|The Herstad Family of Trondheim, Norway c. 1885|
This was a well-to-do family who owned and operated a store in Trondheim, Norway. Family records claim that Peter's father was a standard bearer for the king and his mother was a Danish baroness. I have not been able to substantiate these claims and strongly question their authenticity. However, I am not very experienced with the Norwegian records, so I am sure there is a lot more research to be done before I discover all that I can about the Herstads.
I have pored over the details in this photo in an attempt to get to know this family better. Notice the incredible pipe in Peter's hand and please don't overlook the cute potted plants on the window sill. Their clothes are just exquisite and the vines covering the house are really beautiful. The biggest mystery is the two people on our far left. This certainly appears to be a family photo, so I would think that they are both family members. From the arrangement, one would think that the elderly woman seated next to Peter is his mother, however from researching the Norwegian records, I have found that Peter's mother died when he was only 4 years old. Sofie's mother Henricha Myhre could be the woman pictured. She was only 16 at Sofie's (illegitimate) birth in 1838, so she would be about 63 in this photo. Another possibility is that she is Peter's stepmother Serine (Skott) Herstad who raised him after his mother died, but she would be about 83 in this photo. The person standing behond her is a real enigma to me. Is it a woman or a man? What is he/she wearing? Is it a dress or some kind of uniform? The hair parted in the middle leads me to believe it is a woman, but there are no other women in this family that are not already pictured and the person looks more like a young man to me. Axel was born in 1868, two years before my great grandmother. That would make him about 17 in this photo. Since I learned from an article in the New York Herald that he went to sea when he was 16, this photo might have been taken before he left in 1884. Comparing this person to the drawing of Axel in the preceding link leads me to believe that they are one in the same. What do you think? I welcome any input on this photo.
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