Video Wednesday: Imsdalen – A Story about Norwegian Immigration to Minnesota

A film by Brad Imsdahl where he presents the history of his ancestors both in Norway and Minnesota

Linked from YouTube channel Catbox Studios

Norway 2016 – Video 20 of 21

My great grandparents, Peder and Marit Imsdahl came from Imsdalen, a remote valley located north of Lillehammer in Oppland County Norway. In the 1880s, they immigrated to a small farming community in west central Minnesota.

Back in the early 1970s, my Uncle Bob and Aunt Annabel were friends with a family who had a foreign exchange student from Norway that went to New London High school in Minnesota. The exchange student’s name is Einar Odden, and his wife’s name is Bodil. Today they live north of Lillehammer, not far from Imsdalen. Einar is a journalist for the Gudbrandsdølen Dagningen, a Norwegian newspaper published in Lillehammer. He knows a lot about the history of Imsdalen and the families that once lived there. I got in touch with Einar before going on this trip, and he agreed to take us on a guided tour of Imsdalen.

Between the mid-1800s and the early 1900s, nearly 25 million Europeans immigrated to America. About 800,000 immigrants came from Norway, representing about one third of that country’s population at the time. This video explores the reasons why so many Norwegians immigrated to Minnesota, and why my great grandparents changed their name to Imsdahl after immigrating.

A film by Brad Imsdahl


King Porter Stomp
Written by Jelly Roll Morton and performed by Brad Imsdahl

Solveig’s Song
From Six Song Transcriptions, Opus 52, No. 4
Written by Edvard Grieg and performed by Brad Imsdahl

Note from Martin: While I am sure the renaming patterns presented in this video is correct when it comes to Brad’s Family, it should be noted that these patterns varied through time and from area to area.

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