Norwegian American Kate Mills (34) are among this year’s participants in the television program Alt for Norge (All for Norway), where she will compete against 11 others to meet her Norwegian family. Kate lives in Bellingham, Washington, northwest in the US, but has its roots from Bergsaune in Rissa. Both grandparents on her mother’s side of the family grew up in Rissa.
Why are you so curious about your relatives in Rissa?
– After losing my mom when I was 9 to cancer, I’ve also felt drawn to know more about where I come from. I never had a chance to learn from her, so as an adult I’ve been researching my family and doing everything I can to learn about Norway on my own so I can teach my girls about where we come from, something I never had growing up.
– I was given an old Norwegian Bible from 1904 that belonged to my great grandfather Bernt August Johansen Bergsaune and about two years ago, I found inside of it, a news article from a Norwegian newspaper about my great grandparents wedding anniversary. After I typed the entire article into Google Translate, I could read it and it said he was from Rissa Sor-Trondelag and she (Anna Olesdatter) from Drammen. When researching after finding this clue, I couldn’t find much about my great grandfather who had changed his name to Bernt Aune after immigrating to the US. I was so thankful to find out that the show had researched and found relatives alive in Norway from this side of my Norwegian family since I really didn’t know anything.
Funfact: Paris Hilton, Marilyn Monroe, Iggy Pop, Lance Armstrong and Priscilla Presley are some of the most famous Norwegian Americans currently.
What do you know about relatives in Norway?
– I’m not sure what I can tell you about what I know about my relatives in Rissa since I can’t tell you if I’ve been there or not before the show airs, but what I can tell you is Both of my mother’s grandparents came from Norway. My great grandpa, Bernt Aune (Bernt August Johansens Bergsaune) grew up in Rissa with my great great grandparents Johan Jakobsen and Johanna Johansdatter who lived on the Bergsaune farm in Rissa, Norway.
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– I’m still researching about my great grandmother, Anna Marie Olesdatter who I’ve learned was baptized in Eiker near Drammen! Her parents (my great great grandparents) were Karoline Jørgine Fredriksdatter (Her father’s name was Frederick Johannesen) born in Bergseie and Ole Johansen (his father’s name was Johan Jorgensen). So I guess my relation would be that I’m 1/4 Norwegian and a very proud Norwegian American!
First time in Norway
Kate had never been to Norway before, before she joined the «Allt for Norge». Her only trip abroad was 10 years ago when she and her husband, Dan, was on honeymoon in Mexico
– I loved being in Norway and miss it terribly already. My husband Dan and I hope to make a trip back next spring or summer and if we do, we will definitely be making it to Rissa!
Upcoming TV show
The show will broadcast in the autumn. Date is not yet determined. In the series competes a group Norwegian Americans about who is «most Norwegian» using different tasks with Norwegian slant.The winner gets the last program meet some of his Norwegian relatives in a family reunion.
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