Meeting My Norwegian Family in Drobak, Norway

Mar 6, 2014

I have been searching for my European roots forever, it seems like. Since I was a kid, the connection to the Europeans was very vague and I always felt like I didn't really know who I was and where my family comes from. After searching through Ancestry.com for years and trying to ask family members what they could remember, I used 23andme.com.

23 and Me is a website to test your DNA which gives you ancestry information and used to give you health information. I got my results one day, and I jumped on the map view to see if I had family in any of the places where my ancestry is supposedly from. There was one distant cousin in Norway! He was supposed to be a 3rd - 5th cousin. I decided to message him to find out if I could find a link. I didn't hear anything back from three months, but I had my trip planned anyway. I planned to end my European vacation in Norway and stop by Drobak to take it all in - with no clear direction or idea where to go.

2 weeks before I left for Europe, I got an email back from the cousin. He was willing to help and was more than helpful through the process. He is an amateur genealogist that was able to translate all the Norwegian documents that lead me from my roadblock of only great grandparents names, to people from the 1600s. He also got me in touch with a living relative in Drobak! He hit a roadblock when going through the path of my great grandmother's brother's side. He found a grave, and called the graveyard to see whole bought the grave. That led him to my 2nd cousin who is still alive. We contacted each other and I excitedly flew to Oslo a couple weeks later.

Eddy, my 2nd cousin, was absolutely amazing to us. He picked us up from the airport and drove us to Drobak with the 3-5th cousin. The four of us took a drive through the scenic and beautiful seaside town of Drobak, 20 minutes south of Oslo. We saw the grave sight (minus the missing graves) of my great grandparents. We then went to the original house that my great, great, great grandpa Olaf built. We were able to walk into the house and see the same view that my ancestors have seen for 150 years.

Stay Tuned...EuroTrip 2013

Aug 11, 2013

Our 2nd European adventure will commence at the end of this month, so stay tuned for vegan restaurant and food scavenging tips in France, Sweden, and Norway. We're starting the trip in Lucas' homeland and ending in mine.

Our trip starts in the Loire Valley (100 miles south of Paris) where there are NO English reviews of vegan food. I'm jumping blindly, and the options are very slim. However, I will either come out writing about our experience, or show up dead from starvation - stay tuned! The Loire is known for beautiful, romantic castles and also wine! So we will have some picturesque photos and have great Champagne sparkling wine to fuel our trip. We'll be traveling to many stops around that weekend with our French friend/tour guide, so it should be an amazing couple days.

The next stop is Paris for the next couple days. We will stop by the obligatory Loving Hut, Gentle Gourmet, MOB, Maoz, and much more. In between trips to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, we will be walking the city looking for great markets, neighborhoods, and restaurants, and meeting the local people.

We then fly off to Stockholm to visit Lucas' friend, Kris. I'm not sure what to expect in Stockholm at all. They claim to be the most veg-friendly city in Europe? We'll see if that rumor is true. They drink more more than anyone in the world (behind Finnland), so instead of drinking wine at breakfast, lunch and dinner, like in France, we will be wired off fika (coffee). We can relax on some comfortable Malms at Ikea after the caffeine crash.

Finally, we'll be in Oslo for a quick trip to my homeland. I was hoping to visit my long-lost relatives, but I will most likely seeing where the great grandparents are from without any contacts. I'm hoping to spot some wildlife and head down to Drobak to where my family is from to see where Santa Clause came from. Food will most likely be tough, but we'll be in the big city - and some curry will probably get us by as usual.

I'm studying my French, so bon chance to me and my weak French skills navigating the meat loving Frenchie population. If I don't get the stink eye from a waiter, I will be very disappointed.