Skip to main content


Mary Olsdatter (Finnestad) Bell: Witness for the Prosecution

Mary Olsdatter Skåreflådå (Finnestad) Bell appeared as a witness in a murder trial that took place in Dixon, Lee county, Illinois from April 26, 1898 through May 5, 1898. The December 27, 1898 issue of the Dixon Evening Telegraph reported the initial details of the December 24th murder of Fred Tolsted on their front page.    From page 2 of the Wood County Reporter (Grand Rapids, Wisconsin) in their December 30, 1897 issue, the 'suspect' alleged the victim connected him 'unpleasantly' with the housekeeper (Mary Finnestad Bell). The local newspaper in the adjoining county, published a brief article on the murder on January 12, 1898 on the front page of The True Republican in Sycamore, DeKalb county, Illinois.     The Sterling Standard published the names of the law firm, prosecuting attorney and judge in the upcoming murder trial on page 12 of their January 13, 1898 issue. The trial began on April 26, 1898 as reported in the April 27, 1898 issue of the Dixon Evening Teleg
Recent posts

Finnestad Family Photo - Update

Yesterday I updated a post from September 27, 2011 due to inaccuracies in my original posts.      If you had read either of these entries in the past, please revisit them and understand the updated post is the most accurate. Back row:  Bert (born: July 18, 1861), Mary (born: January 19, 1859), Rasmus (November 20, 1863),  Ole Jr (June 4, 1856), Bertha (December 2, 1852), Serina 'Sarah' (July 5, 1846) Front row: Rachel (December 2, 1853), Ole Sr (February 14, 1814), Mari (July 5, 1823) and Elizabeth (April 10, 1844) I digitized the photo which was in the possession of Genevieve Fern (Olson) Berg so the person that wrote the names on the back of the photo may have been someone on her side of the family tree.

Elmer Levi Johnson - Death Certificate

I just tracked down the death certificate for Elmer Levi Johnson.    I posted his burial information previously . This solves the mystery as to whether Elmer served in the military.    His leg was injured while in the U.S. Army and passed away in Freedom township, Palo Alto county, Iowa.     The death certificate lists his birthday as July 12, 1898.    The 1900 US Census states his birth month is August as does his World War I draft registration.

The Johnson connection

A decade ago I posted  a 1900 US census record for the widower, Lambert Johnson following the death of his wife, Andrea Elizabeth Knutson.      Andrea 'Lizzie' had passed away two years prior to the census; her husband had moved in with his older brother Jacob.    At the time I was not aware that Jacob Johnson was the father of Rachel (Finnestad) Vallem's youngest child, Elmer James Vallem . I also posted the census records to confirm where Andrea and Lambert's children went to live following the death of their mother.   I did not know at the time that two of the children, Lillian and Truman were living with their aunt, Ellen* Josephine (Johnson) Govig and uncle Benjamin Govig.    Ellen was Lambert's older sister.    Their brother, Jacob, father of Elmer James Vallem was the oldest of the Johnson siblings. Andrea 'Lizzie' Elizabeth (Knutson) Johnson was the daughter of Elizabeth (Finnestad) Knutson and Ole Andreas (Andrew) Knutson and the granddaughter of M

Genevieve Fern (Olson) Berg - obituary

Genevieve Fern (Olson) Berg was born to Elebata (Ella) Bertina Vallem and George Olson on August 21, 1923 in Milan township, DeKalb county, Illinois.     Genevieve married Dale Theodore Berg on January 3, 1948 at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Lee county, Illinois.     She passed away 9 years after her husband on April 24, 2019 in Aurora, Kane county, Illinois. Genevieve's husband was the grandson of Oscar Theodore Deidric Berg mentioned in this post .   I was fortunate to have met Genevieve in 2011 who provided me with the original photo of the Finnestad family as well as the Rachel (Finnestad) Vallem family . Genevieve was the granddaughter of Rachel (Olsdatter Finnestad) and Lars "Lewis" Pederson Vallem and the great granddaughter of Mari (Iversdatter Nord-Skaar) and Ole (Olson) Finnestad Sr.

Mary Finnestad v Rasmus Skaar

In 2011 I had posted information regarding a lawsuit filed following the death of Martha Iversdatter Nordskar* Peterson, the sister of Mari (Iversdatter Nord-Skaar) Finnestad.    I later posted the location of the property subject of the lawsuit. You can find a copy of the lawsuit and other documents filed as the lawsuit proceeded through the court system by clicking on this link . *There are several different variations on the name:   Nordskar, Nord-Skaar, Nordskår.  Occasionally I've seen the "nord" dropped altogether, such as this lawsuit.

Elizabeth (Olsdatter Finnestad) Knutson - obituary

I have posted a few obituaries for Elizabeth (Olsdatter Finnestad) Knutson and found another from The DeKalb Daily Chronicle.    The obituary appeared in the March 19, 1930 edition, page 6 in the 5th column. There are a few omissions in the obituary.   Based upon the 1900 US Census , Elizabeth had 10 children, 5 of which had passed away prior to June 12, 1900.    The 1910 US Census also stated that Elizabeth had 10 children and 4 had survived as of April 15, 1910. The 6 children that proceeded her in death were: - Anna Knutson, the eldest daughter.    I believe she passed away sometime after October 19, 1879, the date of her confirmation and prior to July 1884 when her younger sister, Annie was born.   It seems unusual to have named another daughter Anna. - Clara (Knutson) Nelson, the third daughter born to Elizabeth and Ole Andreas Knutson. - Olava Edvarda Knutson, the fifth daughter. - Otto Bert Knutson, the sixth child and first son born to Elizabeth and Ole. - an u