Wednesday's Child - Selma Matilda Ericsson

Selma Matilda Ericsson was born 01 Aug 1865 in Östergötland, Sweden, the first child of Franz Hugo and Albertina Ericsson. 
Her father emigrated to the United States in Dec 1868 to establish a home for his young family. In July of 1871 Swedish records record Albertina Ericsson and her three daughters; Selma, Maria and Erica, leaving the port of Gothenburg Sweden to join their husband and father.

(Gothenburg, Sweden Passenger Lists, 1869-1951, 09 Jun 1871
departing Gothenburg, Sweden for Hull, England on the ship "Rollo")
Selma died in La Porte, Indiana at the young age of 14, July 13, 1879. The promise of a better life in America ended even sooner for her younger sister Erica. No more than a toddler, she died of dysentery shortly after landing in the US. Contaminated New York water? 

My grandfather Richard's paternal cousins:
Selma Matilda Ericsson  born:01 Aug 1865 Hällestad, Östergötland, Sweden 
                                           died: 13 Jul 1879 LaPorte, Indiana, USA 
Erica Theresia Ericsson born: 17 Feb 1869 Hällestad, Östergötland, Sweden
                                           died: 14 Jul 1871 Columbiana, Ohio, USA


DNA and Me - part 3

My autosomal breakdown

This is the portion of the DNA results that supposedly tell you where your ancient ancestry is from. My genealogy on paper, is 50% Swedish (my Dad's family) and 50% Norwegian (my Mom's family). A little naive I guess but I fully expected my outcome to be just that. Half Norwegian and Half Swedish. Well it turns out that 23 AND ME, (the company that I tested with) only goes as far as saying "Scandinavian" which I guess is fair. After all, if Swedes and Norwegians share a similar Germanic language root and Norway was actually part of Sweden for much of its history, in spite of all the mountains separating the two countries it seems most logical that Norwegians and Swedes also share much of the same DNA. So, am I 100% Scandinavian? Of course I say absolutely yes!
...But...23 and me says this is me▼

**click on document to enlarge for easier reading**

Hummmmmmmmm  just 63,1% Scandinavian. This was a surprise to me, mainly because my genealogical research showed me that on both my Norwegian and Swedish sides my family did not live on the coast, they were mainly farm people and for generation upon generation never moved more than 20 miles or so from the spot my grandparents came from in the early 20th century. There were also a few cases of cousins marrying cousins or remote cousins. Science says that because of the way we pass DNA on to our descendants (a random half of our genome goes into our egg or sperm) it is quite possible that just by chance I have NO DNA material from 1 of my great grandparents. But I guess by the same lottery I could have bits of DNA from many many many generations back. So here are my thoughts on the breakdown.

"99.9% European"
  Okay since at one time during the last ice age all the Northern Europeans retreated to Southern Europe it makes sense that all Europeans have a similar genetic makeup. One of my early Norwegian Ole's could have warmed himself in the ice age with an early Spanish Juanita. When the ice age abated and they traveled up the Atlantic coast to Scandinavia they no doubt took a few interesting women with them. I guess that is also why "26.5%" is "broadly Northwestern European". All of we Europeans share a good part of each other.

"0.1% East Asian"
  I think it is possible that is where the Saami blood my Norwegian grandmother spoke of came in. Those reindeer herders passed up by the Arctic circle and across Russia and shared DNA with those that ultimately traveled across the Bering straits to North and South America.

"0.9% Finnish"
  Same as above since the Finns are related to the Russians, Estonians etc. I blame the Saami connection for this also.

"0.8% French/German"
  My documented ninth great grandmother was Maria Lukretia von Boeselager, A minor German noblewoman who summered in southern Norway and married a Norwegian official after she was widowed the first time. Cool! A bit of Maria lives on in me!

