Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Everett, Washington Directory

Before phones were commonplace, many communities had some sort of directory.

The city of Everett, Washington provided a directory in 1937, which lists the addresses of Rasmus Finnestad and wife Carrie.

Their youngest son Oluf and wife Myrtle are listed as well.

Because Rasmus' wife passed away in 1937, this directory was probably published sometime in 1936. The directory also does not list Rasmus' sister, Mary Bell. It is possible she was living in the same household, though her name is not listed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mary Bell burial

Mary, the youngest daughter of Ole and Mari was buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Everett, Washington next to her brother, Rasmus.

Mary had moved from Illinois to Washington sometime between the 1930 US Federal census and the time of her death in 1937.

Mary was born in 1859, not 1857; her brother Rasmus' marker also misstated his birth year.

According to the "family service advisor" at Evergreen Cemetery, Mary "was placed in the International Order of Odd Fellows cemetery in Marysville WA - she was disinterred in 1945 and placed next to Rasmus on the same day he was placed 09/07/1945.

They both are located in Block 49, Lot 144 - Rasmus on the right, Mary on the left."

Friday, December 11, 2009

1910 US Federal Census - Mary Olson

Mary Olson lived in Fairfield Township, Palo Alto County, Iowa during the 1910 census.

Along with husband Stephen, their children were son's Orville, Elmer, Stanley, William, Olaf and daughters Marnie and Bernice.

The census indicates Mary had 7 children, all of which were living in 1910. This conflicts with the information provided on the 1900 census.

(Mary was the daughter of Elizabeth Knutson, the eldest daughter of Ole and Mari Finnestad)

Rasmus Finnestad burial

Rasmus, the 3rd son of Ole and Mari Finnestad has the distinction of having a headstone in Saskatchewan and also in Everett, Washington, though he his buried in Washington.

There is an error regarding the year of birth. Rasmus was born November 20, 1863 in Norway.

I called the cemetery and an employee was kind enough to take a photo and email me.

Evergreen Cemetery - Everett, Washington

On an earlier post I stated that Rasmus had been buried in Everett, Washington, according to his granddaughter, Carmen.

Here are a couple of photos of the Evergreen Cemetery where Rasmus and sister Mary are buried.

Evergreen Cemetery is located at 4504 Broadway, Everett, Washington.

1900 US Federal Census - Mary Olson

With some cemetery documents, I was able to confirm another branch of Ole and Mari's eldest daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Ole Andreas Knutson had a daughter, Mary who married Stephen Olson.

In 1900, Mary and husband Stephen lived in Independence township, Palo Alto County, Iowa. Along with her husband, Mary lived with sons Orville, Elmer, Stanley and daughter Marnie.

While errors are common in tracing genealogy, they can be frustrating. Eventually you come to accept them along with the roadblocks.

The 1900 US Federal Census indicates that Mary had 5 children, of which 4 were living in 1900. However, a later census (which I'll be posting later) indicates Mary had 7 children, all of which were living at the time of the census. So it's difficult to determine which census record is correct.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Finnestad Tavern

Many of the Finnestad descendants resided in Ogle County, Illinois, several of which spent their lives in the small town of Creston, just east of Rochelle.

My grandfather, Kenneth Finnestad owned a tavern in Creston Illinois. (Kenneth was the great grandson of Ole and Mari)

Here is a story about the history of the building that was at one point my grandfather's tavern, which I came across while visiting the library in Creston.

Here is a photo of the building, taken in August of 2008. I vaguely remember going inside the bar once when I was probably about 4 or 5 years old, before my grandfather closed the tavern.

Friday, November 27, 2009

1910 US Federal Census - Clara (Olette) Risetter

Clara was the first of Ole and Caroline's children to branch out on her own.

The 1910 US census indicates Clara and husband Christopher were living in Willow Creek Township (just south of Alto township) in Lee County, Illinois.

1910 US Federal Census - Mary Sanderson

In 1910, Mary Sanderson, husband Seward and children Stanley (not sure why he wasn't listed as living with his parents on the 1900 census) Lawrence, Elmer, Walter, Anna, Lillian and Violet.

Again, as you can see, the census records are not 100% accurate. They indicate Mary had 8 children, 6 were living as of the 1910 census, though 7 children resided with Mary and Seward. It's a guess where the error would be and makes tracing your genealogy very tedious and difficult.

