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Monday, August 31, 2015


Recently, while on my mission in Chicago, Von and & visited the Swedish Museum of Chicago.  There I found many interesting things about Swedes that I want to pass on to you along with pictures. Although Grandpa Carl Oscar and Grandma Gerda Theresia Hansen did not immigrate to Chicago, much of the information would apply to the circumstances of their immigration.

More than 1 million Swedes left their homeland between 1850 and 1930.  In the 19th century Sweden, a growing population and several years of crop failures left many people without food and livelihood.  In addition, social and political discontent, the desire for religious freedom, (our ancestors) and the wish to escape compulsory military service pushed Swedes from their homeland.  Economic opportunity – in both industry and agriculture – was the largest draw for Swedes to North America and especially to Chicago

As this happened, Chicago was transformed into the Swedish capital of North America.  In 1880, when Chicago was 43 years old, 13,000 residents out of 500,000 in Chicago were Swedish.  By 1890, Swedes were the third largest ethnic group in the city of Chicago behind only the Irish and the Germans.  By 1900, Chicago had the second largest concentration of Swedes in the world, second only to Stockholm in Sweden. 

Of interest is after the great Chicago fire in 1871, most Swedes moved outside the city, which is now in the suburbs.  The reason:  they wanted wooden log houses, and Chicago no longer allowed wooden houses in the city, because of the fire.

Carl emigrated in 1891, before Ellis Island was in the picture.  He probably would have entered America through the Castle Garden Immigration facility.  In 1892 Ellis Island opened its doors to immigrants from all over the world.  Gerda arrived in American in 1900 through Ellis Island.  It is estimated that almost 20 million people came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1920.  Single women made up one-third of the people who emigrated from Sweden to America between 1890 and 1910. Most of those women became domestic help.  Gerda fits in this statistic.

Typical Kitchen

Beautiful linens - for which the Swedish are famous.
Note the wedding cake. 
It was made by rolling the dough onto the wooden spit
then cooking it over hot coals.
It is hard to pinpoint Swedish Costumes as almost every
county had their own folk costumes.

Very typical piece of Swedish Furniture.
 I loved this lamp.  Where can I get one like it?

These curtains I can make,
 but the wooden windows - not so easy to find.

This stool is made by a carpenter's apprentice to show
he is good enough to start working in the business.

I think most of us have seen the famous Swedish stylized horses.
This one is in the children's museum where children can 'ride' it.

SLEDGE:  A sleigh on runners drawn by horses or dogs. 
It is used for transporting loads across ice, snow, and rough ground.

Novel idea.
Each shelf is also a tray or bowl to be used elsewhere.
Again - where can I get one.
In some parts of Sweden in very early days,
these bed units would line the walls of a large room. 
Various members of family slept in bottom,
and kept their possession in the top.
A curtain could be used for privacy.

This display is beautiful, and from the pictures I have seen,
it typifies the inside of many of the churches.

Can't leave the children out.  A great rocking chair for little ones.
When I (Carolyn) was very young,
my sister and I would play in a closet downstairs in our home
where there was an old trunk or chest. 
It had probably belonged to Grandma or Grandpa Johnson,
and was used to come to America
with all the belongings they had at the time.

Friday, January 9, 2015


This photo was sent by Bart and Jeanette Little.  CJ Lundquist, first cousin of Gerda Hanson Johnson appears in the middle.  His wife Betsey is on the right at the bottom.  Behind his head is Signe Lundquist who worked in Iowa as a nurse and married a local Iowa farmer named Gerald Little and had 4 sons.  Sadly, Gerald Little died during the influenza pandemic in 1935 when all his sons were quite young.  Then a decade later in 1947, Signe Lundquist Little was killed in a tragic car accident.  Bart Little, named above, never knew his Little grandparents, but his father grew up very involved in the close-knit Lundquist family as did Bart.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Distant relatives of Gerda  Hanson
who live in the United States
have been FOUND !!!!!!!!!

From Carolyn:
For many years, I have tried to find distant relatives of Carl and Gerda who live in the United States.  Recently, with help from Sharon Nuttal, granddaughter of Aunt Gerda, I was in contact with Jeanette R. Little from Aiken, South Carolina.  She sent me the following information and gave me permission to post this on the blog.
From: Jeanette


 "Its very nice to hear from you.  I am quite confident that my husband, Bart Little is distantly related to you. 

 He is a descendant of Hedda Lena Hansdotter, who had a brother, Carl Johan Hanson...who by our records is the father of Gerda Hanson.

 We don't have any specific information about Gerda or her family line on down, but we have done a deep dive into the Swedish records about Hedda Lena Hansdotter and her brother, and we are working our way back through the old church records.

Here is a general recap of what we know.

Hans Persson (1802 - 1863)  married Anna Stina Benghtsdotter (1812- 1852) in 1837 in a church known as Tryserum Parrish, Valdemarsvik Municipality, Kalmar Län, Sweden.

They had a total of 5 children:

Anna Lotta Hansdotter (1839-1885)

Hedda Lena Hansdotter (1842-1910)

Carl Johan Hansson (1845 - 1898)

Anders Peters Hansson (1849-1850)

Christina Mathilda Hansdotter (1851-1851)

 As you can see from the dates, the two youngest children did not survive to adulthood, and the mother, Anna Stina died around the same timeframe as the youngest two children.

For many years, the family lived on a farm named Käggla, we strongly suspect they rented the farm rather than being landowners.

As a widower, Hans Persson kept his children with him until they were adults, his daughters Anna Lotta and Hedda Lena moved to nearby farms to work after age 17.   He continued to live with his son, Carl Johan until his death when Carl Johan Hansson was 18 or 19 years old.

The three children took different paths once their parents had passed away....the oldest child, Anna Lotta had three children, but didn't marry until she was over 40 years old.  I don't have a great deal of information about her three children, she had a son Karl, and two daughters Anna and Hulda.  The records seem to indicate that one of the daughters, Anna immigrated to Canada in 1892...but we are missing significant pieces to that story.

The middle child, Hedda Lena, married Nils Martin Magnusson in 1864 at age 21 and they lived in the same area as her father until  1882 when the whole family immigrated to a Swedish settlement in Stanton Iowa.  They had four children, three of whom were born in Sweden: Carl Johan, Anna, Sven, and Gus.  The entire family changed their surname to Lundquist when they immigrated to the United States.  Hedda and Nils Lundquist are buried in Stanton, Iowa, but the grave is unmarked.   Their oldest son Carl Johan Lundquist married a Swedish immigrant and had 10 children.  Anna married and had one daughter before her passing as a young adult.  Sven did not survive to adulthood, and Gus had 4 children.

The youngest child, Carl Johnan Hansson, married twice.  His first wife was Carolina Carlotta Andersdotter, and we suspect his second wife was her sister, Wilhemina Andersdotter.   Our records show they had three children, Anna - who died as a infant, Gerda and a son, Carl Allen.  The family moved to the Stockholm area in the 1890s - and that's where the access to the church records ends for us.  We suspect that Carl Allen remained in Sweden as he appears in a Swedish death index, but it doesn't tell us when he died or if he ever married."
From Carolyn:
As I learn more from this family - I will include it on the blog.