Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Researching a picture - Part 1 - Sandberg girls in Wausa, Nebraska

In 2007 when we started doing family history research we visited my mothers cousin, looked in photoalbums and read old documents.  A whole bunch of the photographies are still unidentified but on a very  few of them someone has written names. Names I have never heard before.

This will be the first post of a few with identified people. I dont know if there is a relationship with me, but maybe someone will recognize any of the persons. So, lets start with thisone of Selma, Olga and Augusta  Sandberg. From knowing thier names this is what I have come up to:

The Sandberg/Olsson family of 1889 (Peter, Kersti  and Selma) immigrated to the USA. They arrived in New York on May 16 1890 with the ship Gallia.

I was lucky enough to find them in the differnt census and when re-looking at the facts a couple of months ago I found that someone had added information at findagrave.com. NICE! Thats one thing I have learnd over the few years I have been doing genealogy let the people rest for a while.

Are the Sandbergs related to me? I dont have the answer yet, I havent found any connections so far. The only little piece that make me somewhat suspect there is a connetion (which also could be only two familes knowing eachother) is the name Darlles who they named one of the sons born in the US. Darlles
is a VERY uncommon name in Sweden, infact, the only person I have ever heard of having that name is my aunts husband (and it was thier son who had inherited all those pictures from his parents). So, maybe, maybe the connection is on his fathers side.

Selma Olga & Augusta Sandberg
Wausa Nebraska

Facts and dates: I know there are some more information found in familytrees on Ancestry.com but I don't have the sources so Im not adding them here at this point.

Father: Peter Nilsson Sandberg, born July 2 1863 in Fulltofta, Sweden
Mother: Kersti Olsson, born June 29 1865 in Linderod, Sweden.

Selma Sandberg: Born May 25 1889 in Vastra Sallerup, Sweden

Peter, Kersti and Selma arrived to New York
on May 16 on 1890 with the ship Gallia.

Passengerlist with Selma and her parents

Selma Sandberg: 
Born May 25 1889 in Vastra Sallerup, Sweden
US Census 1900: Wausa Village, Knox, Nebraska

Olga Sandberg: 
Born August 2 1890 in Nebraska, USA.
Married to a Johnson who dies sometime between 1923 and 1930(she is listed as a widow).
US Census 1900: Lincon, Knox, Nebraska
US Census 1900: Wausa Village, Knox, Nebraska
US Census 1930: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska (she and her children (b 1920 and 1923 lives  with her mother and two brothers)
Death: December 1980, Bristow, Boyd, Nebraska

Augusta Sandberg:
Born September 1891 in Nebraska, USA
US Census 1900: Wausa Village, Knox, Nebraska
US Census 1910: Logan, Piece, Nebraska
US Census 1920: Morton, Boyd, Nebraska
US Census 1930: Bristow, Boyd, Nebraska
Death: February 1975, Norfolk, Madison, Nebraska
Burial: Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Bristow, Boyd, Nebraska
Augusta Sandberg married Lon Reckers Beckner and I
have found 7 children born betweenn 1910 and 1923

1900 Census

And the rest of the family:

Darlles Gothfred Sandberg
Born: May 8 1896, Nebraska, USA
US Census 1900: Wausa Village, Knox, Nebraska
US Census 1910: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
WW1 draft June 5 1917
US Census 1920: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
US Census 1930: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
Married to Eva Stonewell (29 July 1895 - 17 December 1977)
Death: December 11 1966

Emil Algot Sandberg
Born: July 19 1898, Nebraska, USA
US Census 1900: Wausa Village, Knox, Nebraska
US Census 1910: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
WW1 draft September 12 1918
US Census 1920: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
US Census 1930: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
Death: October 17 1989

Ester Sandberg
Born May 1900, Nebraska, USA
US Census 1900: Wausa Village, Knox, Nebraska
US Census 1910: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
US Census 1920: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska

Emma Sandberg
Born 1907, Nebraska 1907
US Census 1910: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska
US Census 1920: Mullen, Boyd, Nebraska

1930 Census

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Releated to a celebrity?

