Ole Larson's Folks

I have written several times about my “step-great-grandmother,” Helene Olsdatter. You can find those posts using this link.  Some of their assertions are outdated, and I am working on a “page” to update and consolidate them. This weekend, stimulated by conversations with cousin Sheila Geier, I did some work on a new thread.

Helene was mother to the youngest seven of Ole Larson’s 13 children. In addition, she was said to have a older daughter, named Kari Hanson. Larsons and Slettens 1985, in most cases very complete on dates and names, gives only the sketchiest outline of this, on page 62:


No dates nor any further info. When I studied this earlier, I tried starting from the beginning. I searched for any possible record of this child in Norway with Helene, and in Wisconsin after her immigration. All blanks. This time, I decided to work from the other end, and soon found the family of Frank and Julia Polzin, with their first four children, in the 1940 US Census, in Dover Township, Olmsted County, Minnesota:

Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Frank F Polzin Head M 40 Minnesota
Julia M Polzin Wife F 39 Minnesota
Luther W Polzin Son M 11 Minnesota
Etta Mae R Polzin Daughter F 9 Minnesota
Jessie Ann M Polzin Daughter F 6 Minnesota
Orvilla C Polzin Daughter F 0 Minnesota


“Orvilla” is simply a mistranscription of “Arvilla.” Same family in 1930 census, with only their first child, in Elmira Township, same county:

Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Frank Polzin Head M 30 Minnesota
Julia Polzin Wife F 28 Minnesota
Luther F Polzin Son M 1 Minnesota

Now, here is a Julia Steadman (alt. Stedman, the maiden name of Julia Polzin), four years old, in the Minnesota state census of 1905:


One interesting thing about this record is, there is no apparent mother for four-year-old Julia. Ben and Julia, both 72 years old, may be her grandparents, and either George or Luther may be her father, but not necessarily. Household roles were not included in this state census. So, how about this death record:

Minnesota, Deaths and Burials
Name: Carrie Steadman
Gender: Female
Burial Place: Saratoga
Death Date: 12 Jul 1903
Death Place: Chatfield
Age: 25
Birth Date: 24 Nov 1877
Birthplace: Wis
Occupation: House Wife
Race: White
Marital Status: Married
Father’s Name: Hanson

Note her age at death: 25, and two years before the above census. “Carrie” is an American variant of “Kari,” so this pretty much matches the Kari Hanson Stedman in Aline’s book. We’ll try to verify that later. But what is to say that she is the mother of Julia Steadman, born approx. 1901? I have so far found no marriage record for either George or Luther Steadman (potential fathers of Julia). But I did find a death record for George Stedman.

Minnesota, Deaths and Burials
Name: George Stedman
Gender: Male
Death Date: 21 Nov 1946
Death Place: Elmira, Olmstead, Minnesota
Age: 74
Birth Date: 1872
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Carrie Stedman
Father’s Name: Benjamin Stedman
Mother’s Name: Julia Stonell

We know this is the same George as in the 1905 census, because of his parents’ names and his age. I was skeptical of the spouse name at first. “Our” Carrie had been dead for 43 years, time enough for another marriage, so maybe this spouse was some other “Carrie.” But then I found this entry in the 1900 US Census:

1900 Carrie

Together in the employ of the Patrick Burke family are Carrie Hanson, servant, and George Stedman, laborer. Well, that settled that! Just the year before Julia’s birth, these are surely mom and dad. In this record it states that Carrie’s birth date was Sept. 1877 (compared to Nov. 24 on the death record), and further, that she was born in Wisconsin, while both of her parents were born in Norway. Hmmm … this is a wrinkle to iron out later.

Another five years back, the trail peters out, for now. In the 1895 Minnesota state census, Carrie Hanson appears as a servant in a different household. Again, it states she was born in Wisconsin.

That’s it. I haven’t found a trace of Carrie (or Kari) prior to age 17, and nothing to corroborate the idea that she was Helen Olsdatter’s daughter, so far.  But we have surely found the very family referred to in Aline’s book. Stay tuned.

New Year's Resolution
Ole and Lena (!)