The Kallman Smile

Chicago, Illinois - The Kallman Family
Laverne, Eva, Melvin, Richard, Albin, Lydia & Ebba
 This is one of my favorite photos of my Kallman grandparents and their children. It is just a small snapshot so it unfortunately doesn't enlarge clearly but it shows the nature of the family. I am dating this the late 1930's, the midst of the Great Depression. It was a very hard and uncertain time in the world. The family had been through one world war and was about to enter another. They had financial difficulties, health issues and no doubt family troubles of all sorts. But don't they look happy together?  This season I am most thankful for the legacy of descending from stable, loving, godly, happy people. People who never forgot how to smile.

Happy Thanksgiving!


The election of our president and our Swedish immigrant ancestors

Now that this particularly vile and vulgar presidential election is over and some of the dust has settled here is my 2¢.

NO, I am not going to tell you who I voted for.    Reason #1 being I found both of our choices a poor excuse for a candidate and a human being. Regardless of the outcome of the election today I would still be unhappy with the election results. BUT I VOTED. I am shocked that 45% or so of Americans did not vote. To me voting is not only my right but my responsibility. Reason #2 is what do I know and who am I to tell anyone else who to vote for anyway? Who knows what the future brings?

Since hindsight is so much clearer and we have history on our side, I thought it would be fun to try and guess for whom our Swedish immigrant ancestors may have cast their first vote.

Two dates in US history are important to remember

•Until 1922 a woman automatically became a citizen through her husbands citizenship (she also lost her citizenship if she married an alien). That means that my Swedish immigrant great aunts Olga Palm, Tekla Peterson, Sarona Alvine, Ruth Soderstrom and Anna Jacobson automatically became citizens because their husbands took the oath before 1922. Grandpa Richard Kallman immigrated in 1906 but was not naturalized until 1925, Kudos to Grandma Lydia Kallman though, who individually applied for and became a naturalized citizen in 1930.

•American women did not win the vote until 26 August 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment. The 1920 election was the first that women in the U.S. could participate.


Those Places Thursday - Uncle Emil and Aunt Anna's house

YESTERDAY (late 1940's)
John Emil and Anna Jacobson
in front of their home in Chicago, Illinois
with Evelyn Johnson, Ruth Jacobson, Tim and Paul

the house still stands but the neighborhood has changed and not for the better. The home is in a depressed neighborhood, a high crime area of frequent robberies, assaults and shootings. The house next door was abandoned and demolished.

Many of us had been there over the years but would you recognize it today?


Friday's Faces From the Past - John Emil Jacobson 1911

Cousin Ingemar is still emptying out bags from his Mom's. Another great find! Keep digging cousin!

1911 John Emil Jacobson 

This photo was not named but cousin Paul identified it as his grandfather John Emil, "with a little more hair than I remember him having"! The photo, in beautiful condition, was dated 1911. Taken in New Britain, Connecticut undoubtedly sent home to Sweden to show how well he was doing in the U.S. In 1913 his wife Anna and their three children (Rudolf, David and Elizabeth) would join him.

my great uncle
Johan Emil Jakobsson
soon to be known as
John Emil Jacobson
b. 11 Sep 1878 Torshult, Mårdaklev, Ålvsborg, Sweden
d. 22 Feb 1962 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA

***click on photo to enlarge for easier viewing, right click to download***

History of Veterans Day | The History Channel

"On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free." – Dan Lipinski

To those who have honored and defended our country
through  their military service


Lydia at 20

1910 Lydia Abrahamson - 20 years old
This photo was recently discovered by my second cousin Ingemar as he went through a bag of papers and photos found as he was cleaning out his late mother's home. My grandmother Lydia in 1910 at 20 years old. She  had just arrived in the U.S. less than a year before. This picture of the lovely Lydia is one I will truly cherish. How can I ever thank you enough Ingemar?

my paternal grandmother
Lydia Abrahamson Kallman
b. 25 Feb 1890 Östra Frölunda, Ålvsborg, Sweden
d. 23 Apr 1978 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA

***click on photo to enlarge for easier viewing***


"Teamwork and coincidence"

I opened my email today to find this photo and this note from my second cousin in Sweden, Ingemar Majholm.

on back of photo is written " Luther på 80 års dagen"
This is an example of teamwork and coincidence.
Looking into one of the bags taken from my mother's house before we sold it this summer, I found a bunch of old pictures the other day. One of them would never have got my attention if I hadn't read your blog from Oct 10 this year. The name wouldn't have rang any bell, but now it did.
September 29, 1971, 80 years old, with just three years more to live."


Luther Abrahamson, the son of Anna Susanna Karlsdotter and Anders Abrahamsson, the maternal cousin of Anna, Lydia and Ruth must have been a favorite cousin and its great that with a little "teamwork and coincidence" we were able to identify him.

I am glad we are on the same team, thank you Ingemar!


Grandma Kallman leaves a gift from the past

It always irked me a bit that grandma saved everything and I mean EVERYTHING. We had to unwrap Christmas and birthday gifts slowly and carefully because she reused the paper. She washed off tinfoil and folded it for another time. Each and every card she received she carefully wrote the date and who gave it to her and put it away for safekeeping. I once saw her take 6 to 10 leftover peas (I swear to you I am not making this up) and put them in an old saved jelly glass and popped them in the frig. for later meals. I figured it was most likely a legacy of the Great Depression. She was also forever writing things down, making lists. Where all those cards ended up I haven't a clue but one list she meticulously typed out in duplicate with old time carbon paper over a half century ago would be a priceless gift. When my father died in 1989 I found among his papers and memorabilia this:

Grandma Lydia had made a list. A list of the names of her children and the circumstances of their birth. A list of her and my grandpa Richard's parents and siblings with the dates and places of their birth, deaths, married names and where they now resided at the time of her writing. She knew that although she remembered, someday she would be gone and she wanted her children, she wanted her grandchildren, she wanted US to know who we were and where we had come from.

Thank you Grandma Kallman.