I was home sick a while ago browsing the TV-channels. Tuned in on the Oprah Winfrey show and it happend to be the episode where she told the story of her unknown halfsister Patricia. Ofcourse I had to watch it and from my genealogy point of view I found it very interesting.

One of the questions you unsually gets when telling people you are into family history research (after the most common one - "how far back have you got?") is if you have found any celebrities.

Ok, so I have some famous people in my tree since I happen to be related to a man called Önnarp Torden. He lived waaaay back so its not exactly that Marie Fredriksson (singer in Roxette) and Fredrik Ljungberg (football player) shows up at my door unexpectly for a cup of coffee.

I have also been reserching a friends´ tree who had a drawing teacher who had John Bauer as a student. Not exactly related but you find those kind of interesting connections a times.

But to my closest family, my aunts, uncles and cousins I could break the news that we were related to Hildur Alice Nilsson, also known as Alice Babs, rather famous in Sweden and Denmark (and nice to be able to tell the Danishbranch of the familytree this as well). She was also in the USA working with Duke Ellington.

Hildur Alice Nilsson aka Alice Babs

My grandmother Lilly was a huge Alice Babs fan, both coming from the same area (Blekinge) in Sweden. Well, go figure, if only I could have told her she was thirdcousin to Alice and that her greatgrandmother and Alice Babs greatgrandmother were siblings.

Alice Babs - Swing it Magistern

Alice Babs Duke Ellington - Heaven

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tracing Hilma Charlotta Hansdotter - my grandmothers aunt

 A few years ago I and my dad made a trip to Tving, the place where his grandparents lived. The place is still in the family, owned by his cousin. It was nice, we stayed in the little house and went sightseeing in the surroundings looking at other places where relatives had lived.

One day turned into a spontanious family reunion. We shared information and photos and it was all very nice. At one point though, noone had any information at all, or, at least not very much. My grandmothers aunt: Hilma Charlotta Hansdotter. I had the basic facts, birthdate and marriage date and that was it. Pretty much what everyone else had as well.

So, back home, I decided that it was up to me if I wanted to find out what happend to her. I knew that she was deaf since that was written down in the houseexaminerolls. I also know that she went to the deafschool in Karlskrona.

I started to dig!

Hilma Charlotta Hansdotter, born July 15 1875 in Tving. Parents: Hans Persson and Anna Andersdotter. Hilma had two older sisters and five younger sisters and two younger brothers. On 29th of December in 1903 she married Ernst Victor Samuelsson in Ronneby. Ernst Victor was born on February 28, 1876 in Ronneby. (Parents Samuel Pålsson and Cecilia Jönsdotter). Ernst Victor was also deaf.

So far, so good. I found out they had four children and that Hilma died shortly after the fouth child was born from TBC. The youngest son only lived for a few months and thier daugther died at age 13 from Spanish Flu. I tried to find the two other sons but I could only find one of them. He died in 1978 and I sent for the real estate papers from the archives. That solved some clues. His brother emigrated to the US and had three children that inherited thier uncle since he was dead. Thier names and addresses at the time of 1978 was written down. What a luck!

I searched the web trying to find them but it is really hard to find living persons in the US I think. Well, seemed like one of the sons where still living at the same address. I went for weeks trying to think of the best way to get in contact.. I would perfer email but couldnt find any email address. So, left was the phonenumber..

One day I took all my courage and dialed the number. A female voice answerd and I introduced myself and made sure I had called the right place. I had. And I was asked to call back a few hours later. I did and I talked to the grandson of Hilma Charlotta and Ernst Victor. He confimed we were related. He said he appreciated that I have called but he wasnt interested in any information about Hilmas siblings, parents or decendants. My mind froze and I think I just said thank you and then we hung up. I wish I at least had asked if he had any picture of Hilma Charlotta. We have pictures of all the siblings except of her.