"8.4%" British/Irish
  I'm thinking I'll blame the Vikings on this one. They say that Dublin was founded by Vikings and those in Northern Ireland share most of their genome with Scandinavians as opposed to ancient Celts or Anglo-Saxons. Those Vikings stayed there and those particular bits of DNA reproduced more in Britain and Ireland than Scandinavia. But my flaming (well used to be anyway I am 63 now you know) red hair? I read that was a mutation that originated in Scotland and Scotland has the greatest percentage of redheads followed by Ireland. Does the British designation include Scotland and Wales? I don't know who, but I want to blame someone.

The point is I was so so very proud of being this "pure" Scandinavian. Well, more than proud. Kind of superior. It goes to show that we all are related aren't we? We are all just "pure" humans, no more, no less. Anthropologists speculate that everyone in the whole world is no further than 40th cousins.

I'm working on it but none the less it will be awhile before I find and document ALL of my cousins in my online family tree.

I'll keep you posted.

free clipart from


Saturday's silly Ole and Lena joke

Ole died. The regular pastor of the Lutheran Church was on vacation, so a neighboring one came to do the service. Before the funeral, the minister found Lena to ask her a little about Ole so to get to know him better. He gathered some information then asked: "Do you happen to know what Ole's last words were before he died?" Lena thought for a moment then replied: "Lena, put down that gun!"

Happy Saturday! - Ranae


Wednesday's Child - Dorothy Ruth Lydia Soderstrom

Her name is not listed on other family trees I have seen. I have no photo of little Dorothy. The cemetery (Riverside in Moline, Illinois) that the state of Illinois says she is buried in does not list her name. No family member had ever mentioned her existence..... well, not to me anyway.

I  know that she was here, for the brief four days of her life, because when looking for something else I came across this record in my research.

This was no doubt the baby daughter and fourth child of my great uncle and aunt, Andrew and Ruth Soderstrom.
I don't know why her life was so short. Maybe she was born too soon, too tiny, too ill. I do know that her parents surely wanted and loved her. Aunt Ruth gave her my grandmother Lydia's name and her own. 

my dad's little cousin
Dorothy Ruth Lydia Soderstrom
   born:  24 November 1927 Moline, Rock Island, Illinois
   died:  28 November 1927 Moline, Rock Island, Illinois
   Evigt säkert i armarna på Jesus.

- Ranae

**clicking on document will enlarge it for easier viewing**


Saturday's silly Ole and Lena joke

Sven:  "Ole, stant in front of my car and tell me if da turn signals are vorking".  
Ole:  "Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No...."

Happy Saturday! - Ranae


DNA and Me - part two

My brother and I bought DNA kits from 23 AND ME. "23 and Me"was one of the first companies offering a breakdown of your DNA for $ and a bit of your spit in a tube. "23 and Me" in the past gave their customers not only results of your DNA heritage divided by world area but a long list of medical possibilities/problems/illnesses that your particular DNA made you susceptible to. The FDA disallowed the medical results being passed on to customers. They just weren't sure if the science was quite up to snuff yet. Maybe it was not appropriate to give info that could possibly be upsetting to everyday folks. Their stock plummeted I guess and now there were also other companies offering DNA testing, jumping on the family history bandwagon. To keep the company going they dropped their prices and offered to test not only your Autosomal DNA (areas you descend from) but your Mitochondrial (mother) and Y (father) haplogroups, along with your percentage of Neanderthal genes for a much better price than the competing companies.

My brother and I, really being good frugal Scandinavians, bought our "spit kits" from them. And we got a 10% discount for buying them together. Later on I will tell you those results in detail but for now lets just say that since all four of our grandparents just got off the herring boat from Scandinavia, our results were no big surprise.

About two weeks ago I got an email from "23 and Me". The FDA had allowed them to release some of those medical mysteries hiding in my DNA and I would get the results shortly. They also doubled their price for future customers.

I was really conflicted about this. Did I want to know? My maternal grandfather had died from Parkinsons disease. One of my grandmother's had had type II diabetes, the other chronic lymphocytic leukemia. My mom died at 47 from cancer and so did her brother, my uncle. My dad had died from heart disease.

