Peder G. Imsdahl (Peder Gudbrandsen)
Born on April 11, 1857 in Norway
Died on February 5, 1949 in Brooten, MN
Father: Gudbrand Johnsen Myttingsødegard
Mother: Ingeborg Haldorsdtr Nesset
Wife: Marit Hansdatter Husløkken
Daughter: Isabelle (Ingeborg), born 1884, died 8-8-1936
Daughter: Minnie, born 5-31-1886, died October 1886
Son: Harold Peter, born 12-6-1887, died 2-13-1959
Son: Gustav (Gust), born 10-28-1890, died 2-10-1984
Son: Martin, born 1-24-1894, died August 1905
Son: Arthur Elmer, born 1-25-1896
Son: Menvil Peter, born 11-4-1899, died 4-18-1983
Son: Henry William, born 4-23-1904, died 6-5-1938

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census has a Peder G. Inndahl (Imsdahl) age 53, born in Norway in 1857, living in Colfax Township, Kandiyohi County, Minnesota. The immigration year is listed as 1884. Other individuals listed as living in his house are Marit (wife) age 47, Ingeborg (daughter) age 26, Harold (son) age 27 (should be age 23 according to my father), Gustav (son) age 19, Arthur (son) age 14, Manville R (Menvil P) (son) age 10, and Henry Wilhelm (son) age 5. The census is hand written, which explains the miss-interpretations of spelling and ages when converted into an electronic data format.

Menvil Peter Imsdahl (Peder’s son) was my grandfather. There are a number of family trees listed on Ancestry.com that have Menvil’s father listed as either Peder G. Imsdahl, or as Peder Gudbrandsen Hallum from Hallum Brekkom Oppland Norway. It was the custom in Norway for the second name to reflect whose son or daughter you were. If Peder’s father was Gudbrand, then Peder’s second name would be Gudbrandsen which means in English “son of Gudbrand." A daughter of Gudbrand would be called Gudbransdatter which means in English “daughter of Gudbrand."

The third name identified the place or farm where the family lived and was more an address than a name. Thus, if Peder was Gudbrand’s son and came from the Hallum farm, his name in Norwegian would be Peder Gudbrandsen Hallum. According to the 1865 census for the Ringebu region, there was a Guldbrand Johnsen (Peder’s father) living at the Hallum farm next to Brokkum (or Brekkom), along with his wife and 4 children. Peder Gulbrandsen is listed as age 9 at the time, and his three siblings match other Ancestry.com listings for Peder’s family. Brekkom is just east of the town of Fåvang, a small town in the Gudbrandsdalen valley south of the town of Ringebu and north of Lillehammer.

Ten years later, the 1875 census for the Ringebu region has Guldbrand Johnsen and his family living at Imsdalen nordre (north). Imsdalen is a side valley off the Østerdalen valley, stretching north west into Oppland County and just east of the town of Ringebu. The Imsdalen north farm is believed to be part of the Huset Farm located just north of the northern lake in the Imsdalen valley. So by moving to Imsdalen, the third name would have changed from Hallum to either Imsdalen or Huset, to reflect the new address. Peder is not listed on the 1875 census, but he would have been 18 or 19 years of age by then and probably living on his own (perhaps on the same farm but in a different building, as there were multiple families living on that farm at the time). His future wife Marit is also listed in the 1875 census as living at the Imsdalen farm along with her parents and siblings. So it is reasonable to conclude that when Peder’s father moved the family to Imsdalen, Peder met Marit and eventually were married.

Once immigrants arrived in America, they were required to follow the established male line surname conventions. Typically, the male patronymic (Gudbrandsen) or the name of the last farm on which he resided (Imsdalen) was chosen as the immigrant’s last name. During the first few years in the country, immigrants might change their last name a few times (patronymic to farm name or farm name to patronymic), and Americanize a Norwegian spelling or pronunciation. For those who became citizens, the name that appeared on their citizenship documents became the family’s final and formal name.

Immigration documents show a Peder Gulbrandsen on a Ship called Rollo leaving Norway on May 9th, 1884 headed for New York. One year later, the 1885 Minnesota State Census has a P. Imsdalen living on the John A. Berg farm in Willmar Township in Kandiyohi County. An internet posting on RootsWeb (Ancestry.com) says P. Imsdalen was Peder Gulbrandsen Imsdalen who left behind his pregnant wife, Marit Hansdatter Huusløkken/Imsdalen and that their first daughter’s name was Ingeborg who was christened at Ringebu, Oppland, Norway on August 31, 1884. The posting says Anne Arnesdatter Arnesen was the godmother of the daughter at the christening.

Another posting on RootsWeb (Ancestry.com) mentions information from the book “Brooten My Hometown 1886-1986” by John Owen Bohmer and Joyce Sandvig Bohmer. On pages 445 and 446 under the heading: “Imsdahl, Peder G. and Marit (Hanson)” it says Peder and Marit were born in Norway. Peder immigrated to Minnesota and left his wife and small daughter (Isabelle) in Norway for 2 years until he had enough money to buy a farm in Colfax Township (Minnesota). According to my father, he worked on a farm for 50¢ a day.

Ten years later, the 1895 Minnesota State Census has Peder Imsdalen along with his wife Marit living at their farm in Colfax township in Kandiyohi county along with four children, Ingeborg age 11, Harald age 7, Gustav age 5, and Martin age 1 (my grandfather Menvil was born four years later in 1899). So it was many years later after immigrating to Minnesota that Peder Imsdalen changed the spelling of his name to Peder G. Imsdahl.