The Sanderson family was still living in Milan Township, DeKalb County, Illinois.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family Tree Spreadsheet

The family tree has been updated and downloaded for viewing on the right margin.

This spreadsheet includes the furthest I have traced the family roots up until the individual branches begin to branch off onto new tabs.

Contact me if you have yet to receive the more complete spreadsheet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rasmus Finnestad death

The 3rd son of Ole and Mari Finnestad, Rasmus, died September 5, 1945 in Everett Washington. He and wife Carrie have a headstone at the Saskatchewan River Church Cemetery.

After speaking with Rasmus' granddaughter, Carmen Hurd, I was told that Rasmus' wife, Carrie, wanted to be buried in Saskatoon, Canada so her body was shipped via train to Saskatchewan for burial.

According to Carmen, Rasmus did not want to be buried in Canada so he is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Everett, Washington.

Carmen also stated she believes Rasmus' sister, Mary was also buried at Evergreen Cemetery. She will check on that and let me know. If she is, I would then have the "final resting" information of all 11 of Ole and Mari's children.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rochelle Public School attendance - Knutson children

I have been trying to track down the children of Elizabeth (eldest daughter of Ole and Mari Finnestad) and came across a 1895 Rochelle Public School record which lists 4 of Elizabeth and Ole Knutson's children:

Otto, in 6th room "A" class
Alfred in 6th room "B" class

Annie in 5th room "B" class

Edith in 3rd room "A" class

The original document can be viewed here.

1910 US Federal Census records - Rachel Vallem

Here is the 1910 US Federal Census I have for the remaining child of Ole and Mari, Rachel (Rakkel) Vallem.

Rachel was widowed by 1910 and living in Alto Township, Lee County, Illinois with her son, Ole and Elmer & daughters Linnie Rebecca, and Iverdena (listed as D Anna).

Rachel's brother, Ole Finnestad Jr and family were living in the same township.

Living next door was Rachel's eldest son Peter, his wife Lena and their children, Lawrence, Perry, Lucille and Lena.

As I stated in an earlier post, I was unable to locate Ole and Mari's daughter, Mary and her 1910 census record. If I come across it, I'll post it.

1910 US Federal Census records - Bertha Haaland

As the Finnestad family grew, so did the census records. Previously, I posed the 1910 US Federal Census records for three of Ole and Mari's children, Elizabeth Knutson, Ole Jr, and Rasmus.

Their daughter Sarah was living with her sister, Elizabeth and family. Their son Bert was already living in Canada.

Their twin daughter, Iverdine had already passed away.

Here is the census record for their daughter, (Iverdine's twin sister), Bertha and her husband Andreas Haaland. They lived in Dement Township, Ogle County, Illinois. Bertha and Andrew are listed first on the form.

Bertha and Andreas had no children so their branch of the family tree ends with them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

1905 Iowa Census - Rasmus Finnestad

Rasmus Finnestad, wife Carrie and their children, Mabel, Goodwin, (Rose) Clara and Olaf lived in Iowa during the 1905 Census.

Rasmus and family were living in Flagg Township, Ogle County, Illinois during the 1900 census, so they moved sometime between 1900 and 1905 to Iowa, before eventually moving to Canada where Rasmus' brother Bert and family were living in Saskatchewan.

Rasmus was the youngest living son of Ole and Mari Finnestad

Clara Lettie (Olette) Risetter

As far as I know, Clara Lettie Risetter was the only Finnestad buried at the First Lutheran Cemetery in Lee County, Illinois.

Lettie married Christopher Risetter in 1909. She was the daughter of Ole and Caroline Finnestad, granddaughter of Ole and Mari Finnestad.

Of all the cemeteries I've been to of the Finnestad family, this appears to be the largest grave marker I've come across.

First Lutheran Cemetery

The First Lutheran Cemetery is located at Lee and Woodlawn Road in Lee County, Illinois.

Friday, November 13, 2009

1900 US Federal Census - Mary Sanderson

Ellen Marie (Mary) the 4th child of Rachel and Lewis Vallem lived with her husband, Seward Sanderson and two of their children, Lawrence and Elmer in Milan township, DeKalb County, Illinois during the 1900 US Federal Census.

They also had a servant - the name is not very clear.