Then I got a grip on myself. Heck I'm almost 64! Of course my parents and grandparents are
dead and they had to die of something! Except a great aunt who got hit by a bus in Norway. I have already hit the jackpot as far as health is concerned. Sure I have high blood pressure (like Dad) and asthma/allergies but we live in the 21st century for Pete's sake and in the Western world with good health care. Plus I never did care for cats anyway.

Here are my DNA results

I am 79% likely to be a redhead
I likely have very fair skin and only light to moderate freckling
I likely have blue or light grey eyes
I was probably born bald
I likely don't have dimples
I likely don't have a cleft in my chin
I likely don't have a unibrow
I likely don't have a widows peak
I likely have detached earlobes
I likely have wet ear wax
My big toe is probably longer than my second toe
I am not lactose intolerant
I have the capacity to consume a large amount of caffeine
I am not likely to sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight
I likely prefer salty to sweet snacks
I don't carry the variant which causes Sickle-Cell Anemia

and my very favorite  (drum roll please)
I likely have the ability to notice the unique odor in the pee of those who have just eaten asparagus
WHAT THE ???????????????????

My husband just laughed. "So you paid good money to find out what you could see for free in the mirror?"

Yeah, I guess he is right.  I still got a kick out of it that they could tell all that from my spit. And it was right on the money.

Except for the pee thing....I really don't care to sniff someones urine to see if that is true or not. I think I will just take their word on that.

free clipart from


Happy St. Lucia Day!

Part of the Advent to Christmas season is  St. Lucia's Day on December 13. The celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. St. Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred for her faith, in 304 AD. The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things. .

December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, or shortest day in the year. A pagan festival of lights in Sweden was turned into St Lucia's Day. Lucia means "light"

St. Lucia's day is celebrated by a girl wearing a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, traditionally the youngest girl in the family or group. Her crown is made of lingonberry branches which are evergreen to symbolise new life in winter. Schools normally have their own St. Lucia. Boys might dress up as 'Stjärngossar' or star boys and additional girls can be 'tärnor' (like Lucia but without the candles).

Little girls dressing as St Lucia and bringing parents breakfast in bed, caroling in church, visiting hospitals and old people's homes, parading and singing about St. Lucia and of course passing out Pepparkakor is  one of the lovely ways Swedes welcome the Christmas season.

Happy St Lucia Day!


Saturday's silly Ole and Lena joke

Ole is 90 years old. He's played golf every day since his retirement 25 years ago. One day he arrives home looking downcast.

"Dat's it," he tells Lena. "I'm giving up golf. My eyesight has become so bad dat once I hit da ball I couldn't see vere it vent." Lena sympathizes. As they sit down she says, "Vhy don't you take Sven wit you and give it one more try." "Dat's no good" sighs Ole, "Sven's a hundred and tree. He can't help." "He may be a hundred and tree", says Lena, "but his eyesight is perfect." So the next day Ole heads off to the golf course with 103 year old Sven. He tees up, takes a mighty swing and squints down the fairway.
He turns to Sven and says, "Did you see da ball?"
"Of course I did!" replied Sven. "I have perfect eyesight".
"Vhere did it go?" says Ole.
"I don't remember."

Happy Saturday! - Ranae


Wednesday's Child - Carl Fredrik Abrahamsson

This Wednesday I remember Carl Fredrik Abrahamsson.

He was born 7 July 1851.  He was the child of Anders Gustaf Abrahamsson and Britta Maria Nilsdotter. He died on the family farm Tveta 26 April 1857. He was five years old.  His death is listed as "Bröstsjukdom" which would translate as disease of the lungs, a term also used for unidentified chest illnesses. Most likely not Pneumonia, Influenza or Tuberculosis which was recognized as such even in that day and age. Perhaps this was a long time condition such as asthma or he was born with a heart condition? We cannot know. The cause of death was listed on the certificate by the local priest who did not have medical training so often the cause of death is actually a symptom noted.

