The Opdalslag

Founded in 1920, re-established in 2002.

Some history of the reunions of Oppdal descendants in America:

It was in the Yankton, SD area that many of our forefathers settled when they emigrated from Oppdal, Norway at the end of the 1800's. It was here that descendants of the over 2,000 Oppdalings, who immigrated to the United States, gathered three weeks ago. The Opdalslag was reactivated eighty-three years after it was begun in Seattle, WA. 

In August of 1920, Erik H. Loe was responsible for beginning the organization in Woodland Park in Seattle, WA. Although a Trondelag had been in existence, the Oppdal people decided that they should have their own lag. The first year the lag had 68 members, but soon it became one of the largest lags in the United States. The Opdalslag had its largest membership in 1931 with 401 members. In 1925, five years after the Opdalslag was organized in Seattle, WA, the many Opdalings who had settled in the Midwest near Yankton, organized their own lag.

At the library in Oppdal, there is enormous meaningful information contained in the 13 yearbooks published, by the lag, between the years 1922-1941. In these yearbooks there are about 1000 pages containing interesting stories of the lives and experiences of the Opdalings who left Oppdal, and about those who died far away from their homeland. Obituaries have a special place in the yearbooks. They also have fascinating histories or stories of the Opdaling's new lives as well as nostalgic remembrances of the homeland they had left.

The homeland was unable to support the steadily growing population. Census numbers from 1800 on in Oppdal climbed so dramatically that it became necessary for many to say good-bye to friends and relatives to seek a new life in America. Many of them never returned. In 1865 there were 4500 inhabitants in Oppdal. Fifty years later the numbers were 3760. This decline was caused by the massive emigration. The Opdalings settled in two places in USA: Snohomish County in state of Washington, and on the prairies in the territories between Sioux City, Iowa, Sioux Falls and Yankton, SD. 

Church photo
Scandia Lutheran Church in Centerville, S.D.

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2019 group photo

Opdalslag Charter members

Group photo
Names for 2011 Charter Members Picture

Front Row: Evy Kuecker, Edla Aune, Harold Nyhaug, Judy Johnson and Lillian Johnson.
Back Row: Howard Reese, Norma Nyhaug, Ken Mjoen, Peggy Nyhaug, Carol Broderson,
Mary Kepp, Russ Nyhaug, Deb and Steve Lamb, John Reese, Verna Nelson,
Sherree Schmiedt, and Pauline Strait.

List of Charter Members

Edla Aune
Carol Broderson
Pat Bruegmann
Dick and Arlene Fossum
Lillian Johnson
Judy Johnson
Mary Kepp
Evy and John Kuecker
Steve and Deb Lamb
Marjore Lee Lindsay
Eunice and Ed Mansfield
Ken Mjoen
Verna Nelson
Harold and Peggy Nyhaug
Russ and Norma Nyhaug
Virgil and Darlene Pederson
Earl Reese
Howard Reese
John Reese
Sherree Schmiedt
Vance and Virginia Sneve
Pauline Strait

To view a photo album of recent events - Click here

These pictures are from Opdalslag Stevne beginning in Sept. 2008. 

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The 18th annual Opdalslag Heritage Festival was held at Scandia Lutheran Church in Centerville, South Dakota, on September 14, 2019, beginning at 9:30 a.m. It was a one- day event this year, and was a very full day. About 30 members and guests registered, including four ladies from Canada (three of whom became members). Three others became new members which also made it extra special.

President Evy Kuecker welcomed the members and guests, and the flag salute and the National Anthems of the United States, Norway, and Canada were sung by the group.

Evy then presented a genealogy program and workshop. She had prepared and distributed voluminous individual genealogy material to each of the members present.

Members were then "put to work" bringing the material up to date and making any additions or corrections. Information was shared with each other and we finally decided we are all related in some way.

After a lunch of sub sandwiches, salads, bars and cookies, a short business meeting was held:

- Evy thanked the officers for providing the salads and goodies. She also stated that we pay $100 for the use of the fellowship hall and kitchen each year, but Scandia does not charge for the fall and spring meetings we have there, so we feel we are being treated very well.
- Carol Broderson reported for the nominating committee that all current officers have agreed to serve for another year and, there being no nominations from the floor, they will remain as officers for the next year, as follows: President - Evy Kuecker; Vice President - Joyce Stolp; Secretary - Pauline Strait; Treasurer - John Reese; Editor - Deb Lamb; and Historian - Mary Rist.
- Pioneer Cemetery - Joyce Stolp reported that there was not a clean up weekend this summer, but her husband Gordon stops several times during the summer and sprays the weeds and checks on the fence, etc.

Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve then made a very interesting presentation, talking about and reading from her book The Trickster and the Troll.

Deb Lamb conducted the memorial service for members who have passed away since our last meeting, being Edla Aune, Harold Nyhaug, Raymond Henderson and Anita "Nita" Johnson.

After a break for coffee and goodies and taking the group picture, Kris Rowley, a troll story teller and author from Spirit Lake, Iowa, presented a delightful program on trolls, relating many, many stories about trolls. She also had some of her large collection of trolls on display as well as copies of her book Trolls. Kris' husband Dave, known as The Guitar Man, then entertained with his guitar and his music, many of the songs having been written by him, and had the group joining in and being delightfully entertained.

The very busy and exciting day ended with a delicious banquet catered, as usual, by the Centerville Steakhouse. Each place had a troll favor decorating it (thanks to Deb Lamb). The meal also included lefse made which was purchased by our Opdalslag. The lefse remaining after the meal was sold to the members.

Pauline Strait, Opdalslag Secretary

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President Message Fall 2019

The Opdalslag Festival held 14 Sept 2019 was a huge success even with the water problem we had to dodge to get to Centerville, SD. This was a special day since we had our first ever guests from Canada. Dreena Davis, Denise and Lois Griffin and Chauffeur Tracey Ventzek. They fit in as if they had always attended our Lag. The first three ladies found relatives and had a very good day. Thanks to you Canadians for attending. We hope you will come again next year. A special thanks to all participants for being willing to fill in your family history during the genealogy session. Adam Reese (John Reeseā€™s son) and John Aden from Vermillion were in attendance and we welcome you both to our Lag. Andrew Reese also became a member but was unable to attend the meeting. Six new members were received into our Lag for 2020.

It would be nice if everyone would try to encourage others to join. Thanks to the officers and committee members for your dedication. It takes everyone to make our festival successful.

Wishing you a God høsttakkefest (Happy Thanksgiving) and God jul and Godt nytt år (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year).

Tusen Takk!!

photo of Evy
Evy Kuecker

Message from Opdalslag Committee Members

Our Opdalslag is in need of younger members in order to keep our organization going. We enlist each of you to identify and encourage potential members (relatives or not) to become interested in membership in our organization. This is a wonderful Lag and it takes many people to make an organization. Many of our members are getting up in age and it would be nice to invite potential members to join our Lag. It is a joy to keep up on genealogy and our Norwegian heritage. This is one way to keep in touch with our Norwegian relatives and friends.

Photo of waterfall
Views of Norway

Mike_Wammer_Photo of valley

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Opdalslag Stevne has been postponed until 2021



SEPTEMBER 12, 2020




Planning is underway for our next lag which will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at Scandia Lutheran Church. The committee is working hard on providing a fun and informative day for all who can attend. Save the date on your calendar and watch for your Spring newsletter with more details and the registration form. Please consider inviting friends and family to attend our next meeting!



No meal tickets will be sold at registration table.
For more information on lodging, or for pre-registration materials, contact:
Pauline Strait,
100 28th Ave SE, Apt 210,
Watertown, SD 57201,

Phone:    (605) 881-2980;
E-mail:    phstrait (at)

Downloadable PDF registration form, click here.


Our dues run from Sept. 1 through Sept. 1 and the dues are $15 per person or $25 per couple.
 Dues are to be sent to Pauline Strait the secretary. Her address is:

Pauline Strait
 100 28th Ave SE, Apt 210
 Watertown, SD 57201

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1933 Opdalslag

The Oppdalslag met at Zion Lutheran Church, rural Volin, on the 24th and 25th of June, 1933. The meeting was very good and well received. The weather on Saturday was quite cool so many people came that first day. Registration began at 10 o'clock and many yearbooks were distributed. After lunch, which was served by the women of Zion congregation, the business meeting began at 2 o'clock conducted by the president, Pastor J. B. Reese. The secretary's report was read and approved, likewise the treasurer's report. The members of the museum committee from the preceding year remained the same, because they had nothing to report. The following people were elected for the following year:

President-Pastor J. B. Reese, Mitchell
1st Vice president-A. H. Hagen, Irene
2nd Vice president-Martin Bjorlo, Wessington Springs
3rd Vice president-Chris Nyhaug, Volin
Secretary-S. O. Vognild, Irene
Financial secretary and treasurer-O. I. Sneve, Irene
Directors-H. O. Vognild, Volin and H.B. Reese, Wessington Springs
Editor of the yearbook-Mrs. Kristine Haugen, Sioux City, IA. It was decided that H. B. Reese would help gather material for the next yearbook which would come out in two years providing that the officers feel that it will be economically possible.
Resolutions committee-Mrs. Martin Bjorlo, Miss Guri Back and Haakon

A motion was made to send a greeting with H. B. Reese to the Western branch when he together with his wife and son travel out there. Greetings to the Lag came from Even Satrum, Kidder, Johanna Hooker Nelson, Kendrick, ID, and Knute Lien, Oppdal, Norway. It was decided to send greetings to Ole Back and family because of Mrs. Back's illness, likewise to old Ingebrit Satrum of Canton. It was left to the officers to decide the time and place of the next meeting.

In the evening two hundred people enjoyed a sumptuous meal provided by the women. They had made all kinds of good Norwegian food including rømegrøt, gomme, and much more. During the meal Evelyn Vognild, June Pederson, Lillian Engen, and Mrs. Carl Wright provided beautiful music and Mrs. Fjaere sang beautifully "Kan du glemme gamle Norge." The president thanked the congregation for letting the Lag meet there and Pastor Fjaere gave a welcome from the congregation.

The evening program began at 8 o'clock with a song by the men's choir of the congregation. Dr. Einar Haugen, a professor of Norwegian language and literature from the University of Wisconsin gave a very good talk on Rolvaag and his writings. He reminded us that it was Rolvaag who through his writings had acquainted the world with the kind of people the Norwegian pioneers were and of what they had done out here on the western prairies. For it was from here that his ideas came that he used in writing his world famous stories. Sæterjenten's Søndag was played beautifully by Evelyn Vognild and Mrs. Carl Wright and short talks were given by Pastor Fjaere and Mrs. Kristine Haugen. Pastor Fjaere gave the benediction.

Sunday morning there were many people who came and the large church was overflowing for worship services. President J. B. Reese began by reading Psalm 90 and offering prayer. The Zion church choir sang and a collection was taken to defray the expenses of the lag. Pastor Fjaere preached the festival sermon using a text from Jeremiah: "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is." Many thanks Pastor Fjaere for the clear and good talk you gave us. The church choir sang another song and the benediction was given by Pastor Fjaere.

Sunday afternoon was spent in greeting and visiting with old acquaintances and friends.

Sunday evening there was music again by the aforementioned ladies. The resolutions were read by Guri Back thanking the pastor and the congregation and all who had taken part in the program and to the women of the church for their gracious hospitality. Then one of the Norwegian American films was shown-"A trip through the country of Norway." Pastor Fjaere closed with prayer. Coffee was served in the church parlor. Thanks to everyone who came and to help make this so festive and enjoyable.

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Contact us:


The officers of Opdalslaget are:

* President, 
   Evy Kuecker 3101 11th Ave., Kearney, NE 68845-3332, 1-308-237-5651, 
   E-mail:  evykuecker (at)

* Secretary, 
   Pauline Strait, 100 28th Ave SE, Apt 210, Watertown, SD 57201, 1-605-881-2980, 
   E-mail, phstrait (at) 

* Genealogist, 
   Evy Kuecker 3101 11th Ave., Kearney, NE 68845-3332, 1-308-237-5651, 
   E-mail:  evykuecker (at)

* Newsletter Editor
  Deb Lamb 106 Cass Ave., Atlantic IA 50022, 1-712-243-6694
  E-mail: sdlamb (at)

Other Officers:

* Past President, Joel Fagerhaug 
* Vice-president,  Joyce Stolp
* Treasurer's , John Reese 
* Advertising, Computer & Media Coordinators,
      Sherree Schmiedt and Evelith Kuecker 
* Historian, Mary Rist
* Past President, Paul Miller

Planning committee:

* Edla Aune 
* Carol Broderson
* Stephanie Fagerhaug
* Judy Johnson 
* Ken Mjoen 
* Russ and Norma Nyhaug
* Peggy and Harold Nyhaug
* Diane Reese

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