Friday, January 04, 2008

Bent & Gjertrude Marie (Vraaldsdatter) Rolfsen Family


Francis Thor Bentsen Rolfsen was born May 13, 1841 in Risor, Aust- Agder Norway and died September 16, 1924 in American Fork, Utah, Utah.

Esther Ann Pulley was born may 1, 1851 in Savannah, Andrew, Missouri.

They were married September 16, 1871 in Nebraska City, Otoe, Nebraska.

[Frank Rolfson was originally Francis Thor Bentsen, then Francis Thor Rolfsen, then changed his name to Frank Wilson and when he became a citizen of the United States he took the name of Frank Rolfson.]


From left to right are:
Ingeborg Marie (Bentsdatter) Larsen born January 13 1822 in Risor Aust-Agder, Norway and died September 21 1895 in Monroe, Sevier, Utah. She married Ole Larsen February 2, 1843.

Ellen Gorena (Bentsdatter) Dorius born April 16, 1837 in Risor Aust-Agder, Norway and died February 28, 1904 in Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah. She married Carl Christian Nikolai Dorius April 25, 1857 on the immigration ship "Westmoreland", England.

Gjertrude Marie (Bentsdatter) Petersen born May 29, 1830 in Risor, Aust-Agder Norway and died in Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah. She married Canute Petersen November 9, 1857 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.


Knud Bentsen was born November 19, 1834 in Risor, Aust-Adger, Norway and died August 6, 1905 in Syracuse, Otoe, Nebraska. He married Celestia Amelia Mills March, 6, 1879 in Syracuse, Otoe, Nebraska

[James Wilson was originally Knud Bentsen, then Knud Rolfsen, then took on the name of James Wilson.]


Jacob Bentsen Rolfson was born March 23, 1828 in Risor, Aust-Agder, Norway and died October 18, 1883 in Mount Pleasant, Sanpete, Utah. He married Margrethe Kristine Nielsdatter May 14, 1852 in Risor, Aust-Agder, Norway.


The patriarch of the family is Bent Rolfsen born April 27, 1792 in Oyestad, Aust-Agder, Norway and died January 16, 1852 in Risor, Aust-Agder, Norway. (We have not discovered any photos of Bent yet.}

The matriarch of the family is Gjertrud Marie Wraaldsdatter Rolfsen born January 9, 1799 in Risor, Nedenes(Aust-Agder), Norway and died January 19, 1888 in Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah. They were married January 25, 1819 Risor, Aust-Agder, Norway.

I have not yet located photos of the other siblings: Rolf Bentsen, Tolmine Bentsdatter, Wrold Bentsen, or Bent Bentsen also known as Thomas Wilson.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Don & Nadine Rolfson
Hi Welcome to our genealogy blog. We have been working on our family history and have found some very interesting information. We have collected stories, journals, letters, pictures of grave markers, photos of relatives who have passed away and many other documents. The last part of this blog is devoted to some mystery people we have collected and need some help identifying. They apparently are relatives of Rolfson and Pulley families who lived mostly in American Fork, Utah So if there are any decendants out there who can help identify the people in these photos, PLEASE get in touch.

Monday, April 17, 2006




While visiting a cousin in Colorado Springs, Colorado I had the opportunity to scan some pictures from a beautiful old photo album. The Title on the front of the album was Pulley and Rolfson. It appears most of the pictures were taken in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The location of the photographic studios were in Salt Lake City, Provo, and American Fork Utah.

My cousin, who was in her late 70's, was unable to identify many of the photos so I am putting them out on the internet in hopes that someone will be able to identify some of them and put names to the photos.

I believe this is Esther Ann Pulley.

This is the original of the same picture. It was quite faded.

PICTURE #002 (Esther ANN PULLEY ?)

This is a picture of Francis Thor and Esther Ann Rolfson who were married on September 16, 1871 in Nebraska City, Otoe, Nebraska. They were married as Frank Wilson and Esther Ann Pullen. Frank
(as the name he went by) Rolfson was born May 13, 1841 in Risor, Aust-Agder, Norway. He was christened Francis Thor Bentsen using Norwegian naming conventions before 1850 and later changed to Francis Thor Rolfsen using the family name according to Norwegian law changes. He came to the United States with his two older brothers, Bent and Knudt, in 1860 during the war between the states. My father indicated they came through the New Orleans port. Other information indicates they came through the New York port on the sailing ship "Aetna"

The following is an excerpt from a letter written by his daughter, Ellen Jane Rolfson: "The three brothers enlisted in the Civil War and were paid about $500 a piece to be put in the front ranks of the army as they were tall men. Before the war was over the three brothers and some other soldiers deserted and would have been caught only the officer who was sent after them deserted also. They came to Nebraska under the name of Wilson and took up sections of land." For the rest of the story please contact me.( )

This is a funeral announcement for Mrs. Frank Rolfson (Esther Ann Pulley) born May 1, 1851 in Savannah, Andrew, Missouri and died February 14, 1898 at the age of 47.

