Sunday, November 1, 2009

Whatever Happened to Lars (Ringstveit) Twedt?

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?


Gary said...

Patricia, I have Family Tree Maker 2009 software, and I subscribe to I don't recall the annual subscription cost, but it wasn't that expensive for the basic offering, and it's all that I need.

I'm a rookie when it comes to genealogy, but I did a quick search for Lars Twedt, and had hundreds of hits in various data bases, including the 1930 Illinois census. If you have some of his children's names, it would be easier to narrow it down.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Gary. I found a database through our library system today that searches the census records, and I did find the record for Lars in the 1920 South Dakota listing -- his wife Mary and daughter Sylvia (my mother) are there, as well as one of his brothers. The record is incorrect as it shows Lars born in Montana, although I know he was born in Norway. Interestingly enough, I also found Peter's record in a roundabout way. His last name is interpreted as Ringatbeit in the typed record. I think this search is going to require a lot of thinking outside the box.

Margot Kinberg said...

What an interesting post! I wish that I had more information on Lars Twedt, but I'm even more of a rookie than Gary is! I think geneology is fascinating, though. A relative of mine did a geneology on my family, and come up with some really interesting findings. It's amazing what our ancestors have done.

The Old Silly said...

I'd never heard of Lars Twedt - thanks for this post and heads up - I do have a fascination with geneology.

Marvin D Wilson

FilthyMcNasty said...


My father in-law is one of Lars' sons (Rex Twedt).

I have been scouring Ancestry for over 5 years trying to learn more but haven't been successful.
You mentioned that one of his brothers went back to Norway.
Do you remember his name?



FilthyMcNasty said...


My father in-law is one of Lars' sons from his second marriage (Rex Twedt). I have been scouring for over 5 years trying to find what I can and I too have not fared so well.

Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.



Patricia Stoltey said...

Craig, you are too funny. When I saw the ID name I thought the comments would be something naughty I'd have to delete as spam.

Anyway, I might have some new and interesting info to pass on to you, so go to my blog profile (see above right sidebar) and e-mail at that e-mail address link. Alan's daughter and also one of Mom's relatives on her mother's side are doing genealogy research, and one of them found a grave marker for Lars Ring Twedt but with inconsistent dates. E-mail me and I'll give you more info.