Nov 20, 2008

Luci J. Baker Johnson


I was born in a small town in west central Wisconsin and raised in an a-typical 1960s neighborhood St. Paul, Minnesota. I did all the things a ‘Minnesota Nice’ girl does; graduated high school, went on to college earning degrees in Sociology & Recreation, then landed my first job as a Youth Director at a community center in St. Paul.

After a 2 years I found my perfect career at the American Red Cross working with military families, responding to nation wide disasters, and supporting international relief work. I loved the work, but developed a seven-year itch and found myself headed west to Seattle (1992) to work for the Seattle-King County Red Cross: working with youth, AmeriCorps, and International Services. After 18 years I left the Red Cross in pursuit of my passion for architecture, social history, writing and exploring everything Norwegian.

I'm now a freelance writer / historian with an expertise in Norwegian-American genealogical research, house histories, and Pacific Northwest social history. I work half-time as Manager of Volunteers & Events for 
Historic Seattle, volunteer weekly at the regional office of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), was the Lodge Historian for Seattle’s 1600+ member Leif Erikson Sons of Norway (2005-2009), and am presently on the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church 100th Anniversary Committee.

I’m 50% Norwegian and 50% English, Irish, German – you name it. My mother is 100% Norwegian-American with all of her grandparents born in Norway. Her grandparents immigrated to America between 1853 and 1885 settling in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. My Norwegian ancestral roots are all within 200 miles of Oslo, Norway: Lier (Drammen), Buskerud flyke & Sande, Vestfold fylke.

Eidsvoll, Røsrud, Hurdal, Akershus flyke

North Aurdal, Oppland flyke

Ådal, Buskerud fylke


I'm living out my dream in Ballard (a Scandinavian community of Seattle) with my software-engineer husband and my octogenarian widowed mother.  

Education & Training

A Seminar for Researchers & Writers • Fall 2006 Museum of History & Industry, Nearby History program.
Scandinavian Research • January 12-16, 2004 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Utah
Writing & Publishing • June 9-14, 2002 Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research (IGHR)
Genealogy & Family History Certificate • October 1999-June 2000 University of Washington
B.A. Sociology & B.S. Recreation – Moorhead State University, Moorhead, Minn., 1982

Nearby History 2007 - Project
Norwegian Artisans’ Effect onSeattle”: Seven Canvas Murals, Three Norwegian Men & One Historic Landmark.
A work of creative non-fiction that explores the lives and artistic legacy of three Norwegian-born men, one architect and two artists, who left their mark on Seattle from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909 to the end of the New Deal in 1941. The book will chronicle the personal and professional lives and artistic contributions of these men. It will explore the mystery of paintings, by these artists, that are missing or have been destroyed. At least eight paintings are known from period photographs, but their current whereabouts is unknown. As the biographer, I hope to establish a greater appreciation of contributions made by Norwegians to Pacific Northwest history and culture.

Nearby History 2006 - Project
“Compass on the Prairie”: Lutheran Pastors Serving Norwegian Immigrants 1900-1950.
A creative non-fiction chronicling the careers of three Norwegian Lutheran pastors – and their families – in the early 20th century. These three provided a spiritual and moral compass to thousands of Norwegian immigrants and their families in eastern Montana, North Dakota and southern Minnesota between 1908 and 1947. Cumulatively, the three couples had 26 children, all of whom are 100% Norwegian-Americans. All three pastors died within a 10-year span at the age of 56 or 57, leaving the sisters widows, never to marry again, until their deaths at the age of 74, 80, and 88. The book will explore what life was like for these dedicated men, and for the women who supported and believed in them. It will combine vignettes, anecdotes, and facts from their lives and the lives of the members of their numerous congregations. 

Books I've had a hand in writing

The Chapter on 'Clubs and Associations' in Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill: Propriety, Profanity, Pills, and Preservation (October 2014)

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: souvenir program • Compiled an index to this 1909

Currently working on three creative non-fiction books.

