Name and location of repository
Level of description
- 1982-01-12 (Creation)
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
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.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
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, WA 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: Rev. Egil Arthur Sortland, Evelyn Ann (Sortland) Robbins.