Meet Our President
An Eidsvollman Descendant Just Like You
A Dane County, Wisconsin native, Michael was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1964. He served a 1966 tour of duty in Vietnam with a helicopter unit as company clerk. After returning to civilian life, he joined the Army Reserve, retiring in 1987 as a Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the JAG Corps. He worked for the Federal Government as a civil service administrator.
Michael is past president of Mandt Lodge Sons of Norway and past president of the Dane County Historical Society. He is a member of the “Torske Klubben” of Madison, which is a social group of men with Norwegian ancestry.
He is also the past president of the Koshkonong Prairie Historical Society in southeastern Dane County, Wisconsin.
Michael was Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Vesterheim Norwegian American-Museum in Decorah, Iowa. Luther College founded this museum in 1877, but since 1964, it has been a separate, non-profit museum.He served as their secretary from 1993-2002.
Michael is also active in the Masonic Fraternity in Wisconsin and has received the 33rd degree in the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry. He served as Worshipful Master of Verona Lodge and founding Worshipful Master of Four Lakes Day Light Lodge, Madison, Wisconsin.
Genealogy is one of Michael’s main hobbies, which ties in with his historical and cultural interests. He has published three books on his Norwegian ancestors up to the present.
On May 17th, 2004, Michael assisted the Public Broadcasting System of New York putting together a documentary of Norwegian immigration to the U.S., Koshkonong Prairie, and Stoughton, Wisconsin. He also met the PBS film crew in Bergen for a drive to his ancestor’s farm in Ulvik, Hardanger, Norway where he was interviewed about his immigrant ancestors.
Since 1987, Michael has been researching the descendants in North America of the 112 men who wrote Norway’s Constitution and signed on 17 May, 1814. He is a descendant of Eidsvollman Niels Johannesen Loftesnæs, (1789-1848). He has found descendants of 81 signers. And in 2008, he founded Eidsvollsmen Council of North America. A book will be published and database established for public use in Norway and Madison.
Michael has been retired since 1985 for health reasons, but he was able to escort members of Eidsvollsmen Council of North America’s descendant members to Norway for the ECONA Eidsvollsmen Descendant Bicentennial Tour in May of 2014 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution—the joined legacy of our Eidsvollmen ancestors!