Great great grandson of the King of Sweden?

Just for fun I present to you the great grandson of Robert Albin Abrahamsson
(also named Robert by the way)
And the fellow in the middle? King Oscar of Norway, Sweden and sardine fame
Do you note a resemblance?

Robert                                Oscar                               Robert Albin

Royal heredity? Hummmmmmm

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
 - George Bernard Shaw

and Thank you cousin Robert! for pointing out your Kingly attributes and letting me post your royal photo

Charlotta's Secret

Luke 8:17  "for nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light."

Part of the fun of being a family history buff is finding out new things about your family. Little tidbits that make a particular ancestor seem more real, more human. Little tidbits that perhaps in time past were deep family secrets. 

I made one such discovery about my great great grandmother Charlotta Majholm. If Charlotta had been a more contemporary ancestor I might well have chosen to keep her secret for her out of respect. Charlotta however is long gone and her secret is a common occurrence in the culture of today. She can no longer be hurt by it and we certainly would never think ill of a woman who was an integral and necessary part of the Abrahamson family that shaped us all.

Charlotta was born in 1826 in Sweden. She was her mothers youngest, born when she was nearing forty, one of at least seven children. Her father, a poor cotter living outside of the town of Arboga, Sweden died when she was just three years old. A womans fate in those days was simple. Marry and produce children (preferably sons) to help the family or work as a common servant, milkmaid or other lowly job dependant on the kindness of male relations. Charlotta's father was gone, she had no living adult brothers and for whatever reason did not find a husband while young.  She took a job as a servant in the house of the major of Arboga.

We all know the story of her becoming pregnant with Robert Albin and the family story that surrounds his birth.  However I now know that ten years before Robert Albins birth Charlotta, at the age of 23, bore another son. Carl Wilhelm was born May 25 1849. The parish record lists only Charlotta as parent, Carl is marked "oåkta" or illegitimate. One year and 11 days later little Carl was gone. The parish priest doesn't mention the cause of his death. Perhaps so many young ones died no one kept track of how or why. The priest still had to mention that Carl's father was "okånt" or unknown.

The one picture I have of Charlotta...I always thought she looked a little sad. Over one hundred and sixty five years later as a mother myself I can imagine her pain and feeling of desperation and loss for her little boy. I do not know your life Charlotta, or the choices or trials you faced but I hope you know that I do not judge you harshly and as a family historian I will document that little Carl Wilhelm for a brief moment in time was here on this earth, was part of our family, and I bet you loved him.

born: 25 May 1849 Arboga stadsförsamling, Västmanland, Sweden

died:   6 June 1850 Arboga stadsförsamling, Västmanland, Sweden

County: Västmanland; Parish: Arboga stadsförsamling; Volume: C:5; Record Type: Födde (Births); Year Range: 1818 - 1858; Roll/Fiche: MN-380; Handwritten/Stamped Page Number: 0/219
County: Västmanland; Parish: Arboga stadsförsamling; Volume: F:4; Record Type: Död (Deaths); Year Range: 1832 - 1861; Roll/Fiche: T01048; Handwritten/Stamped Page Number: 0/0

** clicking on documents or pictures will enlarge them for easier viewing**

- Ranae


Saturday's silly Ole and Lena joke

(This Ole and Lena classic was submitted by cousin Paul in Washington state)

Ole won a fishing boat in a raffle drawing in a small upstate Minnesota town.
He brought it home and Lena looks at him and says, "Vot da heck you gonna do vit dat? Dere ain't no water deep enough ta float a boat widin 50 miles uv here."
Ole says, "I vun it and I'ma gonna keep it."
Sven came over to visit several days later. He sees Lena and asks where Ole is.
She says, "He's out dere in his fishin boat," pointing to the field behind the house.
Sven heads out behind the house and sees his brother sitting in a fishing boat with a fishing rod in his hand down in the middle of a big field.
He yells out to him, "Vot da heck are you doing out dere?" 
Ole replies, "I'ma fishin'. Vot da heck duz it look like I'm doing?"
Sven yells back, "It's people like you that give people from Norvay a bad name; make everybody tink we are stoopid. If I cud svim, I'd come out dere and kick you in da beehind."

