Ronneberg Family Website

Three Cousins

I have a little story to tell. It’s about three cousins and how they met. Many years ago two cousins knew each other. They met often when their parents got together, and they were friends. Then, as time passed, the two cousins drifted apart as so often happens. But as the years slipped away the two cousins never saw each other. Oh they tried, but it just never happened. Life has a way of doing that to families. But as they grew older they realized that they should renew their friendship. And so one Thanksgiving they shared their first meal together in 30 years. Those two cousins are Terry and Skip Rønneberg.

Now, Terry being the older and wiser, realized the importance of family. He had carefully collected what he could about the Rønneberg past. As their friendship renewed they decided the time had come to discover what there was to know about their family. Skip wanted to computerize the information, and explore the Internet. So in February 1996, they began entering data and searching for family in cyberspace. They wrote letters, sent emails, made phone calls, created web pages, and generally got very involved in this hobby called genealogy.

Then one day all the work, time and effort paid off. It was the sixth of August. A date Skip will never forget. He was searching the Internet for more family and up came a new email address – one he had never seen before. Well, Skip sent the usual email as he had done so many times before. But this time things were different. The very next day, by return email, Skip found that he and Terry had a new cousin. His name was Sigmund Rønneberg, he lived in Sandnes Norway, and he spoke English!

Now Terry and Skip not only had another cousin but one who was also interested in genealogy and tracing the family tree. Sigmund was just the person Terry and Skip needed to help research the many questions concerning the Rønneberg family. And so Sigmund set about the task. Being somewhat of an over achiever, the family file grew exponentially. From the mere 200 names Terry and Skip had gathered, Sigmund expanded the file to include thousands. The three cousins discovered they had many more relatives than they had ever dreamed possible. Some were even their friends and co-workers.

So that’s how three cousins met, but the story doesn’t end there. Soon Sigmund discovered the three cousins had many more relatives in Norway. And not all these cousins shared the Rønneberg surname.

Another of their cousins, Per Nygaard, had done a little family research and Sigmund “stitched” the information and the files together. The newly discovered cousin, Per, became a friend to each of them.

The friendships grew as the months passed, so Terry and Skip thought they would like to meet their new cousins. Then the idea was spawned, how about a reunion? Joan Eckstrom, who lives in Washington, was a cousin Terry had not seen for over 35 years. So the call went out to the Pacific Northwest to share the new found news of the Rønneberg family. Joan was thrilled, and she offered to host a reunion at her summer home on Whidbey Island. What a great idea, thought Terry and Skip, but who would come? Would Sigmund? Not too worry Joan assured. She would organize everything and send the invitations. And so she did. And the people came.

This last July 1997 there was a Rønneberg family reunion. And it was wonderful. They came from California. They came from Illinois. They came from New Jersey. And they came from Norway. Twenty five relatives and family in all. Terry and Skip had never seen so many Rønnebergs in one place in all their lives. They visited. They ate. They shared their family heritage. And most importantly, they found each other.

What they will find no one knows. But it really doesn’t matter. What’s important for them is the fun of doing, the excitement of discovery and their continued friendship.

Skip Rønneberg

August 1997