Ritland Family History

Ritland History in Norway

Ole and Sarah Ritland immigrated to the United States from Norway in 1855 with their seven children, one of which was John (Jens) Ritland who would grow up to fight in the Civil War, and later write the memoirs that are featured on this web site. In 2001, my cousin Karen researched the Ritland family history in Norway, and prepared this narrative.

Click here to read the history of the Ritland family in Norway

Photos of the Ritland Farm in Norway

In March 2003, Eric and Brenda Ritland traveled to Norway, and visited the Ritland Farm. Eric is the son of Gerald David Ritland, and grandson of Hubert Oliver Ritland, great grandson of Osmond Ritland, and the great great grandson of John (Jens) Ritland. The following is an excerpt from Brenda’s account of the trip:

... In addition to driving over 1000 miles and seeing the incredible fjords and Norwegian landscape, we had the opportunity to visit the farm where Eric’s great, great, great, great grandmother was born near Hjelmeland, Norway. With the help of our wonderful Norwegian bed and breakfast hosts, The Sorensens, we located the farm and a few of Eric’s blood relatives still living in the area. There are no accessible roads so we hiked for about an hour reaching an area of magnificent vistas with the Ritland farm house up on the hill overlooking a river and the mountains beyond. Eric’s ancestors were Siri (Norwegian for Sarah) who was born on the Ritland farm and Ola (pronounced Oula) who was from a nearby farm. We planned to hike to Ola’s birthplace as well but lost the trail which gives us a good excuse to return! The Sorensens tell us that scientists think the area where the Ritland farm is located was created by a meteorite that hit the earth 3-4 billion years ago. Several researchers from the U.S. and Norway will be staying with them in June to investigate this theory. Kari, Sven and Bjort Sorensen could not have been more welcoming and helpful in researching the Ritland history and even gaining permission from the current Ritland owner for us to visit the farm and providing a good map! I don’t think it will be long before we return.... Much love, Brenda & Eric

Here are a few photos from their trip to the Ritland Farm. Click on the image to view it larger.

Ritland Farm 1 Ritland Farm 2 Ritland Farm 3
Ritland Farm 4 Ritland Farm 5 Ritland Farm 6
Ritland Farm 7 Ritland Farm 8 Ritland Farm 9
Ritland Farm 10 Near the Ritland Farm Fjords near Hjelmeland

Hjelmeland BygdebokRitland Family in the Hjelmeland Bygdebok

Each area of Norway has its own local history book, called the "bygdebok." The Ritland family is featured in book #2 of the Hjelmeland Bygdebok. Click on the image to view it larger.

Descendants of Ole Olson Ritland (1808 - 1893) and Sarah (Siri) Jensen (1805 - 1887)

In the early to mid 1960's, my aunt Ruthie, along with my grandmother, Mrs. Osmond E. Ritland, researched the Ritland family history, tracing the descendants of Ole and Sarah, and and prepared this narrative. Bear in mind it was written nearly 40 years ago.

Click here to read the history of the Ole O. Ritland family

Descendants of Ole Olson Ritland (1808 - 1893) and Sarah (Siri) Jensen (1805 - 1887)

A few years ago, Ken Rohr, the late husband of my cousin Christine also researched the family history. He prepared this listing (running 11 pages) tracing the descendants of Ole O. Ritland, along with the listing below tracing the descendants of Trond Rasmussen, and also the chart showing the ancestors of Osmond E. Ritland. We are all indebted to Ken for his efforts.

Click here to view the PDF of the descendants of Ole Olson Ritland

Descendants of Trond Rasmussen (1711 - 1777) and Guro Olsdatter (1734 - 1776)

This listing (running 12 pages) traces the ancestry of my grandmother Christi Olina (Ina) Williamson (1882 - 1966).

Click here to view the PDF of the descendants of Trond Rasmussen

Story County Surname Search for "RITLAND"

Click here

Ancestors of Osmond RitlandAncestors of Osmond E. Ritland (1878 - 1964)

Osmond E. Ritland was the grandson of Ole Olson Ritland, and the son of John (Jens) Ritland, the Civil War veteran. He and his brother Louis sat down with their father and helped him recall his years in the Civil War, and write his memoirs. He was also my grandfather. Click on the image to view it larger.

Leonard and Charlotte Andersen, 2002Charlotte Andersen - "The Story of My Life"

In 1988 my Aunt Charlotte sat at her typewriter and put the recollections of her life and family down on paper. Due to the length of the story (nearly 29,000 words!), I have divided it into 6 parts. The photo here was taken at their 65th wedding anniversary in June, 2002. Click on the image to view it larger.

Charlotte Andersen - "The Story of My Life" - Part 1 of 6

Charlotte Andersen - "The Story of My Life" - Part 2 of 6

Charlotte Andersen - "The Story of My Life" - Part 3 of 6

Charlotte Andersen - "The Story of My Life" - Part 4 of 6

Charlotte Andersen - "The Story of My Life" - Part 5 of 6

Charlotte Andersen - "The Story of My Life" - Part 6 of 6

Major General Osmond J. RitlandMajor General Osmond J. Ritland

One of the pioneers in the Air Force Space and Missile Program. The first recipient of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal in 1965. Served as the Air Force manager of the U-2 Program. He was the son of Osmond, and grandson of Ole O., one John (Jens) Ritland's brothers, which would have made him my father's 2nd cousin, and they were stationed together in India during WWII. An internet search will turn up lots of links, but here are some to get you started.

The Air Force has his biography online at:


The links sometimes change. If the above link does not work, just go the the AF home page, and search for RITLAND:


There is also this bio prepared for him by the Air Force. To view a PDF: