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 06/03 - 13         

 New section
Family Documents

  More news

 Did you know...  

 3-7-3 Johan
 Christian Hojem
 who was a
 farmer in South
 Africa, has
 given name to
 the onion variety

 Read full story

  Video presentation from the Oftebro Family Reunion in Norway in 2018

The Oftebro family arranged in the summer of 2018 a family reunion in Kristiansand and
Lyngdal, Norway. 240 family members from Norway, USA, Canada, England, Germany, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand met for the event. The Reunion arrangement was followed up with a bus tour in South-Western Norway. Many participants from abroad also took the opportunity of visiting Norwegian Oftebro relatives privately.

10-4-1-2-1-2 Karl Ken Oftebro from Durban, South Africa, filmed thoroughly during the reunion and during corresponding events. He has edited his filming to a 40 min.

See also the written report from the family reunion further down on this page

Click here too see the video
  The Oftebro family has sponsored renovation of the church building at the
KwaMondi Mission, Eshowe, South Africa

During the Oftebro Family Reunion in Norway 2018 one arranged a “silent auction” for the benefit of the earlier missionary Ommund Oftebro’s congregation, KwaMondi Mission at Eshowe, South Africa. A smaller part of the income was dedicated maintenance of The Norwegian Cemetery, same place.

10-4-1-2-1 Garry Oftebro, living in Durban, has, through great personal effort, kindly taken on the responsibility of making sure that the money was used in accordance with the wishes and needs of the congregation.

Click here to read Garry Oftebro’s report from the repair work at the
KwaMondi Mission.
  New Oftebro family book for sale

The Oftebro family has in Aug. 2018 released a new family book. The book is called “The Oftebro Family, Vol 2”.

The earlier family book, «Oftebro familien”, from 2004 is still available.
Additionally we have a small unsold stock of “Oftebro Songbook”, also issued in 2018.

Click here for information about the books.
  Oftebro Family Reunion 2018

The extended Oftebro family arranged their Family Reunion in Kristiansand, Norway -  August 9-12, 2018.

Click here to read the full reunion report
Click here to read about the post-reunion bus tour around southwestern Norway
Click here to see the group photo
Click here for the invitation to Oftebro Family Reunion 2018
Click here for program for the round trip after the reunion.

  The story of Arthur and Ruby Mathiesen’s life

3-1- 1-8 Arthur (Dudu) Fynn Mathiesen was the grandchild of medical missionary Christian T. Oftebro. Having grown up at the trade station of his parents Alf Mathiesen and Gudrun (Oftebro) Mathiesen, he was very close to the Zulu culture. He was an all round gifted person.

Arthur was married to Ruby Eve Skevington. Their son 3-1- 1-8- 2 John Mathiesen has written a report on his parents’ versatile lives in South Africa and in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He praises especially his father for his honesty and his integrity.

Click here for access to John Mathiesen’s report.
  Fundraising for Mr.Thembinkosi Zondi, KwaMondi Mission, to enable him to finish his theological studies

1-4-1-4-1 John and Deborah Oftebro from Seattle, USA were in 2016 the guests of 10-4-1-2-1 Garry Oftebro in Durban, South Africa. They visited missionary Ommund C. Oftebro’s old mission station, KwaMondi Mission in Eshowe, and saw, with Garry, the need for financial support of the Mission’s own Vicar Zondi to enable him to finish his seminary training.

June 10th, 2017 John and Deborah now report on the development of this project. They express their gratitude to the many supporters, and they ask for our continued support. At the same time they convey Mr. Zondi’s most heartily thanksgivings for all help you have given him.

Our respect for the courage, persistence and faithfulness of missionary Ommund C.Oftebro, and of medical missionary Christian T. Oftebro ought to call for our sincere consideration of the cause.

Click here for John and Deborah’s report from South Africa, 2016.

Click here for photos from John and Deborah’s tour to South Africa.

Click here for John and Deborah’s report on the development of the project.

Click here for John and Deborah’s renewed call for their KwaMondi Church Pastoral Funding Appeal.

  Norwegian actor Jakob Oftebro reads Ibsen's "Terje Vigen"

The Ibsen and Hamsun festival is a yearly cultural event in Grimstad, Norway. The program is each year finished by having an artist present the great Ibsen poem “Terje
Vigen”. In 2015 stage actor Jakob Oftebro had been given the assignment to do the

Click here to read the report from this part of the cultural event.

