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

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- Ranae