Timeline and facts:

  • 1905 January 27, daughter Anna Cecilia Wiktoria Samuelsson is born in Ronneby
  • 1906 October 24, son Axel Hjalmar Viktor Samuelsson is born in Ronneby
  • 1909 April 6, son Ture Vilhelm Samuelsson is born in Ronneby
  • 1913 March 31, son Karl Alfred Samuelsson is born in Ronneby
  • 1913 May 1, Hilma Charlotta dies from TBC 37 years old in Ronneby
  • 1913 Jun 23, son Karl Alfred Samuelsson dies, less than 3 months old in Ronneby
  • 1918 December 23,  daugher Anna Cecilia Wiktoria Samuelsson dies from Spanish Flu, 13 years old in Ronneby
  • 1920 Ernst Victor Samuelsson marries Hilma Mathilda Ling (born Nilsdotter) a widow who also is deaf in Borås
  • 1928 September 17, Axel Hjalmar Victor Samuelson emigrates and arrives to New York
  • 1939 August 6, Ernst Vicor Samuelsson dies in Töreboda,  63 years old
  • 1965 April, Axel Hjalmar Victor Samuelson dies in Massachusetts, 58 years old
  • 1978 April 16, Ture Vilheml Samuelsson dies in Tving, 69 years old
  • Tving and Ronneby are in Blekinge province in Sweden.
  • Borås and Töreboda is in Västergötland province in Sweden.

Hilma Charlotta and her siblings:

  • Amanda Hansson (Dec 30 1871 - )
  • Johanna Hansson (Jun 17 1873 - 1937)
  • Hilma Charlotta Hansson (Jul 15 1875 - May 1 1913)
  • Carl Adolf Hansson (Sep 10 1877 - 1912)
  • Sara Lovisa Hansson (25 Jab 1880 - Sep 18 1938)
  • Mathilda Hansson (Oct 20 1882 - )
  • Emma Hansson (Oct 15 1885 - May 5 1931)
  • Otto Hansson (Jan 2 1888 - )
  • Nina Elisabeth Hansson (Sep 26 1890 - Oct 31 1965)
  • Anna Thea Hansson (Dec 13 1892 - Feb 27 1959)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Drowned in 1876 - Due to intoxication

I have a line of people with the surname Rickard born i Vinslöv. I found a person, Pehr Rickard, born 1844 in Vinslöv. I don't know if there is a relation, he was born out of wedlock and I don't know who his father was. The name is not very common and Vinslöv is not a very big place. I decided to find out what ever I could about him.

Pehr moved from Vinslöv to Ängelholm. From Ängelholm to Malmö and then back to Ängelholm. He made tiled stoves. Then, June 24 in 1876 he dies. Drowned in Rönneå the priest wrote down in the death book. Unmarried and only 31 years old. When looking in the death book I notice right under Pehr there is another maker of tiled stoves that also drowns, in the same day at the same place, Lars Magnus Persson from Lund. Why would they drown in the middle of the summer?

Ängelholm FI:1 (1862-1894) picture 80 / page 76 

So, down to the library, digging into the microfilms of old newspapers.. and I found a small notice in Öresundsposten..

Translated, something like:

"Due to intoxication,
A tile stove maker Persson from Lund and a tile stove maker Rickard from Engelholm, both in named town, on midsummerday, took a trip on the stream next to Engelholm in a small boat,  eventhough warned not to enter the boat, they did not follow the advice, the outcome, they both drowned. They were picked up after a while but thier lives could not be saved"

From Öresundsposten

Midsummernight eve is a typical Swedish tradition to celebrate and it seems like whoever wrote that article in the newspaper felt they had them self to blame since they were probably drunk.

I still havent found out if he is a relative or not.

All the places mentioned in this post are in the south of Sweden.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gunnar George Lejon - the body could not be taken care of.

A while ago I was updating dates on quite distant relatives. I was working on the couple Otto Vilhem Lejon and his wife Astrid Jeanette Gustavsson. The first thing that hit me was that Astrid died so young, only 28 years old on 3rd of July in 1925. Death cause - TBC.

Thier son Gunnar, born in Munka Ljungby, April 25 in 1920 was at the time five years old. I noticed that Otto remarried about a year later, July 25 1926 with 24 year old Lilly Sabina from Hjärnarp. Eventhough Lilly was that young she had lost her husband and was a widow. Otto died in 1958 and Lilly in 1974, December 30 on her 72nd birthday.

