The story of our family...for my sons

Sunday, September 30, 2012

...more Viking family history

How much of this you take seriously is really up to you. Because of the nature of the period we are dealing with, histories were handed down by word of mouth. What written records exist are later transcriptions of those legends.

The earliest ancestral records I have been able to trace go back to the Nord Trondheim and Uppsala areas of Scandinavia. The viking settlers we originate from came across the sea to Orkney and then southwards across England. What follows is a potted history of a few of them :

Njord, King of the SWEDES
, son of Yngvi, King in Turkey, was born about 214 in Noatun, Sweden."Njord was then the sole sovereign of the Swedes. He practiced sacrifrice, and was called the drot, or sovereign, by the Swedes. He received scatt and gifts from them. In his days were peace and plenty, and such good years in all respects that the Swedes believed Njord ruled over the growth of seasons and the prosperity of the people. In his time all the diars, or gods, died, and blood-sacrifices were made for them. Njord died on a bed of sickness, and before he died made himself be marked for Odin with the spear-point. The Swedes burned him, and all wept over his grave-mound."

Yngvi-Frey 235AD "For many generations the kings of Uppsala before King Ingjiald married for their chief wives, generally, daughters of the Royal House of Vestergothland and also married kinswomen of the royal house." These were "daughters of the drotts or kings of Ingria, in what is now Russia and Finland. "Then it was "called Yngvi Land, after Yngvi Frey the last ruler of the Swedes and Goths who was believed of divine origin."

Olaf "Trekalia" INGJALDSSON, "The Wood Cutter" Olaf, the son of Ingjald the Ill-Advised, king in Sweden, cleared Vermaland. He was called Olaf the Tree-Feller. He was fostered in West Gautland by a man named Bofi. Bofi's son was named Saxi, who was called the Plunderer. Olaf's mother was Gauthild, the daughter of King Algaut, who was the son of King Gautrek the Mild, son of Gaut, after whom Gautland is named. Alof was the mother of Gauthild, daughter of King Olaf the Clear-Sighted, king in Naeriki. At that time, Ivar Widegrasp had conquered all Denmark and Sweden, and so Olaf and a great multitude of his folk fled, and were proclaimed outlaws by King Ivar. They went north to Vaeni, and cleared the forests and settled in a large area that they called Vermaland, and the Swedes elected Olaf the Tree-Feller, and he was their king until old age."

Rognvald "The Wise" EYSTEINSSON, Earl of More and Romsdal, son of Eystein Ivarsson, and Ascrida Rognvaldsdatter, Countess of Oppland,was born about 830 in Maer, Nord Trondelag, Norway. He died in 890/894 in Orkney, Orkney Islands, Scotland. He married Ragnhild (Hilda) HROLFSDATTER about 867 in Maer, Nord Trondelag, Norway. "On the voyage Sigurd’s brother, Earl Rognvald of More, received the Earldom of Orkney from King Harald as compensation for the loss of his son, Ivar. Rognvald had no intentions of staying in the islands so passed the Earldom on to Sigurd, who became Earl Sigurd I of Orkney.""During his many campaigns, Harald allowed his hair to grow long and tangle into dread-locks, vowing that he would not cut his hair again until he was king of all Norway. Thus he had become known as Harald Mop-hair, at least behind his back. At first, Harald ruled primarily in the Southlands and Uplands. Jarl Hakon and his comrade, Rognvald of Mere, had originally fought against Harald Mop-hair, but eventually they realized that they had more to gain as Harald’s allies than his enemies. Harald made Rognvald Jarl of North and South Mere and of Raumdall after his victory at Solskiel over Hunthjof, King of Mere, and Nokve, King of Raumdall. When Harald had finally conquered all of Norway, it was Rognvald Eysteinsson, Mere-jarl, who cut Harald’s hair and gave him the new name, Harald Fine-hair."

Thurston le Goz was born about 989 in Normandy, France. He married Judith de MONTANOLIER about 1014."The third son of Gerlotte was Ansfrid the Dane, the first Vicomte of the Hiemois, and father of Ansfrid the second, surnamed Goz, above mentioned, whose son Turstain (Thurstan, or Toustain) Goz was the great favourite of Robert Duke of Normandy, the father of the Conqueror, and accompanied him to the Holy Land, and was intrusted to bring back the relics the Duke had obtained from the Patriarch of Jerusalem to present to the Abbey of Cerisi, which he had founded. Revolting against the young Duke William in 1041, Turstain was exiled, and his lands confiscated and given by the Duke to his mother, Herleve, wife of Herluin de Conteville."

