One of my first Internet searches turned up the picture of Munsala Church in Finland. Recently, a correspondent in Sweden sent me an article about the Öxabäck Church from my grandmother's parish in Sweden. But the biggest find is an original Norwegian Stave Church in the same parish where my great, great grandfather--the progenitor of the Helgesons--was born.



Stave Church, Ål in Torpo, Norway


Parish Church, Munsala, Finland


Parish Church, Öxabäck, Sweden


Built in the early 13th century, it is the only remaining stave church in Hallingdal where once there were seven, including Ål Church.

Click here to see picture of Ål Stave church before it was razed in 1880.

  Munsala  church, from 1784, has Finland's oldest still functioning church organ--from 1736.   Öxabäck  church with its stair-step tower, was built around 1874 on the site on a medieval church that had grown too small.  
My great great grandfather, Holge (or Helge) Halvorson, was born (1797) in Ål parish in the Hallingdal valley of Norway. His farm was Siire in the subparish of Torpo, where one of the original stave churches of Norway still exists. Holge Halvorson and his wife, Ingeborg Olsdotter, emigrated to the US in 1850.   My grandfather was born (1884) Anders Viktor Johansson Gästgifvars in Munsala parish-- now part of the town of Nykarlby on the Bothnian (west) coat of Finland. Perhaps, he was christened in the Munsala Church. Victor Johnson emigrated to the US in 1902.   My grandmother, Emma Lovisa Andersdotter, was born (1885) in Öxabäck parish. Älvsborg lan, Sweden. Her local parish church is pictured above. Emma Anderson emigrated to the US in 1902 and married Victor Johnson in 1909.  
This page last updated: 18 June 1999.