Invite to Dinner–52 Ancestors, Week 4

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. The topic this week is “Invite to Dinner.” (I’m a day late getting this finished, but I’ve been sick. It seems everyone is sick this month.)

I would invite Fred Valley to dinner. He is my great-grandfather and I don’t know very much about him. I know he’s Norwegian and that VALLEY was not his surname in Norway. His son Peter Coleman VALLEY thought the surname in Norway was Nesledalen which we think might mean Nettle Valley. Maybe this was the farm name where the family lived? I haven’t seen any records in Norway with the Nesledalen family name. (However, I haven’t done much research in Norway.)

To make things more confusing I have found a Passenger List¹ showing the arrival in New York of Godfred Vallesvar and his wife Katrine (Katrine is the closest name it looks like) Vallesvar in 1883 from Norway. The list shows their destination as Stoughton, Wisconsin. Did Godfred Vallesvar change his name to Fred Valley?

Another record I’ve found shows the baptism² of Ole Sevill (later changed to William), the son of Fred and Katinka Valley and younger brother of my grandfather in the First Lutheran Church of Stoughton, Wisconsin. The sponsors are Sophie Kleve, Olive Wallesverdh, Hans Kleve and Konrad Wallesverdh. Peter Coleman VALLEY thought his mother’s name was Katinka Pauline WALLISVERD. (I have seen many versions of her name–Pauline Katinka; Paulina; Tinka; Wallesverdh; Wallisverg.)

I have so many questions I would like to ask Fred VALLEY so I could find out if Godfred Vallesvar is my Fred Valley. And if Godfred and Fred aren’t the same person then who was Fred?

………………………

¹”New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-5P92-ZB?cc=1849782&wc=MX62-66J%3A165885001 : 21 May 2014), 462 – 13 Feb 1883-27 Mar 1883 > image 846 of 1090; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

²Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Archives; Elk Grove Village, Illinois; from Ancestry.com. U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1826-1945 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. ELCA, Birth, Marriage, Deaths. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Chicago, Illinois.

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Peter Coleman VALLEY and family–what my Dad told me

The VALLEY family is my Dad’s Norwegian part of our family. My grandfather died when I was a little girl, but my Dad related what he knew about his father’s family:

My grandfather–Peter Coleman VALLEY–didn’t know too much about his parents. He was born in Wisconsin and he left home after his dad died because he didn’t get along with his mother. Peter said “my mother took up with other men.” After he left home, he lied about his age (he was 16) so he could join the Army in 1900. He was in the Philippines and later in the Boxer Rebellion in China during the Spanish-American War. [My father says his dad was born 28 August 1884, but military records when he joined the Army show 18 April 1882 and later military records show 28 August 1882.]

1900 Census showing Peter Valley in Puerto Rico with other military

Peter’s parents came from Norway and their names were Fred VALLEY and Katinka Pauline WALLISVERD (or WALLISVERG or WALLESVERD or WALLESVERDH or some other spelling!). Peter didn’t know where they came from in Norway, but he thought the family name was changed from Neseldolen [my brother tells me the spelling should be Nesledalen] (which might mean nettle valley–and maybe it’s a Norwegian farm name?? Because he thought they came from a place called Neseldolen. [Nesledalen]) He also thought there was a family connection in Trondheim, Norway (a harbor city on the west coast of Norway) who might have been a ship’s carpenter or harbor master, but didn’t know a name.

Peter had a younger brother named William VALLEY (born in 1886). They also had a younger half-brother named John HOOD (born in 1894). They were all born in Wisconsin. Peter moved to Minnesota after he left the Army and married my grandmother Olga Tekla Laura Nora JOHNSON. Her parents were Swedish. Peter worked in sawmills in Minnesota and moved his family to Bend, Oregon in 1919 to work in a sawmill there. My grandparents lived the rest of their lives there.

Some questions I have:

  1. I have found very little information about Fred VALLEY. I’m not sure when he died. This year I did find a state record for a Fred VALLEY who died in 1898 in Wisconsin. Is this my Fred VALLEY? I need to get a copy of the death certificate to find out what information it shows.
  2. I found a Lutheran church record in Stoughton, Wisconsin for the baptism of William VALLEY in 1886, but I haven’t been able to find any birth record for Peter VALLEY. Differing records show he was born in Gilman, Taylor County, Wisconsin, United States. Another record shows Pierce County, Wisconsin as a birth site.
  3. I found a New York Passenger List which shows Godfred Vallesvar and Katrine Vallesvar arriving in the U.S. in 1883 and planning to go to Stoughton, Wisconsin. Is this Fred and Katinka VALLEY?
  4. Is John HOOD Peter and William’s half-brother?

I am thinking of going on a research trip to Madison, Wisconsin to search for state records for the VALLEY family and also do research at the Naseth Library (a Norwegian American Genealogical Society) also in Madison.

Source info:

Year: 1900; Census Place: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Military and Naval Forces; Roll: 1838; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL microfilm: 1241838; found on Ancestory.com