Digging into our past

For years I’ve had a fascination for ancestral quests, asking questions about my forefathers. However, a pretty large chunk of the knowledge I used to have of my ancestry, was based on oral accounts by my immediate family. But when my sister started delving into digitalized Church records a few years ago, many pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. Myth-like stories that have been passed down turned out to be partly true, and in other instances, the stories of several generations had been both mixed and compressed. The picture to the left is of Joel and Hanna Emilie in 1883. They are my great great grandparents of the “Stake” family.

An exciting trip into the past
Fortunately, our ancestors were into pictures and we’re looking forward to spending hours digitalizing old pictures so we may attatch facts and stories to actual faces. Winnie has spent numerous hours peering at faded documents and close to unreadable handwriting. In her research she has had to deploy the stamina, endurance and oftentimes an acute sense of scrutiny and attention to detail. Every person further back than four generations is difficult to find, particularly when no-one alive today possesses written documentation of their exact name, date of birth and so on. There is still plenty of work to be done, but gradually, with the help of aunt Wenche’s knowledge of the Stake and Olsen families and and uncle Tor’s previous work on the Ulsteds only recently made available to us, more information will be unveiled weekly.
Following the Stake ancestorial trail, has already at this stage in our research taken us to Sweden, Finland and Russia. We’re expecting to find a trail from South Norway to Denmark and further to Germany in the material provided by the work of my uncle Tor. We’ll keep you posted!
Myth or the truth?
During the course of our quest for ancestors and piecing together fragments of their story, a few family myths actually turned out to be true, others slightly twisted. There has always been a somewhat silent claim of a lineage of Russian blue blood, but where? Reportedly, my great grandfather said he traced the Stake family all the way back to France and Napoleon! Whether this claim holds water is yet to be proven. Since I’m sure others in my family might be just as curious about our common ancestors, I’ve created a sub-domain with the url http://ancestors.stavdal.me/ to share our discoveries. The site will continually be updated as history unveils itself.
Good software makes the job easier
Sharing heaps of paper and pictures is difficult, not to mention creating a good and easily accessable overview of all the information involved. A good software package saves hours and even makes web-publishing possible. We chose Roots Magic which has a variety of easy to use features you learn after just a few hours. Click here to see a list of features in this software package.
Do you have information that might help us?
If you have read this and feel you’ve got valuable information, please post a comment here on our blog. Even in case of a wrong date or missing info of some kind, perhaps a good story that would somehow tell something valuable about a particular person, we’re interested in including it in our database. Anyways, we make sure to use discretion when publishing info on the web.
Here I’ve posted the link between me and the couple in the picture above. This is only one of numerous report and chart options available.

24 replies
  1. Winnie
    Winnie says:

    Fantastisk Rune! Nå synes jeg det ble utrolig spennende helt på nytt! Trodde først det bildet var av deg og Anu….neida, hehehehe

  2. D. M. B.
    D. M. B. says:

    Dear Mr. Stavdal:
    Quite by accident (I was looking for a Swedish gazetteer), I have discovered the ancestor/pedigree information you have posted on the internet. I believe we have a common ancestor, namely Erik Nilsson Stake (my 5th great grandfather, and your 7th), born 1720 in Edvalla, and who married Lisa Andersdotter Svanstrom 17 October 1742. You are the age of my eldest daughter, also born 1970.
    I am descended through the son of Erik and Lisa, namely Nils Eriksson, born 24 Sept 1750, in Stomne bruk, who married Klara Olofsdotter Werme on 3 Oct 1773, in Mo parish, and who died 24 Dec 1801, in Persby hammare, Mo parish. From your pedigree chart, I see that you are descended from Johan Eriksson, the brother of Nils Eriksson.
    The genealogical research which has been completed for me in Sweden indicates that the parents of Lisa Andersdotter, born 1723, were Anders Svanstrom born c 1687, and Elisabeth Andersdotter, born 1691, and died 2 April 1761 in Stomne bruk, Stavnas parish, Varmland.
    I have been told that the parents of Erik Nilsson Stake, born 1720, were Nils Eriksson Stake (born 18 March 1697, in Gammalkroppa, Kroppa parish, Varmland; died 10 Aug 1773, in Stomne bruk, Stavnas parish, Varmland), and Margareta Nilsdotter. I also have the father of Nils Eriksson Stake, born 1697, as Erik Henriksson Stake, born c 1664, who married Ingeborg Persdotter (b c 1670 in Ramsberg; d c 1706) on 25 Dec 1689 in Nykroppa parish, Varmland, and died c 1722 in Edsvalla, Nor parish, Varmland. I do not have earlier ancestry for the Stake family.
    The great-great grandson of Nils Eriksson, namely Nils Simon Stake (b 1886 in Degerfors, Varmland; d 1964), emigrated to America c 1906, and married here another immigrant, Alfhild Adele Berntsson (b 1887 in Trollhattan, Vastra Gotaland; d 1980). Their son, Nels Stanley Stake, now deceased, who was not married to my mother, was my natural father.
    I am very interested to learn the circumstances of our ancestors’ having acquired the name “Stake,” and who might have been the first Stake in our family. From my research I have learned that Stake is most likely a “soldier” name received in the allotment system. I have translated Stake into English variously as “stake,” “pole” or “candlestick,” or “vigour.” I would be grateful if you will correct me or suggest how best to translate “Stake” into English. It surprised me that our family retained the name Stake, despite there being a long tradition of master smithing in the family, which I believe was a more respected position than that of professional soldier.
    If you are interested in being in contact with me, please respond by email. I am a retired lawyer and reside with my husband in Pennsylvania, USA. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Yours sincerely,

