The Descendants of Ole Knudsen and Johanne Pedersdatter

photo   photo
Ole Knudsen Bjørkholen-Stenberg
  Johanne Pedersdatter Malerløkken


This site is dedicated to providing and soliciting genealogical information (photos, documents, stories, etc.) on the family of Ole Knudsen and Johanne Pedersdatter. The Olsen Family originally came from the Hedmarken district of Norway. Hedmarken is in Hedmark fylke in eastern Norway and is comprised of the following four kommune: Hamar, Løten, Ringsaker, and Stange (see maps).

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Additions and corrections to the information contained within are always welcome by contacting Bruce Wiland (, 512-443-2918, 1510 Oxford Ave, Austin TX).

Biography of Ole Knutsen and Johanne Pedersdatter

Ole Knudsen Bjørkholen was born on 29 Oct 1836 at the farm Bjørkholen (a subfarm of Herset) in Romedal, Hedemark, Norway and baptized on 04 Dec 1836. He was the second of three children born to Knud Larsen Strømrudengen and Anne Olsdatter Brunstad. Peter had one older brother Lars Knudsen and one younger sister Pernille Knudsdatter.

Johanne Pedersdatter Malerløkken was born on 10 Nov 1830 at the farm Malerløkken (a subfarm of Sørbryn) in Romedal, Hedemark, Norway and baptized on 12 Dec 1830. She was the fourth of four children born to Peder Christoffersen Malerløkken and Else Jensdatter Sæter. Her godparents were Ole Pedersen Herseth, Johanne Christensdatter Woldum, Ole Malerlokken, and Berthe Christensdatter Herseth. Johanne had three sisters: Inger, Berthe, and Evine. At some point in her late teens or early twenties, Johanne moved to the Snipen farm which was owned by her brother-in-law who was first married to her sister Inger and then to her sister Berthe after Inger died in 1844. Johanne was probably employed as a servant in her brother-in-law's home.

Ole (age 21) and Johanne (age 27) married in the Romedal church on 14 May 1858, about two and a half months after the birth of their first child Christian. Once they were married, Ole Knutsen moved to the farm Snipen where Johanne was living. The child Christian was baptized two days after the marriage. Two more children (Pauline and Peter) were born at Snipen. Pauline was born in 1859 and lived just a little over five weeks. Peter was born in 1860 and was named after his maternal grandfather. On 20 Apr 1863, Ole Knutsen bought the farm Stenberg østre in Løten at an auction. Ole, Johanne, and their two sons, Christian and Peter, moved to this farm. Four more children (Anne, Else, Olaf, and Ottine) were born on Stenberg østre. Anne was born in 1863 and named after her paternal grandmother; Else was born in 1866 and named after her maternal grandmother; Olaf was born in 1867; and Ottine was born in 1908.

It is interesting to note that Ole and Johanne diverged somewhat from the traditional naming practices for their children. Normally, the first children are named after their grandparents, but neither Christian nor Pauline were the names of grandparents, and for some reason, Ole and Johanne never named a child after Ole's father Knud. (Note: Leif J. Braaten, a great grandson of Ole and Johanne authored a document in 1945 that indicates the existence of a daughter named Mattea born 28 Jan 1856. However, no evidence in the church records has been found supporting this as fact, so it is currently assumed to have been an error.)

Ole Knutsen apparently had a gambling problem. According to family tradition, in the early 1870's, Ole lost the farm in a poker game. One story is that because of this, his father became so furious that he forced the son to emigrate to America. Another explanation may be that Ole was encouraged to leave because other debts might land him in jail. The father was said to have given a ship's captain in Christiania [Oslo] a silver tankard to take his son to America. Ole emigrated in 1873, supposedly arriving in New York on 10 Aug 1873.

After Ole lost the farm, the family was split up. The two oldest sons, Kristian and Peter, went to live with their paternal grandparents, Knud Larsen and Anne Olsdatter, at Bjørkholen nordre (Romedal Gnr.46, Bnr.3; Stange Gnr.255, Bnr.3). The daughter Anne went to live with her paternal aunt Pernille Knudsdatter and Pernille's husband Hans Andersen (a part-time school teacher) at Nybak (Løten Gnr.228, Bnr.6), right on the boundary with Romedal. Bjørkholen and Nybak were less than a half mile apart. According to the 1875 census, Johanne (age 45) and the three youngest children, Else (age 9), Olaf (age 8), and Ottine (age 6), were living at Sagåbakkengen (probably a small cottage on Sagåbakken nordre, not too far from Stenberg østre). In the 1875 census, the Dyre Pedersen family was living on the Stenberg farm. The Stenberg farm was actually sold at auction in 1885 although Ole, Johanne, and the family were no longer living there.

