Friday, April 30, 2010

Ole Alfred Knutson - WW I draft Registration

Yesterday I posted the 1910 US Census record for Alfred Knutson living, at the Watertown State Hospital.

I had located the record several months ago, but was not sure I had the correct Knutson.

Then a couple of days ago I found his World War I registration, dated September 12, 1918, which confirmed I had the correct Alfred Knutson, as it stated the name of his mother, "Mrs. O. A. Knutson, Rochelle, Ill".

Thursday, April 29, 2010

1910 US Federal Census - Ole Alfred Knutson

In 1910, Ole and Mari Finnestad's grandchild, Ole Alfred Knutson resided at the Watertown State Hospital in East Moline, Illinois. Ole is listed as entry #60 (10th down).

Ole Alfred was the son of Elizabeth and Ole Andreas Knutson.

The Watertown State Hospital for the insane opened on May 16, 1898. You can read more about the institution here.

Here is what Watertown State Hospital looked like.

In 1900, Ole was living still living with his family, so he was admitted to the hospital sometime between 1900 and 1910.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lillian & Frances Finnestad

Here is a photo of 3 generations of Lillian Finnestad's line of the family tree.

(From left to right)
Sitting on the table: Deborah Dearth as a toddler

Sitting: Lillian's daughter, Wanda (Risetter) Dearth, and the Finnestad sisters Frances Svetica, Lillian Risetter

Standing: Wanda's husband Leo Dearth and Frances' husband, Peter Svetika

I do not know Deborah's year of birth but if she was born in 1947, I would approximate that is when this photo was taken.

*Photo provided by Roxanne (Dearth) Hamilton

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wanda Dearth - burial

Yesterday I posted Wanda Dearth's obituary. Both Wanda and her husband are buried at the Fairview Cemetery in DeKalb, Illinois.

Here is a photo of Wanda's marker.

Here is a photo of the marker of Wanda's husband, Leo.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wanda Dearth - obituary

Because the US census records are only available up to 1930 (the 1940 US census will be available in 2012) tracking down the many branches of a family tree can be an arduous task.

It was this document that I found in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle in 2007 that helped me locate more of my distant cousins.

Wanda Dearth was the great granddaughter of Ole and Mari Finnestad. Had Wanda's mother, Lillian not been mentioned (with her maiden name) it's questionable that I would have been able to track down the rest of that side of the family and connect them to Ole and Mari.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Verlis Finnestad - World War II service

When researching your ancestry, an important part of the past is the documentation of those that served in the military and often fought in one or more of the many wars that have taken place throughout history.

I stumbled upon this document at the Creston, Illinois library. It was written by Lyola Finnestad as a Memorial Day recognition of her husband Verlis. Verlis was one of Ole and Mari Finnestad's great grandchildren and passed away March 16, 1985 in Creston, Illinois.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Charlotte Finnestad Pearson and Rose Clara Finnestad Pearson

Occasionally you are lucky enough to stumble upon a history of one of your ancestors.

Ole and Mari Finnestad's 2nd and 3rd born sons, Bert and Rasmus Finnestad and their respective families had left Illinois and moved to Saskatchewan, Canada. (Rasmus had taken a detour to Iowa prior to moving to Canada.)

I came across this biography* of Rasmus' daughter Rose Clara and Bert's daughter, Charlotte Finnestad from a Canadian website, "". When I initially had found out Rose and Charlotte had married the same person, I wasn't sure whether it was accurate, but these types of biographies are helpful in explaining why the cousins married the same person.

The original webpage can be found here.

These types of documents are very helpful in filling in the blanks when you are attempting to create the multiple branches of your family tree.

* As always, click on a document or photo to have it pop up. Use your mouse's menu to bring it up in a new tab and click a second time on the document to enlarge it

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Peter Vallem and Ole Vallem confirmation

Revisiting a document I posted a couple of years ago before I knew Ole and Mari Finnestad's daughter Rachel had married Lewis Vallem, I came across two of their children, Peter and Ole.

Peter Vallem was 15 (though the document indicates he was 14) when he was confirmed on May 14, 1889.

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

Monday, April 12, 2010

Louis Vallem

Ole and Mari Finnestad's great grandson, Louis (or Lewis) Vallem died as an infant due to spinal meningitis.

Louis was born in 1912 or 1913 and died shortly thereafter.

Louis was the son of Ole and Sofia Vallem.

I came across a website from UCLA regarding the history of death photography, which is rather interesting.

Photo provided by Ole and Mari Finnestad's great great granddaughter, Rose Kolberg.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Union Cemetery - Lee County, Illinois

While trying to find my great great grandparents' (Ole Finnestad Jr and Caroline Quitno) marriage license, I came across a genealogical website for DeKalb County, Illinois.

There was a link that led to the Union Cemetery in Lee County that provided a partial list of those buried. I had seen a few pages of this list while reviewing Trish Hodgens' website of the Travland family, but had not seen a more complete list.

A few months ago I was still trying to confirm the grave sites of Ole and Mari Finnestad's twin daughters, Iverdine and Bertha. Trish had already confirmed Iverdine's was at the Union Cemetery. A few weeks ago I called the previous Union Cemetery sexton, Marlon Jordal, who provided me the exact location of Bertha's grave.

It's always good to come across another document that confirms something in the event there are doubts you have the right person.

If you click on the above link for the list* of those buried at the Union Cemetery, I have drawn a red arrow for Haaland (and Holland), Sandersons, Travlands and Vallems that are our ancestors.

The list also contains a few Knutsons and Olsons, which may have a few other descendants of Ole and Mari Finnestad, but I've yet to find corroborating evidence to verify.

Oddly, the list didn't have any Finnestads, but that may be due to the fact the marker was missing. Not knowing if one was ever put in place, I had one made and placed in position in January, 2009.

* as always, to reach a linked webpage or document, click on the highlighted word

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oliver Finnestad - World War II draft registration

Another war, another draft registration.

My great grandfather Oliver Finnestad registered for the draft on April 27, 1942, about 5 months after the United States had entered the war.

The interesting thing about this type of document is that it gives a personal description that you don't always get from a black and white photo: blue eyes, gray hair and his height was 5'8" and weighed 155 pounds.

These types of documents also help provide something of a resume; I had not known that Oliver worked at the Creston Creamery.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Oliver Finnestad - World War 1 draft registration

On June 5, 1917, my great grandfather Oliver registered for the draft. He claimed an exemption because he was married and had 4 children (Burdette, Kenneth, Harland and Oliver Jr) at the time of his registration.

The United States had entered the war just two months prior to this document.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

United States National Archives

When searching one's genealogy, much information can be found in by visiting the National Archives. The archives provide access to microfilm and other documents, including census, immigration, military and land records. You may experience long wait times due to the number of people that are attempting to trace their ancestors, so it's recommended you do some homework BEFORE you head to the local office.

If you do not have an office nearby, you can join but if you want to view documents, you will have to become a member and pay a monthly or annual fee. The National Archives also provides access to, but the documents available may be limited.

It can be tedious finding the records that pertain to your particular family tree, especially when you understand there will be misspellings, typographical errors and bad handwriting. Though after you grasp how it works, it can become very rewarding.