Ellen was one of many grandchildren of Ole and Mari Finnestad

1900 US Federal Census - Elizabeth Knutson

Elizabeth, Ole and Mari's eldest daughter was listed on the 1900 census with husband Ole Andreas, son Ole Alfred, daughter, Anna (or Annie), daughter Ella (Edith) and a grandson, Elmer, (last name undecipherable).

This record was difficult to find because the handwriting was not clear, so I had to individually scan the Flagg township, city of Rochelle census records until I found it.

I also have not yet been able to find out which of Elizabeth and Ole's daughters had the child, Elmer. It does state that Elizabeth had 10 children and 5 were living in 1900, so I'm guessing that Elmer's mother had died.

I presently have tracked down 7 of Elizabeth and Ole's children, though one I am not 100% positive is their child. The missing 3 others may have been born in Norway and I'm presently reviewing Norwegian records in an attempt to locate them.

1900 US Federal Census - Vallem families

I had previously posted the 1900 US Federal Census which listed Ole Sr & Mari living between daughter Rachel and her children and Ole Jr & Caroline and family.

On the page (above) where Ole and Caroline's daughters, (Carrie) Evelyn and Lillian were listed as "boarders" in the Oftedal household, you will see at the top of the census document, Rachel and Lewis' eldest son Peter, wife Lena and son Lawrence living next to Rachel and Lewis' daughter, Isabel Josephine, husband Ole Hall along with their son Oral and Ole's father, Peter.

This is the Alto township, Lee County, Illinois census record

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finnestad family immigration to Hetland

I had previously posted about the Finnestad family and the purchase of the Finnestad farm.

Here is a copy of the 1863 parish immigration records for Ole, wife Mari and children when they moved from Fister to the Hetland parish, just north of Stavanger. They are listed as entry #17.

Sometimes the document blurs when you enlarge it so here is a link to the website if you want to see a better copy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ellen Marie Vallem confirmation

Here is the confirmation ledger from the Calvary Lutheran Church in Lee County, Illinois for Rachel and Lewis Vallem's daughter, Ellen Marie.

Ellen was 15 when she was confirmed on March 25, 1894.

Again, no photos for the confirmation classes were provided until 1897.

Peter Vallem, Ole Vallem confirmation

Another previous post, I did not know at the time, but both Peter and brother Ole Vallem were listed on the same Calvary Lutheran church confirmation ledger as 3 of their cousins, Elizabeth Andreas Knutson, Rasmus and Bert Finnestad.

Peter Vallem was 14 when he was confirmed May 19, 1889.

Ole Vallem was 15 when he was confirmed June 1, 1890.

Unfortunately, there were no photos provided by the church until 1897.

Ella Bertina Vallem confirmation

I didn't realize it when I originally posted it, but the daughter of Rachel and Lewis Vallem, Ella Bertina Vallem was in the same confirmation class (at Calvary Lutheran Church in Lee County Illinois) as Dina Josephine Finnestad.

The spelling is incorrect in the photo "Wallem", but the ledger seems to be Vallem, and also lists Rachel underneath "Mr and Mrs Ole Finnestad" the parents of Dina.

Here is the photo again:

"Dina" Josephine Finnestad is wearing a ribbon in her hair, middle row, 3rd from the right.

Ella Vallem is in the first row on the right hand side.

Burdette L Finnestad, Oliver K Finnestad

Oliver and Mary's eldest son, Burdette Louis Finnestad is buried at the Belvidere Cemetery, located at 1121 N Main St, Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois.

Oliver and Mary's 4th son, Oliver Kurth Finnestad is buried at the Trinity Memorial Gardens, located at 14712 E. Twombly Road, Hillcrest, Ogle County, Illinois. This is a newer cemetery located on the northeast side of Rochelle.

I have not been to either cemetery, so I do not have photos of their headstones.

Harland Finnestad, Verlis Finnestad, Shirley Nelson

Several of the children of my great grandparents, Oliver and Mary Finnestad are buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Creston, Illinois.

Of their 9 children, 4 are presently buried there. Oliver and Mary, and their 2nd eldest son Kenneth (my grandfather) and wife Lillian I posted previously.

Oliver and Mary's 3rd oldest, Harland Finnestad:

Oliver and Mary's 5th child Verlis Finnestad:

Oliver and Mary's 7th child, Shirley and husband Norman:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Early Norwegian ancestors

Here is a map of southwestern Norway that shows the locations where the earliest Finnestad family resided throughout the ages:

Click on the map to enlarge it.