Click here to read the poem “Terje Vigen”
  Oftebro boys in The Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany 1947-1953

Between 1947 and 1953 around 50.000 Norwegian soldiers went with the troop transport vessel “Svalbard” to Germany to participate in “The Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany”. The brigade was transferred to Harz, north of Hannover, later to
Schleswig-Holstein. (3-2- 1-3- 1) Svein Edland and 3-6- 6-1 Ivar Oftebro were among the many Norwegian soldiers who served in the brigade operations.

Click here for more information about The Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany, and these boys' service in the brigade.
  Report from The Oftebro Family Reunion in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, July 2014

The Canadian reunion committee has written a wide report with lots of interesting pictures from the family reunion.

Click here to read the report.

Click here to view the group picture from the reunion.
  Medical missionary Christian T. Oftebro’s strenuous life and tragic destiny

Medical missionary Christian T. Oftebro wanted to change mission practice from exclusively dealing with evangelization to, in a significant way, also include training in various forms of practical work. His thoughts were opposed by his guardians, the mission management in Stavanger, Norway, and in 1888 he was brutally dismissed from his position.

The Norwegian Mission Society has, upon request, in 2014 examined the dismissal case again, and expresses now regret for the treatment Christian Oftebro got. The account of the case and the apology are published in "Misjonstidende”, Norway, in September 2014.

Click here for access to preface by the chairman of the Oftebro Family Committee about the case, and for the articles from “Misjonstidende” on the same.

  3-2-3-1 Arne Foss from the ”Oftebro family” was a versatile builder of- , and a local giant in the American society

Based on information given by his son, 3-2-3-1-3 Arnold Foss, Alabama, USA:

Click here for access to Arne Foss’ history of life.

Click here for access to the plaque awarded Arne Foss by king Haakon 7th for his work on collecting money for the underground movement in Norway during WWII.

Click here for access to Arne Foss’ principal speech in Carnegie Hall on Norway’s Constitution Day, May 17th 1949.

Click here for access to the obituary on Arne Foss.
  Nils Ole Oftebro

We now present one of our family's great artists - Nils Ole Oftebro, one of Norway's most esteemed actors

  War service of members of the extended, South African Oftebro family

Many members of the extended Oftebro family in South Africa have served in the great wars in the region and worldwide. In this column we will be presenting, one by one, the war service history of members of the extended South African Oftebro family.

3-7-3-4 Colin Clayton Hojem

3-7-2 Ernest Frederick Clayton

3-7-2-1 Frank Edward Streek

3-7-2-3 Ian Barry Clayton

3-7-3 Johan Christian Hojem

3-7-3-2 Graham Clayton Hojem

3-7-3-3 Rodney Clayton Hojem

10-4 Martin Oftebro

10-4-1 Odmund Christian Oftebro

10-4-1-3 Brian Piccione

10-4-1-3-2 Kevin Bruce Piccione

Click here for list of names of South African Oftebro relatives engaged in war activities, without their war service history so far been written.
  Oftebro Family Reunion - Canada 2014

The final invitation for the upcoming Oftebro Reunion in Canmore, Alberta, CANADA has arrived. Ellen Seib and Leone Owchar in the reunion committe hope to see as many of us as possible on July 17-20, 2014.

Click here to read the invitation
  Another addition to the family literature

3-6-2-4 Torstein Oftebro has issued a biography on medical missionary Christian T. Oftebro. The title of the biography is:  

Visjon og Tragedie
Liv og virke til misjonslege Christian T. Oftebro

(Translated into English the title would be:

Vision and Tragedy
Life and work of medical missionary Christian T. Oftebro, 1842-1888)

Click here for more details about the book.

    A hero is dead **Updated 2013**

From Cape Town came the message in 2006 that Barry Streek (3-7-2-1-1) had died, 59 years old. For many years he was (Norwegian newspaper) Dagbladet's reporter in South Africa, writing about the development in the racially segregated state. Through his burning commitment for the less fortunate he also became the man who forwarded the economical support coming from Norway.

But the hero is alive
The memory about Barry Streek is not forgotten. Today he is especially remembered through the yearly “Barry Streek Lecture on the Struggle for Equality”, under the auspices of the Cape Town Press Club. The lecture is a tribute to Barry’s hard work for equality and justice in the South African society. The lecture for the year 2012 was given by the earlier president of South Africa, Frederik Willem de Clerk. Truly this can be regarded as a recognition of the necessity of the upheavals that have taken place in the society, and of Barry Streek’s contributions in this connection.