1865 Census for Løten, Steenberg østre
1875 Census for Løten, Sagaabakkengen, p.1302
1875 Census for Løten, Nybakken, p.645
1875 Census for Romedal, Bjerkhølen nordre, p.564

It is not clear where Ole went after he arrived in America in 1873 because he has not been located in the 1880 United States census. However, according to the 1900 census, he was living in Clifton, Texas with his son Peter in 1900.

Their Children

Ole Knudsen and Johanne Pedersdatter had 7 children. One daughter died young. Of the six children which reached adulthood, two remained in Norway and the other four emigrated to America. Only four of the children (Petter, Anne, Else, and Ottine) have descendants that are living today. Click on one of the children below to see further information on that child or on one the names in the abbreviated family tree further below.


Christian "Kris" Olsen [1858-1923] (emigrated to the United States; married Anne Bryhn; no direct descendants; a stepson and two foster children; died at the age of 66 in Norse, Texas)


Pauline Olsdatter [1859-1859] (no descendants; died at the age of one month and 8 days in Romedal, Norway)


Petter "Pete" Olsen [1860-1930] (emigrated to the United States; married Helene Syversdatter Fjæstd ; 11 children; died at the age of 69 in Clifton, Texas)


Anne Olsdatter [1863-1944] (remained in Norway; married Johannes Braaten; 3 children; died at the age of 80 in Gjøvik, Norway)


Else Olsdatter [1866-1942] (emigrated to the United States; married John Pederson; 11 children; died at the age of 76 in Dallas, Texas)


Olaf Olsen [1867-1888] (emigrated to the United States; never married; no descendants; died tragically at the age of 20 in Dallas, Texas)


Ottine Olsdatter [1869-1908] (remained in Norway; 3 children; died at the age of 38 in Romedal, Norway)


Ole Knutsen
(location and date unknown)

Ole Knutsen
(location and date unknown)

Ole Knutsen
(Clifton, Texas; ca1900)

Olsen Family Tree (four generations)

Ole Knudsen and Johanne Pedersdatter had 7 children, 28 grandchildren, and 41 great-grandchildren, and 71 great great grandchilden. Those shown in red are known to be deceased. To date, we have identified 304 descendants

