Walpurgis Night

Walpurgis Night, an old pagan springtime ritual adopted by Christianity, is celebrated with bonfires, partying and drinking on the night of April 30 in Sweden. The welcoming in of Spring.

I just love spring and here is another reason to party-----today is my birthday!


Friday's Faces from the Past - Esther Soderstrom Liljegren

This adorable little girl is Esther Anna Marian (Soderstrom) Liljegren. The second child and first daughter of my great aunt and uncle, Ruth Abrahamsson and Andrew Soderstrom.  I am sure the intent was just to photograph the baby but I love seeing the old car in the backround. It gives a sense of the times. And don't you wish the babies of today wore those cute frilly bonnets?

my first cousin once removed (my Dad's cousin)
Esther Anna Marian Soderstrom
02 Sep 1926 - 09 Apr 2003

Esther, I have heard so many good things about you, I wish I had known you,

*click on photo to enlarge for easier viewing*


Tuesday's Trivia

In 1991 Sweden's Radio and TV act made it illegal to direct ads at children under the age of 12. The ban was based on research that shows children can't really tell the difference between advertising and programming until about the age of 10.


Wow! What a sensible and great idea! Especially around Christmas I hate the way my grand kids get indoctrinated to beg and plead for each and every goofy overpriced toy and game that comes out. Here's another thing that "bugs" me. Why is the volume on kiddie-aimed commercials noticeably louder than the particular show the commercial is sponsoring? 

Unfortunately, that great idea will never fly in the U.S.  Too bad.


Monday's Mystery - Ruth's employment and where?

No this is not the Downtown Abbey staff (I loved that show by the way).
My first cousin once removed, Lynn Eckberg, shared these photos with me. They were in an album that belonged to her Mom, my great aunt Ruth (Abrahamsson) Soderstrom. She did not know the story these photos show but we can say for certainty that the fourth from the right (white apron) is Ruth. I have been researching on and off for over a year without luck but I WILL someday figure it out.

Does anyone know the story or do you have any ideas?

Ruth: fourth from right, no hat

The group stands in front (or back) of this building

Here are my thoughts, ideas and avenues I have investigated...?.?.

* when Ruth left Sweden she stated her father bought her ticket and her last residence was Stommen therefore she most likely did not work outside her home in Sweden. This building is in the U.S.

* The building could be a hotel, estate, hospital but I'm betting on estate as the staff looks like a personal staff. There appears to be two butlers, two maids, two drivers, nanny and Ruth appears to   be most likely cook or kitchen staff.

*This appears to be the backside of the building (God forbid the staff be photographed at the entrance). The front may be even grander.

*Ruth settled in Moline but may have worked in Chicago area briefly. I have searched online for estates this size throughout Illinois, specifically quad cities area, but no building I have found as yet matches this one.

*Some sort of fancy spa or fancy rest home for the wealthy?

*Her husband was in the cavalry WWI. Some sort of soldier sanitariam?

Inspect this and give me your thoughts or ideas. One thing I have learned with this hobby of genealogy is that you never know when the smallest tidbit, rumor or detail takes you home.


*click on photos to enlarge for easier viewing*


Friday's Faces from the Past - Hanna and Alma Emanuelsdotter

original photo from the personal collection of Ingemar Majholm

Hanna (on the left) was my grand aunt. She along with her sister Alma emigrated to the United States in 1904. It is likely this photo was taken about that time. They were friends of my grandmother Lydia and perhaps it was they who encouraged her emigration to America. Hanna and Alma had returned for a visit to their family in Sweden. They intended to return. Life interfered for Hanna. She fell in love with and married my great uncle, Grandma Lydia's brother, Gustaf. In 1909 Alma returned to America (minus Hanna) with a group of young people from the area. Among them was my grandmother Lydia. 

*click on photo to enlarge for easier viewing*


Tuesday Trivia

It is well documented that over a period of 80-some years from 1840 to the 1920's some 1.3 million Swedes left their homeland and emigrated to the United States.


"Return migration was also part of the Swedish patterns. Approximately one fifth of the immigrants returned to their homeland. Re-migration was especially strong towards the end of the emigration era, and was more common among men, urbanites, and persons active in the American industrial sector."*

I would think that perhaps some men came to America with the specific intent to make some money to take back to family in Sweden, maybe to purchase land. Unfortunately, I also think that for some, the "American Dream" was only .....a dream. 


Aunt Olga was a gold miner?

Olga Eufemia Källman, my grandfather Richard's older sister was born in Sweden in 1885 and came to the US in 1902.  Census records showed me that she worked as a domestic in Chicago until her marriage to Uncle Uno Markus Palm in 1911. They lived also in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and eventually they ended up in California where both of her sisters, Tekla and Sarona, with their families, also lived. She died in 1984 in California. They did not to my knowledge have any children.

I was however missing the 1920 census record. And then I found it. It had to be them. How many Olga and Uno Palms, both born in Sweden, both the exact right age, with no children, could there be?

