View Full Version : Hill, Koski or Koiste in the Dakotas, Washington

13-07-06, 20:53
I'm looking for information about my maternal great grandparents, Frank E. Hill and Hilda Koski. I've read other Hill and Koski postings on here and I don't know if there is any connection. Hill was the anglicized name and I am still trying to find out what the original Finnish surname was.

I will post what information I have here to see if anyone recognizes anything:

My grandmother was Maye Minah (Hill) Drake, born in North Dakota, April 17, 1917. She died in Bellingham, WA on Oct 8, 1996. Maye's parents were Frank E. and Hilda Hill who moved to the Port Angeles area in the late 1920s from North Dakota.

Frank's obituary states he lived in North Dakota until coming to Port Angeles around 1928. His obit says he married Hilda "Koiste" in 1910 in North Dakota. Although I think it may have actually in Brown County, South Dakota.

Hilda died in 1948 in Port Angeles, WA. There is a discrepancy on her maiden name, it is either Koiste as Frank's obituary states or Koski, as listed on my grandmother's death certificate.

Their obits list their children, including my grandmother who died in 1996, but unfortunately no other family of Frank or Hilda is mentioned in their obits.

I haven't had any luck with immigration or naturalization records. There are discrepancies among the various documents in the ages listed for them both as well as dates of immigration and names of the children. I'm assuming this is perhaps due to language difficulties. I know they did not speak English very well and they were not listed as speaking it until 1930 in WA.

Frank's obituary says his birthday was March 15, 1886 vs. 1882 on his WWI draft registration card. His obituary states that he came to the United States when 12 years of age - which doesn't match up with the years of immigration listed on the census records- none of which are consistent, but at the earliest would make him around 17.

Here is what info I have:

1910 US Census
Portage Township, Brown County, South Dakota.
Frank Hill is a laborer. Age 22. Married for 1 year. No children.
Born in Finland, parents born in Finland. Year of immigration is listed as 1908. Not naturalized. Not able to speak English.
A laborer on a general farm. Able to read and write.
Hilda Hill is listed as a housekeeper. Her age is listed as 23.
Married for 1 year, no children. Born in Finland, parents born in Finland. No year of immigration listed. Speaks Finnish, not English. Housekeeper on a general farm. Able to read and write.

They are listed as living on the farm of Eli Buro.
Buro, Eli- head, age 36 Immigrated from Finland in 1884? A naturalized citizen listed as speaking English, a farmer, widowed.
Children: Son Herman, age 13, born in S. Dakota. Daughter Hilda, age 10, born in S. Dakota. Daughter Katie, age 7, born in S. Dakota. The mother of these children's nativity is listed as "Michigan Finn"

WWI Draft Registration
Sep 12, 1918

Frank Hill
Guelph, Dickey County, North Dakota
Age: 36 DOB: March 15, 1882
Non-declarant Alien, a citizen or subject of Finland.
Occupation: Farmer. Place of Employment: Guelph, Dickey, N.Dakota.
Nearest Relative: Hilda Hill, address: Guelph, Dickey, N.D.
Tall, medium build, blue eyes brown hair.

1920 US Census
The family is listed in Port Emma Township, Dickey County, North Dakota
Frank Hill is the head of household. He is listed as age 35. Year of immigration is listed as 1904. He is listed as an alien, not naturalized. He is listed as able to read and write, but he is listed as not able speak English. He is listed as a farmer. Hilda Hill is his wife listed as age 34. Her date of immigration is n/a. She is listed as an alien. She is listed as not able to speak English.

The children are as follows:
Hoki [or Haki, Hohi, Hohs - unable to read but assuming same child as "Towo" above???], son, age 9, born in S. Dakota , attending school, able to read and write.
Bennie, son, age 8, born in N. Dakota, attending school, able to read and write.
Helva, daughter, age 5, born in N. Dakota.
May, daughter, age 4, born in N. Dakota
John, son, age 2, born in N. Dakota
Willis, daughter, age 2 months, born in N. Dakota [twin]
Francis, daughter, age 2 months, born in N. Dakota [twin]

Neighbors are Arvid and Elma Ahola, 31 and 30, came from Finland in 1919, son Sulo.

