Karl J. Petersen

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Karl J. Petersen was born at Nestby, Saltdalen Præstegeld, Nordland, Norway, to cottagers Peter Olai Tolberg Abelson and Hanna Pauline Heggelund Johnsdatter Nestby. The family did not farm, but Peter was a fisherman who would go as far as Iceland to make a good catch. Nestby means the next place on the road. Another place name nearby is Sundby, which means the place to the south.

Afgangsvidnesbyrd [Report Card]

Karl's final examination of the 7th year at Nestby public school, Saltdal, shows he passed examination 17 May 1889.

Afgangsvidnesbyrd [Report Card]

His vaccination certificate was issued 1 Oct 1888. Confirmed at Saltdal 2 Jul 1899. He was a cook on a fishing ship at 12--a "skarunger" seagull chick.


Karl received a recommendation from the master of the Achilles 1 Jan 1904 for a four-month stint at Easter 1903.

Draft Enrollment

His army enrollment shows entries from 1905 through April 1906.

He received two certificates 19 Nov 1907 in seamanship and medical aid from Stavanger Somandskole and a recommendation for 2 years as skipper of the Vega on 10 Nov 1909 from the Einarsson brothers of Raufarhafn.

Leaving Norway for the New World, Karl booked passage to New York on contract dated 13 Jul 1909.

After his father Peter died, his mother, brothers Hans and  Peter and sister Petra emigrated to America. Brother John, who had been placed with cousins due to the tight family finances, never joined them. Petra and Hanna sent this photo to John asking him to come over.

Hanna Petersdatter Nestby and mother

On the table is a photo of Karl and Kristine on the left, a smaller photo of Perry in the center.

Karl met Kristine (Pauline Kristine Olesdatter Ribaas) in Brooklyn, New York, and was married in the Norwegian Lutheran church on 6 April 1912.

They had this silly picture taken at Coney Island amusement park and sent it back home as a post card, writing on it how odd it was!

Karl had a long career as a carpenter, during World War II at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and had a parquet floor business in Richmond Hill, L.I., New York. In 1949 he moved to California, living near or with his son Cliff who had moved there about 1945.

Leaving Brooklyn about 1915 for more suburban Richmond Hill in the Borough of Queens, Karl and Kristine bought a house nearly opposite the Lutheran Church which they attended regularly and where all the family were christened and confirmed.

Karl J, Karl J. Jr., Loraine, Kristine and Perry Petersen

A few pictures show them outside the house about 1921 when young Karl would have been about 3. Perry told the story that at the age of 2 he had gotten the family to move to Queens so he wouldn't have to say he was from Brooklyn!

When Karl had his flooring business, he had cards and stationery printed up, and sent a nice note to his father-in-law in Norway, offering to give a price on a fine floor for the rebuilt house at Ribaas--a bit far away!

Karl J. Jr, Cliff, Loraine and Perry Petersen

Perry and Cliff attended college at Cooper Union, Loraine went to Hunter College and Karl joined the New York City police force as a motorcycle patrolman. After the four children were off on their own, Karl and Kristine moved from Richmond Hill in Queens to Northport, out further on Long Island, staying for a while with daughter Loraine and her husband Arthur. Then in 1949 they followed son Cliff to California, living on Fisk Street in Pacific Palisades, with Cliff on Goucher Street, and later buying a duplex at 676 Las Lomas. After Karl died, Kristine moved next door to the north side of the duplex at 674 Las Lomas.

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