Sortland, Svanhild

Partial transcript T0124 T0126-2

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SIE 2-5-t126

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Sortland, Svanhild


  • 1982-01-12 (Creation)


3 file folders
5 photographs
1 sound cassette

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This interview was conducted with Svanhild Sortland on January 12, 1982 in Tacoma, Washington. It contains information on family background, employment, marriage, emigration, family, community activities, and Norwegian heritage. The interview also provides photographs of the Sortland home in Norway and Svanhild and her husband Erling at the time of the interview. Also see Erling Sortland. The interview was conducted in English.

Folder Contents

Box 6, File 3 Personal and Family History
Tape Archive Sheet, Family Background, and Tape Index

Box 6, File 3A Correspondence and Forms
Release Form
Handwritten Tape Archive Sheet and Family Background

Box 6, File 3B Photographs
Five photographs

System of arrangement

Interviewed by Inger Nygaard Carr
Transcribed by Mary Sue Gee, Julie Peterson and Becky Husby
Encoded by Kerstin Ringdahl & Amity Smetzler
Recording Quality: Good

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Biographical Note

Svanhild Sortland was born on February 2, 1913 in Haugesund, Norway, which is close to Bergen. Her parents were Martin Knutsen and Jenny Førre, and there were ten children in the family. Martin was a fisherman and owned his own boat, and Jenny was a seamstress. Family togetherness was very important in Svanhild's family, and they always helped one another. The children remained at the house until they were sixteen or seventeen.

After Svanhild finished school and was confirmed, she began to work as a cook and maid in a home in Haugesund. She remained in this line of work until she was married, and worked in two different places in Haugesund in twelve years. She met her husband, Erling Sortland, when he was home on vacation from sea. Svanhild's brother worked on the same boat as Erling. Svanhild and Erling were married in 1939 and began to build a house soon after.

When the war started, Erling was called out, and Svanhild went back to her family. She lived with her sister and worked her grocery store. Erling joined the American Army in England after the war was over, and planned to stay in America for a year. As a war bride, Svanhild received a free trip to America and left in July 1946. Svanhild thought America was a 'wild' place at first but adjusted fairly easily.

She and Erling had two children, Egil and Evelyn, and lived in Ohio and Tacoma, Washington throughout the years. After her children were grown, Svanhild worked in a Tacoma restaurant for ten years. She attends church, helping when she can, and is also active in the Sons of Norway. Svanhild 'feels good' about her Norwegian heritage and has maintained traditional Norwegian holidays, cooking, and religion in America. Both of her children can also speak Norwegian, and the family has taken several trips back to Norway.


Full Name: Svanhild Johanne Knutsen Sortland
Maiden Name: Svanhild Johanne Knutsen
Father: Martin Knutsen
Mother: Jenny Førre
Paternal Grandfather: Godskalk Knutsen
Paternal Grandmother: Martha Knutsen
Maternal Grandfather: Johannes Førre
Maternal Grandmother: Sønniva Førre
Brothers and Sisters: Magne G. Knutsen, Sigrund Knutsen, Olaf Knutsen, Gina Knutsen, Johannes Knutsen, Sverre Knutsen, Peder Knutsen, Sønniva Knutsen
Spouse: Erling Arthur Sortland
Children: Reverend Egil Arthur Sortland, Evelyn Ann (Sortland) Robbins

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42.1 MiB


June 9, 2022 3:10 PM

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