Astrid Jerney Sørene Tomsli Oral History Interview, 1981  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Tomsli, Astrid Jerney Sørene
1981 (inclusive)
2 file folders
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Astrid Jerney Sørene Tomsli , 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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The oral history collection is open to all users.

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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Astrid Tomsli was born in 1904 in Vik, Helgeland, Norway to Helge and Signe Sørene. Astrid's father was a fisherman, and her mother did weaving at home. Including Astrid, there were six children in the family. In 1924, Astrid married Olaf Tomsli, and their wedding lasted for several days. Three years later, the couple decided to immigrate to America. They came over on the Stavangerfjord and took a train from Quebec to Seattle, WA, where they were met by Astrid's uncle, Ole Pederson, and his son. From Seattle, they drove to Westport, OR and took a boat to Puget Island on the Columbia River. Olaf obtained a job at a sawmill, and Astrid became a housewife. When they first moved to the island, it was mostly a Norwegian community, and Astrid was very active in the Norse Hall. Astrid and Olaf had three children: Orville, Sonja, and Reier. All of the children can speak some Norwegian and have visited Norway. Astrid herself has also made return trips, her first in 1952. She did not recognize her home place and got better acquainted with her siblings.


Full Name: Astrid Jerney Sørene Tomsli. Maiden Name: Astrid Jerney Sørene. Father: Helge Sørene. Mother: Signe Sørene. Brothers and Sisters: Arthur Sørene, Magnhild Sørene, Gudrun Sørene, Hjørdis Sørene, Sverre Sørene. Spouse: Olaf Tomsli. Children: Orville Tomsli, Sonja Tomsli, Reier Tomsli.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The interview was conducted with Astrid Tomsli on September 29, 1981 in Cathlamet, Washington. It contains information on family background, emigration, marriage and family, community activities, and return trips to Norway. The interview was conducted in English.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

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
90, side 1 012:
Astrid Jerney Sørene Tomsli. Born in 1904 in Vik i Helgeland, Norway. This is located in the middle of Norway near Brønnøysund.
90, side 1 030: PARENTS
Signe and Helge Sørene. They used the name of the place they lived for their name. Her father was a fisherman and worked on the Coast Guard Wards. Their name before they took the place name was Edwardson.
90, side 1 041: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Two brothers and four sisters, Arthur, Magnhild, Gudrun, and Hjørdis. Her nephew was one of the family as his parents had passed away.
90, side 1 050: GRANDPARENTS
Paternal grandfather was an old man. He played for Astrid's wedding. He was always smoking cigars.
90, side 1 061:
Maternal grandmother died when Astrid's mother was small. She was a hard worker. Se sewed late at night to make money. Grandfather was a farmer.
90, side 1 068: CHILDHOOD HOME
Five windows, pretty curtains. Had 12 runners to cover the floor. Her mother did weaving, spinning, and carding of wool. Astrid also learned to work with wool. They raised their own sheep, cattle, horses, and chickens. They had a garden.
90, side 1 104: CHRISTMAS
Lots of snow. No cars, had to walk or go by sled. Couldn't see the tree until Christmas morning. Mother did baking, biscuits for all.
90, side 1 131:
Astrid did not know her brothers and sisters very well until she returned to Norway in 1952. Now they are reacquainted.
90, side 1 141: SCHOOL
Hard sometimes. Close by their home. She went through the 8th grade. She took a course for 6 months studying English.
90, side 1 154:
Astrid was 24 when she came to America. Met her husband in Norway and was married there. He worked for people in the woods.
90, side 1 168: WEDDING
Was in the church where she was baptized and confirmed. They had a fancy carriage. Wedding lasted for a few days. Lots of food, cake. Dancing in the evenings. Grandpa played the violin and another fellow played the accordion.
90, side 1 199:
Came to America in 1927. Married in 1924. Came to America because "it was meant to be." They came over alone.
90, side 1 209: TRIP OVER
Come on the Stavangerfjord. Husband made it over perfectly. Landed in Quebec, took the train to Seattle.
90, side 1 217:
Met by Ole Pederson and his son, Astrid's uncle and son in Seattle. They had a fancy car, a 1927 Nash. They drove to Westport, Oregon. Took a boat to the island on the Columbia River.
90, side 1 228: FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Did not think much about it. Had family here. Her grandfather had come to America.
Her wedding dress. Could not bring much with them.
90, side 1 250: ENGLISH
She could say "I Love You." She did not have any language difficulties. They lived with her relatives. Husband got work in the sawmill. He was working to pay back money they had borrowed for their trip over.
90, side 1 263:
Astrid did not work in America, she was a housewife. Husband worked on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, now owned by Crown Zellerbach.
90, side 1 272: CHILDREN
Orville, Sonja, and Reier. Husband worked for Walnut (?) Bradwood, and Westport sawmill in Oregon.
90, side 1 287:
They built a bridge to the island in the 1930s. Mostly Norwegians on the island years ago.
90, side 1 295:
Astrid was active in the Norse Hall on the island. They had dinners, banquets, and made lefse.
90, side 1 309:
Astrid does not belong to a church although there is a church on the island.
90, side 1 314: TRIPS TO NORWAY
First time she went was after 25 years away. She noticed many changes. Did not recognize her hometown of Sørene. Her parents were still living. Sister had taken over the home place. They rode in a new car, a real treat for her parents.
90, side 1 359:
Her children visited in Norway. They all live close by to Astrid now. She had eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
90, side 1 372:
Her children can speak some Norwegian. Many of her grandchildren have been to Norway. Many in Norway speak English.
They are working people, good people. Has been away for 54 years. Things have changed some.
90, side 1 402:
Have always had Norwegian friends. Husband passed away 10 years ago. Astrid is content to live on the island as long as she can.
90, side 1 423:
Still speaks Norwegian, speaks a few words.
90, side 1 440:
Astrid told her children to be good. Children today seem to get away with more. Orville went to school on the island before the school program was cut, so did Sonja and Reier for a while.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Christmas
  • Education--Norway
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family--Norway
  • Marriage service
  • Norway--Social conditions--1945-
  • Norwegian-Americans--Ethnic identity
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Personal Names :
  • Tomsli, Astrid--Interviews (creator)
  • Pederson, Ole
  • Tomsli, Olaf
  • Tomsli, Reier
  • Sørene, Heige
  • Sørene, Signe
  • Tomsli, Orville
  • Tomsli, Sonja
  • Corporate Names :
  • Stavangerfjord (Steamship)
  • Family Names :
  • Sørene family
  • Tomsli family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Vik i Helgeland (Norway)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Housewives