Happy Saturday! - Ranae


Good for you Dead Fred!

Something that always made me sad and a little angry too. Have you ever cruised through an antique shop and stopped to thumb through a large box of photos? Beautiful old vintage photos? Photos of people who were loved and wanted to be remembered by those that loved them? Photos that no one took the time to identify by name, date or place? Photos of family members now lost forever? Photos that now ended up in that antique shop? Unknown and uncared for?

Good for you Dead Fred! DEAD FRED is a website that takes in these  orphaned photos hoping against hope a family member will someday claim them. And it does happen. Happened to me in fact. Go on the site and search on a name, place etc. and just maybe you will find an ancestor!
I googled "Abrahamson" and up popped a photo found in a photo album of an elderly now deceased lady from Chicago who saved a picture of her pastor at the Salem Lutheran Church. I now had a photo of Dr. Rev. Laurentius Gustav Abrahamson. He was great grandfather Albins cousin who had emigrated from Sweden in 1853 as a young boy, graduated from Augustana College and became a quite influential person in the Illinois Swedish Immigrant community. He was Ruth Soderstroms contact mentioned on her Ellis Island manifest and he married my grandparents in Rock Island in 1911. He's a pretty interesting fellow, one day I will devote a post just to him.

Dr. Rev. L.G. Abrahamson

My long winded point is this. Please, please, take the time to identify your families important photos. Those hundreds of photos on your cell phone or in your computer? Just in my time, in additional to the traditional prints, I have 8mm movies, slides, 3D photos, VHS cassettes, video cassettes, floppy discs, CD's, DVD's, cell phone and I-pad photos. They all have a limited shelf life. Did you know that the average DVD degrades in 5-7 years? Keep up with current technology, better yet, print them out and label them with name place and date. Someday your great grandchild may get a big kick out of that photo of you proudly polishing your '69 Mustang wearing your bell bottoms and tye-dyed T-shirt!

I visited a cousin this week who had some orphan photos his mom had saved, because his grandma had saved them. But...who are these people? No one ever wrote down their name. Take a look and let me know if you can identify any of these folks who posed so proudly for their family and friends. They were family and friends of our ancestors.

See the bottom of this blog for contact information if you can add a name to these old friends/family.
Don't forget to check out my buddy Dead Fred. Maybe you will be lucky also.

click on► Dead Fred - Genealogy Photo Archive

- Thanks! cousin, Ranae

(clicking on photos will enlarge them for easier viewing)


Swedish food for Sunday dinner?

Being new to the blogging world I like to cruise the internet to check out the blogs others have made that may be of interest to me.

My mother was a wonderful woman but....God bless her.... a wonderful cook? Not so much. Now my German born Mother in law, Liesel?  Another story entirely! After I married is when I first learned how wonderful food could be! She showed me the glories of cream and cheese sauces. Spaetzle and pork roast with gravy. Red cabbage and pickled beets. Oh I could go on and on, and I did. I come from a relatively thin family, or I did anyway, but I slid up about a pound a year. Now I have been married 42 years now. You go ahead and do the math and I am not even ashamed of myself.
Husband Otto? He bakes. Breads of all kinds...rye, white, wheat, sweet breads and the most wonderfully decadent...make a big pot of coffee....cinnamon rolls. Oh, my heart beats faster just thinking of them, and him too of course!

I think we can all agree that German cooking is great but check out this blog with Swedish recipes. It looks good. I am thinking of trying the cabbage rolls tonight.

click here ► Pernilla Elmquist - My Scandinavian Food

They look pretty good but Liesel IS a tough act to follow.



Saturday's silly Ole and Lena joke

Ole:   Lena qvick! Call da locksmith!

Lena: Oh Ole, did ya lock your keys in da car again?

Ole:   Well yah, but dis time it's an emergency. It's startin' to rain real bad and darn if I didn't leave da windows rolled down!