Richard D' AVRANCHES, companion of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, son of Toustien le Goz and Judith de Montanolier,was born about 1025 in Avranches, Normandy, France. He died in 1066. He married Emma de CONTEVILLE."Richard Goz, Vicomte d'Avranches, or more properly of the Avranchin, was one of the sons of the aforesaid Turstain, by his wife Judith de Montanolier, and appears not only to have avoided being implicated in the rebellion of his father, but obtained his pardon and restoration to the Vicomté of the Hiemois, to which at his death he succeeded, and to have strengthened his position at court by securing the hand of Emma de Conteville, one of the daughters of Herluin and Herleve, and half-sister of his sovereign. By this fortunate marriage he naturally recovered the lands forfeited by his father and bestowed on his mother-in-law, and acquired also much property in the Avranchin, of which he obtained the Vicomté, in addition to that of the Hiemois."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Genetic Memory

Savant Syndrome is a rare but remarkable condition in which persons with developmental disabilities, including but not limited to autistic disorder, have some spectacular “islands of genius” that stand in marked, jarring contrast to overall limitations. Skills most often exist in art, music, calendar calculating, lightning calculating and mechanical or spatial abilities. Whatever the special skill, it is always associated with massive memory; a memory exceedingly deep but very narrow within the area of the special skill.

Savant skills occur on a spectrum of ability ranging from splinter skills (such as memorizing license plates, sports trivia, birthdays etc.) to talented ( skills such as music or art that are quite conspicuous over against overall limitations) to prodigious (skills so remarkable that they would be termed at a ‘prodigy’ or ‘genius’ level if present in a non-disabled person). The prodigious savant represents a very high threshold group and there are probably less than 100 such known persons living worldwide at the present time. All the above is discussed in more detail on the savant syndrome web site at and in Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome (Treffert, 2006).

Prodigious savants, by definition, have limitations and handicap from autism or other CNS disorders. Yet, in spite of these limitations, sometimes very severe, along with their spectacular skills, all prodigious savants have a startling, innate access to the “rules” of music, art, or mathematics, for example. These astonishing skills, abilities, knowledge and expertise, most often unexpectedly explode on the scene at an early age, in areas which the savants have neither studied nor have had any formal training. Hence prodigious savants innately and instinctively “know” things they have never learned.

Maybe Carl Jung was right. He described what he termed the “collective unconscious.” I call it genetic memory.

Leslie, who has never had a music lesson in his life, intuitively knows “the rules of music” according to professional musicians who have met him. George, and his brother Charles, instinctively know “the rules of mathematics” and can compute multi-digit prime numbers, never having studied them, yet cannot correctly multiply 6 x 5, for example. Alonzo, with no training in art, has access to the “rules of art” which allow him to duplicate three dimension animals from a two dimension photo; he also was able to just instinctively armature his horse figures in order to capture them in motion, a skill other artists train for years to master. A music professor says, about Matt, the 14 year prodigious savant now known around the world as the “Mozart of jazz”: “He seems to know things beyond his own existence.”

Someone once said about Mozart himself that he really didn’t ‘compose’ anything; he simply wrote down that which was already inscribed on his soul.

Which brings to mind Jay He is not a savant but rather he was a prolific musical prodigy at age three, and now is a musical genius in his teen years. On a 60 Minutes program in 2006 the parents describe Jay beginning to draw little cellos on paper at age two. Neither parent is musically inclined, and there never were any musical instruments, including a cello, in the home. At age three Jay asked if he could have a cello of his own. The parents took him to a music store and to their astonishment, Jay picked up a miniature cello and began to play it! He had never seen a real cello before that day. After that experience he began to draw his miniature cellos placed on musical lines. By age 5 he had composed five symphonies. By age 15 he had written nine symphonies. His fifth symphony, which was 190 pages and 1328 bars in length, was professionally recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra for Sony records.

Jay says that the music just streams into his head at lightning speed, sometimes several symphonies running simultaneously at the same time. “My unconscious directs my conscious mind at a mile a minute,” he told the correspondent on that 60 Minutes program.

Where does Jay’s musical genius come from? How did he know about cellos, and how to play them at age three when never exposed to one before? How did he instinctively, at that age also “know” the rules of music when he had never studied or learned them?

I say he was able to do so because of genetic memory.