1925 North Dakota State Census
Dickey County
Hudson Township
Household #5, Sheet #3

Hill, Frank Age 38
Hill, Hilda Age 36
Hill, Towo Age 15 male
Hill, Ben, Age 14
Hill, Helen Age 12
Hill, May Age 9
Hill, John Age 7
Hill, Francis Age 5
Hill, Arv Age 3

[Not sure why Francis's twin Phyllis or Willis is not listed, or if Arv is actually Ero or Arthur/Archie?]

1930 U.S. Census

The family is listed in the De Fuca Precinct, Clallam County, Washington.
Frank Hill is the head of household, age 44. He is listed as born in Finland, parents born in Finland. His year of immigration is listed as 1903. He is listed as able to speak English. His occupation is Farm in the industry of general farm. Hilda is listed as his wife, aged 42, age 22 at first marriage. Year of immigration listed as 1906. Listed as able to speak English.

Both Frank and Hilda are listed as naturalized citizens in 1930.

In 1930 the children are listed as follows, [with names in brackets as what I knew them by compared to what they were listed as]:
Pen [Ben] son 18, born in North Dakota
Hellen, daughter, 16, born in North Dakota
May, daughter, 14, born in North Dakota
John, son, 12, born in North Dakota
Francis [Blondie], daughter 10 [twin], born in North Dakota
Wallis [Phyllis], daughter, 10 [twin] born in North Dakota
Earl [Ero], son, 7, born in North Dakota
Archie [Arthur], son, 5, born in North Dakota
Hilda [Tillie], daughter, 8 months, born in Washington

So Frank and Hilda were only in South Dakota a short while before moving to Dickey County, ND. Franks obit says they were married in ND, but their oldest son was born in S. Dakota. I don't know what happened to this oldest son, whose name is hard to figure out, perhaps Toivo. I have a picture of my grandmother's with him listed in it as "Tiovo". I am not certain of the name and I can't find any other records of him besides the 1920/25 censuses which list different and strangely spelled names. I never heard any mention of him by my grandmother aside from what I found on the picture label. There is no mention in the obits, either, so perhaps he preceded his parents in death. He lived to be at least 15 but I can't find any death records so far.

I don't know where Frank and Hilda came from in the U.S. prior to the Dakotas, or where they came from in Finland. Frank's obit says he was born in Helsinki but I don't know how accurate it is. If Frank's obit is right in saying he came at age 12 to the U.S. then perhaps came with relatives... but I'm not sure that information is correct.

In the 1925 state census records from North Dakota I also found a Swan Hill and family living in Port Emma, a Frank J. Hill and Helen in Ellendale, a Ross and Emma Hill in Ellendale, and a Henry and Minnie Hill in Lovell. No clue if any of these are any relation. Henry and Minnie were also in South Dakota in 1910, living with her family whose last name is probably Wanttaja, Sakris(?) and Gustava. Both Swan and Henry Hill seem to have connections to Minnesota. Henry was born there and Swan's oldest children were as well.

I got a look-up from the History of Guelph, ND on Hills in the area:

There are two Hill families in the Guelph history that came from Finland. Here is a transcription from pg. 254 and 255.

Axel Hill
Axel Hill (Tuisku) was born in Kauhojoki, Finaldn in 1885. He came to Ironwood, Michigan in 1912. While in Michigan , Axel worked in the mines. In 1914, he came to the Ludden, N. D. vicinity and worked on the farms. He bought a house in Ludden and lived there. He never married.

Swan and Hilma Hill
Swan Hill (Lepisto) was born in Lapua , Finland in 1881. He came to Massachusetts in 1900 and from there to Eveleth, Minnesota, where he worked in the mines. Swan married Hilma Korpi in 1903, who was born in Jalasjavi , Finland in1886. She came to Sparta , Minnesota in 1902. Two children were born to them; Martha in 1905 and Johan in 1909.The family moved to Ludden, N. D. in 1910, where they started farming. Seven more children were born to them here. They are Bertha, Ada , Gertrude, Willard, Mayme, Gust and Pearlie. (There's more on these children if anyone is interested)

Because so many changed their surnames to Hill makes it very hard to figure out if there are in fact relationships and to trace people but maybe someone knows something I don't!

