
Frederick's nieces & nephews from Romundstad Oppistua.  From the 1870's-1900 also followed some of his nieces and nephews from the Stomprød Farm Village & Rone Farm Village.

Laura also tells of her Hanson grandparents from the Rindal-area farm villages of Elshaug & Skjørmø who emigrated to Norseville.

Another page of interest:
Olsen Family History - Corrections
-- described below this chart

Mildred Romundstad Madson, 1897-1992:  From Norseville & Strum to Out West, then back again to Strum
by Lisa Lindberg (b.1952)

Mildred's father, Anders Romundstad, was born at the Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse. 

In Summer 1869, Anders Romundstad, age 20,  came to Norseville with 2 of his brothers from the Austistua Farmhouse.  Along with one of their 7 first cousins from next door at the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse.  Also with them was Laura Olsen Brill's Hanson grandfather from  the Rindal-area farm village of Elshaug.

In the late 1890's & early 1900's, Mildred Romundstad & her sister Nora grew up in Norseville among their large, extended family consisting of Norwegian-Americans from the Rindal-area Farm Villages of Romundstad, Ro
øn (Rone), Elshaug (Hanson), Skjørmø, Rindal, etc., and also the extended family of Imislunds from the Hamar area.
Stomprød Farm Village -- southeast of the town of Rindal

a little east of the
Farm Village

Photo of
Stomprød Farm Village

Stomprød Storli:
Birthplace of the mother of Frederick Olsen Romundstad
-- see

Olsen Family History

Stomprød Holtet:
Birthplace of husband of Jennie Hagestad: Ole Stomprød -- nephew of Frederick Olsen Romundstad.
Hagestad Family History

Hamar -- on Lake Mj

Imislund & Nelson Families

A daughter of Peder & Anne Imislund married Anders Romundstad.
Mildred Romundstad Madson, 1897-1992

Additional pages of interest

Olsen Family History - Corrections by Lisa Lindberg
For many years I have had Laura Olsen Brill's account, "Olsen Family History" among my family history materials on the Romundstad Family.  I have read it many times and have also done oral-history interviews with present-day family members. I have also found and studied Laura's research sources, and have discovered some discrepancies between Laura's story and her research sources.   From this background exploration, I have found more information on Frederick Olsen's early life in the Rindal-area's Romundstad Farm Village, including about his leaving for Trondheim as a young man. I have also found out more about the early life of Frederick and wife Serianna in Trondheim before their 1861 departure for America.  On this webpage, I show the discrepancies in Laura's essay, and also how I corrected them.

"Historical Bits," by F.L. Tronsdal
An article published November 20, 1923, in the Norwegian-language magazine,The Skandinaven, which Laura Olsen Brill used extensivelysource for in her account, "Olsen Family History.  In Tronsdal's Scandinaven article, he mentions a book entitled Livserindringer fra Surendalen og Aure - - Memories of Life in Surendalen and Aure, by J. Mogstad from Surendalen and (Kandidat) Simonsen.  Tronsdal noted that this book has much history about the Rindal area, and he briefly relates some of that book's extremely intriguing stories.  F.L. Tronsdal married Johanna Romundstad from the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse. See more about Johanna Romundstad in Laura Olsen Brill's Olsen Family History.

Introduction to these stories & their authors

-  Background & kinship among the authors
- Revelations about places, patterns, & ages


The essays compiled here were written in intervals of a few decades from the 1930's to the present. The accounts are samples of the work of three women spanning four generations, with the oldest and youngest being born nearly a century apart.

Each tells of people leaving Norway to come to America and settle in one farming community in Wisconsin twenty miles south of Eau Claire : the farm hamlet of Norseville and the nearby town of Strum. These stories tell of early pioneer life in the last third of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th Century.

The authors and the people in these three stories were/are cousins and/or neighbors. All have ancestors who came to the Norseville and Strum area from Rindal, Norway.   Jennie Hagestad Stomprud's husband, Ole Stomprud, was a cousin of both Laura Olsen Brill and my grandmother, Mildred Romundstad Madson. In Norseville, Wisconsin, cousins Laura and Mildred lived in farms near each other, and the children of both farms made shortcuts through the woods to each others' houses.  Laura Olsen Brill was a little older than her cousins Mildred and Nora, and was one of their teachers in the Norseville School, which went up to the 8th grade. Mildred's and Laura's weddings were five days apart in June 1923, one in Strum, one in Norseville. Nearly 50 years later Mildred and Nora attended the 1971 Olsen Family Reunion at the Olsen Family Farm in Norseville, the gathering for which Laura Olsen Brill wrote her story "Olsen Family History," and read it aloud at that gathering.

