Search billions of records on

A Trip to Oslo and More Rustad History

I found some interesting information on how family namewas changed from Thoresen to Rustad. Our family name was originally Thoresen,rather than Rustad because it was changed by my great grand father HermanThoresen Rustad (born June 1850) (married 25 years later in the Ski Churchin Norway to Anne Helene Heier). One of my distant relatives, Tone Moseidof Oslo sent this information about my great grandparents. Herman's fatherJohannes Thoresen Wiig and his wife Anne Maddatter lived on the Rustad farm. Johannes father Torer Villumsen Wiig was born in 1766 and his wife AnnaJacobsdatter in 1761. Torer's father was Willem Nielson Gjevelsrud bornin 1718. His mother was Eli Embretsdatter

The Thoresen family first moved to Aker in Akershus fromthe Rustad farm around the turn of the century, 1899. My grandfather livedin what was called the "Villa Solbakken after moving from the fram. There were 18 persons living in the house including 3 servants. The 1900census of 3/12/1900 lists two families residing in the villa which was situatedin Vestre Aker parish, Aker county in Akershus. Aker was consolidated withKristiania (now Oslo). The Thoresen household lists my great grandfather: Herman T. Rustad as the Housefather. His occupation was listed as formermaster builder. He was born in Enebak and a member of the State Church(which was Lutheran)

My great grandmother, Anne Helene Rustad was listed aswife of master builder,born in 1858. The census also sites the childrenas Josef, Ole Arnt, Karl, Gunda,Alfred, and Birgitte. There is a servantTorbjoerg Grimsrud.

Tone Moseid observes that the Villa Solbakken was locatedat holmenkollen in Oslo which is today the Holmenkollen ski jump. The addresswas Holmenkollveien 97. In the 1890s, this area was linked to Oslo by atramline. The citizens of Oslo who liked to ski (presumably all good Norwegians)were transported to the Villa ski jump by the railway tramline.

This was popular as a way for Oslo citizens to get intothe nature ("Holmenkollbanen"). About 70 houses were built inthe vicinity of the Villa and it became the most upscale and expensive areaof Oslo. In the 1890s, it was still rural. My Norwegian cousin believesthat Herman Thoresen (great grandfather) built the Villa Solbakken. Certainly,he was capable of having built the villa, having built the manificient apartmentbuilding in upscale Oscarsgate (a few streets behind the palace in Oslo).

Erica, my sixteen year old daughter and I visited the Oscarsgateapartment building this summer. Erica and I spent the summer of 2000 inLund, Sweden but traveled to Norway to retrace our roots. I spoke witha resident who lived in the apartment building which my great grandfatherbuilt. He told me that it was considered to be the finest building on thefinest street in Oslo. The family lived in an apartment in the buildingshortly before immigrating to N.D. The only picture I have shows a familyin very nice formal clothing. They looked quite prosperous and my grandfather'sstories from his boyhood (1st 12 years) reveals that the family was quiteaffluent.

I often wondered why the family immigranted to North Dakota. The reason for our family ending up in Minnesota was the downturn of theNorwegian economy. My grandfather's projects were heavily financed and helost his apartment building, etc. The Norwegian insolvency laws made itimpossible for the family reestablish itself so they left for the Midwestlike so many families.

Our family got a "fresh start" in Minnesota andreturned to farming. They chose one of the harshest climates known to mankindnear Williston, North Dakota. My grandfather, Alfred H. Rustad, Sr., andhis brother Carl began farms in N.W. Minnesota after the stakes were claimedin North Dakota. I often wondered why they would have chosen N.W. Minnesotagiven its harsh environment. Oslo gets snow in the mountains but is a verymoderate climate when compared to the N.W. Minnesota I know. My great grandmotherwas quite unhappy in N.D. and stayed in the basement of the sod hut becauseshe could not stand the sound of the wind. My great grandfather Hermandied from the after effects of fighting a prairie fire.

It is now for the later Rustads to recapture and rememberthe memories of their
successes in Norway and struggles as pioneers in North Dakota and Minnesota. I
wish I had gathered more information from my grandfather about life in turnof
the century Oslo. I remember his stories about gathering fruit in the King(Olav's) orchard and getting a belly ache for over-indulging. I also rememberstories of the family taking the tram to the ski area (which had been ownedby the family) and skiing home! I thought that was quite a remarkable wayto spend a Sunday afternoon. Our only skiing in N.W. Minnesota was behindcars! N.W. Minnesota is flat as a pancake quite unlike the fiords of Norwayand the beautiful mountains. Another thing I remember about my grandfatherwas that he liked herring. Erica and stayed in a hotel in Oslo and ourbreakfast was included in the price. The breakfast had at least 20 differentkinds of herring. I tried them all, but Erica stuck with the cereal andNorwegian pancakes! Erica and I had a very pleasant short sojourn in Norway. When we landed at the hotel, the resturant was closed. The people at thedesk opened up the kitchen to us and made us pancakes (at no cost). Wealso took a tray of hot chocolate, drinks, etc. to our room. Free foodalways tastes so much better. We were in Oslo for midsummer which is theirequivalent of the Fourth of July but a much bigger holiday. The fireworksand music went on all night. In Norway and Sweden, it does not grow darkuntil the wee hours of the evening which makes it fun to be out late! Oslois a beautiful well planned city and we enjoyed learning more about theRustad family history

We visited a World War II museum dedicated to the resistance. I have always been so proud that the Norwegians fiercely resisted the Naziinvasion, unlike some of their neighboring states which remained neutral.The Norwegians have a
fortress museum dedicated to the memory of their resistance and the occupation
of the Nazis.


Michael Rustad, 02 Sep 00



Michael Rustad, 02 Sep 00