As I mentioned the previous post, the earliest known ancestor (Torgeir, last name unknown) was born around 1390. While I have been unable to confirm where he lived, his grandson was born around 1434 and died in Vikedal.

It's probably likely that Torgeir (Gen #1), his son Ingemund Torgeirsen (Gen #2), grandson Torgeir Ingemundsen (Gen #3), and great grandson Torkell Torgeirsen (Gen #4) also lived in the same area, Vikedal.

Vikedal is depicted as point "A" on the above map.

In 1521, Torgeir Ingemundsen's son Torkell Torgeirsen was born in Vikedal but died in Sauda.

Sauda is depicted as point "B" on the above map.

Vikedal to Sauda is 50 kilometers. (31 miles).

It wasn't until the 13th generation when my great great great grandparents, Ole and Mari Olson moved to Fister, Norway.

Fister is depicted as point "C" on the above map.

Sauda to Fister is 87 kilometers (54 miles).

Then, in 1862, Ole and family moved to the farm known as Finnestad, just north of Stavanger.

Stavanger is depicted as point "D" on the above map.

Fister to Stavanger is 56 kilometers (35 miles).

Finnestad Family Tree update

About a month ago, with the assistance of a real live Norwegian who was able to decipher some of the Norwegian gothic script from the parish wedding document of my great great great grandparents, Ole and Mari Finnestad, I learned where Ole was born.

Once I was able to confirm that Ole Olson (Finnestad) was born at the Søndenå farm, in Sauda, Rogaland County I was able to track back the Finnestad family as far back as 1390.

Considering the Black Plague was in 1350 AND documents in the middle ages are rather rare, I am not sure whether I'll be able to go much further. I have yet to list these "pre-Ole Olson Finnestad" ancestors on my spreadsheet but will try to do so in the next few weeks.

Also, with the recent help of Rose Kolberg, the great great granddaughter of Ole and Mari Finnestad, I was able to add additional Vallem names and their descendants to the family tree.

Rose also had provided me with the married name of Bertha, one of my great great grandfather's twin sisters, Iverdine and Bertha. Bertha and husband Andrew did not have any children so their branch ends with them.

Today, while searching online, I came across what I believe is Iverdine's married name and the children from that marriage, along with several of the descendants of that branch.

In just the past week, I have added probably close to a 100 new family members. At this point the Finnestad family tree is pretty extensive and rather time consuming to take it all in.

Kenneth and Lillian Finnestad & Oliver and mary gravesite

Here is a photo of the gravesite for Kenneth's father and mother, Oliver and Mary Finnestad, my great grandparents, located at Woodlawn Cemetery in Creston, Illinois.

Here is a photo of the grave marker of my grandparents, Kenneth and Lillian Finnestad, which is also located at Woodlawn Cemetery in Creston, Illinois.

Woodlawn Cemetery, Creston, IL

Many of the Finnestad family members can be found at the Woodlawn cemetery, aka Brodies Grove cemetery in Creston, IL.

Woodlawn cemetery is located on the westside of Woodlawn Road north of Highway 38 and north of the village of Creston, Dement Township in Ogle County, Illinois.

Kenneth and Lillian Finnestad obituaries

I have had previously posted the obituary for my great great grandfather Ole Finnestad several posts back.

I have not yet been able to locate an obituary for my great grandparents Oliver and Mary Finnestad, though here are the obituaries for my grandparents, Kenneth and Lillian Finnestad.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Photos from the Dearth family

Here are some pictures provided by Roxanne (Dearth) Hamilton that I have been rather slow in posting. My intent to create a chronological history is practically impossible so I've decided to post things randomly.

These photos represent the sisters and their respective families of my great grandfather, Oliver Finnestad. As I have yet to encounter any photos of Oliver with his sisters, I do not know what the extent of their relationship was in adulthood.


Men: Pete Svetika (Husband of Frances Finnestad), Rodney Risetter, Leo Dearth (Husband of Wanda Risetter), Friends

Women: Betty (Risetter) Shipman, Rita (Richardson) Roots, Wanda (Risetter) Dearth, Norraine (Richardson) Carlson, Helen Dearth

As this was Wanda and Leo's wedding, this photo was taken November 15, 1946.