Jay is a genius and not a savant. But prodigious savants particularly (who by definition would be geniuses absent a disability) show similar access to the “rules”, or syntax or templates, of music, art, mathematics and calendar calculating, for example. They come with what I call ‘software, factory installed’. These savants have innate access to complex knowledge they clearly have never learned. They remember, genetically, things they have never learned. Some savants are able to compute prime numbers but cannot add or subtract the simplest of numbers and certainly cannot describe “how they do it”. So many savants, almost all of them in fact, instinctively know how to do calendar calculations, some without any significant prior access to calendars.

In 1945 A. Dudley Roberts reported the case of a woman, who was paralyzed from an encephalitic illness and who had no useful language and a measured IQ of 8. She could respond to calendar calculating questions with only grunts and gestures. But she was able to correctly identify the day of the week over a 30-year time span, communicating the correct answers in her primitive fashion.

Alonzo has never had an art lesson in his life, but as a child, following a severe fall with head injury he began sculpting animals with startling life like accuracy, often molding three dimensional animals from a two dimensional picture in a magazine. When it came time for him to armature his horses to capture them in motion, he did so immediately using techniques it often takes a long time for other sculptors to master.

Such innate access to the vast syntax and ‘rules’ of mathematics, music and even language in some instances, in the absence of any formal education and training, whether in geniuses, or savants, requires a third type of memory, a form of memory I call ‘genetic’ memory. The two other types of memory, cognitive/semantic and procedural/habit memory, are generally accepted. Genetic memory, sometimes called ancestral memory, is, in contrast, the genetic transmission of sophisticated knowledge itself, or at least the genetic transmission of the templates or ‘rules’ of such knowledge. One might refer to these as the musical chip, artistic chip, calendar-calculating chip or mathematical chip, for example.

This is not an entirely new concept. Brill, in 1940, quoted Dr. William Carpenter who, in comparing Zerah Colborn’s calculating powers to Mozart’s mastery of musical composition, defined these “congenital gifts” as “intuitions”. He wrote: “in each of the foregoing cases, then, we have a peculiar example of the possession of an extraordinary congenital aptitude for certain mental activity, which showed itself at so early a period as to exclude the notion that it could have been acquired by the experience of the individual. To such congenital gifts we give the name of intuitions; it can scarcely be questioned that like the instincts of the lower animals, they are the expressions of constitutional tendencies embodied in the organism of the individuals who manifest them.”

Carl Jung used the term “collective unconscious” to define his even broader concept of inherited traits, intuitions and collective wisdom of the past.

Wilder Penfield in his pioneering book, Mystery of the Mind, (1978) also refers to three types of memory. “Animals,” he states, “particularly show evidence of what might be called racial memory” (this would be the equivalent of ‘ancestral’ or ‘genetic memory’). He lists a second type of memory as that associated with ‘conditioned reflexes’ and a third type of memory as ‘experiential’. Those two latter types would be consistent with the terms commonly applied to “habit/procedural” memory, and “cognitive/semantic” memory.

In his book The Mind’s Past, Michael Gazzaniga (2000) states: “The baby does not learn trigonometry, but knows it; does not learn how to distinguish figure from ground but knows it; does not need to learn, but knows, when one object with mass hits another it will move the object”. He goes on to state: “the vast cerebral cortex is chock full of specialized systems ready, willing an able to be used for specific tasks. Moreover, the brain is built under tight genetic control.” And he then concludes: “As soon as the brain is built, it starts to express what it knows, what it comes with from the factory. And the brain comes loaded. The number of special devices that are in place and active is staggering. Everything from perceptual phenomena to intuitive physics to social exchange rules comes with the brain. Each device solves a different problem….the multitude of devices we have for doing what we do are factory installed; by the time we know about an action, the devices have already performed it. Gazzaniga then goes on to describe the specialized functions of the left and right hemisphere, using a multitude of split-brain testing results, and describes the important role of the “interpreter” that he feels the left hemisphere exercises. This “interpreter” is superimposed, then, on a massive amount of “factory installed” specialized systems, and knowledge.

Steven Pinker’s (2003) book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, focuses on “behavioral genetics” and what might be called hard-wired “human nature” examining the nature v. nurture arguments with respect to innate behavioral traits and aptitudes. Pinker’s “behavioral genetics” is an important, although controversial area of inquiry, but it differs what I am focusing on in this paper, something one might call “knowledge genetics.” Nevertheless his book, as indicated in by its title, refutes the ‘blank slate’ theories of human development.

Marshall Nirenberg, (1968) from the National Heart Institute, provides insight into the actual DNA/RNA mechanisms for what he calls “Genetic Memory” in an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1968.