Articles in magazines and periodicals

•    "A Fortune in Gold [Dust] How a Seattle Assayer Skimmed a Klondike Fortune" National Archives Prologue Magazine, Spring 2015

•    Margaret's Library" Western Viking, a weekly Norwegian-American newspaper (January 14, 2005)

•    “Sleepless in Seattle – or Should I say Headless?!” The Leadership Link, a publication of the Alumni Association of Leadership Tomorrow Seattle, Wash. (Fall 2003, cover story)

•    “Norwegian Lutheran Life in the Dakotas: Reverend & Mrs. Gustav Hegg” – a thesis (Spring 2000)

•    Bark Tegner”, an 1853 Norwegian immigrant ship

•    "Rev. Gustav & Mrs. Mabelle Lydia (Larsen) Hegg” Newsletters: 1999 and 2003
•    “Telling Your Ancestor’s Story” Seattle Genealogical Society Bulletin, Volume51, #1, (Autumn 2001)

•    “Scandinavian Genealogical & Historical Research in the Pacific Northwest”. AVISEN, quarterly publication of the Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (November 2001)

•    “Telling Your Ancestor’s Story” Budstikken, a semi-annual publication of the Valdres Samband, Volume 32, Number 1 (December 2001)

Weekly Newspaper Columnist

Luci was a weekly columnist [Emigrant/Immigrant Passages] for the Western Viking newspaper (a.k.a. Norwegian American Weekly) from December 2006 through July 2007. The theme of the articles was based on the following: Each and every one of us share at least one thing in common: an emigrant story. A story about how our ancestors and neighbors emigrated to North America. The names, dates, and places may differ, but the story itself can hold mystery, suspense, drama, and adventure.

·      “Emigrant / Immigrant” December 1, 2006, pages 8-9.

·      “Finding Aids vs. Google: It’s All on the Internet” December 8, 2006, page 15.

·      “Christmas is for giving and Receiving: Share an Oral History!" December 15, 2006, page 13.

·      “Christmas Wish (List)" December 22, 2006, page 16.

·      “Name Changes: Norwegian American Genealogical Center” January 5, 2007, page 7.
·      “Is there an Askeladden in your family?” January 12, 2007, page 5.
·      “Bygdeboker – a Goldmine of Information for Researchers” January 19, 2007, page 7.
·      “Making History Come Alive!” January 26, 2007, page 14 & 15.
·      “So What Does it Say?” has been replaced with “What’s the word for…?” • February 2, 2007, pages 8 & 9.
·      “2007 – 1982; Research in the 21st Century” • February 16, 2007, pages 8 & 9.
·      “Norwegian Bachelor Farmer–Norske Bonde Ungkar” • February 23, 2007, pages 14 & 15.
·      “History of the Norwegian People in American by Olaf Morgan Norlie” • March 23, 2007, page 15.
·      “Norse-American Centennial Celebration, June 6-9, 1925” • April 6, 2007, pages 6 & 7.
·      “Diaries Can Impact More Than Just the Immediate Family ~ How Just 124 words changed my life forever.” • April 13, 2007, page 15.
·      “Successes Realized from the Norwegian Genealogy Workshop” • April 18, pages 4 & 5.
·      “Norwegians in (US) Census Records: Territorial, State and Federal” • April 27, May 4, and May 18, 2007, page 15.
·      “Nesting vs. Un-Nesting” • May 25, 2007, page 9.
·      “A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words!” • June 8, 2007, page 9.
·      “Bygdelag? Stevne? What are they and how can they help the budding family historian?” • June 15, 2007, page 15
·      “Vertical Files” • June 22, 2007, page 15.
·      “Vertical Files – Part 2” • June 29, 2007, page 15.
·      “When an Elder Dies, it is as though a Library has Burned to the Ground” • July 13, 2007, pages 15 & 16.

Creator & Editor of a Weekly Bulletin 

The Centennial Communiqué was a weekly snapshot into the history of the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church (PRLC) community. PRLC, located in north Seattle (Phinney neighborhood), is a member of the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Issue #1 was published November 8, 2014. Issue #52 was published November 1, 2015.  
In 2015 the congregation celebrated '100 years on the Ridge'. The congregation was started by Norwegian immigrants that settled in the Greenwood neighborhood.

The 52 issues are sequentially numbered and inserted in each Sunday Bulletin. The items contained are gleaned from materials found in the church archives: congregational records (baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death), church council minutes, weekly bulletins, Tower Echoes (monthly newsletter), annual reports, scrapbooks, commemorative programs, and memoirs written by members of the congregation. Also referenced are items found in local newspapers,,, and other local history archives. In some cases, oral history interviews have been conducted and written by the editor.


Changing Places 
A Journey with My Parents into Their Old Age. The blog chronicles (past - present - future) the highlights of 'MY changing places' journey with Lyle and Eunice.

Solberg Family ... Q&A - 
Family and historical research on the Solberg family that immigrated to the Pacific Northwest (Vincent / Carnation, King Co. Washington) from Kvinesdal, Vest-Ager, Norway: 1880 to present day.

