Anna Gudrun Hauge Holmes Oral History Interview, 1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Holmes, Anna Gudrun Hauge
1982 (inclusive)
3 file folders
2 photographs
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Anna Gudrun Hauge Holmes, a Norwegian immigrant.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
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Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Anna Gudrun (Hauge) Holmes was born on February 13, 1898 in Hauge, Torvastad, Karmøy, Norway. Her parents were Johan and Gurine Hauge, and she had six sisters and two brothers. Gudrun started school when she was seven and went for seven years; she then attended Ungdomsskole at Kopervik on Karmøy for six months, where she learned to sew, cook, weave, do arithmetic, and speak English. She stayed with a cousin in various places in 1914 and then returned home. In 1927, she met her husband, Elias Holmes, who had lived in the U.S. since 1914 and was her sister Sophie's brother-in-law, when he was visiting Norway. Her cousin's husband died in 1929, and Gudrun went to help and stayed there until Elias came back to marry her in 1930. They were married in Dome Church in Stavanger on June 7, 1930 and left for the U.S. on August 17, 1930. They lived in Huntley, MT, which is near Billings, MT, for six months when they first arrived, and then in Judson, ND for a number of years. Because Elias was young and worked for the railroad, they were moved often; they moved to Richardton, ND, then Stipek, MT, and back to Richardton before Elias left the railroad and the family bought a farm in Stanwood, WA in 1937. They have four children-Kjell, John, Gudveig, and Leif. Gudrun visited Norway with her daughter Gudveig in 1966.


Full Name: Anna Gudrun Hauge Holmes. Maiden Name: Anna Gudrun Hauge. Father: Johan Hauge. Mother: Gurine Hauge. Paternal Grandfather: Asbjørn Hauge.. Paternal Grandmother: Marie Elisebet Hauge. Maternal Grandfather: Peder Hauge. Maternal Grandmother: Anna Sofie Hauge. Brothers and Sisters: Peder Hauge, Marie Hanevik, Sofie Holmes, Amalia Hauge, Johan Arnt Hauge, Astrid Boe, Signe Østhus. Spouse: Elias Holmes. Children: Kjell Holmes, John Holmes, Gudveig Holmes Nelsen, Leif Holmes.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The interview was conducted with Gudrun Holmes on March 18, 1982 in Stanwood, Washington. This interview contains information on family history; church life in Norway; father's carpentry work; brothers and sisters; family home, Christmas, and school in Norway; Norwegian foods; living with a cousin; meeting husband; reasons for emigrating; wedding; parents' feelings about emigration; voyage to America; West Coast; house in Stanwood, WA; railroad work; Great Depression; impressions of U.S.; language problems; children; visit to Norway; church life in U.S.; Norwegian foods. The interview also contains photographs of Gudrun Holmes and her husband Elias at the time of the interview. The interview was conducted in English with some Norwegian towards the end. Also see Elias Holmes, T152. Gudrun's family tree is also in the Karmøy Torvastad bygdebook on page 53.

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Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The partial interview transcription highlights important aspects of the interview. Numbers may be used as guides to important subjects. Two numbers separated by a slash indicate that the first number is for cassette and the second for CD.

Container(s) Description
153, side 1 015: PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Anna Gudrun Hauge Holmes. Born in Hauge, Torvastad, Karmøy, Norway which is near Haugesund. Had a boat that went back and forth to Haugesund several times a day which they would send the milk from their farm to. All the boats used to go this way. When she left on the Stavangerfjord they went through here. Many ships during the war took that route too (WWI). After WWII in about in about 1950 they built a bridge across here so now big ships can't pass this way.
153, side 1 160: PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Born on 13 February 1898. 84 years old now.
153, side 1 175: PARENTS
Johan Hauge and Gurine. It was a family custom to name a girl in the family "Gud" plus an ending which varied. Her mother's maiden name was Hauge because she was also from that area. They took the name of the place they lived. Father had a farm and was a carpenter too. He built many houses and a bedehus (a prayer house).
