Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Big Peterson Family Reunion

Finding New Sources, the Website Helps!

I do not get a lot of comments or even that much traffic to this site but that does not mean that having the website has not paid-off. In fact, I have received a number of high quality contacts who stumbled onto this blog and realized a connection. The most significant of these has been on the Peterson/Moe side of my family. A few months ago, not long after I posted: Peterson - Moe . . . What's in a Name?, I was contacted by three different individuals on that side of the family, including one from Norway. That was really exciting for me.

Peterson, Moe and others families gather at Wisconsin Dells in 2011.
They brought with them a wealth of resources to share.

It has only been recently that I started to really understand my Norwegian ancestry and then I get a comment from a "cousin" in Norway. All of those years of wondering about the place and the people and one day, finally, an answer. The other two contacts were from Wisconsin and not totally unknown to me but they were still a big find. There had been clues in some on-line data and other research that hinted at these individuals but I have never been in contact with them directly. One morning I received a phone call from my cousin, a guy named John. His grandfather and my mom's grandfather where brothers. I know of him because he had donated some research to the Mount Horeb Historical Society and my mom had found a few of his items there. Still, I didn't have much of an idea about how to contact him. As we talked, I began to realize that he had been engaged in some serious genealogy over the past few years. Not only that, but he was in contact with a number of other families.

Research Leads to Real Contact

The timing of the contact was also important, as he was planning a big family event in August. I was immediately added to the mailing list and granted access to the private family website. This would lead to a treasure-trove of new information available to me. In June and July, we exchanged a number of e-mails. I sent him parts of the family he was missing and he filled me in on the Moe ancestry in Norway. When the big day came, I took my mom and aunt to the reunion. It was a very professional production and attended by over 130. It was great to see all of those people and to realize that they (or most of them) came from the same roots. There was a nice slide show and information was provided about the family and the ongoing research. Many people, including myself, brought photos and other pieces of memorabilia. The stuff was displayed on tables around the room. Here, for the first time ever, I saw the faces of my great grandfather, his father and many others in that family. Even John, the organizer and experienced genealogist, was amazed at all of the material that showed up. The whole thing was really quite extraordinary.

One of the many tables of Peterson / Moe photographs and
documents displayed at the Big Peterson Reunion
Discover more about the Peterson's in the three part story starting here.
I love the new discoveries that family research uncovers: the stories, where they lived, what they did, a name in a record or on a map. Of all of these, I find the pictures to be the greatest discovery. I don't feel like I really know my ancestors until I see their faces and this past month, I saw at least a dozen new faces. Over the past few years, I thought I had uncovered the Peterson/Moe family. I had a good base of material to start with but there were also many holes. Slowly the pieces came together until it was a pretty complete story. Then came the contact with John and the others and a whole lot of new information. This really put the icing on the cake! I know there will always be more to learn but I think it is safe to say that this branch of the family is about complete.

Additional Reading:
New Discoveries are Delightful
The Flow of Information
Two Years of Blogging about Genealogy

Also, go to the Archives page to find other Peterson and Moe posts.


  1. My great-grandmother was a MOE! My great-grandfather Christian Egland married Ingeborg Karina (Carrie) Moe...they were both from Norway, and arrived here around 1892. My great-grandmother's father was Sjur Amundson Moe (mother Eli Sorensdatter Fossa) and she had 9 other siblings (I also have their names and dates). Genealogy began as a 'hobby' a couple years ago, but now has become my passion. Would love to share family info with you! MY email address is:
    -Gloria Egeland Peterson

  2. Gloria,

    Thanks for the comment. I don't know if we are related as the Moe "farm name" does not always mean blood relatives.