Ole Larson's Folks

I recently learned that I can search US census records for free using HeritageQuest.com by logging into my account with the local public library (from home). This was a great discovery, as I have used up my “free trial” at Ancestry.com, and a subscription with them is too expensive.

It took a few hours of frustration searching the 1880 census for Wisconsin, but I finally located Anne Larsdatter! I tried “Anne Larson;” there were a few in Vernon County, but none near the correct age (approx. 79). I had already found Ole and “his” Anne Larson, along with their eldest children, Smith, Louise, and Magnus; but mother Anne was not with them. I suspected she may have been living with daughter Mari and her husband Hans Hanson Stigen (she is buried next to them at Brush Creek cemetery). I tried “Hans Stigen;” there were none in all of the US. I tried “Hans Hanson;” of course there were a zillion of them, 14 in Vernon county alone, but none that matched the family I was looking for. I tried “Mari Hanson,” no success.

Finally, exploring alternative spellings, I tried “Anna Larson” (the more phonetic spelling of the first name). Well, there was one of the approximate age (80), so I went right to the image:

1880, Whitestown township, Vernon county, WI

1880, Whitestown township, Vernon county, WI

Shucks. I have never heard of any Martin Larson, wife Metta(?) or daughter Ella. But something didn’t look right. Martin was 23 years old, and “Mother” Anna was 80. Well sure, those Norskie women were tough, but 57 years between mother and son?! Fishier than lutefisk. So I took a broader view:


Bingo!! I hadn’t thought to try the alternate spelling “Hansen!” Nor “Mary” for Mari. There was the whole family, exactly as depicted in “Larsons and Slettens.” Apparently Martin Larson was a hired hand, and the census taker just confused whose mother Anne was.

So there we have it. As usual, I didn’t check with Aline first; chances are she already had this info. Maybe she even knows who those other young Larson’s were. I don’t think they’re in her book though. Hoping to make more progress today on Helene Olsdatter’s immigration.

Call Off the Hounds
Lars Paulsen's ancestors