    • Jeff Erickson
      Jeff Erickson says:

      A lot of the Stake lineage appears in what I started digging through. I am descendant of the Stakes that emigrated to Minnesota. If you’re interested, my father would certainly love to chat with you as he is great grandson of Nils Stake, 1821-1906.

      His email is dkerick5@aol.com. Name is David Erickson.

  3. WCS
    WCS says:

    Dear D.M.B.
    What a pleasure to hear from you! I am so glad you bumped into our
    online pedegree chart.
    And thank you for your additional information on your branch of Stake
    – greatly appreciate it! I think my brother Rune (whom you were
    directed to at first) already added your info to our chart.
    When it comes to your questions, let me share with you what I know.
    The name STAKE:
    Your translation of the name is correct as far as I know. I have not
    heard of any other explanations of the meaning of the name in any of
    the surname books I have searched in.
    Stake IS a Swedish soldier surname which was given noble rank because
    of military achievements and connections with Swedish royalty. When I
    first started my reasearch I was told that we decended from this very
    family. That, however, I found to be totally wrong, based on genealogy
    info from churchbooks etc. (there must have been a mix-up). The noble
    Stake family name actually “died out”, as there were no male
    decendants in any branches to carry the name.
    In my family there are also vague stories about the name Stake to have
    originated in Germany or France (possibly originally from France, but
    moved to Germany and then to Sweden). One relative told me she heard
    that our Stake ancestors originally were Ballonians (possibly from
    Bologne – North of France).
    I have not yet found any sort of evidence on the matter, but I am
    getting more and more open to the possibility that research in that
    direction might lead somewhere.
    My reasons for believing so are as follows:
    1. Our Stake family is not connected to the Swedish noble Stake family
    (with its deep Swedish military roots from the 1300s)
    2. Our Stake family seems to have appeard in Sweden in the middle of
    the 1600s (they were all master smiths with no appearent connection to
    the army or nobility.)
    3. I have not been able to go back farther than Eric Hindrichsson
    Stake born abt. 1677 in Varmland Sweden (Eric Nilson Stake’s
    grandfather). It is interesting to see that he is the “son of
    Hindrich” – the name is spelt in a German way (not Swedish at all).
    That leads me to think that it could be around this time that our
    Stake ancestors possibly immigrated to Sweden from a German speaking
    4. When researching genealogy records I have seen that there are
    several forms of the surname Stake in countries like Germany, France,
    Belgum and so on (Stache, Stacke, Stage, Stake – if I remember
    correctly). That makes it likely that our Stake ancestors could have
    moved from some of those places, brought their name and occupation
    with them to Sweden, and even (but not necessarily) “Swedenized” their
    name to Stake (since it sounded like the Swedish family name of
    Based on the above, I am quite certain that we will have to look
    beyond Sweden to find the ancestors of Eric Nilson Stake, Nils Erikson
    Stake and Eric Hindrichsson Stake. But of course I am far from
    certain. What do you think? Does your family have stories that would
    be interesting to take into consideration?
    It will be exciting to find out more!
    Approx. one year have gone since I worked on the Stake family, because
    I got stuck after Eric Hindrichsson Stake. If I find any new leads,
    however, I will contact you and keep you informed.
    And if you find anything new, or if you have any thoughts or
    reflections you would like to share, I would be more than happy to
    hear from you!
    Contact me any time and lets keep in touch,

  4. Charles Fisk
    Charles Fisk says:

    I came upon your site and I too am a descendant of Erik Stake. He is
    my 5th great-grandfather, I believe. It was interesting reading about
    your research into the possible origins of the Stakes, and how they
    suddenly appeared in Sweden as blacksmiths in great numbers in the
    mid-1600’s. My direct male line, the Fulfisk/Fisk family, also appeared
    in similar fashion (as blacksmiths) about that time in Sweden. My third
    great grandmother, Lisa Stake (grandaughter of Erik Stake), married Nils
    Fisk, a blacksmith in 1796.
    If you find anything new about the Stakes please let me know. Regarding
    my direct Fisk line, I did have my Y-DNA (direct-male-line) evaulated,
    and a positive indicator for a particular marker suggests that my deep
    male ancestry is from the Le Tene Celts or Swiss-Lakes people. Since the
    Celts were superb metal-workers this seems consistent
    Regards, C. Fisk
    Los angeles CA area – USA

  5. ami
    ami says:

    I am also descended from the Stakes mentioned by everyone. My direct ancestors were smiths in Varmland who became emigrants to Minnesota just after the Civil war. I live in Pennsylvania, as well (State College).

