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! ~


Death of great grandmother Anna Karolina

On this day 92 years ago my great-grandmother died.  21 November 1925 Anna Karolina Karlsdotter Abrahamson died in Östra Frölunda, Sweden, on her farm Stommen. She was 66 years old and a mere 2 years had passed since her husband, my great-grandfather, Robert Albin had died. Her cause of death was listed as hardening of the arteries and goiter.

Sixty Six doesn't today seem that old to me (particularly since I am about the same age) but considering she had had nine children and the average life expectancy was much lower than it is today, I'd say she did pretty well for herself. My grandmother, her daughter, never talked to me about her. I never even knew her name until as an adult I started my family history journey. My great-grandfather in photos seemed a well dressed, classy, gentleman farmer. Anna, in contrast, seemed to be a country girl, plain and simple. I particularly like this photo of her as it is not a posed professional picture. She looks like a hard-working, no-nonsense, but kindly type of gal. Traits I admire. I imagine that I would have liked her.  Even though I arrived more than 50 years after her death, now that I am her age I wonder if she would have liked the person I have become? I hope so.

my great grandmother
Anna Karolina Karlsdotter Abrahamson
born: 11 February 1859 on the farm Skäremo, 
Håcksvik, Västra Götaland (Älvsborg), Sweden
died: 21 November 1925 on the farm Stommen, 
Östra Frölunda, Västra Götaland (Älvsborg), Sweden

Honor our Veterans

In a few days is Veteran's Day. We honor those men and women who answered the call of defending our country. My father Melvin, was a veteran. A World War II veteran and he never talked about it.

As a child I saw this picture of him in uniform, displayed proudly in my grandmother's home. I asked him if he had been in the war and he replied only that yes, he had been in World War II and he had been in the Army. Other than that, he never talked about it.

I know that he received Christmas cards and periodically long letters from men he had served with and even visited Army buddies on occasion. However he always went alone, never taking my mom or we kids with him. He never talked about it.

AP photo, now owned and a copy may be purchased from www.realwarphotos.com

In the late 80's I came across this AP photo in the National Enquirer. It was titled"Ghosts haunt Omaha Beach" with some typical bogus National Enquirer story of people seeing ghosts of the soldiers that died on D-Day invading Europe. The photo however distinctly showed my father in the foreground! I took the paper to him and his response was "hummm, looks like me, we came off a landing craft like that into the water, I had a helmet with a cross on it like that and carried the exact same supplies." The photo prompted him to also identify other men by name. He explained that he did indeed land on Omaha Beach but not on D-Day. He was part of the reinforcements. I questioned him more. It seems that he was more than willing to defend his country but didn't know if he could ever morally find it in himself to shoot someone for any reason. His helmet with the cross indicated that they made him a medic.  "You didn't believe you could shoot an enemy?" I asked him incredulously. "How long did that last?" He thought for awhile and with a small sad smile said, "Halfway up the beach". I remember questioning him further about the war, just general questions, and he rebuffed me with "you don't need to know about those sort of things." He never talked about it again.

After his death I found in his dresser quite a bit of WWII memorabilia. Photos of him and other soldiers in boot camp and somewhere in Europe, his discharge papers, draft notice and other memorabilia. Those photos were never displayed or in an album and that was the first time I had ever seen them.
He had never talked about it.

After the death of my grandmother I became interested in my family history. The movie "Saving Private Ryan" was out and I wondered again what part my Dad had in the war. I pulled out Dad's discharge papers and did some internet sleuthing. He was in the 3rd Armored division, Spearhead unit that along with others fought their way from the beaches of France, cold, hungry and often with inadequate supplies, all the way to Berlin. His particular unit, the anti-tank company, 423rd infantry, had high casualties. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge where 19,000 American boys died in that battle alone. His unit had liberated a concentration camp. He never talked about it.

from the pamphlet (passed by censor for mailing home)
Spearheading with the 3rd Armored Division, in the Bulge, Duren-Cologne, The Ruhr Pocket, East to the Elbe

Dad was part of what we now call the "Greatest Generation:" Those men and women, out of duty and love of country went when called during WWII. They saw lots and did what they had to do. They saw no need to glory in it.  Although what they experienced, saw and did must have haunted them, they did what they had to do, for their country, for their family, for their children.  They bore the burden of those memories to protect us. "Those are things you don't need to know about." 

He never talked about it.

Thank you Dad,

November 11 and every day
Remember all of those men and women who served. 
They did what they had to do
...for our country...for our families...for our children.

***click on above photos to enlarge for easier viewing***


Swedish immigration to the US and Swedish Americans

Swedish American children 

An article written by Mark A. Granquist in the Countries and their Cultures forum. He writes about the various periods of immigration from Sweden, who came, why they came, where they settled and the Americans they became. I highly recommend this as an interesting look at Swedish immigration to the US and Swedish Americans. The article can be found if you click  → HERE.


Rikard Severin Källman

This month marks 130 years since my grandfather was born. 
Rikard Severin Källman was born October 3 1887 in the foundry town of Grytgol, Sweden. He was the fourth child of seven born to a poor wire factory worker. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was ten. At 18 he worked his way to Gothenburg where he boarded the boat "Ariosto" to travel to Hull, England. At Hull he boarded the train packed with other immigrants which took him to the Liverpool wharf. His older sister Sarona, who had gone to America in 1904, had bought him a steerage ticket on the "Ivernia", destination America. Life must have been pretty hard for him in Sweden because he never returned and I don't think he ever looked back. Maybe the only positive thing a poor and dirty town of foundries and wire factories gave him was black smith skills. Those same skills he had heard were welcome in the large growing industrial cities of America.  Cities like Chicago.

my paternal grandfather
Rikard Severin Källman
b: 03 October 1887 Grytgol, Hällestad, Östergötland, Sweden
d: 28 August 1968 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA

His eyes were the lightest blue....just like my Dad.