In a 2004 essay, Keith Chandler ascribes the savant’s ability to “to remember things they never learned,” to para-normal phenomena, and other writers have extended such abilities to include past life regression. My view of ‘genetic memory’ does extend to, nor include those phenomenon or mechanisms. My view of ‘genetic memory’ is more narrow, in fact, than even Jung’s “collective unconscious.” It is generally accepted that we can inherit certain physical characteristics such as height, weight, hair color, eye color and even propensity to certain diseases, for example. It is also generally accepted that certain behavioral traits, or even talents, can ‘run in families’ and we see evidence of that all around us. Genetic memory simply adds bits of inherited knowledge to that passed on mix of genes, chromosomes and cells instead than settling for the view that we start our lives with completely blank memory or knowledge disks to which we add only those life experiences and learning that occur after we are born.

Whether called ancestral, genetic or racial memory, or intuitions, or congential gifts, the concept of a genetic transmission of sophisticated knowledge, well beyond ‘instincts’ is necessary to explain how prodigious savants, for example, can know things they never learned.

We tend to think of ourselves as being born with a magnificent and intricate piece of organic machinery (“hardware”) we call the brain along with a massive, blank disk on which we then inscribe our memories as we experience events and ‘learn’. What we become then, it is commonly believed, is an accumulation of continuous learning and life experiences that are added one by one to memory. But the prodigious savant particularly suggests, to me at least, that he or she comes already programmed with a vast amount of innate skill, knowledge and expertise—factory installed ‘soft ware’ one might call it—which accounts for how the prodigious savant innately shows such mastery of some areas of skill and expertise often in the face of massive cognitive deficits and deficiencies. It is an area of memory function and learning worthy of much more exploration and study. I prefer the term ‘factory installed software’ to ‘hard-wired’ because the brain software, like all computer software, is continuously being modified by experience and innovation.

Some argue that what the savant ‘inherits’ are the music, art or mathematic ‘templates’ (as opposed to specific knowledge itself) or scaffolding on which they then can so quickly ‘learn’ or construct areas of expertise. That may be and I am open to that alternative. From my direct observations of prodigious savants, though, it seems to me they inherit actual knowledge itself, not just the templates or scaffolding or ‘rules’ on which they can so quickly build. Thus, for me, genetic memory is inherited knowledge.

Genetic memory—factory installed software—exists in the prodigious savant, and indeed, in my view, it exists in all of us. It is a huge reservoir of generally dormant knowledge and talent, distributed in all of us along the lines of the usual bell-shaped curve. But the special brain circuitry of the prodigious savant gives them access to that generally buried potential in spectacular fashion, permitting them to ‘know’ things they never learned.

In a similar vein, the ‘acquired savant’— ‘normal’ (neurotypical) persons in whom special abilities surface, sometimes at a spectacular level, following a head injury, stroke, or other CNS catastrophe, when no such skills were evident before the CNS insult-- raise as well intriguing questions about buried potential within us all. These ‘acquired savant’ cases point toward brain re-wiring and brain plasticity as back-up resources in the case of brain injury or disease. Those cases, and the back-up mechanisms involved, are discussed in detail on the savant Web site and in Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome.

But the important question becomes, then, if such dormant potential embodied in genetic memory and acquired savant back-up systems exist in all of us, how can one access such buried potential without getting hit in the head by a baseball, having a stroke or experiencing fronto-temporal dementia, for example? That research is under way, but in its infancy. Betty Edwards (1999) book New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain describes one method. Meditation may be another. Some are using rTMS (rapid trans magnetic stimulation) as another route of investigation. And surely there are other methods as well.

The objective of this paper is not to document those efforts in detail. It is rather to describe how prodigious savants, by demonstrating that they know things they never learned, point us in the direction of further exploration of genetic memory. And I hope this paper also generates discussion on that topic and, hopefully, brings even more cases and instances to my attention that fortify the idea of the genetic inheritance of knowledge—factory installed software—within us all, and how we might access that hidden resource more usefully and easily.

Street art...

Rennes, France

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DNA doesn't lie...

Got the results of the DNA testing yesterday...86% Scandinavian and 14% Eastern European (German). That means that my genealogy is accurate and that I've been imprinted with Viking genetic memory...