Blog entries written for Nearby Norwegians:
1.  Norway’s [unofficial] National Song..... February 17, 2013
2.  “Emblem of Freedom”, a song about Patriotism..... February 9, 2013
3.   MOHAI Resource Center in GEORGETOWN..... February 9, 2013
4.   Johan Turi – An Account of the Sami..... February 4, 2013
5.   The Sami-Americans of Poulsbo..... January 29, 2013
6.   Book Review: “Counterfeiter: How a Norwegian Jew survived 
            the Holocaust”..... August 29, 2012
7.   Coffee Table Norwegian..... August 14, 2012
8.   Book Review: “The Mountains Wait”..... August 13, 2012
9.   Norwegians: Hard, Soft or Both?..... April 25, 2010
10. The 82nd Annual Blessing of the Fleet..... March 13, 2010
11.  “Don’t Think That You Are Special”: Janteloven..... February 20, 2010
12.  Inventory of Morning Norwegian Cuisine..... February 8, 2010
13.  Seattleite With Norwegian Roots Write About Seattle: Now, Then 
            and in the Future..... February 22, 2009
14.  Why Norway Have Two Written Languages..... February 15, 2009
15.  Love That Lutefisk!..... January 29, 2009
16.  What About That Viking Ship I’ve Heard So Much About?..... 
          January 27, 2009
17.  New Lands, New Lives..... January 26, 2009

18.  Olaf Kringhaug Passes Away..... December 29, 2008

    Public Speaker / Trainer

     "Puget Sound Norwegian & Norwegian-Americans in the 1888-1910 Merchant Marine License Applications" – Keynote speaker at the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce (May 2006)
    Organize a Norwegian Genealogy Research Seminar at the Leif Erikson Sons of Norway, April 8, 2006 with 56 participants from 7 counties in Washington state from which stemmed an interest group of over 150 persons. The second workshop was held April 15, 2007 and the third one is planned for April 12, 2008.
    "Three Norwegian Men • One Unique Building • Seven Oil on Canvas Murals" – Norwegian-American Genealogical Association monthly meeting, Golden Valley, Minn. (January 2006)
    “Your Ancestral Resume” – Daughters of the American Revolution Society (November 2001)
    “Scandinavian Research in the Pacific Northwest” and “Norwegian-Lutheran Family History: Filling in Gaps with Norwegian Lutheran Church & Congregation Records" Seven-Lag Stevne, South Dakota (June 2001)

    National Instructor – American Red Cross: Disaster & International Services, Taught more than 200 classes to 1000+ individuals, plus hundreds of public addresses; e.g. United Way

    # # # # # 

    Professional Experience

    Manager, Volunteers & Events for Historic Seattle, 2006-present 
    Freelance Writer & Historian, 2002-present
    Administrator, Project Development (Seattle, WA) American Red Cross, 2001-2002
    Administrator, National Rapid Response Corps: AmeriCorps (Seattle, WA), 1998-2002
    Administrator, Youth & Young Adult Services (Seattle, WA) American Red Cross, 1992-2001
    Administrator, International Services (Seattle, WA) American Red Cross, 1993-1999
    Coordinator, Community & International Services (St. Paul, MN) American Red Cross, 1984-1992

    Civic Involvement

    Sons of Norway, Leif Erikson Lodge (Seattle): Library Aid (2001–2012); Historian (2005–2010); Board member (2005-2010)
    Leadership Tomorrow: 2002, 2003, & 2004 Review and Selection Committee
    University of Washington Genealogy & Family History Certificate Alumni Association (2001–present)
    University of Washington, Genealogy & Family History Certificate program: Advisory Board member (2000–present)
    Historic Seattle: Volunteer (Spring 2000-Fall 2006) – now on staff as the Manager of Volunteers & Events

    National Archives & Records Administration, Pacific Region: Volunteer (December 2002–present)
    Pacific Northwest Historians Guild Board member (2015-present)


    · Valdres Samband
    · Ringerike Drammen Bygdelag
    · Sons of Norway-Leif Erikson Lodge #2-001
    · Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle
    · National Genealogical Society
    · Association of Professional Genealogists
    · International Society of Family History Writers & Editors
    · Puget Sound Association of Professional Genealogists
    · Pacific Northwest Historians Guild
    · Historic Seattle
    · University of Washington Genealogy & Family History Program Alumni Association
    · Leadership Tomorrow Alumni Association

    Contact Luci at:
    Updated • November 12, 2015