Forebears First Generation
Second Generation
Third Generation
(great grandchildren)
Fourth Generation
(gg grandchildren)
Ole J. Knudsen Stenberg
Christian Olsen Stenberg
--- --- ---
Pauline Olsdatter
--- --- ---
Pete Olsen
Clara Josephine Olsen (1888-1982) Estelle Caroline Harmel (1908-1995) Orion Amos Daniel Jr
Houston Franklin Harmel Jr (1911-2002) Christopher Henry Harmel (a)
Stephen Alan Harmel (a) (1952-1987)
Helen Pauline Harmel (1913-1968) ---
Robert Michael Harmel (1915-2013) Brenda Jayne Harmel (1939-2011)
Robert Mitchell Harmel Jr
Jo Helen Harmel
Lawrence William Harmel (1920-2006) Larry Bill Harmel
Lucile Jonell Harmel (1927-2006) Carl Lee Andrews (a)
Christi Lynn Andrews (a) (1962-1962)
Tena Camille Andrews (a)
Donald Glenn Harmel Marc A. Harmel (1960-2003)
Eric F. Harmel (1961-1961)
Melissa Harmel
Daren Cole Harmel (a)
Jonathan Breck Harmel (a)
Jennifer Lynn Harmel
Syver Olaf Olsen (1890-1890) --- ---
Selma Lillian Olsen (1891-1938) Helen Kestie Solberg (1918-1998) Elizabeth Ann Bloomfield
Robert O'Neil Bloomfield (1948-1979)
Joan Marie Bloomfield
Christian Antone Olsen (1892-1951) Mary Helen Olsen (1923-2009) Eric George Rode
Bruce William Kerns
Susan Lisbeth Kerns
Mark Warren Kerns
Charles Melvin Olsen (1926-2006) ---
Palmer Hendrick Olsen (1894-1994) Virginia Marie Olsen (1920-2023) Carol Ann Hubbard
Virginia Sue Hubbard
Jean Ellen Hubbard
John Barry Hubbard Jr
Annis Louise Olsen Bruce Lane Wiland
Jill Lynn Wiland
James Lawrence Olsen (1896-1965) Helen Elizabeth Olsen (1918-1999) ---
James Lawrence Olsen Jr Deborah Lee Olsen
Laura Louise Olsen
Marie Constance Olsen (1899-1909) --- ---
William Thomas Olsen (1900-1983) William Thomas Olsen Jr (1922-1994) Suzanne Olsen
Mary Andrea Olsen
Carl Edwin Olsen (1902-2000) Carl Edwin Olsen Jr (1927-2019) Steven Howard Olsen
Richard Carl Olsen (1953-1993)
Elsie Jeanette Olsen (1904-1987) --- ---
Robert Franklin Olsen (1905-1989) Don Parks Olsen Rynn Barrington Olsen
Rhesa Sheridan Olsen
Anne Olsdatter Nybak
Reidar Braaten (1897-1973) Leif Johan Braaten Siri Braaten
Halvard Johan Braaten
Kristoffer Nikolai Braaten
Rikard Magnus Braaten
Anne Birgit Braaten Håkon Dale
Ingunn Dale
Lajla Braaten (1931-1944) ---
Tora Johanne Braaten (1898-1974) --- ---
Hansine Pauline Braaten (1904-1984) Arne Johannes Fosnes (1934-2004) Per Arne Fosnes
Tor Borgar Fosnes Kjetil Fosnes
Hanne Fosnes
Else Olsen
Jalmar Adolf Pederson (1888-1889) --- ---
Peter Olaf Pederson (1890-1975) Frances Pederson (1910-2005) ???
Harold William Pederson (1912-1973) ???
Charles Edwin Pederson (1916-1981) Lance Eric Pederson (1944-2000)
Doris Mae Pederson (1922-2014) Linda Kay Lance
Claudia Ann Lance
Laura Larain Lance
Josephine Albertine Pederson (1891-1892) --- ---
Conrad Arthur Pederson (1893-1965) Conrad Arthur Pederson Jr (1926-2005) Conrad Arthur Pederson III (1945-1945)
Charles Anthony Pederson
Jimmy Don Pederson
David Michael Pederson
Tommy Wayne Pederson
Gunda Amelia Pederson (1895-1923) John David Stem (1918-1918) ---
Else LaVerne Stem (1923-2010) John David Hancock (1946-1968)
George Marlin Hancock
Thomas Eugene Hancock
Edwin Valdemar Pederson (1896-1969) June Aleana Pederson (1919-1975) ???
Edwin Valdemar Pederson Jr (1924-1973) ???
Elfreda Jorgine Pederson (1898-1975) Samuel Walter Davis Jr (1922-1976) ---
Else Kathleen Davis (1926-2013) ---
John Charles Davis (1930-2016) Charles Randal Davis
Ronald Wayne Davis
Robert Walter Davis
Rudy Aaron Davis
Johan Adolf Pederson (1900-1958) John Adolf Pederson Jr (1924-1987) Debra Jean Pederson
Helen Anna Marie Pederson (1902-1994) Robert Eugene Williams (1930-1955) ???
Carol Ann Williams Gary Wayne Milliorn
Susan Elayne Milliorn
Lisa Anne Milliorn
Oscar Emil Pederson (1904-1979) Corinne Gwendolyn Pederson (1924-2011) Karen Ann Sorensen
Susan Leslie Sorensen
Jesse Douglas Pederson Eric Shane Pederson
Tawnya Michelle Pederson
Christian Anton Pederson (1907-1980) --- ---
Olaf Olsen
--- --- ---
Ottine Olsdatter
Anstein Rønningen (1902-1982) --- ---
Ole Rønningen (1905-1982) --- ---
Inga Rønningen Braaten (1907-1999) Anne Marie Blumenrath Frøydis Andersen
Ingjerd Andersen
Randi-Synøve Liv Blumenrath ---