Scandinavian: Nothing but Viking blood in me. My genetic ethnicity ties you to Scandinavia, which includes the modern-day nations of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. While the Vikings were feared by the coastal towns of medieval Europe as seaborne raiders and violent pillagers, they were also well-travelled merchants and ambitious explorers. They raided the Mediterranean coast of Africa, settled areas as far south as the Black Sea, and traded with the Byzantine Empire. And it was a Norse sailor, Leif Ericson, who is credited with being the first European to travel to North America—500 years before Columbus.

And it wasn't just the Vikings who had an irrepressible urge for adventure. In the days of the mighty Roman Empire, the Goths, originally from Sweden, wandered south and settled in what is now eastern Germany. In the year 410, they invaded and sacked Rome, setting the stage for the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire.

In the more recent past, the Scandinavian nations have embraced a new identity. Considering their neutrality during the World Wars, high quality of life, and relatively egalitarian societies, they are known more for their peaceful ways than their ancient Viking lineage might suggest.
Migrations into this region

As the glaciers retreated from Northern Europe, roaming groups of hunter-gatherers from Southern Europe followed reindeer herds inland and marine resources along the Scandinavian coast. Neolithic farmers eventually settled the region beginning about 6,000 years ago. However, the tradition of hunting and reindeer-herding remains among the Sami people of northern Scandinavia. The Sami formerly occupied much of northern Scandinavia and Russia, and likely had connections with the Volga-Ural region (where there are other languages similar to Finnish and Sami).
Migrations from this region

The rise of the Viking culture spread Scandinavian ancestry far throughout Europe. Their earliest coastal voyages took them to Scotland, northeastern England and established the settlement of Dublin, Ireland. As their power continued to grow, the Vikings spread farther afield, down the Volga River in Russia, to the coast of France and Spain. But perhaps their most famous accomplishments were the oceanic voyages across the Atlantic, establishing villages in Iceland and Greenland and exploring the northern coast of Canada. Few, if any of the early Scandinavian settlers, are thought to have survived in the Americas. However, Iceland remains a flourishing post of Scandinavian language and culture.

Eastern European: which is a region stretching from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Mediterranean in the south. It consists primarily of former "Eastern Bloc" nations that were either aligned with or occupied by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—as well as Belarus and Ukraine were annexed directly into the USSR. While Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were satellite states as members of the Warsaw Pact. Also part of the region are the nations of the former Yugoslavia—Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia. Albania and Greece sit at the southern end of the region, bordering the Mediterranean.

The area is considered by many ethnologists to be the homeland of the Slavic people. Most of the nations in the region speak a Slavic language, which spread north and east into Russia and south toward the Balkans in the 5th and 6th centuries.

Perhaps the most famous resident of the area is Greece. From the ancient Mycenaeans and the Homeric epics of the Trojan War to the famous cities of Athens and Thebes, the fearsome Spartans to Alexander the Great—Greek culture and history laid the foundation for Roman, European, and, ultimately, western culture as a whole.

In the 1400s, the Ottoman Turks conquered the remnants of the Byzantine Empire and throughout the 1500s expanded deep into Eastern Europe, occupying the entire southern region up to Hungary, Romania, and parts of Ukraine. As a result, there are scattered communities of Muslims in the southern countries, although Christianity is prevalent throughout the region.
Migrations into this region

After the Last Glacial Period 15,000 years ago, populations expanded onto the eastern European plain from the Balkans and Blacks Sea as ice and tundra retreated. These Eastern Europeans were the first of the Neolithic farming culture that entered the Balkans about 9,000 years ago from the Middle East. In fact, individuals from southeastern Europe have inherited a higher proportion of Middle Eastern ancestry than other European individuals. About 2,000-3,000 years ago, the ancestors of Magyars migrated from the Ural Mountains in Russia toward present-day Hungary. Although they contribute their unique language to the region, their genetic impact may have been small.

About 2,300 years ago, the height of the Eastern European influence may have been the rise of the Greeks and their Hellenistic empire following the death of Alexander the Great. Their empire encompassed Italy, Turkey and even stretched all the way to northern India. Among the southeastern populations, Greeks in particular share elevated ancestry with the Middle East, potentially due to relatively recent migrations.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Harald Fairhair

Harald Fairhair or Harald Finehair (Old Norse: Haraldr hárfagri, Norwegian: Harald Hårfagre), (c. 850 – c. 933) was the first king (872 – 930) of Norway was my 34th great grandfather on my fathers side.

