About This Site

There has always been a frame on my parents' wall, containing pictures of family members I didn't know. Names and dates were listed on the reverse of the frame, but nothing linking anyone together, only the brief, incomplete, and sometimes conflicting recollections of my parents.

My paternal grandmother Mary Ballenger Fristad was the source of these pictures. For a few years, between 1975 and 1982, she and her sister Laura had begun some serious research into the family history. They hired researchers in New Mexico and Missouri to comb through county records, and even made a few visits to Norway to try and track down her husband's elusive Fristad roots. Eventually the genealogy bug wore off. Short of time and with many other priorities, her genealogy research, pictures and notes, were placed in a "box under that table". Occasionally I would pull out that box, dig through it, and ask questions about what I found. Interesting bits and pieces of family lore were revealed, but not much historical continuity developed from our conversations.

Then my grandmother passed away. Going through her home, my dad said that I should inherit the "box under that table". Turns out the "box" was actually three boxes, and there were even more boxes and folders filed away in other parts of the house. Enough material that I now have five 5-gallon crates stacked in storage, full of pictures, notebooks and ephemera that haven't seen the light of day for over two decades.

This website is an attempt to dust off all of the material she gathered, organize it, and put it in a form that people will enjoy looking at. I'm certain that most of the "genealogical" information is already available on the internet somewhere (birthdates, marriages, census, death dates, parents, children, etc.), but none of it that I have found so far has been organized in a way that tells a story about the person. This site seeks to take a historical snapshot of the ancestor described, weaving a biographical sketch of the individual using their vital statistics, family "lore", and events current to them and the places they lived.

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