Gunnar, the son of Otto and Astrid died young as well, 22 years old on May 10 in 1942. I found it a bit noticable that his adress when he dies was in Örebro, in the Swedish army. I thought it might have been some sort of accident and did some searches on the net. It did not take long before I got some results.

I found him on a memorialsite of volonteers that died fighting for Finland in the Continuation War. He died at Jandeba at the Svir Front in former Sovietunion. It says that his body could not be taken care of. At Sandudd in Helsinki, Finland (Hietaniemen hautausmaa) there is a memorial with his name on it together with some other Swedish volonteers who died and whos bodies was left behind. A picture of the memorial can be found here: Krigsminnen.se - Fallna rikssvenska frivilligas minnesmärke . Another memorial with his name is at the chapel in Arnäsholm close to Borås. There is also a book, Svenskarna vid Jandeba (The Swedes at Jandeba), about the subject and where there is a picture of him.

From just updating basic facts on some distant relatives and some simple searches on the net I sort of stumbled upon all this information, taking me to a huge cemetary in Finland I never heard of before, learning more about the Continuation War between Finland and Soviet and making me visit the library quite fast to see his picture. Genealogy amazes me!

I also found a notice from Svenska Dagbladet from May 16, 1942 where they write about the death of Gunnar.

Svenska Dagbladet 16 May, 1942. From the archive of Genealogiska Föreningen

Karna Nilsdotter Rickard - My second great grandmother

Today, January 10, 1919, 92 years ago, my second great grandmother Karna died. She died from the Spanish Flu which killed 35 000 Swedes between 1918 - 1919, mostly quite young people, 20 to 40 years old. Karna was 63 years old.

Probably Karna Nilsdotter Rickard

Karna was born in Vinslöv in the south of Sweden in 1855. Her father, Nils Svensson Rickard was a shoemaker. He was married to Elna Holmgren. They had five children, Anna, Karna, Anders, Nils and Elna. Mother Elna Holmgren died in 1886 and Nils remarried in 1887, to Elna Persdotter.

All of Karnas siblings emigrated. In 1882 Anders and Nils emigrated to the US. In 1888 Anna emigrated with her children Nils Henrik and Carl Emil. Her husband Jöns Nilsson went to the US the year before and in 1893 Karnas little sister Elna also travelled over the pond with her youngest daughter Elina Cecilia.

Anna, Anders, Nils and Elna were the first persons Im related to that I found emigrated to the US. I didnt even know I had relatives who did emigrate. And it is only a few generations back in time. I found it extremly exciting which kept my motivation up to found out what happend to them.

One amazing thing, when they left Sweden they were all going to differnet states in the US and when I finally found them they all ended up in the same state, in the same county and the same town.

So, Karna, she stayed in Sweden. Wonder why. I havent found any records that she ever got married. She had four children, Hanna, Marie, Per and Jöns Anton. She worked at a farmer called Per Persson who was a widower. He has confessed that he is the father of some of her children (my guess is that he is the father of all of them but I guess we never will know for sure). None of them inherited him though, his two sons, Sven and Nils from his marriage did. Nils does in his will refer to Hanna as his sister.

Only three days before Karna died, her son Per died, from the Spanish Flu as well, 29 years old. In his real estate papers it says he had a gramophone. I dont think that was very common at the time and Im quite curious about what kind of records that were on the toplist back then.

Eventhough Karna wasnt married, she and Per share the same grave and it says Karna Persson on the gravestone.

Headstone from Farstorp, Per and Karna.

The son Per is also buried with them.

Same headstone

Nils Peter Bengtsson - died in the end of 1800 in America.. or not..

The first emigrant I did research on was Nils Peter Bengtsson. There was such an exciting and interesting story about him. He was born in Grevie, in the south of Sweden in 1858.  He moved to America in 1881. In America he married Amanda Persdotter. She was also from the Greviearea in Sweden and born in 1857. She came to America in 1879.

A ring from Nils to Amanda.
Inscription says "NP to AP"

They had a daughter Anna Josefina in 1889. When Anna was just a little more than a year old her mother Amanda died in San Francisco, 33 years old.

