Wednesday, July 13, 2011



In the last few years I have spent a great deal of time studying genealogy and discovering our family history.  Since then I have had many spiritual happenings and listened to many other experiences of other family members, so it's only natural that I seem to look more in to the past than the future.  I believe with all my heart that the veil that separates us from the dead is very thin.   I believe that Dad and Mother are here watching us right now.  I would like to share some of our the  history with you today.  

Whenever I talked about genealogy, Dad would talk about Norway and he would tell me what his father had been passed down from generation to generation to him.  In the 1600's our name in Denmark was Grontved from a farm in Lille Grontved.  This was our name until 1771 when one of these Grontveds married a Norwegian lady by the name of Helle Christensen whose ancestors came to Denmark on some Norwegian king's ship during a time of great famine.   These two had a  son who was named Halvor, who then grew up and married Anne their child was Peder Halvorsen who because he was Norwegian and had the Grontved family influence became a Captain in the Danish Army.  Most all of Denmark's best soldiers were Norwegians.  Halvorsen is a Norwegian name that came from the mother's family.  History shows us that these Danes wished to preserve their Norwegian heritage by naming many future children, Halvor.  I traced the name all the way back to Norway and then the other way to America and New Zealand.  There are no more Halvor's in America, but in New Zealand there are two Halvor's, both Pedersen's (a father and his son).  Great Grandfather Peder Halvorsen was a Norwegian in both looks and action, he was a Viking.  At my age he was still tall and slim and acted like a soldier.  My Father proudly stated,  "I was working in the mine with two Norwegians they asked me if I was a Norwegian before they knew my name or anything about me."     

Halvor Pedersen  in New Zealand
Peder Halvorsen's two eldest son's emigrated to New Zealand in the 1870's with the idea that the family would come later but the rest came to America a few years later with the help of the Mormon Church.   At that time Grandpa Andrew Halverson's name was Andrew Pedersen, he changed his name to Halvorsen when he came to America,  
Last month I visited the families of Grandpa's two brother's who went to New Zealand, the Pedersen's and the Petersen's.    It was just like turning back the pages of time.  I will always remember how my Dad and all his brothers and sisters loved to tease and that's just how it was in New Zealand.  I just loved to listen to it but I don't really know if Joyce enjoyed it.  Sandra's father, Halvor Pedersen teased his wife, Doris constantly and Joyce when the opportunity came.  Joyce would be offered a piece of pie by Doris only to have Halvor say,  "Oh! you took the biggest".  Or if Joyce took the last one, "Oh!, that was mine I didn't get any".   

We also visited many of the Petersen families; Uncle George's daughters, Wendy and Phyllis, Jean, (Colin's wife) and Aunt Rose's son, Murray Whaley who was taking us on a tour of the South Island when Joyce became sick causing us to return to America.  It was fortunate because this was Dad's last days and we were able to spend them together. 

Dad loved to tease too, I remember the twinkle in his eye when he told how he took the shotgun shells out of his brother Ray's gun and how he could hardly wait till he tried to shoot some ducks and how hard it was for Dad to convince Ray that it was Ray himself that forgotten to load the gun.   When dad's brothers and sisters gathered anyone was fair game, Joyce was like my Mother, a person everyone loved to tease. 

Family was always very important to Dad, he never lost an opportunity to visit some relative.  As a child I still remember the visits to Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary Halverson Peterson, cousins, brothers and sisters and his many nieces and nephews.  He went to every reunion until he was no longer able to travel.  He used to write letters but maybe not often enough because Aunt Mary kept asking him if he had broke his arm. 

Dad had to work hard all of his life, it was only in his later years that he had it easy.  He wanted to be a farmer like his father but there were just too many disappointments.  So he went to work in the metal mines.  He was only in his 30's when got silicosis and wasn't able to work for two years.  He was one of the few who lived to an old age.  It is almost unbelievable that he lived to be 97 years old.   The silica in his lungs are like carrying two large rocks, one in each lung. 

Dad was a fighter though, I remember when we lived in Telegraph, when he was operating the huge mine air compressor in Copperfield.  It was hard for him to breath let alone walk from Copperfield to Telegraph up a 12% grade, it took him more than a hour to get home and he would be completely exhausted.  It took many years to gain the strength to accomplish this task easily.  Yet he never gave up or nor did he complain until he could do this, non-stop. 

Harvey and Marcell Chea
I watched that same inner strength carry him through his remaining years.  It was only in the last two days of his life when he realized that he couldn't win this last battle.   It was hard to watch the disbelief on his face when he realized he couldn't live any longer, his mind was as sharp as ever but his body was just worn out.  This was when he made peace with those around him and said things to me that I had been waiting to hear for 60 years.  He couldn't talk or hear at this time so he wrote to us, but his message was clear.   He also told me to say good-by for him to all his family and friends.   GOOD-BY

A talk by Eugene at his father's funeral at Broomhead's Mortuary 21 March, 1996.

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