153, side 1 225: CHURCH LIFE
Everyone was religious there. Everyone was Lutheran because the church belonged to the state. Went to church at 11am and then at 5pm they would meet and collect money not for the church because they were supported by the state, but for various missions. They still give lots of money to foreign countries. (5pm was the Bedehus meeting)
153, side 1 280: PREACHERS
Uncle, father and neighbors. The minister never came (Bedehus). They still keep this up.
153, side 1 316: VISITS TO NORWAY
Went back in 1966 with Gudveig. It was really nice to see again.
153, side 1 330: GRANDPARENTS
Sofie Hauge her maternal grandmother died of pneumonia in 1910. Her husband's name was Peder. He was a farmer. Paternal grandparents were Asbjørn and Marie Elisabet. He was involved in many things, school board, insurance, and carpentry.
153, side 1 380: FATHER'S CARPENTRY WORK
Built for neighbors. Could take down houses and move them and build them up again.
153, side 1 410: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Six sisters and two brothers. Marie. Sofie came to Seattle. Amalia stayed at home with her mother until her death. Astrid they have a farm. Signe they have a farm. Peder came to the U.S. for 12 years. He worked for Northern Pacific RR building railroads in the summertime. He returned to Norway and bought the neighboring farm. Johan got the family farm.
153, side 1 465: FAMILY HOME
Not a big home. Had an upstairs and a basement which was made up like a kitchen. This was very common to have the basement fixed up like a kitchen. Used to have a big fireplace for baking in.
153, side 1 510: ELECTRICITY
Came in 1922. Later they got an electric stove. She remembers Christmas Eve that year and how it was lit up.
153, side 1 524: CHRISTMAS
Didn't have a tree because they don't have trees on Karmøy. It is too windy by the North Sea. Now they have brought in some sturdier trees from Alaska. Before that they had such little trees. Talks about Store Øy which has nice trees. Had good food and went to church for Christmas. After Christmas they went to all kinds of things. They had big trees in the Bedehus. They went to Ungdomslaget. Got some candies and an orange. They sang around the tree.
Promised not to drink. Lots of young people went there. Had a Christmas tree there too.
153, side 1 645: CHRISTMAS
Lasted for about two weeks. A lot went on after Christmas. Foods - lefse, rice, ribs, and cutlets.
153, side 1 675: FOOD
Ate a lot of fish. Bought a bunch of fish and would salt and dry it. Ate torsk (cod) and sill (herring), and mackeral. Ate it smoked sometimes too.
153, side 1 725: FAMILY FARM
Raised vegetables and cabbage for the cows. Lots of potatoes. Her brother and she worked together. Her brother got half the income and her father the other half.
153, side 1 765: PARENTS
Father died in 1934 after Gudrun left. He was about 76 years old. Her mother lived until 1944.
153, side 1 780: SCHOOL DAYS IN NORWAY
The school was about 10 minutes away. Had one teacher and one "laererinne" (female teacher). Started school at age 7 and went to school for three years with the laererinne and then for four years with the teacher. The teacher was a nice old man. He was very religious. He played the violin and taught hymns. They didn't go to school everyday. The first three years they went three days a week (M,W,F). The next four years they went on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
153, side 1 833: UNGDOMSSKOLE
Went to this school which belonged to the whole "Fister" (township) of Rogaland. Young people came from all around. The school was located at Kopervik on Karmøy. Utgarden fylkesskole was the name of the school. This was about one Norwegian mile from her home. Would either walk or get there by horse and buggy.
153, side 1 863: UNGDOMSSKOLE
Learned to sew, cook, weave, arithmetic, and English. There were two or three teachers. Went there for six months.
153, side 1 880:
Cousin was married to a professor in the seminary on Store Øy. He had a "stipend" (scholarship) in which he had to travel to a different country for a whole year. The two girls went to Sigdal which is close to Drammen where the cousin's father (her uncle lived and stayed there for the summer. This was in 1914. There was a big celebration in Oslo that they went to.
153, side 1 910: WENT TO SETESDAL
This is near Kristiansand. This is where her cousin's husband's family lived. They stayed there for the entire winter. Gudrun took care of the three small children. They had a lot of fun skiing.
153, side 1 925: WENT TO BERGEN
Cousin's husband got a job in Bergen. He was a professor who studied old things. Thorleif Hanus (?). Gudrun stayed with them for a year and then returned home. He died in 1929 when he was about 50 years old. Gudrun went to help. He had an operation and died three days later. Gudrun stayed with them until Elias came back to marry her in Norway. (He was in the U.S.)