Happy Saturday! - Ranae

Saturday's silly Ole and Lena joke

When Ole came home early from work one day he went upstairs where Lena was standing in the middle of the bedroom naked.
"Lena, vhy are you standing in da middle of da room naked?" asks Ole.
"Uhhhh Ohhhh Ole, I have absolutely nuttin ta vear!"
Ole walks over to Lena's closet and opens it.
"Lena! Vut do ya mean you have nuttin ta vear? Here's your red dress, here's your black dress, Hello Sven, here's your orange dress."

Happy Saturday!  - Ranae


Why Chicago?

Walking down the streets of Chicago today you will meet many immigrants. I'll bet none of them however will be Swedish. It was a different story when my grandparents came to Chicago in the early twentieth century. But why did they choose Chicago?

Swedish immigration to America had been at its highest level from 1850-1880. The Homestead Act  provided fertile and inexpensive farmland ($1.25 an acre) to any squatter willing to work it. Swedes were actively encouraged and welcomed to populate the rich farmland of the Midwest. Whole families left Sweden to establish a farm of their own. At the turn of the twentieth century the good farm land was taken or more expensive but the industrial revolution was in full swing and the draw was now to the cities. It was young singles who arrived daily now. Men with skills (Rikard was a blacksmith) or just a strong back could find lucrative work in cities. Young women that could only hope for a husband or life as a lowly milkmaid were welcomed as educated servants who were relatively well paid and now had money of their own.

Chicago @ 1915 State and Washington Street (Marshall Fields)

Chicago was one of the popular places for these young people to go to. Scandinavian immigrants were generally able to read and write, many of the men were skilled iron workers, carpenters or other tradesmen of some sort, known for their work ethic. Young Swedish women were prized as domestic workers. They blended well and became "Americanized" quite quickly. They were proud to do domestic work that many young American women looked down upon and they did those jobs well. Immigrants generally followed and settled in the same area as friends or relatives who had come before. Chicago had a large Swedish population at the turn of the twentieth century. It is said that only in Stockholm were there more Swedish born folk than in Chicago. The Swedish neighborhoods of Chicago  were complete with Swedish stores, newspapers, churches, restaurants, social clubs. It was possible to live most of your life in Chicago and only hear Swedish being spoken. In fact, my father, born in Chicago, once said that he spoke no English until he went to school. Swedish neighborhoods tended to overlap with ethnic groups not unlike themselves such as Norwegians and Danes. When my Swedish family arrived in Chicago, Swedes generally had located to three North Side Neighborhoods: Lakeview, Andersonville and North Park. My father graduated from Lakeview High School and I was born in the Swedish Covenant Hospital. 

With the Stock market crash of 1929 the influx of Swedes ended. In the next few years and during the Great Depression, in fact many even returned home. Now in the 21st century there is really no longer a Swedish immigrant population in Chicago although there are many who can point to Sweden as part of their genetic makeup. Sweden is a wonderful place to live, quite unlike what it was 100 years ago. Andersonville is now populated with other ethnic groups. The Swedish American Museum, a few Scandinavian shops and names of streets, schools, hospitals and buildings are left to tell the story of how at one time it was said that "The Swedes built Chicago".

Here are a few websites with information on the Swedish influence in Chicago.





                                            **clicking on photos or documents will enlarge them for easier viewing*

Our Swedish-American Names

Those of us with Swedish heritage (and those without) can easily understand the meaning of the vast majority of Swedish surnames. Hanson is the son of Hans.  This Patronymic naming system was used throughout Sweden (and other Scandinavian countries) up until 100-150 years ago. For instance Hans had a son names Olof and Olof would then be called Olof Hansson. Olof's daughter Anna would be called Anna Hansdotter. Around the turn of the century males and females both adopted the "son". If your last name ends in sen you are most likely Norwegian or Danish, not Swedish. Of course immigration changed some of that but we will get into that later. It was also a double s (Hansson, Jonsson) indicating ownership. Most American immigrants dropped the additional s and many modern day Swedes did as well.

Other groups such as nobility, soldiers or families immigrating from other countries may have a non-patronymic surname. Members of the clergy often Latinized their names. Lars became Laurentius, Gustaf became Gustavius etc.