They were in Wiseman, Keokuk, Alaska! And the occupation? "Mining for placer gold on their own account". Get out of here!

1920 US Census Wiseman, Keokuk Alaska

I know virtually nothing about gold mining in Alaska and what I do know is only what I overhear my husband listening to on the Discovery channel "Gold Rush" show. I HATE that show. It's a guy thing I guess, but I digress (again). If you are a guy, or if you really care, here is a great website describing placer gold and how it is mined.

Basically it is panning for gold in streams. It seems that Wiseman, Alaska is pretty remote, in the Arctic Yukon. The town was founded in 1919 by miners who had abandoned the Coldfoot mine. It was called the Coldfoot because seeing how rough, cold and difficult it was to live and mine there, most people got "cold feet" and went home. The town is three miles from the Dalton highway (Iditarod fame) but no connecting road until 1990. You walked. In the cold, carrying your tools and provisions. Well I guess it was not too profitable because in the 2010 census the population had shrunk to 14. It seems Olga and Uno never struck it rich. Maybe they got "cold feet" themselves. In the 1930 census they were back in the Chicago area.

But what an adventure! Why not? You only live once.

My grand aunt and uncle:

Olga Eufemia Källman
b. 3 Nov 1885 Grytgòl, Hällestad, Östergötland, Sweden
d. 23 Sep 1984 Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, USA

Uno Markus Palm
b. 4 Sep 1883 Hammar, Örebro, Sweden
d. Nov 1962 California, USA

*click on documents to enlarge for easier viewing*


Tuesday Trivia

In the ninth and tenth centuries Swedish Vikings invaded and settled in parts of Eastern Europe as far as Constantinople and the Caspian Sea.  Swedes founded the first kingdom of Russia. In fact all the Tsars of Russia until the last one, Nicholas II Romanov were of Swedish Viking Descent.

Did you know?


Friday's Faces from the Past - Lovisa Charlotta Majholm

Lovisa Charlotta Majholm 1850-1931
photo from personal collection of Ingemar Majholm

My great great grandmother Charlotta Majholm had an older sister, Anna Stina Majholm. In this Household examination below from Arboga, Västmanland, Sweden 1846-1855, we see the sisters living together with a group of other women in similar circumstances. Charlotta and Anna Stina were both the mothers of illegitimate children, living in poverty. Charlotta bore a son labeled in his parish birth record as öakta or illegitimate. Carl Wilhelm was born in Arboga 25 May 1849. Anna Stina bore a daughter, also öakta, 11 Feb 1850. That child, Charlotta's niece, was Lovisa Charlotta Majholm.

ArkivDigital Hüsförhor Arboga, Sweden 1846-1855
Charlotta's son Carl Wilhelm died at one year of age. When Charlotta found herself in similar circumstances 10 years later and pregnant with my great grandfather Robert Albin she married my great great grandfather Edvard Julius Abrahamsson. Charlotta's lot in life improved immensely with her marriage but it would seem the story may have been quite different for Anna Stina and her daughter Lovisa Charlotta. 11 June 1886 Anna Stina died. We find that Edvard Julius wrote a letter to the Arboga Public Assistance  Committee in July of that same year offering and asking for assistance on Lovisa's behalf. I can only guess the reason.  It possibly could have been Lovisa's poor health or poverty?

Frölunda July 21, 1886
Mr. Chairman of The Arboga Public Assistance Committee,
As an answer to the honoured writ of the 14th of this month, I want to inform you that I'm satisfied with the presented agreement of 25 kronor per year for mentioned Lovisa Charlotta Mayholm because I through my wife am related to her.

Concerning the cost of her journey here from the nearest railway station, situated 20 km from here, I will, as there are horses of my own, fetch her without the expense of the Committee.

A lifetime contract I don't want to sign. We know, of course, not about our time here. But if the Committee fear loss by letting her come here without this condition, then it's possible to wait with the payment of the first year until one year has passed from her arrival and I can even in part pay the cost for her journey to Svenljunga, if that be the wish. If things don't get worse for me henceforth than hitherto, her stay here will probably be for lifetime. Even my decease is no hinder.

However, if Lovisa by time through lengthy disease is to be in greater need for care, I declare my right to notify the Public Assistance Committee in Arboga in order to come in enjoyment of a slightly higher contribution through the confirmation of this Committee.

Any real use for Lovisa I can in our conditions of work not have. The cause for me to offer you to send her here for such a limited compensation I need not inform you about you since you know it so well.
Am now requesting answer by return in order to know whether I have to send her money for the journey if you don't want to pay the journey until a year has passed or perhaps you not at all want to concern yourselves with anything since I haven't signed the contract. If that's the case, I will anyway let her come here for some time in order for her to amuse herself and even see where we live.

Faithfully yours  Edvard Julius Abrahamsson**

**the original letter of Edvard Julius Abrahamsson to the Arboga Public Assistance Committee 
is in the possession of and translated into English by cousin Ingemar Majholm.