153, side 1 970: MEETING HUSBAND
Met in 1927 when he came home on a visit to Norway. He had been in the U.S. since 1914. He brought greetings to her from her sister who married to his brother in Belfield, ND. Gudrun and her husband had met in 1913 when she was 16 years old. In 1914 he left for America. Her sister Sofie and his brother Louie were married when Louie came home for a visit. Louie went to the U.S. and said he would return, but didn't so Sofie went to the U.S. to be with him. Elias knew Gudrun's brother Peder. Gudrun was away visiting her cousins in Bergen. This was a sad period for Gudrun because she was going to marry a man who got pneumonia and died. Gudrun's brother wrote to her and asked if she would come home and help out in the summertime. This was when Elias came over from Stavanger to Karmøy again and they met.
153, side 1 1087: REASONS FOR EMIGRATION
Elias asked her to sign up to come to America and she did. She had always wanted to come to America. She was going to come when her sister came, but she was in eastern Norway at that time. Her mother liked that idea that the two would go together. Elias wrote many times for her to come to America, but she wouldn't and couldn't because of the quotas being enforced at that time. So he came over, married her, and took he back in 1930. Didn't have anything to do in Norway. Didn't like to work for other people.
153, side 2 026: WEDDING
Married in the "Domkirke" ( cathedral) in Stavanger. Had dinner in a restaurant afterwards. She recites what the pastor said to them in Norwegian for everything to go to the Lord and He will do it for you. June 7, 1930. had a beautiful white dress with a veil. Family wedding. Could have had the wedding in the Torvastad Church but didn't want to. Parents didn't come to the wedding because it was too far to travel and her father wasn't in good health.
Hardest on her father because he knew that he would never see her again. Elias was interested in buying a farm in Norway, but Gudrun was young and wanted to see America. They decided to come to America for three years and then return to Norway.
Their plan was to go back to Norway. Elias told her to go back and then he would follow, but Gudrun thought it was better to go together. When the children were 6 years old they decided that they couldn't stay any longer in North Dakota because of the climate. Decided to take a trip to Seattle first to see the West Coast and to visit their family there. They had free train travel because he worked on the railroad.
153, side 2 215: WEST COAST
Looked at farms. Returned to North Dakota. Got a message form his brother that a farm they had looked at was for sale. Gudrun told him not to buy that farm, but he did. When Elias bought the farm he was finally satisfied. When the war came they were glad that they had stayed in the U.S.
153, side 2 254: EMIGRATION
Left the 17th of August 1930 from Stavanger. They left together.
153, side 2 267: SHIP TRAVEL
He had a good time, but she was sick the whole time. Came to New York on the 26th of August. Left from Bergen on the Stavangerfjord.
153, side 2 288: TRAIN TRAVEL
Remembers how warm it was in New York and Chicago. Visited a cousin in Chicago. She was expecting the Vinland that Leif Erikson talked about, but it was so dry.
153, side 2 313: WEST COAST
Just like Norway. Children could play outside.
153, side 2 319: HOUSE
Had been rented out for 11 years. Everything was so dirty. They have almost rebuilt the house. Now she likes the house. (This is their house in Stanwood.)
153, side 2 345: HUNTLEY, MONTANA
This is where they lived after they first came to the U.S. This is near Billings, Montana. Elias worked on the railroad. They rented a little house there. They stayed there for 6 months.
153, side 2 355: JUDSON, NORTH DAKOTA
The house they lived in belonged to the railroad. The birds had been living in the house. Kjell was 6 months old then. They cleaned up that house and lived there for some years.
153, side 2 380: RAILROAD WORK
He was young so they moved him from place to place. Moved to Richardton, ND then to Stipek, MT, which is near Glendive, MT, then back to Richardton, ND, and then they moved out here (Stanwood).
153, side 2 397: 1930S
They had money because he worked for the railroad. She remembers a lady in Judson, ND giving her eggs for 5 cents a dozen. In those days the train was full of Hobos on the flatcars. They would take water from the well until there wasn't anymore. She would feed them sometimes. They were starving. After Roosevelt came in there weren't people on the flatcars anymore.
