Over the years, I have been collecting information on the early settlers of Spring Grove and the surrounding communities, and I now would like to share a little of the information that I have collected through a column in the Spring Grove Herald.

At the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, Inc, in downtown Spring Grove, we maintain an Internet-based "Collaborative Tree" for families with connections in this area.

There is also a library on the second floor of the Ballard House (at 163 W. Main St.) with printed materials relevant to genealogy and local history that is open to the public.

Also check our website at www.sgheritage.org for our open hours or call ahead if you would be coming from some distance - (507) 498-5070.

Stop by our library, and we will be glad to print pedigree or group sheets from our holdings for a small fee.

We also provide more extensive research services, connecting local families to their Norwegian ancestors.

I will start with the "A" families and Aaberg would be the first family in my files. If anyone finds mistakes or doesn't agree with my findings, I would like to be informed.

Some of you are familiar with the "Houston County History", which was compiled by the Houston County Historical Society and published 30 years ago.

Our project is to offer this kind of "bygdebok" for the Spring Grove community.

In Norway, a bygdebok is a kind of local history - not the sort of political history that we're most familiar with - but a personal history of farms and the lives of the people who worked them.

So on the one hand, while it's a kind of Norwegian heritage thing, on the other hand, it is intended to include everybody who lived in a particular area. We would love to have our Spring Grove area bygdebok be complete and error-free.

Peter Aslaksen Aaberg was born Aug. 7, 1844, on the Aaberg/ Aabyrge farm in Sogndal, Sogn, Norway. He emigrated to America in 1872, first settling at Stoughton, Wis., where he lived one year.

The next year found him in Saude, Iowa. In 1874, he rented a farm in Black Hammer Township, Houston County, and he was united in marriage to Ingeborg Rosetta Berquam on June 6, 1877, at Black Hammer.

In 1880 according to the census, he is living at Paris in Howard County, Iowa, along with his wife, his son, Andrew, and twin girls, Anna and Marie.

Two more children - John born in Dec. 1880 and Henry born in 1882 - came after the census was taken. But Clara was born in 1884 in Black Hammer, which means between 1882 and May of 1884, the family returned to Black Hammer.

Six additional children were born in Black Hammer: Peter, Carl, Jens, Bernt, Ida and Mathilda, making a total of 12 children.

Some of the names of the collateral families are: Stigen, Nelson, Otterness, Jordhoi, Bothum and Rice.

The farm Peter Aaberg purchased in 1884 in Black Hammer, Section 16, was the Lars Nielsen Ekse pioneer farm.

Lars's wife, Anna Berdahl, was a sister to Johannes Eriksen Berdahl, and they lived on what was called school land because the rent from this land went to pay for a public school and a teacher.

Later, it became a Carrier farm until Peter Aaberg purchased it.

The preceding information was provided by Gordon Eddy of Cresco, Iowa. He writes a column entitled, "Out on the Black Hammer" in the Aurland Newsletter - Past and Present, which is published four times per year.

In 1915, Peter and his wife moved to Spring Grove, where he died on March 23, 1924, and was buried in the West End Cemetery in Spring Grove.

His wife, Ingeborg, died Feb. 9, 1930, at her daughter's home in Caledonia and is also buried in the West End Cemetery (also known as Trinity Cemetery).

Watch for future columns in the Herald featuring other founding families of the Spring Grove area.