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The Kassenborgs

Gulbrand Kassenborg

Gulbrand Gulbrandsen Kassenborg



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In Norway

Gulbrand Gulbrandsen Kassenborg was born in Valdres, Norway, on February 10, 1811 to Gulbrand Gulbrandsen Skjærsteineie (born Braka) and Liv Knudsdatter Houg.   He was baptized March 17 of that year in Bagn church in Sør Aurdal. The family lived on Kølbu, a subfarm of Skjærstein at the time.  The Map of Norway showing birthplaces of Geline's parents"eie" indicates that his father was a husmann, cotter or renter.


The family moved to Nordre Land parish about 1818, possibly to Kasenborg.  Kasenborg was a sub-farm of the large Thomle farm holdings.  This may explain why the family is sometimes referred to as Thomleie in Norwegian genealogies. Gulbrand was confirmed on October 30, 1825, in the Haugner (now Nordsinni) church.


Gulbrand returned to Sør Aurdal and Vang church for his marriage on October 19, 1833, to Astri Andersdatter Skjærstein.  It appears he married a daughter of the owner of the farm on which he was born. Astri's father was Anders Juleson Solbjør (1780-1848). In 1819 he traded the Solbjør farm for Skjærstein and the family name changed accordingly.  Astri's mother's name was Anne Isaaksdatter Sørum (b. 1778).


Gulbrand and Astri lived on Kasenborg after their wedding.  Tarje Grover's wife Geline was born in 1834, her brother Andreas in 1836, and Gulbrand in 1842.


Until recently, people lived on the Kasenborg farm in Norway.  The following pictures were taken in 2015.  The stabbur, barn, and outbuildings date from the early 1800s, so they were there when Gulbrand and his family lived there. 

The house on the
Kasenborg farm
  The stabbur    The barn
(roof has collapsed and
fallen in front of it)
Buildings behind the house   A little friend left by
the front door


Where are Valdres and Land?


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Norwegian Church Records


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Rock County Wisconsin

Location of Rock County WI

Gulbrand and his family registered their intent to emigrate on May 2, 1850. Their son Andreas, who was just 14 years old, remembered that it was a difficult journey, and that the fresh water supply aboard ship ran out before they reached their destination.  The Kassenborgs made their way to Rock County, Wisconsin, where the first large groups of Norwegians settled in Wisconsin.  Luther Valley was the new home for many immigrants from Land kommune and also from Valdres, and in fact Luther Valley church records show that Gulbrand 'Kastenberg' and his wife took communion there on October 19, 1851.  Luther Valley Lutheran's records also indicate that Andreas Gulbrandsen 'Tomlien' was confirmed as a member of this congregation.


To read an interesting history of how Luther Valley was settled in 1839  

Click Here 

1.34 MB pdf format, opens in a new window





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Minnesota Pioneers

Gulbrand moved his family to Yucatan township, Houston County in 1853.  Martin Ulvestad writes on page 97 of "Nordmændene i Amerika":

p. 97  Nordmaendene in America


"Guttorm Guttormsen Oino from Rotnem in Gol, Hallingdal, Ole Evensen Dølehus from Hemsedal, along with the Stutelein Brothers and G. G. Kassenborg from Valders were the first white settlers on the South Fork (Root) River; but at that time the area was full of drunken Indians.  They discovered that they were not hostile; nevertheless, they had constant fear of them."


1857 Territorial Census


1858 Land Patent


Houston homestead

To read a complete translation of the Houston County History in "Nordmændene"

Click Here

67 KB pdf format, opens in a new window

Descendants of Gulbrand qualify

for membership in the

Minnesota Territorial Pioneers


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1860 Census


1865 Census


1870 Census


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Later Years


Astri died in Houston County on November 14, 1871 and was buried in the Stone Church cemetery. Gulbrand moved to Moland Township with his daughter Geline and son-in-law Tarje. His son Andreas also lived in the "Buffalo River Settlement" in Clay County MN.


1880 Census


Gulbrand learned the blacksmith trade in Norway and brought his anvil with him from his home in the Land kommune in Norway.  His skills were important to the farmers in Houston County and were even more valuable in the Buffalo River Settlement.  His grandsons, Krist and Aleck in particular, loved to help him and credited that "apprenticeship" for developing their own mechanical skills. 


Gulbrand (Gilbert) Kassenborg died on August 8, 1888.


He is buried at Concordia Lutheran Church Cemetery. His gravestone is directly behind Tarje and Geline's.


Death Record

(142 KB PDF document opens in a separate window)


Gulbrand's gravestone at Concordia - NE area of the cemetery, directly behind the Tarje Grover family plot

Gulbrand Gulbrandsen Kassenborg Grave Stone



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The Clay County Historical Society has put the biographical sketches found in "A History of Clay and Norman Counties," published in 1918, on-line. 


 For the Edward Kassenborg sketch, which includes information about his father/Geline's brother Andreas

Click Here

86 KB pdf format

(opens in a new window)


Click here to visit the  book's index page on the CCHS website.  

(opens in a new window)



Some Kassenborg Autographs

(open in new windows)

Ed Kassenborg Eliza Kassenborg
Gilbert Kassenborg Mary Kassenborg


Moorhead Landmark

The Kassenborg Block


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 Al Stevens, a descendant of Geline's brother Gulbrand (Gilbert Gilbertson).  


Help solve a mystery!

Check out our gallery of unidentified photos


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