A family rumor has it that his name was originally Palomaki ("burning hill" in Finnish) but that name has turned up no leads at all so far.

Another possible lead was found by someone from the finngen list: a Frank Emil Hill before the year 1909 was called Frans Emil Grönlund and he came from Turku area in Finland. The name was changed at the same time as his family´s name.

The immigration and birth dates are plausible and I found corresponding passport and passenger records on the migration institute website but can't find any passenger records on the Boston side of things to see where/who he was going to. So I don't know if this is my Frank E. Hill or one of the many others!

I'm still working on leads from the Dakotas in the U.S., I ordered my grandmother's birth certificate and the marriage certificate of Frank and Hilda from South Dakota... I'm hoping those docs will turn up more clues.

Hopefully this post will provide clues for some other Hills if not for me and mine!


10-09-06, 16:50
I tried to look in http://www.genealogia.fi/hiski database
There was no Frank Palomäki christened between 1880-1890 but there was one Frans Emil. He was the only one with a second name starting with an E.

Säkylä parish - christened

years 1800 - 1890

born 5.3.1889 christened 9.3.1889 village: Iso-Säkylä house:Anttila father:peasant Karl Palomäki mother:wife: Wilhelmina Johanna Gustafsdotter 34years name of child: Frans Emil

original - ÄLISÄ: pag 386

Do you have any information of his birthplace or parents names?
I did not find any Hilda Koski or Koiste.

For both Frank and Hilda I looked in all parishes in Finland but all information is not available, so there might be many more Franks anda Hildas but records finishes before 1880.

10-09-06, 17:09
On the same database I tried to look for Hilda Koski christened between 1880-1890 I found two
Hilda Josefina born 22.12.1889 christened 24.12.1889 parish Aura,village was Leinakk. house:Vähätalo father was peasant Johan Koskinen and mother Amanda matilda Jaakontytär (meaning daughter of Jacob).

the other was Hilda Wilhelmina born 13.10.1884 and christened 13.10.1884 parish Nousiainen/Nousis village: Tappuri by farmhelper Josef Wilhelm Koskinen and his wife maria Wilhelmina Gustafsdotter (meaning daughter of Gustaf) 24 years old

On Hilda Koiste I found none but on Hilda Koisti I found two more Hilda.

Toivo is a common Finnish male name it means hope.
Eero is also a common Finnish male name
Koski means rapid Koiste I have never heard but it could also be Koskinen or Koistinen.

Have you checked any old Bible of your gransmothers'. Old people used to write the names of everybody there.

11-09-06, 19:51
Thank you Anita for your replies...

Updated information:

I think Hilda's maiden name was "Koisti" ("Koiste" probably a misspelling) as that is also how it is listed on their marriage certificate from South Dakota also. Her birthdate in her obit is listed as 25 Mar 1887. Thus I would be interested on the info you found on the Hilda Koistis.

As for Frank, my uncle told me that my grandmother said his Finnish name was "Jaako Palomaki," why then it became Americanized as Frank rather than Jacob, I don't know... but family rumor also has it that he came to the U.S. at age 12 by himself as a deck hand on a ship. His obit says he was born in Helsinki, but I don't know if that is accurate. His obit lists his date of birth as 15 Mar 1886, though other sources have different years.

This name change may be why I have had such a hard time finding him, and if he was a deck hand he may not have been listed as a passenger and I don't know how to proceed there, either. I haven't had any luck locating any naturalization records.

Unfortunately there is no family bible that I know of. There may be one out there somewhere but the family was a bit on the wild side and did not keep in touch. I hope to talk to the last surviving brother soon.

Another family story I have recently heard is that Frank was bootlegging in the Dakotas, and the oldest son, Toivo or Tiovo, went to prison for his father who did not speak english, and the family never heard from him again. Still trying to verify that story!