Little is known of the historical Harald. The only contemporary sources mentioning him are the two skaldic poems Haraldskvæði and Glymdrápa, by Þorbjörn Hornklofi. The first poem describes life at Harald's court, mentions that he took a Danish wife, and that he won a victory at Hafrsfjord. The second relates a series of battles Harald has won. He is not mentioned in any contemporary foreign sources. His life was described in several of the Kings' sagas, but the first of these were not written until the end of the 12th century, over 250 years after his death.

Their accounts of Harald and his life differ on several points, and much of the content is clearly mythological. He is credited with having unified Norway into one kingdom. Modern historians assume that his rule was limited to the coastal areas of southern Norway. The sagas tell us that Harald succeeded, on the death of his father Halfdan the Black Gudrødsson in A.D. 860, to the sovereignty of several small, and somewhat scattered kingdoms in Vestfold, which had come into his father's hands through conquest and inheritance. His protector-regent was his mother's brother Guthorm.

The unification of Norway is, according to a tale, somewhat of a love story. The tale begins with a marriage proposal that resulted in rejection and scorn from Gyda, the daughter of Eirik, king of Hordaland. She said she refused to marry Harald "before he was king over all of Norway". Harald was therefore induced to take a vow not to cut nor comb his hair until he was sole king of Norway, and that ten years later, he was justified in trimming it; whereupon he exchanged the epithet "Shockhead" or "Tanglehair" for the one by which he is usually known. Most scholars today regard this story as a literary tale inspired by the Romance stories that were popular at the courts by the time Heimskringla was written.

In 866, Harald made the first of a series of conquests over the many petty kingdoms which would compose Norway, including Värmland in Sweden, and modern day south-eastern Norway, which had sworn allegiance to the Swedish king Erik Eymundsson. In 872, after a great victory at Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, Harald found himself king over the whole country. His realm was, however, threatened by dangers from without, as large numbers of his opponents had taken refuge, not only in Iceland, then recently discovered; but also in the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Hebrides Islands, Faroe Islands and the northern European mainland. However, his opponents leaving wasn't entirely voluntary. Many Norwegian chieftains who were wealthy and respected posed a threat to Harald; therefore, they were subjected to much harassment from Harald, prompting them to vacate the land.

At last, Harald was forced to make an expedition to the West, to clear the islands and the Scottish mainland of some Vikings who tried to hide there. It was long thought that Harald thus caused the Norse settlement of Iceland and beyond. According to this view, Iceland was settled by "malcontents" from Norway, who resented Harald's claim of rights of taxation over lands, which the possessors appear to have previously held in absolute ownership. This view has been largely abandoned by modern historians.

The latter part of Harald's reign was disturbed by the strife of his many sons. He gave them all the royal title and assigned lands to them, which they were to govern as his representatives; but this arrangement did not put an end to the discord, which continued into the next reign. When he grew old, Harald handed over the supreme power to his favourite son Eirik Bloodaxe, whom he intended to be his successor. Eirik I ruled side-by-side with his father when Harald was 80 years old. Harald died three years later due to age in approximately 933. The number of sons he left varies in the different saga accounts, from 11 to 20. Twelve of his sons are named as kings, two of them over the whole country

...cabin porn


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Scottish Viking connection...

Kvenland was the name given to the country now known as Finland and some of the surrounding areas. Little is known of the early kings of Kvenland except their names and the dates of their birth. King Fornjotur was the first Kvenland king born in 160 and died in 250. The people of Kvenland also mixed with the Scottish people in the northern Orkney Islands.

According to the Orkneyinga Saga, "There was a king called Fornjotur who ruled over Finland and Kvenland, the countries stretching to the east of what we call the Gulf of Bothnia, which lies opposite the White Sea. Fornjotur had three sons, Hler (whom we also call AEgir), a second called Logi and a third, Kari, the father of Frosti, who was in turn the father of Snaer the Old, the father of Thorri. He had two sons, Nor and Gor and a duaghter, Goi." According to legend, Fornjotur was also the father of Karl, Hlessey, and Gmir. Nor founded Norway (Nor's way) and Gor was known as the "Sea King". Goi was abducted by Hrolf of Bjard, son of the giant Svadi. Nor challenged Hrolf for the return of his sister and the battle ended with Nor getting Hrolf's sister for his wife and Hrolf keeping Goi as his wife. The Orkneyinga Saga goes on to say, "Earl Rognvald campaigned with King Harald Fine Hair who gave him charge of North More, South More and Romsdale. Earl Rognvald married Ragnhild, the daughter of Hrolf Nose, and it was their son, Hrolf, who conquered Normandy. This Hrolf was so big that no horse could carry him, which is why he was given the name Gongu-Hrolf. The earls of Rouen and the kings of England are descended from him."