Interestingly, the Hagestad and Olsen families had connections before settling together in Norseville. Both families had lived in other parts of Wisconsin before traveling to their final destination of Norseville. Immediately preceding their final homesteads in Norseville, both families had lived in southern Trempeleau County.  When these families decided to move north, they traveled together on their final leg of their journeys, and remained life-long friends, including by a marriage of each family's grandchild. Even though Jennie Hagestad had moved from Strum to Duluth and married raised her family there, in the summers this family went back to Norseville to visit relatives and friends.  In those summer visits, the generations maintained their aquaintanships, including a Hagestad granddaughter -- Esther Stomprud -- and an Olsen grandson -- Chester Olsen.  In 1927 -- nearly sixty years after the beginning of these families' friendship -- 2nd cousins Esther and Chester married.  The descendants of this couple are fortunate to have such fine writers on both sides of their family.

As you can imagine, many of the events and lives of the people in these three stories are interwoven.  All three stories tell of daily life and of the people's love for their land. Each story is written in a distinctive voice, offering to the reader varying views of this little corner of Wisconsin. Each story is complete in its own right and can stand alone. But together these three stories offer a rich kaleidoscope of early life in this Wisconsin farming community.

Storytelling and Research

I like good storytelling. Even more, I like good storytelling based on accurate information. Therefore as editor of two of these stories and author of the third, I personally wanted to gain a good foundation of places, time, sequence of events, and kinship -- both in Norway and America -- and be as certain as possible that the dates, ages, places, and kinship accounts were both accurate and in accord with each other. To that end, I looked for and investigated all possible research sources : the Rindal, Norway-area's "bygdeboks" of local history and geneology, records in the Strum Lutheran Church, and numerous conversations with cousins from the Rindal, Norway area and the Norseville & Strum area. In addition, I used both large-scale and also detailed topographic maps of both the Rindal and Strum areas, so detailed they include place names for very small places, and have little squares indicating individual houses, barns, etc.

Through this investigation, I made some interesting discoveries about places, names, kinship patterns, and ages:

Names & Places.   The organization of the Norwegian countrysides is of small, commercial towns surrounded within a close radius by extended-family Farm Villages.  Each Farm Village has a name -- e.g., Romundstad.  Each Farm Village consists of various Farmhouse  Clusters, with each cluster also having a name -- e.g., Romundstad Yttgaard ("Outer Yard").  Each farmhouse also has a name -- e.g., Romundstad Oppistua and Romundstad Austistua.  When people emigrated from these places, they chose as their surname either the Farm Village name -- e.g., Romundstad; the Farm Cluster name -- e.g., Yttgaard; the Farmhouse name, e.g., Holte (from Stomprud Holte); or a derivitave of their father's name, e.g., Olsen or Hanson.

Pattern of Acquaintance & Kinship.   The people in Laura Olsen Brill's and my stories came primarily from adjacent Farm Villages around the commercial small town of Rindal, Norway, southwest of Trondheim and north of Trollheimen Mountain. From studying Farm Maps, I saw which Farm Villages were near each other around Rindal, and could imagine how people got acquainted -- with some ending up marrying. 

When Laura Olsen Brill's two sets of grandparents --' Frederick & Serianna Olsen and Nils & Anna Hagestad -- chose the Norseville and Strum area as their final homesteading place, their decision had great bearing on the lives of countless people:  On Frederick Olsen's side, it set in motion a transplanting of a virtually intact group of Rindalings. It is interesting to note these Rindalings from the Old World came to Norseville and re-created their old-country cultural fabric:   a village-kinship pattern of  of interwoven marriages in their New World Farm Villages.   In addition, new people from other areas added new blood to the gene pool, e.g., Laura Olsen Brill's other grandparents, Nils & Anna Hagestad.

Ages.   I thought it would be helpful and interesting at each cited date of an event, to also offer a feeling of when
in the people's lifespan each event took place. For this, I inserted within brackets each peron's age at the time. As I calculated the dates to arrive at these ages, I made the striking discovery of how very young most of these people were when they made momentous, life-changing decisions. Their extreme youth at these critical junctures gives one pause to stop and reflect on the courage and enthusiasm -- and possibly foolish recklessness -- with which they struck off into the unknown.


World Map
North America, upper left
Scandinavia, center top
World map


Scandinavia -- Land of the Midnight Sun
-- shaded relief map of
Norway and Sweden --
Scandinavian peninsula
University of Texas map library, 1996 utexas

Norway's Lowlands & Mountains:
Highest mountains in dark green
Norway mountains
Norway's  Provinces
Trondheim is in S
ør Trondelag
Rindal is in M
øre og Romsdal
Norway's provinces


Trondheim Region -- with the town of Rindal indicated by a push-pin
Trondheim Region

Trondheim Region:  Provinces & Townships  
Rindal Township is the eastern-most portion of the Møre og Romsal Province 
-- sticking into the Sør Trondelag Province to the east.   
( Boundaries shown as purple lines:  
thicker lines = provincial boundaries.  
thinner lines = township boundaries. )

Møre og Romsal Province:  center-left 
Rindal township: center


Sixty miles southwest of the city of Trondheim, north of Trollheimen Mountain where the Rinna River flows into the Surna River, is the small town of Rindal. This town is the social and commercial hub for the many extended-family farm villages in the surrounding area.  See
Rindal-area website

 The Town of Rindal -- 

Rindal Area -- Overview Photo
Taken from the south near Jobo.  
The town of Rindal -- with its Rindal Kirke steeple-- is in lower left corner.

