Carl Degerness was born Karl Jorgenson Digernes on 28 February 18811 in Digernes, Stord, Hodaland, Norway to parents Jorgen Halvorsen and Martha Johannesdtr. He joined his older brother Halvor and his older sisters Eli and Helga. He was christened on the 15thof April in that year1.
When he was only six years old, his parents, older siblings and three more young siblings (Sven, Torres and baby Eyvid/Edward) emigrated to the United States2,3. Sadly, Edward died either during the voyage. At the time of emigration, like many Norwegian families, the family took the last name of the farm they were from and took Jorgensen as his middle name. From 1865 to 1875 almost 120,000 Norwegians emigrated to America, almost half to Minnesota. By 1875, two years before they emigrated, Norwegians were already well established in Minnesota. The enormous amount of free or cheap land being opened to settlement was a big draw. Travel required a ship from Norway, then trains to Minnesota, and the remainder by foot and wagons12.
Over the years, depending on the document, the name Carl has been spelled with a “C” or a “K” and the name Degerness is spelled starting with “Deg” and “Dig” with the ending spelling being “nes”, næs” and “ness”. Many variations were as a result of phonetic spelling, however, the names also evolved to its final spelling through Carl himself.
In 1895, at the age of 14 Carl was living in Norman county5where his father eventually was granted a homestead in 190113. In October of 1895 Carl was confirmed in the Lutheran church in Minnesota9.
In early 1905, Carl was working as a farm labour on his father’s farm6. Late in that year, on 29 December, Carl married his wife Tilda Torgerson10, who was born in the United States, of Norwegian decent.
By 1910, Carl and Tilda were living on Bagley Avenue in Bagley Village6, Copley Township in Clearwater County, Minnesota and Carl was working as a carpenter. By this time they had three children: Clarence, Ernest and Irvin.
In 1912, Carl decided to follow his father to Saskatchewan and crossed the Canadian border at Emerson, Manitoba7. By that time, the family had expanded again to include a daughter named Myrtle.
Carl found land he liked in Ponass Lake, Saskatchewan and started to homestead in 1913. In that first year he broke and cropped 1 ½ acres; he had only one head of cattle. By the time he was granted the homestead in March of 1920, he had 25 head of cattle and 2 horses; he had fenced 100 acres and had built a 14 x 16 home of logs and lumber and shingles, barns, a granary and a well.
In 1916 Carl and Tilda were still on the farm in Saskatchewan and had added Madeline to their family8.
While on the farm, they added Rudolph and Mandell to the family as well.
Carl did not stay on the farm in Saskatchewan. Perhaps before, but definitely after his wife died in 1935 he had left the farm. By 1940 he was living in Kississing Manitoba14and was again working as a carpenter. Whether he was estranged from his family or simply following work is unknown.
For the next while, Carl appear to follow where the work would take him and in 1949 he was still working as a carpenter, but by then had moved to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan15.
Carl retired in 195111and by 1953 had moved to 1733 Bedford Road, New Westminster, British Columbia16. Carl did not like to stay in one place and by 1957 Carl had moved in with his son Mandell at 10944 124thStreet17. This also did not last long as by 1962 he was living on his own at 14431 115thAvenue18and he was found there again in 196819.
After spending 9 months in the Valleyview Mental Hospital (also known as Easondale and Riverview) with non-psychotic organic brain syndrome with senile brain disease (slightly different than dementia, but with similar symptons), Carl died of heart failure (generalized atherosclerosis) on 10 March 197111.
1Baptisms, Norway. Stord, Hordaland. 15 April, 1881. JORGENSEN, Karl. Collection: Sokneprestembete, H/Haa: Ministerialbok nr. B 2, 1878-1913, s. 10, nr. 12 – Mandkjön. [Parish ministerial books – male gender] https://media.digitalarkivet.no/kb20050808020757: accessed 16 May 2018.
2Emigrants from Bergen (Norway). DIGERNÆS, Karl. 1887. Collection:Ministerialbok nr. B 2, 1878-1913, s. 313, nr. 11 – 19. [Parish ministerial books] https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/2156/292 : accessed 18 May 2018.
3Emigrants from Bergen (Norway). DIGERNÆS, Carl Jorgensen. 17 June 1887. Permanent ID per00000000678795. Collection: 1874-1930, The Digital archive. https://www.digitalarkivet.no/en/view/8/pe00000000678795: accessed 18 May 2018.
4Census. 1895. United States. Sundahl, Norman, Minnesota. https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MQ69-WXC : 3 April 2016.
5Census. 1905. United States. Copley, Clearwater, Minnesota. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SPSJ-2B7 : accessed 1 August 2017.
6Census. 1910. United States. Copley, Clearwater, Minnesota. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2LD-XFK : accessed 26 January 2018.
7Library and Archives Canada. Border Entries. DEGERNESS, Carl. 1908-1935 Border Entries; Roll: T-5477. RG 76-C. Department of Employment and Immigration fonds. Microfilm reels: T-5461-T-5507, T-15249-T-15344, T-15346-T-15393. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 2018.
8Census. 1916. Canada. Humbolt, Saskatchewan. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMPX-NQZ: accessed 3 April 2016.
9Confirmations (PR) United States. Sundahl, Minnesota. 27 October 1895. DIGERNAS, Karl. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1826-1969. http://www.ancestry.ca: access 21 May 2018.
10Marriages (CR) United States. Bagley, Clearwater. 29 December 1905. DEGERNESS, Carl and TORGERSON, Tilda. Certificate A-127.
11Deaths (CR) Canada. Coquitlam, British Columbia. 10 March 1971. DEGERNESS, Carl. http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Image/Genealogy/fa382e98-714c-48f4-a4cc-b8af77860117: accessed 2018.
13The United States of America. Homestead Certificate. 9 April 1901. DEGERNES, Jorgen H. Certificate No. 10336. Application 16458.
14Directories. Canada. (1940) Kississing, Churchill, Manitoba. Canada, Voters Lists 1935 – 1980. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 2018.
15Directories. Canada. (1949) Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Canada, Voters Lists 1935 – 1980. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 2018.
16Directories. Canada. (1953) Surrey, New Westminster, British Columbia. Canada, Voters Lists 1935 – 1980. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 2018.
17Directories. Canada. (1957) Surrey, New Westminster, British Columbia. Canada, Voters Lists 1935 – 1980. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 2018.
18Directories. Canada. (1962) Surrey, New Westminster, British Columbia. Canada, Voters Lists 1935 – 1980. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 2018
19Directories. Canada. (1968) Surrey, New Westminster, British Columbia. Canada, Voters Lists 1935 – 1980. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 2018