Click here for access to Willem de Clerk’s Barry Streek lecture.

  Kevin Hojem

Kevin Hojem (3-7-3-3-1)

Has found and restored the
grave of Berte Marie and Gustav Hojem at West Street
Cemetery in Durban. is now on YouTube

Check out our YouTube channel, where we will be putting out videos related to the family. So far, we have videos from the 2010 reunion in California:

The BRO-Band  part 1
The BRO-Band  part 2
Tobias Oftebro sings "Håvard Hedde"

A pulpit as gift for the KwaMondi church, Eshowe, Zululand

The pulpit in Ommund Oftebro’s church, KwaMondi church was made in Ørsta, and sent to Zululand as a gift from Ørsta Missionary Society.

Arne Bjørdalsbakke has sent us a copy of a thank you letter, dated May 1st 1889, from missionary, Rev. Ommund Oftebro to “Ørsten” Missionary Society. (Today Ørsta Missionary Society. Ørsta is located at the coast of mid. Norway)

Click here for more information.
    Report from Oftebro Family Reunion in Pleasanton, California, 2010

The reunion committee has made an extensive report with marvelous pictures from the family reunion.

Click here to see the report.

Click here to see the group picture.

An Oftebro serving as American soldier in WWI

From 1917 until the end of the war in 1918 3-8-2 Oddleif Oftebro served for the American forces at the Western Front.

    The Church-builders in the Oftebro family

Through several generations many members of the Oftebro family have shown great engagement in church activities. This fact may explain why so many members of the family also have taken actively part in the building of their churches. 

    Another Oftebro family reunion  
***Updated 10.21 with thank you-notes***

The arranging committee, with John Oftebro, Seattle, Washington and Dale Oftebro, Santa Barbara, California in the lead, wishes the worldwide Oftebro family welcome to the reunion arrangements. If you would like to come to the reunion, you should immediately announce your interest

Click here for information on extension of registration deadline
Click here to download info and sign-up form

10.21 - Another Oftebro family reunion is over

The North American Oftebro Reunion (NAOR) committee, with John Oftebro, Seattle, in the lead, arranged a brilliantly successful family reunion in Pleasanton, California in July 2010.
The exquisitely comfortable location for the arrangement, the thoroughly considered reunion program and the eminent carrying out of the same, as well as the warm, personal atmosphere one managed to create, gave all of us memories for a lifetime.
The members of the Norwegian family committee, who all made it to the reunion, thank the NAOR committee on behalf of ourselves and all the 131 Oftebro participants.

Norway, October 2010

Stein Opsal, Astrid Edland, Tom Pedersen, Lorentz Vaagland, Inge Chr. Oftebro, Grethe Oftebro, Torstein Oftebro.

    Promoting the Family Reunion in California

1-4-1-4-1 Deborah and John Oftebro visited Norway in May 2009 in order to promote the Family Reunion in California 2010. But first they went to Sweden to buy themselves a new Volvo.
    New cultural column  ***Update 07.26.11***

A number of Oftebro relatives are known for their cultural contributions through poetry, painting, music etc. This column will present such contributions.
    Morten Andvig (3-5-4-1-2) at the South Pole

Morten Andvig (3-5-4-1-2) reached the South Pole 26th December 2008, after skiing 890 km in 24 days, 8 hours and 50 minutes. This is an amazing new record, nine and half days faster than any other team have used on the same route.
    The Oftebro family reunion in Durban/Eshowe 2007  ***Update 09.09.08***

News and reports from the reunion. This section will be updated as we receive more content. Now updated with reunion group photo.

    Oftebro SA Reunion 2007 group picture

Click the above link to view the picture taken outside the hotel in Durban with everyone present. The picture is available in a full size version suitable for framing, as well as a slightly smaller version with a person description underneath. Please note that most web browsers will make the picture smaller to fit your screen, in which case you can click on it to zoom in.
    Dr. Howard Philip West

On May 17, 2007, Rhode Island College awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to (3-3-6-2-1) Howard Philip (Phil) West, Jr., for his leadership in bringing significant government reform to an American state long known for corruption. Phil gave his commencement address to those receiving advanced degrees and their guests.