I do not know what assistance if any Lovisa received because three days after writing this letter Edvard Julius died of acute appendicitis. Lovisa did not come to Stommen and I have not yet found any documentation concerning her life except the Arboga death record that stated she was unmarried and died 10 October 1931 in Arboga stadförsamling, Västmanland, Sweden.

my first cousin three times removed
Lovisa Charlotta Majholm
b. 11 February 1850
d. 10 October 1931

(click on documents and photos to enlarge for easier viewing)


Sarona Rebekah Källman

My Grand Aunt Sarona Rebekah Källman was the eldest sister of my paternal grandfather Richard Severin Källman.

Sarona Rebekah (Kallman) Alvine and
first son Stanley Alvine 1912

Sarona was born December 11, 1878 in Lerback, Orebro, Sweden. Her parish birth record records her as öakta or illegitimate. Her mother was 24 year old Klara Sofia Bergvall. Her father is not named on her birth record but it does state that Klara was engaged to be married. Shortly after her birth Klara and Sarona moved to Sarona's father's family home and there she was baptised on January 2, 1879 in Tjällmo, Östergötland, Sweden. Her parents, Klara Sofia Bergvall and Karl Teodor Andersson were married on May 22, 1879. Her parents shortly moved to Grytgol, Hällestad, Östergotland. Grytgol was a town of iron ore mines and Karl got work in a factory as a wire puller. Perhaps Karl Andersson was a much too common a name because at this time it is noted that Karl adopted the surname Källman (literally translates Käll = spring) and the family retained that name to this day. The family was very poor. Sarona would have 5 additional siblings. Håkon Patrik born December 31, 1880, Karl Botvid born July 31, 1883, Olga Euphemia born November 3, 1885, Rikard Severin (my grandfather) born October 3, 1887, and Tekla Eugenia born October 3, 1889.

*line #29 - 25 year old Sarona emigrated to the United States in May of 1904. She was the first of the family to leave Sweden. Her mother had died of Tuberculosis in 1898. Sarona named as her contact in the US, Hugo Henry Alvine of Chicago, Illinois. Hugo had emigrated in 1893 and was now an American citizen. He came from the same area of Sweden as Sarona. He returned to Sweden to visit in 1903. I don't know if he at that time met Sarona and convinced her to leave for America or if he returned to Sweden specifically to persuade her to follow him but on December 4, 1907 Hugo and Sarona married in Chicago. One by one each of her siblings would come to America and work to save money to bring the next sibling over. Håkon and Botvid would return to Sweden. Håkon returned due to his health and died in Sweden of Tuberculosis, as his mother did, in 1908. He was 27 years old. Botvid perhaps returned accompanying his ill brother but he married and remained in Sweden raising a family there. Their father Karl Teodor remarried in 1906 and died in 1910, also of Tuberculosis.

Sarona and Hugo had two sons born in Chicago and the family moved on to Ohio and eventually settled in California.

my Grand Aunt and Uncle
Sarona Rebecka Källman
11 Dec 1878 -  28 Jul 1956
Hugo Henry Alvine
6 Aug 1875 - 9 Jan 1952

an interesting note is that the apartment that the poor young couple lived in with their two young boys in 1917 was on Barry Ave. in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. At that time it was a heavily Swedish immigrant neighborhood. Hugo worked as a clerk at Marshall Fields. That particular building was rehabbed into a three story townhouse. In 2014 it sold for $955,000.00. Go figure.

*click on documents and photos to enlarge for easier viewing*


Tuesday Trivia

Some Swedish words that you will probably never need to know but that make this silly American (me) laugh. I have never been very PC I guess.

I was traveling with such great FART that I ran over the FARTHINDER on the way to the SLUTSPURT.

FART = speed
FARTHINDER = speedbump
SLUTSPURT = final sale

I am sure many many English words sound just as ridiculous to non-English speakers so please forgive me that these Swedish words made me laugh so hard I thought I would KISS my panties.

KISS = pee

the regrettably non bi-lingual,


APRIL FOOL! or not?

If the family story is true. If Robert Albin Abrahamson is your great grandfather (as he is mine) Oscar II Bernadotte is your Great x2 grandfather AND we are among the royal.

Carl XVI Gustav Bernadotte (The current King of Sweden)   b. 1946
your half third cousin

Henry VIII Tudor  (of 6 wives fame)  b.1491
your 15th great uncle

Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor (Prince of Wales heir to the English throne)   b. 1948
your 8th cousin

Harald V Glücksburg  (The current King of Norway)  b. 1937
your half second cousin once removed

Ferdinand V of Spain (He and wife Isabella financed Columbus' journey) b. 1451
your 5th cousin 17 times removed

Nicholas II Alexandrovich Romanov (The last Tsar of Russia) b. 1868
your 5th cousin 17 times removed

But if the family story is indeed just legend


you and I are again merely peasants.

Have a gloriously royal weekend!
your cousin HRH Princess of Illinois