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About Liavaag

Lauritz Liavaag together with motives from the South Pole
MS Wyatt Earp was built 1918-19 in Molde as Fanefjord. She had a displacement of 402 tons. Her semi diesel engines with 400 horsepower gave her a maximum speed of 8.5 knots. Lincoln Ellsworth bought her in 1933, and used her on four Antarctic expeditions from 1933 to 1939 as a base ship for his aircraft.

Family history and genealogy

It has been told that my great grandfather had two smiling scars in his face. In a rioting in New York a bullet grazed his face, the other scar came from a mutiny where some says that the Chinese crew had smoked opium. Once he felt overboard from a sail ship rigging where there were sharks in the water. Turning a sail ship takes some time, in fact it took hours before the crew found him. By then he had taken his clothes off and only kept his belt and knife (because of the sharks).

My great-grandfather Lauritz Ludvig Martin Liavaag was born in the Norwegian western city Ålesund. He was working as a crew at the Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition (7 West 44th Street New York) at the ship Wyatt Earp. Sir Hubert Wilkins wrote 25 July 1936:

In twenty three years experience with ships and expedition affairs I have never been associated with a man more suitable for such work than Mr Liavaag.

You can read more about this at Antarctic Explorers. In 1938-39 at the Ellsworth Expedition, when he was filling the fresh water tanks, he was injured when the chipping ice suddenly moved. Ellsworth decided to abandon any further attempts at flying over the interior. This incident was mentioned in newspapers around the world. He was later working together with Bernt Balchen for SAS at Fornebu airport in Oslo. Rumours say that he also was a friend of Robert Falcon Scott and that he actually participated in a rescue team at the South Pole in 1912. When he was sailing coal between Wales and Dieppe, he met a French girl from Dieppe. The girl was my great grandmother Georgette Bréard who came from the family Beamont. They moved to New York, Little Norway in Brooklyn, where my grandfather Bernard Georges René was borne. My great-grandfather worked at the construction of The Empire State Building. He used the nickname Betsy for my mother Elizabeth Georgette as well as Bernie for my grandfather Bernard Georges René.

Imaging that my grandfather had his own television more than thirty years before television even came to Norway! Back in the twenties he got five dollars from Bernt Balchen, and he used to played football on the roof of the skyscrapers. When his father was at the South Pole, he and his mother moved from New York to Dieppe. In the end of the thirties they moved to Norway, when my grandfather still couldn't a single word Norwegian. He married my grandmother Halfrid Marie Øvervoll, who was the daughter of Bernt Martin and Johanna Elizabeth Overvoll. She grew up in Tromsø and Balsfjorden, north of Norway. Parts of the Øvervoll family are still living here. My mother Elizabeth Georgette was born in Oslo. She lived with her parents some years in Oscar's gate 1. During the Olympic Games in 1952 at Bislet, they had no problems hearing the bellow when Hjalmar Andersen won his gold medals. In the fifties they moved to Teie at Nøtterøy. My grandfather Bernard René was taken by surprise when he was called up into the U.S. army. He worked hard to not take part of the Korean War. Later they moved to Ekebergdalen where he established the Social Security office. In the end of the sixties my grandparents moved to Jessheim. This is a place close to the airport Gardermoen north of Oslo. My mother Elizabeth Georgette married my father Bjørn Harald. She stayed in Enebakk for many years.

The name Liavaag comes from Aalesund in Norway. Liavaag can be written as Liavåg, but this has nothing to do with my relatives.

A little about Øvervoll too

Some says that my grandmother's ancestors Ole Knudsen and his wife Karen Andersdatter originally came from Røros and Gudbrandsdalen. Their daughter Birte Olsdotter from Aursfjordgaard and her brother Benjamin were both taking part of what is known as Kjervikmordet. They both were beheaded in 1742 at Ryøya in Malangen. The novel Solens sønn og månens datter is based on this incident, and was filmed in 1993 as a TV series.

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