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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2015 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 15th annual Opdalslag Heritage Festival was held September 10th and 11th, 2016, at Scandia Lutheran Church in Centerville, South Dakota. 

We were again blessed with a beautiful weekend.  Our number of members and guests attending has remained about the same the last few years.  We served 38 at the Saturday banquet and 25 at the luncheon on Sunday. 

Festivities started at 1:30 on Saturday with the flag salute and the National Anthems of both the United States and Norway. 

Lori Mjoen and her daughter Emma Christianson then gave an entertaining demonstration on lefse making.  Many of the group had a chance to participate in rolling out the lefse, baking it and, most importantly, eating it. 

Carol Broderson had many of her hardanger embroidery pieces displayed and explained the art of making these beautiful doilies, table runners, ornaments, etc.  She also displayed many Swedish huck weaving pieces, including a beautiful throw, and explained the process in making these items. 

After the demonstrations and a break for coffee and goodies, President Ken Mjoen conducted a short business meeting.  Current Vice-President Evy Kuecker will move up as President, and the other officers currently serving agreed to stay on for another year.  This left the Vice-President position open and, after much "coaxing", Joyce (Reese) Stolp agreed to fill this position.  Treasurer John Reese reported a checking account balance of $2,409.04, and Pioneer Cemetery account balance of $2,153.29.  A discussion was held about increasing participation at our annual festival - we need to be sure to advertise our gathering and invite others to attend. 

Deb Lamb conducted a very meaningful memorial service for members who died since our last meeting. Those remembered were: her mother Lillian Johnson, who was a long-time member of our Opdalslag, and former member Rev. Charles Wilson.  She lit four candles, one representing our grief, the second one courage to confront our sorrow, the third was lit in their memory, and the fourth representing our love.    

The group picture was taken outside on the Scandia church steps since it was a nice sunny day, after which the banquet was served by the Centerville Steakhouse.  A birthday cake in honor of Mavis Overgaard was brought by Mavis' daughters and was enjoyed with ice cream after the meal. When asked how old she is, Mavis said "too old".  

The evening program was presented by Mary Lou Erickson, "The Swedish cleaning lady".  She told jokes and interacted with the group and had us all laughing. 

A bake sale of Norwegian and other goodies was ongoing during the day.  For a fund raiser, the silent auction was replaced this year by the sale of "Caution Norwegian Crossing" signs, which were a hit with the members. 

Sunday began with Scandia church services.  It was rally Sunday and the many children of the congregation were a large part of the service (blessing of the backpacks, summer reading program awards, bible camp stories) followed by a noon luncheon provided by the officers. Several members then participated in a "show and tell", bringing Norwegian items and explaining their use, old Per and Ola "comic books", and Norwegian jokes. 

After more visiting and then cleaning up, we headed home until next year. 

Pauline Strait, Opdalslag Secretary

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Greetings from The President

Greetings to each of you from the new president of Opdalslag.

I have been active in Opdslaget since we re-organized in 1999. Our first Lag was in 2002 and we just completed our Opdalslag Festival in September 2016, this being our fifteenth year. It is hard to know how much longer we will be able to have our organization as we have lost many due to deaths and some members, once upon a time, never came back. We are small in numbers, but our enthusiasm is very strong.

As most of you know, most all of us are all related to one or another.

We had a very excellent Festival this Sept. and we hope many of you will try to encourage more members to come back or try to get new members.

Jeg ønsker deg hver en lykkelig takkefest og en riktig god jul og et godt nyttår.( I wish you each a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a good New Year).

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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SEPTEMBER 9 & 10, 2017



 2017 Schedule to be determined!

Sept. xxth
1:00 p.m.
Registration: Pick up name tags, meal tickets, membership cards,
etc. at registration desk.
1:00 & ongoing
Bake sale of Scandinavian goodies
(Please bring items of baked goods to sell)
1:30 p.m.
Flag salute, Norwegian national anthem and a sing along
2:30 p.m.
Coffee and visiting
3:00 p.m.
Kransekake demonstration by Lori Christianson
4:00 p.m.
Short business meeting
4:30 p.m.
Memorial service
4:45 p.m.
Group picture
6:00 p.m.
Program by Betty Rist and Sherry Hoisenech, including
singing, stories of their Norwegian ancestors coming to
America, Norwegian wedding dress and other clothing.


Sept. xxth
10:00 a.m.
Registration for those not already registered
10:30 a.m.
Scandia Lutheran Church worship service
12:00 noon
1:00 p.m.
"Bring, Show and Tell" participation by our members
(Members are urged to bring Norwegian item or items to
show and share stories about)




No meal tickets will be sold at registration table.
For more information on lodging, or for pre-registration materials, contact:
Pauline Strait,
158 West Lake Drive,
Arlington, SD 57212,

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
 158 West Lake Drive
 Arlington SD 57212

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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, 158 W. Lake Dr., Arlington, SD 57212, 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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