Remembers how hot it was. They didn't go through Ellis Island. They just went right to the railroad station in New York. In Chicago she met her cousin there because the train stopped for a few hours. It was hot.
153, side 2 455: LANGUAGE PROBLEMS
Had a hard time learning English because they had no electricity, no radio, and she never got the chance to talk to people. Got a chance to talk to people when she visited her sister in Belfield, ND, but they all spoke Norwegian. When they came out west they bought a little radio and she learned English from that and the children's Sunday school paper. Still has problems speaking English.
153, side 2 490:
Spoke Norwegian in the home. She only speaks Norwegian with her children. Gudveig only speaks Norwegian with her. They correspond by letters in Norwegian also. Gudveig and John took Norwegian at the university.
153, side 2 525:
Came to the coast in 1937.
153, side 2 530: CHILDREN
Kjell is a civil engineer and works for the Atkinson Co. in California. He graduated from the university after spending four years in the Air Force first. They live in San Diego, California. The company builds roads. He married a girl from Oregon who is a nurse, Laura Burdett. They met at an Air Force base near Spokane. They have two children, Erik and Julie who are attending the university. John went to the university and studied business and was in ROTC so he went in the service for two years. He started at the Bank of Stanwood and is now the president. He married Nancy Gordon from Seattle. They were in the service in Louisiana for two years. They have three children, John, Scott, and Lance. John studies civil engineering and business. Scott studies business. Lance is in high school.
153, side 2 619: CHILDREN (CONT'D)
Gudveig went to the university, became a teacher, taught school in Seattle, went to the University of Hawaii for the summer, and then taught school in Palo Alto, California for several years. Married Andrew Nelsen who is an engineer for the town of San Francisco. They have one boy. Leif went to Edison and took up machinery. He worked for Norman's Chevrolet. He married a Stanwood girl, Susan Kokstad (?). They live in Stanwood, Washington. Leif commutes to Lynnwood, Washington to work. They have three children.
153, side 2 677: TRIPS TO NORWAY
1966, Gudveig and she went to Norway. Many changes, more buildings. Had been 36 years. They took a plane from Seattle to Alaska and then over to the North Pole to Copenhagen, where they took another plane to Stavanger, Norway. Sister met them. Talks about peoples' children and their occupation in Norway. They went to the Catrhedral one Sunday.
153, side 2 733: CHURCH LIFE
Goes to church every Sunday.
153, side 2 760: SPOKEN NORWEGIAN
Says the Norwegian table prayer "I Jesus Navn". Gudveig's little boy can say this prayer in Norwegian. John's boy can say "Kan du snakke norsk?"
153, side 2 780: NORWEGIAN FOODS
She makes lefse and fattigmand. They like Norwegian food. A favorite is kumla (potato dumplings) which she makes and her daughter-in-law Susan makes.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Christmas
  • Education--Norway
  • Emigration and immigration
  • English language
  • Family--Norway
  • Marriage service
  • Norway--Social conditions--1945
  • Norwegian language
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Ocean travel
  • Personal Names :
  • Holmes, Anna Gudrun Hauge--Interviews (creator)
  • Hauge, Anna Sophie
  • Hauge, Gurine
  • Hauge, Johan
  • Hauge, Peder
  • Holmes, Elias
  • Holmes, John
  • Holmes, Kjell
  • Hauge, Anna Gudrun
  • Hauge, Asbjørn
  • Hauge, Marie Elisabet
  • Holmes, Anna Gudrun
  • Holmes, Leif
  • Nelsen, Gudveig Holmes
  • Corporate Names :
  • Good Templars, Independent Order of (Norway)
  • Stavangerfjord (Steamship)
  • Family Names :
  • Hauge family
  • Holmes family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Stavanger (Norway)
  • Karmøy kommune (Norway)
  • Billings (Mont.)
  • Bismarck (N.D.)
  • Huntley (Mont.)
  • Mt. Vernon (Wash.)
  • Stanwood (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Bankers
  • Carpenters
  • Engineers
  • Farmers
  • Nurses
  • Railroads -- Employees
  • Teachers