Kings of Kvenland

King Fornjotur Kvenland b. 160 Finland, d. 250 Finland


Karl Fornjotur Kvenland

King Kari Fornjotursson Kvenland

Logi Fornjotursson Kvenland

Hlessey Fornjotursson Kvenland

Hler Fornjotursson Kvenland

King Kari Fornjotur Kvenland b. 185 Finland, d. 209 Finland


Frosti Karasson Kvenland

King Frosti Karasson Kvenland b. 210 Finland, d. 239 Finland


Siokul Frostasson Kvenland

Snaer Jokulsson Kvenland

King Jokull Frostasson Kvenland b. 240 Finland, d. 274 Finland


Snaer Jokulsson Kvenland b. 275 Finland, d. 301 Raumsdal, Norway

Thorri Snaersson Kvenland b. 320 Raumsdal, Norway, d. 344 Raumsdal, Norway

Gorr Thorasson Kvenland b. 365 Raumsdal, Norway, d. 418 Raumsdal, Norway

Heytir Gorrsson Kvenland b. 425 Raumsdal, Norway, d. 499 Raumsdal, Norway

Svidri Heytsson Kvenland b. 600 Raumsdal, Norway, d. 649 Norway

Sveidi Svidrasson Kvenland b. 650 Raumsdal, Norway, d. 699 Raumsdal, Norway

Halfdan Sveidasson Kvenland b. 700 Oppland, Norway, d. 749 Oppland, Norway

Ivar Halfdansson Kvenland b. 770 Oppland, Norway, d. 824 Oppland, Norway

Eystein Glumra Ivarsson b. 800 Maer, Nord, Norway, d. 846 Maer, Nord, Norway

Rognvald I. Eysteinsson b. 830 Maer, Nord, Norway, d. 890 Orkney Islands, Scotland

Einar Rognvaldsson b. 852 Maer, Nord, Norway, d. Orkney Islands, Scotland

Thorfinn I Einarsson b. 890 Orkney Islands, Scotland, d. Mound, Hoxa, Scotland

Hlodver Thorfinnsson b. 924 Orkney, Scotland, d. 988 Hofn, Caithness, Scotland

Sigurd Hlodversson b. 960 Orkney, Scotland, d. 23 April 1013 Battle Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland

Brusi Sigurdsson b. 987 Orkney, Scotland, d. 1031 Orkney Islands, Scotland

Ragnvald Brusesson b. 1011 Orkney, Scotland, d. Dec. 1046 Papa Stronsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland

Robert De Brusse b. 1036 Carrick, Argyllshire, Scotland, d. 1031 Annan, Dumfries, Scotland

Adam Brus b. 1051 Carrick, Argyllshire, Scotland, d. 1081 Skelton Castle, Yorkshire, England

Robert Brus b. 1071 Skelton Castle, Yorkshire, England, d. 11 May 1141 Skelton, Yorkshire, England

Robert Brus b. 1103 Annandale, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, d. 1190 Annandale, Dumfrieshire, Scotland

William De Bruce b. 1142 Annandal, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, d. 1215 Annandale, Dumfrieshire, Scotland

Robert De Bruce b. 1164 Annandal, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, d. 1245 Saltre Abbey, Stilton, England

Robert Bruce b. 1210 Annandal, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, d. 1295 Priory, Lochmaben, Dumfrieshire, Scotland

Robert Bruce (6th Lord of Annandale) b. 1243 Annandal, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, d. 1304 Palestine, Jerusalem, Israel Married Marjorie Carrick b. 1255 Carrick, Soctland, d. 1292 Argyll, Scotland

Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, b. 11 July, 1274, d. 7 June, 1329, first and eldest child of Robert Bruce, 6th Lord of Annandale and Marjorie Carrick. 1295 he married his first wife, Isabella of Mar and they had one child, Marjorie Bruce, who later married Walter Stewart and their child was the future Robert II of Scotland. In 1302 he married his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh and the had the following children: David II, John, Matilda and Margaret. In 1316 he was also crowned King of Ireland and stated, "Whereas we and you and our people and your people, free since ancient times, share the same national ancestry and are urged to come together more eagerly and joyfully in friendship by a common language and by common custom, we have sent you our beloved kinsman, the bearers of this letter, to negotiate with you in our name and permanently strengthening and maintaining inviolate the special friendship between us and you, so that with God's will our nation (nostra nacio) may be able to recover her ancient liberty." In 1314 King Robert the Bruce secured independence from the British in the Battle of Bannockburn. He is buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Scotland.

