Death of great grandmother Anna Karolina

On this day 92 years ago my great-grandmother died.  21 November 1925 Anna Karolina Karlsdotter Abrahamson died in Östra Frölunda, Sweden, on her farm Stommen. She was 66 years old and a mere 2 years had passed since her husband, my great-grandfather, Robert Albin had died. Her cause of death was listed as hardening of the arteries and goiter.

Sixty Six doesn't today seem that old to me (particularly since I am about the same age) but considering she had had nine children and the average life expectancy was much lower than it is today, I'd say she did pretty well for herself. My grandmother, her daughter, never talked to me about her. I never even knew her name until as an adult I started my family history journey. My great-grandfather in photos seemed a well dressed, classy, gentleman farmer. Anna, in contrast, seemed to be a country girl, plain and simple. I particularly like this photo of her as it is not a posed professional picture. She looks like a hard-working, no-nonsense, but kindly type of gal. Traits I admire. I imagine that I would have liked her.  Even though I arrived more than 50 years after her death, now that I am her age I wonder if she would have liked the person I have become? I hope so.

my great grandmother
Anna Karolina Karlsdotter Abrahamson
born: 11 February 1859 on the farm Skäremo, 
Håcksvik, Västra Götaland (Älvsborg), Sweden
died: 21 November 1925 on the farm Stommen, 
Östra Frölunda, Västra Götaland (Älvsborg), Sweden

Honor our Veterans

In a few days is Veteran's Day. We honor those men and women who answered the call of defending our country. My father Melvin, was a veteran. A World War II veteran and he never talked about it.

As a child I saw this picture of him in uniform, displayed proudly in my grandmother's home. I asked him if he had been in the war and he replied only that yes, he had been in World War II and he had been in the Army. Other than that, he never talked about it.

I know that he received Christmas cards and periodically long letters from men he had served with and even visited Army buddies on occasion. However he always went alone, never taking my mom or we kids with him. He never talked about it.

AP photo, now owned and a copy may be purchased from www.realwarphotos.com

In the late 80's I came across this AP photo in the National Enquirer. It was titled"Ghosts haunt Omaha Beach" with some typical bogus National Enquirer story of people seeing ghosts of the soldiers that died on D-Day invading Europe. The photo however distinctly showed my father in the foreground! I took the paper to him and his response was "hummm, looks like me, we came off a landing craft like that into the water, I had a helmet with a cross on it like that and carried the exact same supplies." The photo prompted him to also identify other men by name. He explained that he did indeed land on Omaha Beach but not on D-Day. He was part of the reinforcements. I questioned him more. It seems that he was more than willing to defend his country but didn't know if he could ever morally find it in himself to shoot someone for any reason. His helmet with the cross indicated that they made him a medic.  "You didn't believe you could shoot an enemy?" I asked him incredulously. "How long did that last?" He thought for awhile and with a small sad smile said, "Halfway up the beach". I remember questioning him further about the war, just general questions, and he rebuffed me with "you don't need to know about those sort of things." He never talked about it again.

After his death I found in his dresser quite a bit of WWII memorabilia. Photos of him and other soldiers in boot camp and somewhere in Europe, his discharge papers, draft notice and other memorabilia. Those photos were never displayed or in an album and that was the first time I had ever seen them.
He had never talked about it.

After the death of my grandmother I became interested in my family history. The movie "Saving Private Ryan" was out and I wondered again what part my Dad had in the war. I pulled out Dad's discharge papers and did some internet sleuthing. He was in the 3rd Armored division, Spearhead unit that along with others fought their way from the beaches of France, cold, hungry and often with inadequate supplies, all the way to Berlin. His particular unit, the anti-tank company, 423rd infantry, had high casualties. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge where 19,000 American boys died in that battle alone. His unit had liberated a concentration camp. He never talked about it.

from the pamphlet (passed by censor for mailing home)
Spearheading with the 3rd Armored Division, in the Bulge, Duren-Cologne, The Ruhr Pocket, East to the Elbe

Dad was part of what we now call the "Greatest Generation:" Those men and women, out of duty and love of country went when called during WWII. They saw lots and did what they had to do. They saw no need to glory in it.  Although what they experienced, saw and did must have haunted them, they did what they had to do, for their country, for their family, for their children.  They bore the burden of those memories to protect us. "Those are things you don't need to know about." 

