Ranae's Swedish-Chicago Heritage

In the early 20th century my paternal grandparents, Rikard Severin Källman (1887-1968) and Lydia Abrahamson (1890-1978) immigrated from Sweden. I am exploring my Swedish ancestors immigrant journey to "Amerika" and life in Swedish Chicago. I am searching for cousins everywhere to share family stories, pictures, memories and new discoveries about our Swedish heritage and our family today.

~ This blog, like my family tree, is always a work in process. Please stop back now and again! ~

Saturday, February 17

Occupation investigation - Olof Meijholm, Borgaren

Many of the old Swedish parish records list an ancestors title or occupation.
The words are often confusing, antiquated and make little sense to me.
Now and again I like to investigate, do some research.
What is the meaning of my ancestors title or occupation?
How did he support and feed his family in his time?

My 5X great grandfather Olof Meijholm was born in 1711. This I know from a household examination. There is no available records of birth that early. On his death certificate he is listed as "Borgaren". Translated this means burgher (citizen) which is more of a class distinction than an occupation. 

A person who lived in a town earned his living from a skill such as carpentry or blacksmithing or worked as a merchant/salesperson. A burgher was one of the skilled tradespeople or merchants in town with his own business and was considered a citizen. A Burgher could be elected a member of the towns governing body and had a right to voice his opinion at town meetings.  Becoming a burgher/citizen in town required owning a house in town and have a few different people testify to your abilities and the towns need for the product, service or skill that you offered. Being a burgher was a step ahead socially from the majority of town dwellers who worked for the burghers as housekeepers, servants, apprentices etc. A burgher had responsibility to the town not only in its governing but also in its defense, responsible perhaps for night watch and fire watch.

I have not seen written verification of exactly what his business was but we know that trades were often taught and handed down generation upon generation. Olof's son, also named Olof (1755-1810) was also listed as a "Borgaren" and his grandson, another named Olof (1780-1827) was a  card/comb maker which I wrote about in an earlier blog which can be read HERE. So I believe it would be pretty safe to assume that Olof also manufactured and possibly had a shop that sold card/combs.

A woman took part in her husbands business helping in any way she could, along with her numerous household and child rearing duties.  She often would be very knowledgeable in the business. Enough so that upon her husbands death she could sometimes take over the business and become a citizen on her own. Let's hear it for the Swedes, among the first in Europe to recognize a woman's contribution and rights (well some anyway).

my 5X great grandfather
Olof Meijholm
b: 1711 Östhammar, Stockholm, Sweden
d: 7 Aug 1779 Östhammar, Stockholm, Sweden

and his wife
my 5X great grandmother
who most likely knew the business as well as he
Catharina Johannsdotter Landberg
b: 1714 Östhammar, Stockholm, Sweden
d: 6 Nov 1792 Östhammar, Stockholm, Sweden

Olof Meijholm & Catharina Johannsdotter Landberg→Olof Meijholm→Olof Majholm→
Charlotta Majholm→Robert Albin Abrahamson→Lydia Abrahamson→Carl Melvin Kallman→Me!

Tuesday, February 13

FETTISDAGEN ! - Fat Tuesday

or Fat Tuesday for those of you non-Swedes
The day before the beginning of Lent is celebrated in Sweden with what else?

Click  HERE for the recipe and get baking.

for all sorts of Swedish goodies check out all the different recipes 
that can be found on one of my favorite blogs
↓   ↓   ↓   ↓   ↓

**p.s. I cheat, my hubby does all the baking in our house. I do the eating. 
Explains the chubby cheeks and the big smile, yes?**

Monday, February 12

Occupation Investigation - Olof Majholm, Kardmakarmästare

Many of the old Swedish parish records list an ancestors title or occupation.
The words are often confusing, antiquated and make little sense to me.
Now and again I like to investigate, do some research.
What is the meaning of my ancestors title or occupation?
How did he support and feed his family in his time?

This 1811 parish record of the marriage of my third great grandparents Olof Majholm and Brita Broberg. They were the parents of Charlotta Majholm, Robert Albin's mother. They posted banns in the church as was the custom for three consecutive weeks; September 1,8 and 15. They exchanged their vows the following week on September 22, 1811.

År 1811 -recorded by a local parish priest, church of Sweden, Arboga Landförsamling

What is noted is just before his name is his title or occupation. "Kardmakarmästare" or Master Card maker was an honorable occupation and skill. No, great great great grandpa Olof was not the first guy to work for Hallmark. He handmade a wool comb or card maker. Carding is the processing of brushing raw or washed fibers to prepare them as textiles. A large variety of fibers can be carded, cotton and wool are probably the most common fibers to be carded. Carding is used to take non-aligned fibers and prepare them for spinning or to produce webs of fiber to go into non-woven products such felt. 

The woman on the right is combing wool with her card.
The woman on the left spins the carded wool into yarn.
This was the early 19th century mind you, and fabric or yarn for knitting was made by hand individually by each family or by a local artisan. It wasn't until the industrial revolution that making of fabrics and yarns became mechanized. A sturdy well made wool comb/carder was a treasured household item.

My 3X great grandfather
Olof  Majholm
b: 20 June 1780 Östhammar, Stockholm, Sweden
d: 13 January 1827 Arboga landsförsamling, Västmanland, Sweden

Thursday, February 1

Alma Charlotta Abrahamson Lindberg 1892-1965

My grandmother and two of her sisters emigrated from Sweden to the US but her remaining six siblings remained in Sweden. For her brothers in particular that choice was not hard to understand. Their father, my great grandfather Robert Albin, owned a fairly large estate/farm that they would one day inherit. Most young Swedes at the turn of the 20th century worked as farmhands or milkmaids as the family plot (if the family even owned one) was small and their family was too large to be supported by that farm. Add to that a country that was economically poor, not yet very industrialized and had in the past century suffered droughts and crop failures.  Those young people with seemingly bleek futures were also reading newspaper articles and letters from siblings, cousins and friends now in the US promising opportunity, jobs, adventure all to be had if you could scrape together the boat fare to the US. Many of my grandmothers cousins also heard the siren call of "Amerika" and one by one I am finding them now settled in the US.

my cousin twice removed
Alma Charlotta Abrahamson Lindberg
b. 30 Dec 1892 Dräggved Öfre, Håcksvik, Ålvsborg, Sweden
d: 21 Nov 1965 New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Alma was the second of seven children born to Anders Abrahamsson and Anna Susanna Karlsdotter. Anna Susanna was the younger sister of my great grandmother Anna Karolina Karlsdotter Abrahamson. Alma's older brother Luther Abrahamson emigrated to New Britain, Connecticut in 1912 and perhaps with his encouragement the unmarried Alma at the age of twenty four also left for the US.

She left Gothenburg Sweden Sep 7 1916, headed for Kristiania (Oslo) Norway. In Kristiania she boarded the Oscar II. It appears she did not travel alone but with two friends, Signe and Agnes, who also had connections in New Britain, Connecticut. Traveling steerage class the three friends entered Ellis Island on September 19, 1916.

Alma never ventured beyond New Britain. In 1921 she married Carl Lindberg, also a Swedish immigrant and they had two children, Herbert Carl 1921-2003 and Dorothy Alma 1923-2013. With her daughter Dorothy, Alma visited Sweden just a few months after the death of her mother Anna Susanna in 1947.

Alma died in 1965, her husband Carl the next year and they are buried in the Fairview Cemetery in New Britain, Connecticut.

photo by E Greer, findagrave.com ←click to view

Vila i fred Alma och Carl †