Saturday, August 30, 2008

1900 Federal Census - Berthel

According to the 1900 United States Census, Ole Sr's son, Bert and family lived in Reynolds Township, Lee County, Illinois. Reynolds township adjoins and is east of Alto township where the Ole Sr and Ole Jr families resided in 1900.

You will note the inaccuracies of census records by looking at the lower page, 1st entry on the top, which represents Bert's daughter, Selma Bertha Finnestad, who was born May 3, 1900. The census records list her as "no name" born in May of 1899, with an age of 0/12.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Home Sites

The top photo shows the location of Ole Sr's home. As of August 2008, the house no longer exists and is a field.

It is located approximately 1/2 mile south of Gurler Road on the east side of Woodlawn Road in Lee County, Illinois.

The middle photo is the site of Ole Jr's father-in-law, John S Quitno, as of August, 2008. The home is no longer in the Quitno or Finnestad family.

It is located approximately 6/10ths of a mile south of Gurler Road on the west side of Woodlawn Road in Lee County, Illinois.

The bottom photo is the site of Ole Jr's home. As of August 2008, the house no longer exists and is a field.

It is located approximately 9/10ths of a mile south of Gurler Road on the west side of Woodlawn Road in Lee County, Illinois.

1900 Alto Township plat map, Lee County, IL

Based upon the 1900 Census records, it appears Ole Sr and family rented the property listed as "R. Thorson" located on the top left (#1 quadrant) of the 1900 Alto Township plat map.

Ole Jr's father-in-law, John S Quitno resided in the home across the street (#2 quadrant) on 160 acres.

Ole Jr and family owned the home listed on the plat map as J S Quitno's (#2 quadrant) 80 acre property.

1900 United States Cenus - Ole Sr and Ole Jr

In 1900 the United States census shows Ole Sr and Ole Jr and their families both living in the same township, Alto in Lee County, Illinois.

Based upon the census records, I have estimated that Ole Sr, wife Mari, daughters Mary B and Sarah lived approximately 1/2 mile from Olr Jr, wife Caroline, son Oliver, daughters Josephine, Lettie and Alice, while daughters Evelyn and Lillian were listed as boarders with the Offtedal family a few miles south.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Confirmation Class 1901 - Photo

It's not likely the Finnestad family had a camera or the ability to have professional photos taken, so photos of the Finnestad family in the early days probably do not exist.

Fortunately, Calvary Lutheran Church located at 19 Perry Road and County Line Road in Lee County, Illinois had kept records from the late 1800's to the present.

Above is a photo of Ole Sr and Mari's granddaughter, "Dina" Josephine Finnestad and her confirmation class in 1901. Dina is wearing a ribbon in her hair, middle row, 3rd from the right.

(As for all documents, click on them for a larger view)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1st, 2nd and 3rd generation - preview

Until I find a software that will allow me to download the family tree onto this blog site, the following will serve as a preview.

Previously I provided a list of Ole Olson Finnestad Sr's children. The 3rd known generation:

Elizabeth Olson married O.A. Knutson. As of the 1910 US census, Elizabeth had 10 children but only 4 had survived. The only known child as of this writing was Edith Knutson. The other 3 I have been unable to locate.

Ole Finnestad Jr married Caroline Quitno. They had 7 children: "Dina" Josephine, Oliver, Lettie Clara, Alice Marie, (Carrie) Eveyln, Lillian May and Frances Julia Finnestad.

Bert Finnestad married Celia Goodmonson. They had 5 children:
Oscar, George, Minerva (Minnie), Charlotte and Selma Bertha Finnestad.

Rasmus Finnestad married Carrie Goodmonson (Celia's sister). They had 5 children:
Mabel, Goodwin Cornel, Rose Clara and Olaf Finnestad.

In regards to Ole and Mari's other children:
Sarah (Serina), Iverdine, Bertha, Rakel Marie and Mary B - I have been unable to confirm that they were married and/or had children.

Ole and Mari's daughter Maria died at age 3 as previously stated in an earlier post. And the 11th child I believe also died either in childbirth or shortly thereafter - but that is just a guess.

Also, you should note that I have no confirmation as to whether Elizabeth married in Norway or in the United States. Should she have married in Norway, it's not likely she would have taken the name "Finnestad" as there are no records to document that Ole Olson took the name BEFORE arriving in the United States. As a result I am not using the name "Finnestad" for descendants that I cannot confirm came to America; they will remain "Olson".

I have traced further generations of Ole Jr, Bert and Rasmus and will post them later. Hopefully with family tree software that will place everyone on a single document.

More of the Finnestad farm in Stavanger

Here is another link from a Norwegian website that lists the farm where our ancestors had farmed:

Click on option #4 (should indicate farm #31) for the correct farm. Sorry but I cannot translate for you. :)

Farming in those days and in Norway was different than the way Americans are used to farming, but here is another web link that explains it better (or more confusing) than I could:

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Olsons (soon to be Finnestads)

In Norway, the last name of the son of the father became "son" and the daughter of the father became "datter".

For example, in our family, Ole Ols had a son Ole, who then became Ole Olson. Ole Ols had a daughter, Marie who became Marie Olsdatter.

For more information on the Norwegian naming system, go to the following website:

Ole Sr and Mari Olson had 11 children, though as of this writing, I have only been able to track down 10:

Elizabeth, Sarah, Maria, Iverdine, Bertha, Rakel Marie, Ole Jr, Mary B, Bertel O, and Rasmus.

Elizabeth, Sarah, Ole Jr, Mary B, Bertel O and Rasmus have been documented moving to the United States, along with their parents, Ole Sr and Mari.

Maria died at the age of 3 in Norway. I have been unable to confirm whether Iverdine, Bertha and Rakel Marie left Norway. (For the record, Iverdine and Bertha were twins.)


According to census records:

- Bert arrived in America in 1874.
- Rasmus arrived in America in 1875 (Prior to June).
- Their brother Ole Jr, sisters Mary B and Sarah also came over in 1875.

- Their sister Elizabeth arrived in 1879 or 1881.

- Their parents Ole Olson Sr and wife Mari arrived in the US 1882 (after June).

Again, census records lack legibility and accuracy. But it gives you an idea when the Finnestad family began their life in "the new world".

It was common to take the name of the farm on which a family lived as their family name. So 'Olson' became Finnestad.

Here are Ole Jr's, Rasmus and Bert's immigration documents, completed in Sycamore, Illinois. (Followed by Bert and Rasmus).

These documents were not completed upon entry to the US but rather at a date much later than when they initially arrived.

Note that all allegiance and fidelity to the King of Norway & Sweden has been renounced.

I also have come to the conclusion that the women and children were not required to complete such a document as they did not have a legal right to do so.

Finnestad Farm - Stavanger, Norway

It was customary in Norway to take the farm name as the family name. Prior to arriving in America, Ole Finnestad was known as Ole Olson.

According to the Regional State Archives of Stavanger, in 1862, Ole Olsen bought a farm from Bjørn Larsen.

The following link provides some farm information along with the family members in 1865:

“Merknad 387b” now means property nr. 16 of the farm Finnestad.

(Please keep in mind that accuracy of records is less than perfect - so ages and other information are not always correct)

For more information on Stavanger and a map of the area, please go to the following wikipedia link:


Welcome to the Finnestad ancestry blog.

This site was created so family members could view their ancestry on a single website. The site will contain photos, obituaries, spreadsheets and other historical information of the Finnestad family and their migration from Norway to their settlement in North America, mainly Illinois, Iowa, Saskatchewan and Washington (state).