He never talked about it.

Thank you Dad,

November 11 and every day
Remember all of those men and women who served. 
They did what they had to do
...for our country...for our families...for our children.

***click on above photos to enlarge for easier viewing***


Swedish immigration to the US and Swedish Americans

Swedish American children 

An article written by Mark A. Granquist in the Countries and their Cultures forum. He writes about the various periods of immigration from Sweden, who came, why they came, where they settled and the Americans they became. I highly recommend this as an interesting look at Swedish immigration to the US and Swedish Americans. The article can be found if you click  → HERE.


Rikard Severin Källman

This month marks 130 years since my grandfather was born. 
Rikard Severin Källman was born October 3 1887 in the foundry town of Grytgol, Sweden. He was the fourth child of seven born to a poor wire factory worker. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was ten. At 18 he worked his way to Gothenburg where he boarded the boat "Ariosto" to travel to Hull, England. At Hull he boarded the train packed with other immigrants which took him to the Liverpool wharf. His older sister Sarona, who had gone to America in 1904, had bought him a steerage ticket on the "Ivernia", destination America. Life must have been pretty hard for him in Sweden because he never returned and I don't think he ever looked back. Maybe the only positive thing a poor and dirty town of foundries and wire factories gave him was black smith skills. Those same skills he had heard were welcome in the large growing industrial cities of America.  Cities like Chicago.

my paternal grandfather
Rikard Severin Källman
b: 03 October 1887 Grytgol, Hällestad, Östergötland, Sweden
d: 28 August 1968 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA

His eyes were the lightest blue....just like my Dad.


Mystery Young Men? Do you recognize Us?

I love to wander through old antique shops, boutiques, and second-hand stores. You never know what you will find. One thing that always disturbs me. There is always a large box or pile of beautiful old family photos. Weddings, Family groups, babies....all who were loved and photographed by their loved ones for a remembrance of them.  Those photos were most likely once displayed with great pride in the family home. Here they are abandoned because no one now alive can identify who these people, once cherished, were.

I have posted this photo before. A photo found among family photos and memorabilia. Two young handsome men that look to be no more than older teens or early twenties. Can you identify them or do they resemble a family member of ours? Please contact me.

DEAD FRED is a genealogy website. They host these abandoned photos hoping to find a home with current family. I posted this photo on that site. I love that site and in fact found there a photo of my great grandfathers' cousin. You never know what you will find. Check out the site for yourself.

And please please take a bit of time to write your name and date on the back of that great photo of you with your prize catch (and all the others too). Your great great granddaughter/son will thank you.

2003-Otto Feick-Granite Lake, Ontario,Canada


Leif Eriksson - The First European in North America

Today, Columbus Day is observed. 
As a kid it was always nice to have the day off ...but
all good Scandinavian/Americans know
and that's all I have to say about that.

check it out↓↓


Happy Cinnamon Bun Day!

Did you know that there is an official Cinnamon Bun Day Website? 
Who Knew?
Check it out. Bake some buns. Make a pot of strong black coffee. 
Have a FIKA with friends and family!



Happy Birthday Aunt Tekla!

1889 Födelsebok for Hellestas, Linkoping, Östergötland, Sweden

In 1889 on this day, October 3rd, my great Aunt Tekla Eugenia was born in Hellestads, Östergötland, Sweden. She was my grandfather Richard's youngest sister, the baby of the family, number 6. Born into a grindingly poor family she once said they had no toys as children, and very little to eat. Her mother, my great grandmother Klara Sofia, died of Tuberculosis when Tekla was just nine. Each of her older siblings had emigrated to the United States in the first years of the 20th century. Her older sister Olga returned to bring 17 year old Tekla back to Chicago with her in September of 1907. Olga and Tekla entered through Ellis Island giving my grandfather Richard's name as their connection in the US. Her occupation was listed as "domestic". In Chicago she met another Swedish immigrant, Richard Peterson who in 1917 would become her husband.

my Great Aunt
Tekla Eugenia Källman Peterson
born: 3 October 1889 Hellestads,Östergötland, Sweden
died: 1 October 1979 Santa Cruz, California USA

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


Gustaf Abrahamson

This kindly looking gentleman is Gustaf Abrahamson, the first son and third child of Robert Albin Abrahamson and Anna Karolina Karlsdotter. It is apparent from his birth register below that the family had just recently converted to the Seventh Day Adventist Faith. Unlike his first two siblings, Hilma and Anna, he is noted as "odöpt" or unbaptised in the State Church of Sweden. 