Sweden, Church Records 1500-1941, County-Västmanland, Parish-Medåker, 
Död 1852-1861, Gid#2349.19.49400, Volume F:6, Roll MN-1613

He was survived by 7 brothers and sisters. In 1868 the entire family emigrated to the United States. The family settled in  Chautauqua, New York . His siblings would marry and have children. His younger brother would become the Rev. L.G. Abrahamsson, a noted Lutheran minister of the Augustana synod and leader in the Swedish immigrant community.

bottom row center: Carl Fredriks parents, Anders Gustaf and Britta Maria
with his seven brothers and sisters in America

The family has today many descendants who most likely will never know about the little boy whose grave was left behind in Sweden.

Robert Albin Abrahamsson's cousin and my first cousin 3x's removed
   Carl Fredrik Abrahamsson,
   born: 4 July 1851 Tveta, Medåker, Västmanland, Sweden
   died:26 Apr 1857 Tveta, Medåker, Västmanland, Sweden



Saturday's silly Ole and Lena joke

Ole and Sven were out on the lake fishing, Ole says to Sven,

" Sven, I tink I'm going to leave Lena" 
Oh? why is dat Ole?
 "Vell Sven, she hasn't talked to me in nearly 2 months and von't tell me vat I did." 
After a few minutes, Sven says to Ole.
"Ole, I vould tink twice about dat, women like dat are hard to find"

Happy Saturday! - Ranae


The Pickled Herring: Swedish Almond Cake

The Christmas baking season is upon us! Let's try something a bit Swedish.

From a wonderful blog entitled The Pickled Herring (I love that blog's name) Thank you Kathryn!

Swedish Almond Cake
If you love the taste of almonds you KNOW you have Scandinavian blood.

The only thing missing here is a big cup of coffee, right?

                klicka här  → → → →The Pickled Herring: Swedish Almond Cake


Wednesday's child - Johan Gustav Victor Bergvall

Such a fancy name for such a little boy. Johan Gustav Victor was born 1 Apr 1836 in Lerbäck, Örebro, Sweden* on the family farm Knutstorp. The first child of my great great grandparents, Jan Gustav Bergvall and Anna Lisa Pehrsdotter. Anna Lisa was just 19 at the time of his birth. I am sure his birth was a happy occasion as he was the first grandchild on both sides of the family.

*, Church Records, 1500-1941 County Örebro, Parish Lerbäck
Födde (births) 1826 - 1860, GID 196.76.46200, Volume C:4, Roll/Fiche # MN-1128

21 June 1836, 2 months and 21 days later**, he was gone. The cause of his death was "kopper" or smallpox. In 1816 smallpox inoculations had became mandatory in Sweden. Perhaps he was considered a bit young to be vaccinated? About 1 in 3 that contracted the virus died. It was especially virulent and deadly for the very young. He was buried the same day as he died, most likely as a preventitive measure against the spread of the virus.

**, Church Records, 1500-1941 County Örebro, Parish Lerbäck, 
Död (deaths) 1801-1861, GID 196.78.84400, Volume F:1, Roll/Fiche # MN-1128

The uncle my grandfather Richard would never know and my second great uncle:
     Johan Gustav Victor Bergvall
     born  1 Apr 1836 Knutstorp, Lerbäck, Örebro, Sweden
     died 21 Jun 1836 Knutstorp, Lerbäck, Örebro, Sweden

- Ranae

As a toddler I was given the Smallpox vaccination by our family pediatrician Dr. Nils Tunestam (a friend of the family and also a Swedish immigrant). Usually given in the upper arm he gave me mine in my upper leg thinking a girl would most likely not want a visible scar. He never could have guessed how short those mini skirts and hot pants got in the late 60's!

The last natural case of smallpox was in 1977 in Somalia eliminating the need for universal childhood inoculations.