One precious to our hearts has gone
The voice we loved is stilled,
The place made vacant in our home
Can never more be filled.
Our Father in His wisdom called
The boon His love had given;
And though on earth the body lies,
The soul is safe in heaven.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Francis Thor & Esther Ann Rolfson Marriage Certificate

On May 2, 2006 Nay and I took a trip to Nebraska City, Nebraska to do research on the marriage of my great grandparents, Francis Thor Rolfsen and Esther Ann Pulley. We started our search in Morton-James Public Library. This small library had a wonderful genealogical resources section with many old records which had been indexed and microfilmed.

In an 1871 marriage index we found the location of the marriage certificate for my great grandparents. Original copies could be obtained and copied by walking across the street to the County court house. This turned out to be the oldest public building in the city and the very courthouse where the original marriage certificate was requested and filed.

I was surprised what the certificate revealed. Great grandfather was married using his alias name Francis Wilson at age 29 and was born in Norway. Great grandmother was listed as Esther A. Pullen aged 20 born in Andrew County Missouri. They obtained their marriage license on 16 day of September 1871 from probate Judge R.H. Dickey.

Nebraska City Court House

Probate Judge R. H. Dickey married them on 16 September 1871 at the Home of Thomas Willock. [I think this might be Francis Thor's brother Thomas Wilson (Bent Rolfsen) since I cannot find Willock in the 1870 US Census.] There marriage was witnessed by James Wilson (Knudt Rolfsen) brother of Francis Wilson (Francis Thor Rolfson) and others. I assume the others were Esther’s mother and her Uncle William Pulley.

The library was about to close for the day and we were both hungry. We asked the cute librarian if there was a good place to eat in town. She mentioned the old train station, which had been recently converted into a restaurant and gave us directions. The food was delicious and the train station was very old. This train station was built in the 1860’s and I imagine the very one that my great grandparents used when they departed Nebraska to go to Salt Lake City after their marriage.

The Nebraska City Train Station

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Rolfson grave markers in American Fork Cemetery

Susanna Pulley Pratt ROLFSON, second wife to Francis Thor Rolfson after his first wife had passed away. Susanna PULLEY-PRATT and Esther Ann PULLEY are 1st cousins. Their common ancestors are Francis W. PULLEY and Martha EMBRY

Ellen Jan Rolfson is an only child to Francis Thor and Susanna Rolfson. Susanna had another child by her first husband, Parley Parker Pratt JR. His name was George Melvin Pratt and died at the age of eight.

Grave marker of Hannah Augusta Pulley in the background. Grave marker of Francis Thor Rolfson in foreground. American Fork Cemetery.

We could never find the burial location of Esther Ann Pulley so we had a marker set up on the location of Francis Thor Rolfson with his wife and their two boys who passed away in infancy.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Rolfson/Pulley Mystery Photos

If you recognize any of the people in these photos please email me at or leave a comment. Thank you.

Could this first Picture be of two brothers to Esther Ann Pulley, sons of Joseph Francis Pulley? On the back of the photo are the names of Bill and Joe?

Thanks to Craig Shelton for identifying Charles William(Bill) Pulley (standing) born March 12, 1854 In Savannah, Andrew, Missouri died May 20, 1940 in Salt Lake City, Utah and his brother Joseph(Joe) Fredrick Pulley born April 10, 1859 in Nebraska , Otoe, Nebraska and died November 24, 1931 in American Fork, Utah.

Charles a
nyd Joseph Pulley are brothers of Esther Ann PULLEY. Their common ancestors are Joseph Francis PULLEY and Hannah Augusta CHADNEY

Photo #005Charles anyd Joseph Pulley
This photo appears to be a display at a funeral.

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A note on the back of this photo said that "This man was married to a Pulley"

Thanks to Jack Gaylord Ayre for identifying his grandfather, Murray Otto Randolph born Aug 10, 1868 in Sumerset, Perry, Ohio and died Nov 10, 1935 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. He married Irene Estelle PULLEY born May 8, 1880 American Fork, Utah, Utah and died Oct. 15, 1937. They were married Jan 8, 1903

Irene Estelle PULLEY is the niece of Esther Ann PULLEY Their common ancestors are Joseph Francis PULLEY and Hannah Augusta CHADNEY

Photo #015_Murray Otto Randolph

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That's All Folks