It should be noted that the Norwegian naming traditions indicate that immigrants with the same last name are not necessarily related by blood. A son of Peder might call himself Peterson in America. Peder is a common name in Norway, so having the name Peterson simply means the immigrant’s father’s name was Peder. If the immigrant chose the farm name (Imsdalen) as the last name in America, he still might not be related by blood to everyone else called Imsdalen since multiple families likely lived on that farm prior to immigrating. Peder’s wife Marit had several brothers who also took the name Imsdalen (or Imsdahl) after immigrating to America. And there are several other families listed on Ancestry.com with the name Imsdahl who came from Imsdalen but are not related to the families of Peder and Marit.

Peder's Children

1) Isabelle (Ingeborg) (Imsdahl) Odell (my father’s aunt) was born in 1884 in Norway and died on 8-8-1936 in Brooten, MN. She is buried at Trinity Cemetery in Brooten. She married William Francis Odell (1884 – 1952) and lived on a small farm 1 mile south of Brooten. She died from cancer in the Sonnenberg Hospital (a larger house). They had 3 children (first cousins to my father):

1. Wallert Odell was born on 8-26-1915 and died on 5-29-1979. He married Elnora Ellingboe. He worked on the Soo Line Railroad as a section man.

2. Melbourne Calmar Odell was born on 3-15-1920 and died on 9-17-1971. He married Virginia Mae Johnson (1929 – 1985). Melbourne worked as a plumber in later years. They had a son (second cousin to me):

William Francis Odell was born on 5-7-1958 and died on 6-8-1994 in Corcoran, Minnesota. He was married with two young boys at the time of his death.

3. August (Augie) Odell was born on 11-29-1926 and died on 7-6-1963. He married Gretchen. He died from a kidney disease and had no children. He and my dad played together as kids. There was always sugar cookies and coffee for the kids. Augie is in one of the home movies my dad took with his movie camera in the early 1950s.

2) Minnie Imsdahl was born on 5-31-1886 and died in October of 1886 and is buried at the Crow River Cemetery. She died from a cold or flue.

3) Harold Peter Imsdahl (my father’s uncle) was born on 12-6-1887 and died on 2-13-1959. He is buried at the cemetery in Glenwood. He married Nora A. Ellingson (1891 – 1988). They had no children. Harold was a large man who worked at the Glenwood Creamery for many years. In his later years, he owned and operated a Phillips 66 station in Glenwood. My dad had a house trailer that he brought back from Montana in 1948 and Harold sold it for my dad to Sarah and Anton Berg (from the Evenson side of the family). My dad liked visiting with Harold. My dad bought tires from Harold for his 1946 Ford. Harold’s house was on the south side of the football field.

4) Gustav (Gust) Imsdahl (my father’s uncle) was born on 10-28-1890 and died on 2-10-1984. He is buried at the South Lake Johanna Cemetery. He married Lillie Bersley. They had no children. Gust lived on a small farm all his life. They never had electricity, radio, and no running water. Very primitive according to my dad. He sold his farm to the state in the 1960s for wild life preservation but had life time occupancy on the farm. He used to buy gas from Dale Fauskee $1 at a time. He was very hard of hearing.

5) Martin Imsdahl was born on 1-24-1894 and died in August of 1905. He was a retarded child who was placed at an institution in Faribault.

6) Arthur (Art) Elmer Imsdahl (my father’s uncle) was born on 1-25-1896 and died on 6-12-1990. He married Irene Anderson. Arthur managed a Ford Garage for many years. He was Postmaster in Brooten for many years and then later transferred to a rural route. He was in World War I and gassed in France.
Arthur and Irene had two children (first cousins to my father):

1. James R. Imsdahl sang at my father’s wedding. He married Lorraine Mostad.

2. John Imsdahl

7) Menvil Peter Imsdahl was my grandfather.

8) Henry William (Billy) Imsdahl (my father’s uncle) was born on 4-23-1904 and died on 6-5-1938. He is buried at a cemetery in Fargo or Moorehead. He married Pauline. They had no children, but took in a young girl named Lorraine from a large family. Henry gave my dad a log cabin block set for Xmas one year (my father’s favorite uncle). My dad thinks he was a salesman for some company in the Fargo area.


The 1865 census for Ringebu (Oppland County, Norway) has a Guldbrand Johnsen (Peder’s father) working as a Husmand med Jord (a renter who grows his own crops or has his own livestock) at the Hallum Farm. Peder Guldbrandsen is listed as age 9 at the time.


Location of the Hallum farm south of Ringebu in Oppland County, Norway. It is believed that Peder was born at this farm in 1857.


The 1875 census for Ringebu has a Gudbrand Johnsen (Peder’s father) working as a Forpagter og Tømmerkjørrer (I think this means a tenant on the farm who had the job of moving timber logs with horses) on the Imsdalen nordre (north) farm. Peder is not listed as a member of the family because he was age 18 or 19 and probably living someplace else by this time.


The 1875 census for Ringebu also has Marit Hansdatter, age 13 (Peder’s future wife) living with her parents on the same Imsdalen farm where Peder’s family lived.


Driving directions from the Hallum Farm near Brekkom to the Imsdalen / Huset Farm in the Imsdalen valley. The modern day Ringus Imsdal water bottling facility is nearby just outside the town of Imsroa.


Peder Gulbrandsen left for New York on May 9th, 1884 leaving his pregnant wife Marit behind in Norway.


One year after arriving in America, Peder is living and working on the Berg farm near Willmar Minnesota, saving his earnings so that he can buy his own farm.


Ten years later in 1895, Peder Imsdalen is living on his own farm in Colfax township a few miles south of Brooten Minnesota with his wife and children. Their oldest daughter Ingeborg is listed as age 11 and was born in Norway.


15 years later in the 1910 US census, Peder’s name is recorded as Inndahl in the electronic database (a mis-interpretation of the spelling Imsdahl) and still living on his farm in Colfax township with his wife and children. My grandfather Menvil is listed as age 10.