Halverson’s Arrive in the States

Blanchard Project


I love Henry Louis Gates’ television show, “Finding Your Roots.” In the show, he takes a famous person and leads the person on a genealogical journey through a “Book of Life,” where he shares that key, or important, findings with the individual. Invariably he has a place where his guest turns a page which reveals an important document. Often, he says something like, “I’d like you to meet your third great grandmother.” <pause> “How does it feel to learn of them…” Finding that one key document which introduces the individual’s ancestor is always an amazing part of the show and thoroughly enjoyable.

Typically, when I research someone, there are no great documents that open the heavens and releases the sound of angels singing. Usually, it is grueling work sifting through various census and vital records. Each finding adds just a little more information about their life.  In my recent work on my Blanchard Project, I was going through dozens of City Directories and various logbooks of the First Lutheran Church of Portland, Maine.  Each finding was just another small bit of information that added to the story of the Halvorsen’s immigration to the United States. Then, suddenly, I came across one of those documents which made me say, “Oh my.”

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=192578
Cunard Line – SS Bothnia & SS Scythia Class

The document was a passenger list of the S.S. Scythia which arrived in Boston on 23 August 1884. On the ship was my Blanchard project’s 18-year-old, great-grandmother, Hannah Halvorsen, and Hannah’s mother, Dorothea.  With them were five other siblings. The list was a treasure trove of information.  That passenger list represents the exact moment that much of her family arrived in America. Her 2nd-great-grandfather, Thomas, had come to the States earlier and established himself in Portland, Maine to prepare the way for his family’s arrival.

Additionally, this is the only document we have that shows that Dorothea made it to the United States. All other records, beginning less than three years later (June 1887) indicate she was deceased. Until I found this passenger list, I thought Thomas’ wife may have died in Norway and that he brought the kids to the United States by himself. I still need to learn how and were Thomas arrived in the States, but it will come.



Ancestor Bio – Hannah M Halvorsen (1866-c. 1930)

52 Ancestors – Week 2019-04
Blanchard Project
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes, search as you will, some key bit of information just doesn’t seem to be out there. Such is the case of the death of Hannah (Halvorsen) Utterstrom.  I’ve looked in all the usual places but still haven’t been successful in finding her death or burial information.

Blanchard Project 2019 – Ancestor #13

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: BU-06 – Albert Thomas Utterstrom(1898-1973)
  • 1st Great-grandmother: BU-13 – Hannah M. Halverson (1866-c. 1830)
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: BU 26 – Thomas R Halvorson (1844-1895)
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: BU-52 – Halver Halvorsen ( )

Hannah M. Halvorsen (1866-c.1930)


Hannah was the oldest of six children born to Thomas R. and Dorathea M Halvorsen. She was born on 21 Oct 1866 in Norway.

Her five known siblings are:

  • Maren H. born 17 Jul 1868
  • Hans M. Born 10 Sep 1870
  • Hora D. Born 19 Dec 1875
  • Harold T. Born 7 Oct 1878
  • Alfred O. Born 2 Jul 1882


Nothing is known of her childhood, but when she was 18 (1884) her family immigrated to the United States. The peak of Norwegian immigration took place between 1880 and 1890, when over 335 thousand Norwegians immigrated, and she was a part of that influx of Scandinavians.  Prior to 1890, the individual states, rather than the Federal government, regulated immigration into the United States.[i] The family came into the United States at Boston then moved up to Maine. After coming to Portland, Hannah worked as a domestic.


Hannah married Olaf A. Utterstrom on 30 Jun 1897. Both Hannah and Olaf were 31-years-old and it was the first marriage for both of them.

Hannah and Olaf had seven children

  • Albert Thomas      Born 12 Jul 1898
  • Oscar William       Born 12 Nov 1899  (See Death Date Found…)
  • Frank Raymond   Born 14 Apr 1901
  • Harold O.                 Born 27 Aug 1902
  • Dorothea C             Born 29 Jan 1904
  • John F                      Born 1908 – Died at 10 months
  • Infant                      Born 1909 – Died at 1 day


1900 Census – Hanna and Olaf lived at 49 Anderson Street. With them were their two oldest children, Albert and Oscar. Living with them was Hannah’s youngest (17-years-old) brother, Alfred.

1910 Census – Hannah and Olaf are living at 24 Olympia with their five living children.

1920 Census – Hannah and Olaf are still at 24 Olympia with their five living children. Albert was 21 and Dorothea was 15.

44 Olympia Today

1930 Census – Hannah and Olaf are at 44 Olympia. Living with them is their daughter Dorothea, her husband, William E. Cassidy, and Dorothea & William’s daughter Annette. Their son, Harold lived next door at 36 Olympia with his wife Grace and daughter Lucy.  And another of their sons, Oscar, lived next to them at 32 Olympia.

It is not clear when Hannah died. She was living during April 1930, when the census was taken. However, the when the Olaf died on 22 Aug 1931, he was a widower. Likewise, I have not been successful finding where either Hannah or Olaf were buried.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Determine more about the lives of Hannah’s children.
  • Determine more about the lives of Hannah’s siblings.


  • 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, 1900 Census – Olaf Utterstrom – Portland, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MML6-YGF : accessed 15 June 2018), Olaf Utterstrom, Portland city Ward 2, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 57, sheet 12B, family 265, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,590.
  • 1910 Census (NARA), Family Search, 1910 Census – Olaf Utterstrom – Portland, Cumberland, Maine. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MR3S-ZZD : accessed 15 June 2018), Olaf A Utterstrom, Portland Ward 9, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 97, sheet 7A, family 159, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 539; FHL microfilm 1,374,552.
  • 1920 Census, Olaf Utterstrom – Maine, Cumberland, Portland, ED 62, Sheet 15B, Line 69. Source Citation
Year: 1920; Census Place: Portland Ward 9, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: T625_640; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 62
  • 1930 Census (NARA), Family Search, 1930 Census – Utterstrom Families – Oscar, Harold, & Olaf – Portland, Cumberland, Maine. Year: 1930; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0083 Source Information com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: the United States of America, Bureau of the Census.
  • “Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921,” database with images, FamilySearch (Accessed 23 September 2017), Olaf A Utterstrom and Hannah M Halvorsen, Marriage 30 Jun 1897; citing Division of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health, Augusta; FHL microfilm 10,054. Accessed: 14 June 2018.
  • Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841­-1910, Family Search, John F. Utterstrom (1909-1909). “Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841­1910,” database, FamilySearch (Accessed 11 February 2018), John F. Utterstrom, 17 Jan 1909; citing reference p195; FHL microfilm 12,019.


————–  Disclaimer  ————–

[i] Internet: Wikipedia – “History of immigration to the United States:” 1850 to 1930; Destinations.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_immigration_to_the_United_States.