Obituary of Amanda, wife of Nils Peter Bengtsson
The story told about Nils Peter and the daughter Anna says they were both headed home to Sweden after Amanda died. Anna was sent home in 1892 while Nils had some paperwork to take care of before he could leave. So, when he at last stod there with his suitcases ready to enter the ship, he suddely just fell and died on the spot. In Sweden Anna was raised with her grandpartens and aunt on her mothers side. The story of the sudden death of her father lived for generations...

As I wrote above, this was "my" first emigrant. I became a member at Ancestry.com and seached and searched and searched. I looked into old newspapers on-line. I figured that somewhere there must me something written about this.

Anyway. I did find som people in the different US Census that might be a match but often there was something that didnt match, like age.. year of immigration and such. When I started doing genealogy and family history research I asumed that things in the records were somewhat correct (nowadays I asume they _might_ be right). I didnt dare to trust that someone I found would be "my" Nils Peter. And it would also be weird to think that he would be alive in 1930 since afterall, he died there on the spot on his way home to Sweden before the year of 1900.

First breaktrough. I orderd Nils parents, Bengt Peter Nilsson and Christina Nilsdotter, real estate records. They died 1900 and 1899. Nils was mentioned in the records saying that he lived in America. I had thought he would had been dead for a while by then. At that time, Anna was 11 and not that young anymore. But Nils wasnt alone living in the states. His brothers Johannes and Anders Bengtsson were there as well according to the papers. Looking for the brothers also opend up some more search alternatives. If I could find the brothers perhaps I could get a clue what happend to Nils. I posted requests at some messagesboards, one particulary at Bjäre Släktring where an expert on emigrants from the Bjärearea was very helpful.

Bengtsson is not the best surame to search for in the US. You could tell that by saying it out loud. Think of someone with a Southswedish accent coming to America, not knowing English and telling his name.. Bingsson.. Bangtsson.. Bentson.. Benson.. and then someone who doesnt know Swedish are going to type the name down. That is really a challenge.

Thanks to my post I got a record of memebers in a church in San José. There he was. Nils Peter Bengtsson, born February 15 1858 in Grevie, Sweden. Came to the US in 1881 and became a member of the church in October 7 1906. It doesnt get more correct than that. 1906, daughter Anna was 17 years old and it was maybe time to realize that the story that lasted for more that 90 years wasnt all true afterall.

Member of a church in San José
I also got a hint of a Nils P in a funeral  record in Santa Clara. Age didnt match though, two years wrong. I did order the record. A nice volonter at Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Socitey found it and sent it to me. It said that Nils Peter Bengtsson, born in Sweden, age about 80 had died on Christmas Eve 1936. Still I was really sceptical. In the attatched obituary it said he was an uncle of a N Gustavson and there was nothing about his daughter. In 1936 Anna was 47, married since 1915 and had two children who was 18 and 20 years old. My doubt was ofcourse due to the story and the fact that I didnt have any nephew H Gustavson for Nils.

Nils Peter Bengtsson obituary

To get more information, hopefully showing if I was in a totally wrong direction or right on track I orderd a death certificate. It wasnt exactly a piece of cake, forms to fill out and I also had to fax some papers. But at last it showed up. Very nice, thick paper with ornaments and stuff. It said Nils Peter was 87 when he died in 1936. That was a difference of whole nine years. I put the paper and Nils Peter away for a while, a little disappointed.

When I later took out the paper and looked a little more closly I felt unbelievable stupid. As informant, it said H W Gustafsen. That was something else than N Gustavson mentioned in the obituary.

Death Certificate of Nils Peter Bengtsson
And the best thing, there acctually was such a person. Nils Peter had a brother Gustaf. Gustaf had a son. Hjalmar Vallentin. And now when I looked up Hjalmar Vallentin, he did emigrate to America. 1914. In the passenger list it says he is going to San José, to his Uncle N P Benson. Two persons are travelling with him to the same destination.

From the passengerlist when Hjalmar Vallentin went to America.
I dont know for whom the story of Nils death was made up for. His family, siblings and nephews knew he was alive and where he lived. Digging into the story of Nils Peter has been very exciting and Ive learned so much while doing it. The story of him has been told so many times for such a long time and yet it wasnt true...

Nils Peter Bengtsson