Photo by Gunnar Bureid, 

The Town of Rindal
 -- closer view, taken from the south --

Photo by Gunnar Bureid

Farm Villages Southeast of Rindal along the Rinna River 
(The road is indicated by the red line.)
[ Note:  In this map, the term "Rindal" beside the word "Romundstad" refers 
NOT to the commercial hub/town of Rindal, but rather to "Rindal Township."]

Southeast of Rindal along the Rinna River is the the Extended-Family Farm Village of Romundstad, whose founding dates back to Viking times.  Livserindringer fra Surendalen og Aure - - Memories of Life in Surendalen and Aure, by J. Mogstad from Surendalen and (Kandidat) Simonsen, has an interesting mention of the Romundstad Farm Village (see "Historical Bits," by F.L. Tronsdal

Mogstad & Simonsen reported that accounts in Heimskringla -- (The Sagas of the Norse Kings) -- say that around the year 1000 C.E., the sons of Viking King Erik Bloodaxe and his wife Gunhild (the sons were known as "Gunhilds-sons") lived in the Foldal valley along the Folla River -- just south of the Rindal area. Other histories add that many of the descendents of these "Gunhilds-sons" lived in Farm Villages in the Rindal area, including the Romundstad Farm Village.

The Old-World Extended-Family Farm Village of Romundstad, southeast of Rindal, Norway
The center group of farmhouses is called "Inner Romundstad." 
    Surrounding is "Outer Romundstad." 
Taken from a distance away to the south, with Tifjellet (Ti Mountain) in the background
Romundstad Farm Village - - Inner & Outer - - by Gunnar Bureid
by Gunnar Bureid

Inner Romundstad
Romundstad - Inner, by Gunnar Bureid

Two of the Farmhouses of Inner Romundstad:
  Oppistua and Austistua
by Gunnar Bureid 

In this picture are 2 of the 3 farmhouses of Inner Romundstad
-- the inner core of the extended-family Romundstad Farm Village:

- The white-painted farmhouse on the left is the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse,
the birthplace of these Romundstads from Laura Olsen Brill's
Olsen Family History
Fredrik Olsen Romundstad and his 7 nieces and nephews Big Ole, Gjertrud, Johanna, et al., Romundstad

-  The rust-colored farmhouse on the right is the Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse,
the birthplace of these Romundstads from this story,
Mildred Romundstad Madson,1897-1992
Peder, Anne, Even, Ole J., Anders, et al., Romundstad.

Further out from Inner Romundstad is Yttgaard - the "Outer Yard." 
See this page from the Rindal website with more photographs around the Romundstad Farm Village.  
Outer Romundstad has two dozen or so more houses, a few of which date to the 1600's and 1700's,
but most from the mid- and late-1800's. Some are tenant houses, and some are from mid- and late-1800's subdivision
of the land to land-owners' children as the population grew rapidly.  

The Romundstad Midtstua Farmhouse - - one of the mid-1800's farmhouses in the Yttgaard - -
was the birthplace of Lars Olson Romundstad Yttgaard, who emigrated to Norseville and went by the name of Lars Yttgaard.

Romundstad Yttgaard - the "Outer Yard"   

The Stomprød Farm Village 
 -- on the Rinna River a little further southeast 
from the Romundstad Farm Village --

Sigrid Larsdatter Stomprød (1794-1830) came from the Stomprød Storli Farmhouse.
In 1816, Sigrid, age 22, married
Ole Olson Romundstad Oppistua, age 22 (1794-1859).
They had 7 children, then Sigrid died at age 36.  
Their youngest child was 1 yr old -- Fredrik Olsen Romundstad

Røen Nestua
 -- on the Surna River north of the town of Rindal --
Røen Nestua was the birthplace of Jon Pederson Røen, who married Marit Olsdatter
from the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse. 
Peder and Marit took over the farmhouse next door -- Romundstad Austistua
They had __ children  
Peder, Even, Ole J., and Anders Romundstad, et al.

Roen Nestua
Photo by Gunnar Bureid

Scarcity of Good Farm Land

Due to the mid- and late-1800's subdivision of these ancient farms, there grew an ever-increasing scarcity of available good farm land to offer the younger generations.  They increasingly felt crowded out of any real opportunity for a good life as independent farmers, and looked to America for its promise of opportunity and abundance.  Many emigrated -- mostly to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

world map

Norseville Wisconsin -- the New-World Extended-Family Farm Village
North of Strum, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Map


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Website by Lisa Lindberg,   Lindberg-Work Family

Work log
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