Adopt a Norwegian or two

July 20, 2010

By Violet Nelson

Hendricks residents are serving as hosts to visitors from Norway. More visitors are on their way, looking for a place to stay.

Area residents hosted hundreds and hundreds of visitors over the July 4th weekend. But the area’s hosting activities are not through for the year. Eighty-one Norwegians have set their sites on the little town by the lake.

An association of Norwegian genealogists have long offered free assistance to Americans tracing their Norwegian roots. In fact, a countless number of local people have benefitted from this group. On behalf of all Norwegian Americans, Hendricks is given a chance to thank these 81 volunteers when they visit town in late September. But we need a little help.

International visitors typically remain in metro areas where large hotels are located. But this group wanted to experience a small town and our local Norwegian Heritage Committee thought this a wonderful opportunity for new friendships to be made. So the committee is asking local residents to “Adopt a Norwegian or two” for the night of Sept. 30.

The visitors will be broken into groups of two to five people. Each group will contain a visitor proficient in English to act as a translator for the rest. Anyone can adopt a group of two, three, four, five or any other number to stay with them. Adoption certificates will be issued to the Norwegians and the host families.

The group arrives in Hendricks around 6 p.m. on Sept. 30. They’ll be arriving from the Minot Host Fest, so the Norwegian Committee is still working out what activities they’d most enjoy after this long bus trip. Soon after they arrive, they’ll meet up with their host families.

When a host family “Adopts a Norwegian or two,” they simply need only visit and offer a place to sleep for the night. Being able to transport your adoptees is nice, but remains optional.

So onto the big question… why did this group choose Hendricks?

Though thousands of towns have Norwegian ancestors, many Norwegian genealogists have long been fascinated with the Hendricks area and their unique roots to the old country. The Hendricks and Fish Lake settlements were unique in that a group of immigrants from one small Norwegian area would choose to settle as a group in America. The Hendricks area is the only example of this, so our town is a fabled one for Norwegian genealogists.

Those interested in adopting a Norwegian or two need only speak with Sharon Vettrus. She can be reached at 275-3665 or emailed at Over 40 Norwegians have already been adopted, so just 35 remain.