Many other Swedish surnames you hear in the US (and Sweden of course) are "nature names".  The names are descriptive to nature such as a tree; Lind=linden tree, or Sjö=lake. Many who did not want to be seen as common folk or were noted as a distinguished tradesman (if only in their eyes) adopted a "nature name" which the family continued to sport. Those names do not point to a particular area of Sweden nor are those with the same nature name necessarily related.

Spelling also, through the ages, did not have the meaning it does for us today. In days of old all throughout Europe your name was spelled different ways on different documents depending on the education, thoughts or even whim of the priest or official who was recording you.

And the last wrinkle for us as Americans is that the family name in Sweden is not always the family name in the US. It is commonly said that "our name was changed at Ellis Island" but that is definitely NOT true. The names on the manifests of the ships entering New York harbor are the names which the Ellis Island officials recorded, verbatim. Those names were given to the ship lines by the immigrants themselves.  New immigrants kept their own patronymic or the patronymic of their father, son or other relative already in the US or they picked a new name entirely perhaps because it sounded more American. And spelling? Wow, that could now have evolved into a number of spellings with a number of reasons, not all of them logical to us.

What does that mean to the names of the three daughters of Robert Albin and Anna Abrahamsson? The three, now American daughters, who gave us the names we bear today?

Well here is what I have found.


"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in" - Greek proverb

Today is Labor Day. I took an early morning walk. It still is technically summer, yet I see the beginnings of fall. I noticed again how many trees have been lost to the terrible Ash borer disease that has swept across the upper Midwest. Straight, tall, magnificent but now barren of leaves. A very real tragedy.

The saying "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in", is a favorite of mine. It came to me again. I live in a small town that is now considered a distant suburb of Chicago. Founded about 150 years ago it was originally a small grouping of homes with a tiny station on the railroad which linked the farms of mainly German immigrants to Chicago. Those same immigrants whose names are now seen on street signs and on the gravestones of the old town cemetery. Those same immigrants who may have planted those Ash trees whose time has come and gone. The Ash trees that shaded me and my children the 40 years I have lived in this town. This beautiful little town who owes much to the foresight of its immigrant founders.

What "trees" did my own ancestors plant? Those "trees" are the choices and sacrifices they made that has directly impacted the life I am now living, the life my children and grandchildren are living. I have been to Sweden and Norway, my ancestral homes, and I do find them beautiful and worthy of praise but I am an American. There is no honor greater than that. I started out my blog with the question "Why, why grandma did you decide to come to America?" I continue to search for the "why" but I don't ever want to forget to say "Thank you".

Let's go and plant some trees.


**clicking on photos or documents will enlarge them for easier viewing**


Saturday's Silly Ole and Lena Joke

Ole and Lena jokes are standard fare for the person of Scandinavian ancestry. Just for fun I thought that each Saturday I would post on both my Norwegian and Swedish blog, one of my favorites.  If I knew who originated them I would credit them but these are oldies but goodies? (a matter of opinion on the goodies)

Ole: "Lena! I yust bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four tousand dollars, but its state of da art. It's perfect.

Lena: "Really Ole? What kind is it?"

Ole: "Twelve turdy."

Happy Saturday! - Ranae

Free seminar at ArkivDigital

 on Wednesday, September 9th at 8 PM Central Standard Time, Kathy Meade of ArkivDigital will be the presenter for a FREE webinar sponsored by Legacy Family Tree

ArkivDigital is the premier site for quality color images of ORIGINAL Swedish documents. They periodically  have free offerings to introduce you to their product. This is a FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY to learn how to use their site.

click here for information:  ARKIVDIGITAL FREE WEBINAR

ArkivDigital has over 50 million newly photographed color images of the Swedish church books and other historical documents available online.  Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced researcher, you can easily do Swedish genealogical research via the Internet with our software tool, ArkivDigital online.


36th Annual Scandinavian Day Illinois

A week from next Sunday, Vasa Park on Rt. 31 in South Elgin, Illinois is holding its

This festival is held each Sunday following Labor Day.
The admission fee is $10, free for children 12 and under and free parking
Scandinavian Entertainment, Foods, Crafts, Vendors & More