crossed flags





Research has revealed that our Pedersen family has historically resided in the Telemark region of Norway which is located on the south east coast.


telemark map



The earliest ancestor discovered is Anders born 1583 he lived on farmland named Skjelbred in Solum, Telemark. The following lineage highlights a direct male line from my grandson James to Anders.


The above record has established that my great x2 grandfather Peder Pedersen born in the Holla region of Telemark in 1810 was the first to establish the use of the Pedersen surname. Prior to him the surname was derived from the father's christian name.

peder pedersen birth 1810;

In 1850, Peder Pedersen married his second wife Todne Somundsdatter.

peder pedersen marriage

In 1851 Peder Pedersen and Todne had a son Ole Pedersen born in Holla Telemark.

ole pedersen born

In 1870 Ole Pedersen married Anne Gulleksdatter, from Myrland, in Maelum Telemark. Oleís trade was a joiner.

ole's marriage

In 1883 my grandfather was born in Kragero Telemark. Due to damaged church records his full Christian name Solve Kornelius was misread.

kornelius birth

solve cornelius birth


In 1891 the Pedersen family were still living in Kragero.



In 1900 the Pedersen family were living in East Borge, Porsgrun. at family home number 52. My grandmother Laura Mathilda Jensen and the Jensen family were residing in family home number 49.

pedersen-jensen families 1900


All young men at the age of 16yrs were required to enrol as conscripts in the Norwegian military. From 1902 to 1905 my granddad served his time as a seaman.

1902 to 1905 conscription


On 14th February 1909 my grandparents Solve Kornelius Olsen and Laura Mathilde Jensen married in Oslo. At this stage my grandfather is using the traditional Olsen surname. He is also, like his father, a joiner (snedker) by trade.

grandad's marriage


The following year the 1910 census took place. The family are still living in Oslo. They have now decided to adopt the Pedersen surname. This census also shows Solveig, their first child. She is described as being born in Kristiania. This was the original name for Oslo before it was changed in 1925. Their address is 41 JensBjelkesgate, which is located in central Oslo.

1910 census


Ultimately the family consisted of six children, one girl and five boys.

Solveig.††††††††††† ††††††††††††Born, Oslo,1909.

Torolf.††††††††††† ††††††††††††Born, Oslo,1911 ( My Father)

Oivind Bjorn††††††††††Born,Porsgrunn,†† 1913.

Ornulf††††††††††† ††††††††††††Born,Porsgrunn,1918

Sigurd†††††††††† †††††††††††††Born, ††Porsgrunn, 1919.

Asbjorn††††††† †††††††††††††Born,Porsgrunn, 1921.

The dates indicate that the Pedersen family moved from Oslo back to Porsgrunn between 1911 and 1913.

The 1910 census also records my great grandfather Ole Pedersen along with his wife Anna and daughter Uranda are living at 76 Borge Gjerpen.

1910 census ole pedersen


In 1923 my grandad and his brother Oluf left their families in Porsgrun and travelled to USA. Oluf arrived first at Ellis Island. New York in February 1923 onboard the "S/S FREDERICK V111" . My granddad later joined his brother in July 1923 arriving on the "Bergensfjord" .

1923 oluf arrives new york

grandad emigrates

In October 1925 grandad had returned to Porsgrun with sufficient cash to enable him to buy a plot of land on the Solbakken farmland in Porsgrun. According to the record he then borrowed from the bank, to build a family home on this plot .

cornelius buys a plot of land

After completing these financial transactions grandad returned to Brooklyn USA on 16th July 1926 onboard the S/S Frederick V111, I assume he needed to keep earning to pay for his mortgage.

cornelius buys a plot of land

He built the house now known by the address Amotbakken 45 in Porsgrun.

house in porsgrun

I believe the photo below is of my grandfatherís brother Oluf, second left. The man holding the dog is my dad. I assume it is an early 1950s photo.

dads uncle oluf


Four of the brothers, Torolf, Oivind Bjorn, Ornulf, and Asbjorn became seamen in the Norwegian Merchant Marine. .


dads head shot

On the 7th April 1911 my dad was born in the Gronland parish of Oslo. .

dad's birth

On 18th Nov 1929 the edited manifest below records him arriving on the M/V Brand at Tacoma Washington. It had departed from Vancouver,Canada. The record shows Torolf Pedersen was then aged 18yrs and has 3 years sea service. He had signed on this ship on 12th May 1929, in Norway..


When ships were in port crews would have rowing competitions by racing against teams from other vessels. This was considered to be excellent training in lifeboat skills. .

the rowing team

The A/S Borgestadhouse flag house flag is located on the bow of the boat and it carries the name of the vessel Borgestad.