12-09-06, 19:10
I tried again on childs name Jaakko (this is the correct Finnish spelling, i did also try Jaako, but found the same)
and fathers name Palomäki. I found the following in Lapua parrish childs name: Jaakko, born 13.5.1885 christened 14.5.1885 farm: Alasaaren, father: torp.väv (I do not know what this stands for but peasant something) Matti Yrjönp. (probably Yrjönpoika meaning son of Yrjö which is Georg in English). Mother v (vaimo=wife) Maria Kustaant. (daughther of Gustaf)

On mothers name palomäki I found nothing

Helsinki data is not available after 1851 on the database available at internet, which means if he was from Helsinki I can not find him on this database.

On Child Hilda with fathers name Koisti I found the following:
1. child Hilda, born 19.7.1884 christened 22.8.1884 village: Kaalamo No 1, father Tal. (talonmies meaning farmer) Matti Koistinen Mother: vo(vaimo)Maria Pirhonen 29 (years)
This was in Ruskeala parrish

2. Child: Hilda Maria born 2.9.1884 christened 11.10.1884 village: Loblola nro 6, father Tal. Mikko Koistinen vo. Katarina Pakarinen 36. This was in Sordavala countryside parrish (This is on the Russian side of the border nowadays)

when I tried childs name Hilda and mothers last name Koisti I found many more:Juuka - christened

Mother's last name: KOISTI => Koistin, Koistinen
Child's first name: HILDA => Mathilda
Born Christened Village Farm Father Mother Child

3. 21.8.1859 18.9.1859 Juuka N:o 16 b: Bengt Halonen q: Margareta Koistinen 32 Hilda

A total of 1 events found.

Kerimäki - christened

Mother's last name: KOISTI => Koistinen, Koistin, Koisti, Koistins
Child's first name: HILDA => Mathilda
Born Christened Village Farm Father Mother Child

4. 4.5.1862 22.5.1862 Kattilanmäki Nro 3 B:son Petter Nousinen Anna Koistinen 36 Hilda Maria

godparent: B. Petter Loikkanen
godparent: B:dr Katarina Sairanen

A total of 1 events found.

Kuhmo - christened

Mother's last name: KOISTI => Koistitar, Koistinen, Koistin:, Koistiot:, Koistit:, Koistinen el.Krut, Koistises
Child's first name: HILDA => Mathilda
Born Christened Village Farm Father Mother Child

5 31.3.1876 18.6.1876 Korpisalmi 45 trp Eskil Huotari Sara Koistinen 40-45 Hilda

A total of 1 events found.

Ruskeala - christened

Mother's last name: KOISTI => Koistin, Koistinen
Child's first name: HILDA => Mathilda
Born Christened Village Farm Father Mother Child

6. 28.3.1891 16.4.1891 Kaalamo Loinen Antti Hurskainen vo Maria Matint. Koistinen 37 Hilda

original - KKSIVU: 49

A total of 1 events found.

Uusikirkko Vpl - Nykyrka - christened

Mother's last name: KOISTI => Koisti, Koistinen
Child's first name: HILDA => Mathilda
Born Christened Village Farm Father Mother Child

7. 14.3.1894 23.3.1894 Myttyniemi nro 2 Tal. Juho Taavetinp. Pihkanen Vaimo Ristiina Koisti 29 Matilda

original - KKSIVU: I 521

A total of 1 events found.

Viipurin tuomiokirkkoseurakunta - Viborgs domkyrkoförsamling - christened

Mother's last name: KOISTI => Koistinen, Koistinen, s. Ståhlberg, Koistinen, s. Jäntti
Child's first name: HILDA => Hildegard, Mathilda
Born Christened Village Farm Father Mother Child

13.3.1887 10.4.1887 Työm. Matti Waris vmo Olga Maria Koistinen 24 Hilda Maria

original - KKSIVU: 451

Unfortunantely none of the birhdates fit, so I think they are the wrong ones!

During the time 1890-1910 there is no record of Hilda Koski or Koisti or Jaakko Palomäki emigrating.

But as I mentioned earlier there is many parrishes that do not have their records on this database for this period of time

I think if you want to go on looking, try Helsinki parrish
this is one name to one part of several Matteus.fors*evl.fi
You will likely have to pay a small amount for the information.

You can try yourself to look att he database if you like because it is available in English. The address is:http://www.genealogia.fi/hiski

Good luck, sorry I did not find anything really interesting