For the love of great great grandma Charlotta Majholm

I have blogged in the past that due to the information I found on great great grandmother, Charlotta, I had some serious doubts that Robert Albin was the offspring of Oscar II, future king of Sweden and Norway. That family legend had persisted for 150 years and I think many if not most of the family, now numbering in the hundreds, believed it. Charlotta said so, didn't she, and why would she lie? My brother told me of a cousin of my Dad's who actually had a framed portrait of Oscar in his living room. Another cousin collected Oscar memorabilia.

Admittedly I too was more than a little bit bummed when DNA proved absolutely that Oscar was not my great great grandfather. I have spent the last few days on the "Robert Albin Abrahamson Legacy" family tree on erasing one by one the relations of Oscar who now were no longer mine.

This proved tougher than I thought. Along with being a genealogy nut I also am somewhat of a Western European history buff (yes I AM a nerd and not even ashamed any more).  I loved the idea, however remote, of having not only famous but royal relatives. Why oh why Charlotta would you lie to us? On thinking it over I now have two main thoughts..

1. We are now MORE Swedish than we had originally thought! Oscar was mainly French and German by blood. This doesn't make Lutefisk more palatable but it does please me.

2. For the love of Charlotta lets look at her in the historical context of her life. In a blog of last year CHARLOTTAS' SECRET, I told the story of her first child, Carl Wilhelm. Carl Wilhelm was born out of wedlock while Charlotta stayed in a poor house. So she officially had two children with fathers unknown. Let's not be too hard on her. She came from a very poor family. Her father was dead when she was three and her mother was gone when she was twenty. She had no brothers to lean on for support. She went to work as a maid for the mayor of Arboga. She most likely made little money and her choices were few as a poor working girl. Pregnant with Carl she was forced into the poor house until she was able to work again. Swedish society would have looked upon her as trash. The church would not baptize her child until she made absolution. She had to stand before the priest and congregation and confess her "sin". Her "sin" could possibly have been that she was raped, tricked or simply abandoned  (remember Les Miserables?) by one she thought loved her. At that time in Scandinavia marriage was the religious event, the engagement was the binding contract and females often moved into their future husbands home before the actual wedding. Carl Wilhelm died at one year old. After that experience and now older and wiser (in her thirties) Charlotta was again pregnant, with my great grandfather Robert Albin. Her choices were even worse this time around. She did not opt to get an abortion. Many young women did at that time and 30% of maternal deaths were estimated to be due to abortion. She must have felt that to abandon the baby was also not an option. Those abandoned children more commonly died in the workhouse and according to the laws of the church were most likely not baptized. Again she may have been raped, tricked or abandoned.  Pulling the name of Oscar II out of her hat was brilliant. It was common knowledge that he used his princely position all about Europe to bed women. Although married he had other mistresses and numerous affairs and one nighters. She may have personally known some of those women. The story was believable and what choice would she, a poor maid, have to refuse his advances? Her position seemed a little less "sinful" as she could not have said "no" to Oscar. She found a man to marry who put his name on Robert Albin's parish birth record. She perhaps tricked him into thinking the child was his or even worse the child was his but upon learning of her past did not believe he was. The only information we have is that Robert Albin was told Edvard Julius was his adoptive father and Charlotta, when questioned as to Robert Albin's paternity, told him "plague me not anymore boy" and wept.

For the love of Charlotta let us praise her for finding a solution for her child. As a mother and grandmother I believe she did and said whatever was necessary to ensure a good and reputable life for Robert Albin. I would do the same.

my Great Great Grandmother
Charlotta Majholm Abrahamsson
b: 02 Apr 1826 Arboga landförsamling, Västmanland, Sweden
d: 29 Feb 1904 Östra Frölunda, Ålvsborg (Västra Götaland) Sweden

† peace over her memory