Ranae's Swedish-Chicago Heritage Blog

The Kallman/Abrahamson Family: Exploring my Swedish-born grandparent's and siblings immigrant journey to "Amerika". Searching for cousins everywhere to share family stories, pictures, thoughts, ideas 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! ~

Wednesday

Swedes Aboard the Titanic

April 1912
Arguably one of the most infamous maritime disasters was the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic sank in April of 1912. Along with the famous, the Astors, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, were scores of immigrants, traveling steerage, headed to New York and Ellis Island.

Sinking of the Titanic-Wikipedia Commons

 Our immigrant ancestors, coming during the same time period and traveling the same route, could easily have been one of these unlucky Swedes leaving their home in Sweden for a new life in the U.S. on the "unsinkable" RMS Titanic.

click↓

An interesting but sad accounting.




Saturday

The ties that bind? - DNA

Well, I am over it and hope all the cousins are too.

So what if the DNA of the Abrahamson family doesn't match with the King of Sweden? More importantly (to me anyway) is that Cousin Knut Anderson got his DNA results and the first match that popped up on his screen? You guessed it....ME!!!!!

Poor ole Oscar...you may be out but science (and my spit in a tube) proved 
I am officially a member of the Abrahamson clan! 

Right on the money also. Knut is indeed my first cousin once removed. 
His mother was Ester Abrahamson, the seventh child of Robert Albin Abrahamson. 
My grandmother was Lydia Abrahamson, the fourth child of Robert Albin Abrahamson.


Wednesday

Occupation Investigation - Karl Teodor Källman


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?

In the 1883-1887 Swedish Household Examination my great grandfather Carl Teodor Andersson (father of my grandfather Richard Kallman) is working as a "Tråddragare". This translates to a wire-drawer. That did not help me, what would this be? The dictionary was no more help telling me that it is "one who draws wire". Really?? My husband, who is pretty knowledgeable explained it to me like this. A "wire-drawer" would be a person who sets up, or operates a machine that extrudes (draws) metal materials into tubes, rods, wires, etc. For instance he might work a factory machine that produces barbed wire. Now I got it.

wire drawers with their tools outside a wire factory @1890
When I thought of Sweden I always, for some reason, thought of idyllic farmland, rolling green hills and the Swedes of old being basically farmers. In fact Sweden has a thousand year old history of mining, particularly iron. Today Sweden is by far the largest iron ore producer in the EU.


To be a miner in the late  19th century was no doubt, grueling and back breaking work. It was also unhealthy and downright dangerous. Perhaps Carl considered himself lucky to instead be working in a factory.  If you can call it lucky that the family lived on company property in company owned housing with pretty poor pay, long work days and hard work.  Looking at where my grandfather Richard was born and where his family lived also gave me more clues. Grytgol, Ostergotland. There is a large factory there still in existence which has been up and running since the 1600's as one of the world's leading suppliers of industrial wire.


Carl very likely could have worked for this same company. Hard work and poorly paid, it was still an occupation that did command some respect, a blacksmith type trade.  Having a trade, he distinguished himself by no longer going by his patronymic Andersson but took the surname Källman, passing the name on to my grandfather Richard, my father Carl Melvin and me. 


my great grandfather
Carl Teodor Källman - Tråddragare
b.10 September 1853 Tjällmo, Östergötland, Sweden
d. 03 September 1910 Mjölby, Östergötland, Sweden



Saturday

Occupation Investigation - Robert Albin Abrahamsson



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?

I thought I would start with my great grandfather. Seeing a portrait of him and his family for the first time was my introduction into my Swedish heritage. On his estate probate he is listed as...


Robert Albin Abrahamsson - Hemmansägare = farmer  


Robert Ablin
Gentleman Farmer
That English translation is not totally correct. On Swedish documentation there are all different words for farmer. Yes, as in English, they all farm the land, but the different words for farmer indicates also their particular place on the farm or social standing. They could be merely a "dräng" which generally indicates a young male farm laborer. A "fästebonde" was a sort of tenant farmer.  A "torpare" worked a small farm he did not own and usually paid the owner in produce or days of work. A "statare" was merely employed by the landowner. There are a few others which indicate different standings of a farmer but the occupation seems to be at its best if, like Robert Albin, you were a "Hemmansägare".  The best English translation of great grandfather Robert Albin's occupation is that he was a gentleman farmer. He owned his own goodly sized farm with buildings that gave him a bit of higher standing in the community at large. It was a pretty good place to be in late 19th century Sweden. Land was at a premium and Sweden's population had grown rapidly. The wish to own their own land was a big big driving force that sent thousands of poor Swedes to the U.S. in the mid 19th century.