Some 300 participants from four countries gathered to The Lillejord Family Reunion in Beiarn June 26–27, commemorating Hans Petter Olsen Lillejord and his two wives, Målfrid Sakariasdatter and Margrete Nilsdatter.

A rich program had been prepared, and the visit to Hans Petter’s farm at Lillejord was the highlight for many of the participants. Today, only the ruins are left. Nonetheless, it can be touching to come to such a place, and see the origins of a distant forefather, especially for those who had travelled from a distant part of the world.

There were greetings from the Mayor of Beiarn and Øvre Dunderlandsdal History Society, entertainment by fiddler Susanne Lundeng and actor Eline Svendsen, an amusing “choir performance” by participants from Canada, and the unveiling of a memorial honouring emigrants from Beiarn.

In addition, there was tasting food, prepared and served by skilled cooks and members of the youth club ‘Vårliv’, time for good conversations and a dance to the tunes of Øyvind Vold and Thore Sten as the afternoon became night.

The reunion was concluded the following Sunday with a service conducted by the local minister Einar B. Skomsvoll and pastor Aage Larsen of Wisconsin. During the service, a great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of Hans Petter and Målfrid was baptized. After the service, everyone was invited for ‘after church coffee’ at Beiarn Folk Museum, and everyone had the chance to study the collections and enjoy traditional food from Beiarn. The whole event was concluded by dancers of Bodø Folk Dance Club.

We have received a lot of pleasant feedback from the participants, thanking for the initiative and praising how the reunion was carried out. We thank you for that. It would never have been possible to do such an arrangement without the huge effort from interested, nice and hard working participants, both during the preparations and the event itself. Thank you so much!

That was just how we in advance had imagined “our folks” to be.

Now we’ve had a short break, but here is a collection of images from the reunion. We thank the suppliers Dag Pettersen (Avisa Nordland), Rita Frantzen and Berit Bakken Strand for their helpfulness. If anyone else has nice pictures from the reunion, that they are willing to publish here, please send them by e-mail, along with any comments you would like to add.

Before the reunion, we made a booklet on the Lillejord family to be given to the partcipants. Now it is available for everybody to download.