I am of the opinion that my dad served on the ship M/V Borgestad prior to his brother joining the ship(see later Oivind Bjorn). .

rowing boat

In the race highlighted the Borgestad team is in second place. .

rowing race

On 12th May 1938, Torolf and my mother Mary De La Santos, married here in Liverpool. .

mams photo dads photo


Following the German occupation of Norway on 9th April 1940 the Norwegian Government and the Royal family relocated to London to continue the war for the liberation of their country. One of their first actions was to place all free Norwegian ships under one central command called Nortraship. .


The Norwegian Directorate for seamen in the U.K had the following details registered for my dad. .


dad's wartime ships


The vessels listed are the ships Torolf served on during WW11. .

dad's wartime ships


As a result of his participation in the liberation of Norway dad was awarded two medals, The Kings Medal and The King Haakon V11 Medal. .


dad's wartime shipsdad's wartime ships




Following the end of WW11, and the liberation of Norway, the Pedersen family were reunited.

It was arranged in the summer of 1947 that my brother and I would visit our grandparents in Norway. This first photo was taken with my Dad in my grandparentís garden.Coming from war-torn Liverpool it was an idyllic environment.


me dad and ralph jim on a horse 1947 boat trip



After the war ended dad continued with his career in the merchant navy. Until he reached retirement age, he retired to a seamenís home in Stavern Telemark Norway. On the 26th July 1979 he died, aged 68 years.


seamen's home stavern






Oivind Bjorn

In 1934 Oivind Bjorn began his first sea voyage as a Engineer aged 21yrs and in 1938 the youngest brother Asborn aged 16yrs joined him onboard the vessel the Chr Knudsen as a messboy. .

The following edited ship manifest shows them arriving at Astoria.Oregan on 19th August 1938, having departed from Balboa. They both signed on the ship in Norway on 8th July 1938. Oivind Bjorn at this point in his career has four years sea service, Asbjorn, is on his first sea voyage. .

chr knudsen manifest

oivind bjorn pedersen

Before the German invasion Oivind Bjorn signed on the M/V Borgestad on 26th Sept 1939, in Norway, as a 3rd Engineer. .

It is on the M/V Borgestad that Oivind Bjorn Pedersen, and all his crewmates, were to lose their lives. .

borgestad photo

On 30th Jan 1941 the Borgestad left Freetown,Africa, in a convoy consisting of 19 other ships, heading for Liverpool with a cargo of cotton. .

On 12th Feb 1941 the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. The position was 300 miles S.E. of the Azores. It is believed that the M/V Borgestad attempted to draw the Admiral Hipper away from the rest of the convoy by attacking the German cruiser, it managed to fire four rounds before she herself was hit and blown into three pieces and sank. .

admiral hipper

Oivind Bjorn and all thirty other crew members including one woman (the wife of the first mate) were killed in this attack. .

borgestad attacked

crewlist killed

Norma Nergaard was the wife of the 1st Mate, Harold Nergaard. They had married six months before, in June 1940. Norma Nergaard is recognised in the USA as being the first American woman to be killed in action in WW11. .

Oivind was awarded posthumously The St Olav Medal one of Norways highest awards. On Febr. 6-1942 it was decided that in a war situation the medal could also be awarded for other services for the country, then on March 22-1943 it was determined that it was to be supplied with a silver oak branch when awarded for personal courage and bravery in the fight for Norway. .

crewlist killed


The youngest brother Asbjorn, arrived in America aged 17 years, on 21st November 1939, aboard the S.S Stavangerfjord. .

With the invasion of Norway he had no homebase to return to, so it appears that he decided to make America his base. .

On the 8th November 1944, aged 22 years, he married Evelyn Louise Bloomgren, the daughter of Swedish immigrants, in Los Angeles, California. .

asbjorn's marriage

This couple had one daughter, Sonja Louis Pedersen, born in Los Angeles in 22nd September 1945. The photo taken has my dad (wearing the tie) visiting Asbjorn and his wife. I believe the young girl to be their daughter Sonja. .

asbjorn and dad

In the 1960s Asbjorn was working on fishing vessels sailing out of New Bedford. Massachusetts. In 1962 he was onboard the fishing vessel the Midnight Sun trawling on the Georgeís Bank scallop grounds. On November 14th 1962 there was a fierce Atlantic storm with 40 to 60ft waves and 80 knot winds. The Midnight Sun was lost with all hands. No wreckage or bodies were ever found. The website,, describes the disaster. .

midnight sun crew list

The Captain of the Midnight Sun, Magne Risdal, was also the major shareholder in the company. In 1960 the family of Magne Risdal made a video of the launching of the vessel. The film is not good quality but it does give a reasonable image of the ship. .