Women: Florence (Johnson) Dearth – Leo’s Mother, Betty (Risetter) Shipman, Wanda (Risetter) Dearth, Frances (Finnestad) Svetika, Alice (Finnestad) Gittleson

Men: Frank Dearth – Leo’s Father, Leo Dearth, Peter Svetika (Husband of Frances), Sal Gittleson (Husband of Alice)

I rather like this photo. Note the women's legs. If my memory serves me correctly, I recall Roxanne saying that Frances was a fun-loving, free-spirit type of woman, so I am willing to bet this was her idea.


Rodney Risetter, Betty (Risetter) Shipman, Leo Dearth, Wanda (Risetter) Dearth With Deborah (Dearth) Craig, Alice (Finnestad) Gittleson, Frances (Finnestad) Svetika

I am assuming this photo was taken within a year of Deborah's birth, however, I have not yet found out the date.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Iverdine and Rakkel (or Rachel) Finnestad

A few weeks ago I posted documentation of the first (that I have located) of our ancestors to move to North America. Iverdine and Rakkel's big adventure.

I finally located the original documents regarding Iverdine and Rakkel's (Rachel is the Americanized version of Rakkel) trip to North America from Norway.

Above, Iverdine is listed just below Peder Pedersen Nordskaar and wife Suzanne and above children Peder Pedersen Finnestad and Iverdine Finnestad.

Below, Rakkel is listed just above Marthe Iversatter Nordskaar.

I am guessing that the Pedersen/Nordskaar family are the aunt and uncle of Iverdine and Rakkel.

From a previous post, Ole and Mari wedding record I discovered Nord-Skaar was the farm where Mari had lived and was also included in several other documents. It only stands to reason that two young Finnestad girls were accompanied with relatives on their journey to North America.

I also note there was one other family, Knud, wife Inger and their 4 children from the Finnestad farm, but the spelling (once again) was incorrect on the translation as it was spelled Finnesand. None of their names appear to to be related to our Finnestad family.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oliver Finnestad and family

Here is a photo of my great grandfather, Oliver Finnestad along with 7 of his 9 children.

Again, I am guessing as far as placement, but:

Back row, left to right: Burdette, Oliver Sr, Kenneth

Second row, left to right: Harland, Oliver Jr., Verlis

Front row, left to right: Lois and baby Shirley

This photo would have been taken in 1925 as Shirley was born January 10, 1925.

Thank you to Joan Bays for providing the photo.

Oliver and Mary Finnestad

Here is a photo of my great grandparents, Oliver and Mary Finnestad along with 6 of their 9 children.

Back Row: Oliver and Mary

I am guessing as to the correct placement, but:

2nd row, left to right: Kenneth, Harland, Burdette

Front row, left to right: Verlis, Lois and Oliver Jr.

The photo was probably taken in the year 2020, as Lois looks to be approximately 18 months old.

Thank you to Joan Bays for providing the photo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ole and Caroline Finnestad burial

Here is a photo of the headstone of my great great grandparents, Ole and Caroline Finnestad. Their burial is located at the Fairview Cemetery in DeKalb, Illinois.

I posted Ole's obituary last week:


Fairview Cemetery - DeKalb, Illinois

Many of the Finnestad family are buried in the Fairview Cemetery located at 1600 S 1st Street in DeKalb, Illinois.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Barnel Oluf Olson Finnestad

According to the 1900 US Federal Census, Ole Sr and Mari Finnestad had 11 children, 8 had survived as of 1900. I believe I have found the 11th child.

Reviewing the Norwegian digital archives (above), Oluf was born July 8, 1866 at the Finnestad farm in Norway.

A year and a half later, the archives indicate (below) he passed away on February 18, 1868; the cause is unknown. There is a first name, which looks like "Bernel", though the handwriting is difficult to read.

There were two archives for Oluf's birth, the first which is the parish register "copy":


I could read the Ole Olson portion, but due to the handwriting, I was unable to decipher Mari's last name, though Finnestad clearly showed up.

I checked the 2nd archive, which is the "official parish register":


As you can see, the detail in "Iversdat." is much more legible in the "official" register, so it seemed pretty obvious this is the final child of my great great great grandparents.

So of the 3 deaths:

- Oluf died in 1868 at 19 1/2 months
- the first Maria died in 1851 at the age of 3 years and 2 months

As I have verified the dates of the rest of the Finnestad family after 1900, it would appear that one of the twins, either Iverdine or Bertha had died prior to 1900. Iverdine, as I had mentioned in a previous post, had come to the United States in 1871. I have been unable to verify whether Bertha ever made it to the US.