Click here for biographical information provided by Rhode Island College, and click here for Phil’s commencement address. 
    The Langeland-Hansen family

The Oftebro family has traditionally valued very highly its pioneer missionaries Ommund, Christian and Berte Marie Oftebro. We have paid far less attention to the later missionaries from the Oftebro family. Now we can present the story about the missionaries Borghild Gudrun and Fridtjof Langeland-Hansen. 

Click here for the story about their lives and work. 
    Adolf Oftebro

3-6-8 Adolf Oftebro once made a living as cowboy on the Argentinian pampas.
In most families, even those most stalwart, you often find a “splash of colour” which stands out from the rest of the family. Adolf was such a “splash of colour”. While his siblings searched for a good living and stabile conditions in the old country, Adolf intended to conquer the world. 

Click here for more information. 
    Tomas Karl Oftebro

3-6-7 Tomas Karl Oftebro early became active in the underground resistance that was established in Norway during World War II. He was arrested, was given the third degree, and was finally confined for 3 years in Grini concentration camp at Oslo. 

Click here for more information 
    George Gotfred Oftebro 

1-4-2-1 George Gotfred Oftebro had a special and tough childhood. 4 years old he lost both his brother and his mother, and at the same time he himself lost his hearing. The rest of his childhood he was taken care of by strangers. 

Click here to read his life story
    Oftebro family book

Now at a reduced price

The Oftebro family book was published during the fall of 2004. Its main part is an extensive family register for the period of 1775 - 2004, containing more than 2000 names. Additionally, the book contains a register of our common ancestors from the period of 1330 - 1775. There are also about 90 pages of historical pictures and stories from the emigration to South - Africa and America, information about the old family homesteads, as well as pictures and material from the reunion in Lyngdal in 2004.
So far we have sold about 360 books to family members all over the world. We recommend the book to any family member who wishes to know more about our great family, while we still have more books on stock. Click here for book order.

The price reduction is as follows:
For sale in Norway: From NOK 250,- per volume, down to NOK 200,- per volume.
For sale abroad: From NOK 200,- per volume, down to NOK 100,- per volume.
The price difference, inland - abroad, is due to the higher postal rates for sending books abroad.

Picture by 3-8-3-1 Nils Ole Oftebro
    Reidar Oftebro

3-6-2-1 Reidar Oftebro died 27 December 2007. Reidar was 81 years old. 
As a member of the Oftebro Family Committee, one of Reidar's great passions in life was the history of the worldwide Oftebro family.
    Recognition of the Oftebro family by the Mayor of uMlalazi

Eshowe, which is the town that has been established around Ommund Oftebro's mission station, is located in the uMlalazi municipality.

    An Oftebro relative in the American Civil War

Andreas Torkildson, the older brother of Anne Katrine (Torkildsdatter Fidje) Oftebro, served as captain in The American Civil War. Read his letter from the frontline. 


“Terje Vigen” and the Oftebro Family


The famous Norwegian author and play-writer, Henrik Ibsen, has dramatized the life of a sailor and pilot who lived and worked at the southern coast of Norway around first half of the 19th century. Ibsen names this person Terje Vigen. Read the poem about Terje Vigen, and about this person’s relation to the Oftebro family.

    Trip to Durban

Kari Lurås, Inge Chr. Oftebro and their children Thea, Einar and Jens (Branch 3-6-2) travelled from Oslo to Durban in South Africa to celebrate Christmas in December 2005. Click the link above to read about their trip.

The Oftebro family

The Oftebro family has been defined as all descendants, and their spouses, from Villum Christian Henriksen Oftebro (1775 - 1848) and Gunhild Oftebro (1777 - 1855). The family tree gives more than 2000 persons. Today's "Oftebros", that counts more than 1200 persons, have settled in many countries and on most continents.

Family reunion 2004

An Oftebro family reunion was arranged in august 2004. 440 descendants from Villum Christian and Gunhild Oftebro participated in the event which took place in Lyngdal, the home of our ancestors, and lasted for 3 sunny days. 110 of the participants were foreigners, coming from all parts of the world. (USA, Canada, South- Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, England, Germany and Denmark) The reunion programme included family lectures and cultural contributions from both Norway and abroad. There was also an extensive exhibition of pictures and paintings, furniture and other objects from the history of our family.