Sep 15,87-male-Gustaf -third child-unbaptised-father,Abrahamsson, Robert Albin 27-mother,Karlsdotter, Anna Karolina 28

He was born 130 years ago this month in Östra Frölunda, Ålvsborg, Sweden. He married young at 23 and built a home on property given to him and nearby his father. They named it Aveholm. His wife Hanna and he had four children; Seth, Gunhild, Sara and Margareta. Their comfortable life ended with Hanna's young untimely death and Gustaf was left to raise the children alone. He did marry again but suffered an additional loss with the drowning death of his middle daughter Sarah. 

Gustaf lived to be 93 years old and was remembered fondly by his family. A life well lived.

my Grand Uncle
Gustaf Abrahamson
b: 15 September 1887 Östra Frölunda, Sweden
d: 14 January 1980 Östra Frölunda, Sweden

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


Anniversary of the United States Air Force - Harry R. Soderstrom

This week is the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force. The United States Air Force became a separate military service on 18 September 1947. Before that, it was part of the Army, known as the United States Army Air Corp and during WWII as the United States Army Air Force. In honor of that anniversary, I am proud to bring you the WWII story of one of our own family members. 

Harry R. Soderstrom, my father's cousin.

Harry was born in 1922 and graduated from Moline High School just as the world was entering WWII. If you read the article below you will see he was "cited by his squadron commander for meritorious achievement in accomplishing with distinction numerous operation missions over enemy occupied Europe." He was the pilot of a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber, one of ten crew members and mind you he was only 22 years old at the time! I've done a little reading on the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, you may also be interested and can find that information HERE. "The coolness, courage, and skill displayed by First Lieutenant Soderstrom upon these occasions reflects great credit upon himself and the Armed forces of the United States."

a member of "The Greatest Generation"

First Lieutenant 
Harry R. Soderstrom
born: October 15, 1922 Moline, Illinois
died: June 28, 2010 Columbus, Indiana

Enormous Thank You! to my second cousin, Sally Liljegren Thomas, who has kindly shared these photos and information about her uncle Harry with the family.

*click on photos to enlarge for easier viewing. 
If you wish to download a copy of individual photos in the collage,
 they may be found under the tab PHOTO GALLERY at the top of this blog.*


Looking for Aunt Ebba and finding more.

We family historians/genealogists joke about it and our family and friends make jokes about us. But it's true and I have been at it again. FINDAGRAVE.COM is one of my favorite genealogy websites and I am also a member. Yesterday I went into Northlake (a close suburb of Chicago) to stomp around the Fairview Memorial Park Cemetery.

I was looking for the grave marker of my Aunt Ebba Kallman. When she died suddenly, I was away in Norway with my brother visiting my grandmother so I did not get a chance to go to her funeral. I had heard years ago that someone had donated her burial plot and now I know who and can easily guess the circumstances.

Fairview Memorial Park, Northlake, Illinois Section 2, lot 339, #7

Immediately to the right of Ebba's gravestone is the dual gravestone of my great Uncle and Aunt, John (Johan) Emil Jacobson, and Anna Abrahamson Jacobson.

Fairview Memorial Park, Northlake, Illinois Section 2, Lot 339, #5&6

Immediately to the left of Ebba's gravestone is the grave of Selma Emilia Borg Jacobson. She was the first wife of my father's cousin Rudolf and the daughter in law of Uncle Emil and Aunt Anna. At the time of Aunt Ebba's death, Rudolf  had been remarried, died and was buried with his second wife, Agnes Nordin Jacobson, in Canada. I believe the plot was originally intended for Rudolf. In 1989 there were no longer any Jacobsons residing in the Chicago area and the family kindly donated the plot for Ebba's earthly remains.