  6. Rune
    Rune says:

    Ami! Good to hear from you, and your comment is interesting reading! Do you have your ancestral tree? If so, I’d be pleased if you would care to share.

  7. ami
    ami says:

    Sorry for the delay. I finally found some of my information. I am descended through Eric Nilsson Stake and Lisa Andersdotter Svanstrom as follows:
    Nils stake and Clara Werme
    Harald Stake and Hedvig Charlotta Lundgren, his second wife
    Nils Stake and Catrina Moberg
    Frans Ludvig Stake and Maria Jacobsdotter
    Alma Stake Saby
    Edna Saby Isenberg
    Ann Isenberg (me)
    In 1870, Nils Stake and his son Frans came to Isanti County, MN, USA. There were other relatives who had already settled there. Frans worked in a sawmill, then bought or became a manager of a store in Anoka, MN, where my grandmother and mother were born. There are still many relatives in the area. When visiting Sweden in 1971, a relative, Sigfrid Stake, of Arvika said the some family member had a Bible, indicating that the family originally came from Germany.

    • Jeff Erickson
      Jeff Erickson says:

      Ami, my father, David Erickson is great grandson of Nils Stake, 1821-1906 that died in Cambridge, MN (Isanti County). I’m sure he would be thrilled to share stories with you if you are interested.

      He can be reached at dkerick5@aol.com.

  8. Kayellen Stakes
    Kayellen Stakes says:

    Hello Everyone,
    I have been researching my surname for about 20 years now and have yet to find an country of origin. Some say our ancestors come from England, some say Ireland and others say Germany. To tell you the honest truth..I have no earthly idea anymore.
    My difficulty is that my surname is the plural of Stake making research very hard. I more often than not end up with result for horse racing, wooden, metal or iron stakes, LDS Stakes and many other things that is not surname related.
    I am curious to see if any of you have any ancestors in Virginia, who’s names might have changed from “Stake” to “Stakes”.
    My earliest “documented” ancestor was Johannes/Johannis Stakes who resided in Accomack County, Virginia and married Nancy Ann/e Parker in 1799. Does he sound familiar to anyone?
    I also wanted to invite you ALL to a site I have created for those who are researching the Stakes name and it’s variant spellings. There are 2 sites actually. One is on Facebook; http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=124631077564338 called the Stakes Family Connection on Facebook. The other is on the MyFamily network, also called Stakes Family Connection; http://www.myfamily.com/group/42447109
    We are a small group of researchers on a similar journey and I know that they would all welcome each of you to either site.
    Thank you and I hope we might find a connection.

  9. Kent Karlsson
    Kent Karlsson says:

    One year ago I entered this page while I was looking for the name Stake. I am not a member of the beforesaid family, but I remarked that I have a connection with Mrs. Diane M Barker from Pennsylvania, when I read about her family members.
    To-day, the 5th of January 2011, I have written to her by e-mail, but I have not been able to send it, because it seems that she does not keep her e-mail address “dianembarker@verizon.net” any longer.
    May be you can help me to get her actual e-mail address. Thank you.
    Yours sincerely,
    Kent Karlsson

  10. Kent
    Kent says:

    Hello Rune,
    I am very grateful for your help in this matter.
    Mange takk !
    Om jag får kontakt med henne, så låter jag dig veta detta.
    Med vänlig hälsning

  11. Michael Stakelum
    Michael Stakelum says:

    Hello everyone! I have come across this thread by chance, as I take a great interest in trying to find the origins of my surname, ‘Stakelum’. Whether it’s farfetched or not, I have to wonder whether our two names may be linked in some shape or form. There is a thread on Ancestry.com (although it only contains four messages) about the origin of the Stakelum surname in Sweden, on a farm called Stakelund in Västra Gotäland county. Also, I have compared a family crest attributed to Olaf Mauritzon Stake and Goran Mauritzon Stake to the Stakelum family crest and they share the same symbol.

  12. Rune Stavdal
    Rune Stavdal says:

    Michael, after consulting with my sister, the real ancestry researcher in my family, I’m sorry to say that we don’t know anything about the origins of that name. Anyways, wishing you success in finding out more.

    • Michael Stakelum
      Michael Stakelum says:

      Hello there Mr. Stavdal, it has been a few years. As regards to discerning the true origins of my surname, it seems to get murkier and murkier the more I search. The main problem is that the surname, as it has appeared in Ireland at any length, is subject to numerous misspellings over the years and the earliest I could find for a Stakelum in Ireland was in Laffan’s ‘Tipperary Families’, which comprised collections of hearth tax rolls from 1664-1667, with my (supposed) ancestor there being named twice as Redmond Staclom and then as Redmond Stacklinn a year or two later. So it would seem nearly that the Staclom/Stacklum/Stakelum might have been in Ireland for a period of time if they had already gotten to the point of using an Irish version of Raymond, namely Redmond.

      I’m sorry I haven’t been able to dig up any more.

      • Michael
        Michael says:

        The Stakelum name in Ireland is concentrated in one particular townland in Co. Tipperary. There were 24 Stakelum’s on the 1901 census.


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