The Vikings Ships and the Sea

So much were the ships a part of their self-image that the Vikings decorated and caparisoned each longship to display wealth, rank and power, at once impressing their friends and allies and awing their enemies. However much he loved fighting and warships, the Viking lived on the sea for many other reasons as well, and devised vessels to match his needs. When he turned his genius for design and construction from warships to ships for long-distance trade and exploration, and eventually for emigration to the farthest reaches of the ocean, he produced a boat equally extraordinary; stouter and sturdier, designed to brave the worst seas in search of landfalls far beyond any other Westerners’ wildest dreams.

That the Vikings succeeded in these epic voyages was attributable not only to their magnificent blue-water sailing vessels. They were superlative navigators as well— venturing boldly out to explore the unknown, and then repeating their voyages almost casually, with a certainty of direction that was nothing short of phenomenal. What lay behind all Viking seafaring was the Norseman’s instinct for the sea, a sense that seemed uncanny to the landsman, but it was in reality a prodigious body of hard-earned knowledge accumulated throughout centuries of nautical life.

The Viking drew great meaning from the look of cloud formations, from changes in winds and wave patterns, from ocean currents and ground swells, from sea fogs, water colors and temperatures. He could read information from the habits of sea birds, was alert to the over-water migration of certain land birds, and tracked the movements of fish and whales that came down from the north. A seasoned Viking navigator could tell when he was approaching the Faroe Islands by the swell building up over the banks surrounding the group. He would know he was nearing Greenland because of the abrupt change in the temperature of the water as he entered the polar current, by the pronounced change in the water’s color from ocean blue to green, and by the occasional presence of drift ice.

The Vikings were masters of the relentless currents that swirled around in the North Atlantic and arctic waters. The Norwegian Current surged powerfully up the coast of Norway toward the Lofoten Islands, tending to carry ships in its path speedily toward Iceland. From Iceland, ships setting a westward course were carried along by the Irminger Current and then whisked southward by the Greenland Current; finally they were propelled down the coast of North America by the Labrador Current.

Prevailing winds generally helped them on their way as well, blowing northward between Norway and Iceland, and southward between Iceland and Greenland. The elaborately decorated wind vanes mounted on the prows and mastheads of Viking ships testify to the sailors’ keen sensitivity to every errant puff, for it was only by taking full advantage of both the wind and the currents that rapid ocean passages could be made without tragedy.

Viking seafarers employed a primitive celestial navigation to help them measure course and distance. At night, Polaris, the North Star, was the primary heavenly indicator. This star was usually visible overhead, circling tightly around the pole below, and thus a boon beyond price to mariners. On clear nights, it required only a method of determining the angle of Polaris off the bow to determine a rough course. By holding a steady 90 degree angle from Polaris, for example, the Vikings could be sure that they were heading directly east or west. In later years this would be known as latitude sailing, and its ramifications for the Vikings were enormous, particularly on their great western voyages of exploration and trade across hundreds of miles of open ocean.

During the day the sun was the indicator used by the Vikings. To measure the suns values and apply them to navigation, the Vikings devised three ingenious navigational instruments that they called the sun board, the sunstone and the sun shadow board. The sun board appears to have been a bearing dial on which were marked compass points, radiating from a hole in the center. With the help of a pointer mounted on the dial, the Vikings were able to take a course bearing from the sun as it rose in the east or set in the west and to maintain any course simply by checking this crude triangulation each day. From Viking accounts it is known that Norse navigators were accustomed also to taking a sighting at noon when the sun reached the north-south meridian. Thus, although he had no magnetic compass, the Viking could make a reasonably accurate determination of his compass bearings each day.

Under overcast skies or in dense fog, the Viking made use of a remarkable calcite mineral crystal named cordierite, the Norse sunstone, found in Scandinavia and Iceland. When a crystal of cordierite is held at right angles to the plane of polarized light from the sun, the crystal instantly changes from yellow to dark blue. The sunstone was a real boon to Viking seafarers. Even in a thick fog or under a woolen sky, a navigator in mid-ocean could locate the exact position of the invisible sun by rotating a chunk of cordierite until it suddenly turned dark blue. Since it produced the same color change even when the sun was as much as 7 degree below the horizon, the navigator could continue to take sightings after sunset.

The Mason's farm in Elk Horn, Kentucky

I'm in Kentucky now visiting Rosetta and Josh. So much work has gone into this place it's amazing.