Barry's Relatively Speaking: Help Comes From Unusual Source

Posted on Nov 19, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on LaVonne shares the following experience.

Shortly after World War II Dad told me of a relative of my Mother who had helped sabotage Norway's heavy water plant at Vemork, ending Germany's hopes of producing the atom bomb. I forgot his name, and now my relatives who might remember were all gone.

In May, 1982, Telesoga, a newsletter for people with roots in Tele-mark, Norway, reprinted a 1915 article about Norwegian settlers around Watford City, North Dakota. One was writer Jon Norstog, nephew of Norwegian author Aasmund Olavs-son Vinje who was my Grandmother's second cousin. Soon after, I watched the "Johnny Carson Show", and Johnny's guest was a delightful elderly gentleman, Attorney Bill Jacobsen, of Watford City, N.D.!

With small hope, I wrote to Mr. Jacobsen, who sent back a plat map, personal reminiscences of the Nor-stogs, and the address of Jon's nephew, Konrad. From Konrad I got a 28-page genealogy of the Vaagslid family - my great grandmother's line. Among those listed were Sigrid Guri, Hollywood star of the late 1930's, and her twin brother, Knut Haukelid, "The Hero of Telemark", who helped sabotage the Vemork plant, and who blew up the ferry carrying all the heavy water tanks and equipment to Germany - my third cousins!

I wrote to Knut Haukelid, with no address but "Oslo, Norway", and he replied. Now 1 have Knut's and Sigrid's photographs, letters, an autographed copy of Knut's book, Kampen Om Tungtvannet, and contact with a whole new branch of my family, in North Dakota, Washington and Norway.

Thank you, Johnny Carson!

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