Lars Ringstveit was a Norwegian who came to the United States with two of his brothers when he was in his teens, sometime in the early 1900s. An older brother, Peter Ringstveit, had immigrated earlier and was already acquiring land and herding sheep in Montana. Peter helped his brothers by sending them money for travel, and he tried to help them find jobs in the U.S.
Although Peter had kept the Norwegian spelling of his full name, a new last name was assigned to Lars when he came through immigration, an Americanized shorter version: Twedt. He may have spelled the name Tvedt at some time during his life.
Although Peter never married, he did well with his sheep ranch and grew more successful over time. None of his brothers prospered in the U.S. One eventually went back to Norway, married, and lived out his life as a fisherman. Another had problems with alcohol and possibly mental illness and died in a nursing home.
Lars married in South Dakota and had two children, tried several business ventures, abandoned his first family, remarried and had two more sons and twin daughters, and finally abandoned that family as well. He served in two different branches of the United States Armed Services during two different wars. Over the years he also lived in Illinois and Nebraska, and probably other states as well.
Although Lars did try to reconnect with his first children later on in life, the effort was not successful. He eventually disappeared. It was not until Peter, the older brother, died that Lars’s living children from his two families met. Peter had known about and visited all of the children at times. The half-brothers and sisters bonded almost immediately and became great friends. Lars was later declared dead in order to settle his affairs, but the family never learned when or where he died or where he is buried.
I would like to satisfy my curiousity about Lars Ringstveit Twedt, who was my maternal grandfather. My initial efforts to track him have not been successful. After the first of the year, I plan to subscribe to one or more of the genealogy research sites and do a little more digging.
Have you done any genealogy work on your own family tree? If so, what databases or resources did you find most useful?