Before she was three, the family had moved to the Valvanta farm in Stord where her sisters and brothers were born. Over 20 years, her family was to increase by five sisters and two brothers. Mari (1851), Svend (1854), Ingeborg (1856), Kari (1859), Abilene (1866) and Knud (1868).
As a young girl, she, with her sisters, was responsible for herding the family’s sheep and goats in the hills of Stord island. In the winter they processed the wool from the sheep making socks and other garments17.
She was confirmed on 23 October 1863 and, like her future husband, received a “good +” on her religious work2.
Two years later, on the 1865 census4, she was working as a servant on the Glenes farm in the Sund parish. While Stord and Sund are in the same Norwegian county, there are quite far apart from each other and are on different islands. Travel in today’s terms would take almost three hours, then it actually might have been faster as it would likely have been by ship. Was she feeling brave and adventurous or lonely that far away from her family and home.
At some point, she moved back to the Stord Parish because in 1873, she married Jorgen Halvorsen Digernes from another farm in the Stord Parish. Their banns were read on 30 March, 6 and 14 of April and they were married on 01 May3.
Their first child Eli was born in November 1873, however, she died at just over six months in June 187415,16in Lervik. Their second child Halvor Johann was born in February 1875. The 1875 Norwegian census indicates that they were living on the Digernes farm with Jorgen’s dad and mom, Aasa and Viking as well as a couple of farm workers.
By the time they decided to emigrate, Jorgen and Martha had added six more children to their family: Helga Marie (1876), Ella (1879), Carl (1881), Svend Gregorius, Torres Gustav (Tom)(1886) and Eyvind (Edward) Martin (1887)6.
There is another daughter noted in the Rose Valley Historical Society Book: Hannes, born in 188417. However, there is no record of her birth, nor a record of her death prior to emigration in the parish records for Stord.
The family left Stord on June 13, 18876and took passage on the Allen Line on June 1712. Unfortunately, Eyvind did not survive the voyage and died enroute to America17.
By 1895 they were living in Sundahl, Minnesota and had added two more daughters to the family: Emilia (Emma) in 1889 and Matilda Josephine Karoline in 18927. One more son was to be born: Wilhelm in 1895, however he lived on a few months17.
In 1900, the family was living in Betrami, Minnesota8. In 1910, Martha is living with their youngest daughter Matilda at Copley, Clearwater, Minnesota9(while Jorgen was building the house in Saskatchewan). In September of that year, Martha and Matilda crossed the border at Emerson, Manitoba on their way to join Jorgen in Saskatchewan10.
In 1916, Jorgen and Martha were living at their farm in Ponass Lake, Saskatchewan11, where Jorgen was still living in 192118, Martha was perhaps visiting family elsewhere as she doesn’t show up on that census.
In 1926 they moved to a smaller farm in Rose Valley17. By then, Jorgen was 76 and Martha 78, so it was a good time to retire from full farming.
Martha died on 28 December 192817, two short years later, at the age of 80, and is buried with Jorgen in the Rose Valley Cemetery14.
1Baptisms. Norway. Stord, Hordaland. ELDOEN, Marthe Johannesdatter. 13 June 1848. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/8303/59: accessed April 2019.
2Confirmations. Norway. Stord, Hordaland. ELDOEN, Marthe Johannesdatter. 23 October 1863. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/en/view/8304/72: accessed April 2019.
3Marriages. Norway. Stord, Hordaland. Copy of parish records. 01 May 1873. DIGERNES, Jorgen Halvorsen and ELDOEN, Martha Johannesdatter. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/11676/112: accessed April 2019.
4Census. 1865. Norway. Stord, Hordaland. GLESNES, Marthe Johannesdatter. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/38239/70: accessed April 2019.
5Census. 1875. Norway Stord, Hordaland. DIGERNES, Jorgen Halvorsen. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/52269/530?indexing= : accessed April 2019.
6Parish Records. Out-migrated. Norway. Stord, Hordaland. 13 June 1887. DIGERNES, Jorgen Halvorsen. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/11676/112: accessed April 2019.
7Census. 1895. USA. Sundahl, Strand, Norman, Minnesota. DEGERNES, Jorgen. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DRVS-C39?i=2&cc=1503031: accessed April 2019.
8Census. 1900. USA. Betrami, Copley, Minnesota. DEGERNES, Jorgen. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DHF7-6DZ?i=5&cc=1325221: accessed April 2019.
9Census. 1910. USA. Copley, Clearwater, Minnesota. DEGERNESS, Martha. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRVN-JJJ?i=18&cc=1727033 : accessed April 2019.
10Library and Archives Canada. Border Entries. DEGERNESS, Mrs. Jorgen. 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 April 2019.
11Census. 1916. Canada. Ponass Lake, Humbolt, Saskatchewan. DEGERNESS, Jorgen. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed April 2019.
12Emigrants from Bergen (Norway). DIGERNÆS, Marthe Johannesdatter. 17 June 1887. Serial number 1333. Collection: 1874-1930, The Digital archive. https://www.digitalarkivet.no/en/view/8/pe00000000678793: accessed 18 May 2018
14Monumental Transcriptions. Rose Valley, Saskatchewan. 1928. DEGERNESS, Martha.
15Baptisms. Norway. Stord, Hordaland. DIGERNES, Eli Jorgensdatter. 16 November 1873. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/view/8304/50: accessed April 2019.
16Deaths. Norway. Stord, Hordaland. DIGERNES, Eli Jorgensdatter. 24 June 1874. https://media.digitalarkivet.no/en/view/8304/134 accessed April 2019.
17Rose Valley and District Historical Society (1981). A tribute to our Pioneers. Saskatchewan: Rose Valley & District Historical Society. Pp. 201-202.
18Census. 1921. Canada. Ponass Lake, Humbolt, Saskatchewan. DEGERNESS, Jorgen. http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed April 2019.