Fairview Memorial Park, Northlake, Illinois Section 2, Lot 339, #8

This beautiful large monument with the Lord's prayer (once the largest in the Chicago area) highlights this section of Fairview Memorial Park.

Fairview Memorial Park, Northlake, Illinois Section 2

I am sorry that I, unfortunately, did not think to bring a knife to cut away the grass that with time had almost obliterated the stones or a brush so I did the best I could with my hand, a pen and a napkin! The caretaker said they would have the stones cleared but I told them "no worries, no one in our family comes to weep over a grave anyway. We choose to instead remember them in life and rejoice we shall see them again one day in heaven."

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

Death in the North Sea - Sara Abrahamson

Sara Abrahamsson 1915-1945 was the third child and middle daughter of Gustaf Abrahamson and Hanna Emanuelsdotter, a grand daughter of Robert Albin and Anna Karolina Abrahamson. Unmarried, she worked as the Östra Frölunda telephone operator until her untimely death at sea. Her older sister Gunhild told her story to their nephew Ingemar Majholm who recorded her words.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
"The Östra Frölunda telephone exchange situated in the northern wing of Stommen was being overhauled in Oct 1945. Sara, who was the operator, got three weeks off. She somehow received the opportunity to make a round trip to England with a cargo ship.
SS Dagny was a Swedish cargo steamer which was on route from Lake Vänern for Lowestoft, the easternmost harbor in England, with a cargo of wood. Sara probably embarked when it passed Gothenburg and was going to work her way over and back again.
She served as a helper to the ship cook, an elderly lady who made her last shift before retirement. Oct 14, 1945, the ship collided with the British former troop, then cargo, steamer Empire Rapier and the old lady got stuck, badly injured.
The injured lady, as well as the seamen, urged Sara to go to the lifeboat immediately, but she lingered with the dying woman in order to try to help her. It has been told that things then went very quickly and the vessel sank before Sara managed to escape.
Her grave, the SS Dagny, lies on 34 - 38 m depth, position 54.15N-06.13E
Three weeks earlier, Sara had attended the wedding of her brother Seth and Anna-Lisa, in Vikarbyn, Dalecarlia. They now had moved into their little apartment in Stockholm. Knowing nothing about Sara's journey to England, they opened the newspaper in the morning and read that a vessel SS Dagny had sunk in the North Sea. Two casualties were named, one of which was Sara Abrahamsson, Hid. In dismay, understanding nothing, they called Gustaf and received the terrible news.
Gunhild has told how Gustaf, not a man used to show feelings, cried bitterly this day at the loss of his dear daughter. 20 years earlier he had lost her beloved mother, being left alone with four young children, Sara being the next youngest.

The exact date not known, but some time after the accident, the captain of SS Dagny visited Gustaf to tell him about what happened in the last minutes of the life of his daughter. The captain had been deeply impressed by the unselfish love of this young lady, who had risked her life to give help and comfort to a dying lady, defying the others urging her to go on board the lifeboat and save her own life."

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

my first cousin once removed
Sara Abrahamson
born: 29 July 1915: Östra Frölunda, Ålvsborg, Sweden
died: 14 Oct 1945: 34-38 m depth, position 54.15N-06.13E 
aboard the Dagny in the North Sea

The history of SS Dagny may be found → HERE 

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


Swedish Apple Cake | Sweet Paul Magazine

Early September and I feel fall in the air. 
I am having a cup of coffee on my patio and came across this recipe. 
Sounds great, just the kind of cake I like. I am going to give it a try.

I am going to check out some of the other recipes on this website also.
click on↓
Swedish Apple Cake | Sweet Paul Magazine: Swedish Apple Cake


Ole and Lena Return

It has been almost two years since I posted an Ole and Lena Joke. 
I thought I (and you) had heard them all. I was wrong! 
Here goes.........

Ole complained to his landlord.
"Da people upstairs are so annoying!
Last night dey stomped and pounded on 
the floor till almost midnight!"

"Did they wake you?" asked the landlord.

"No, " said Ole. good ting for me
I vas playing my tuba."

Happy Friday all!

Anna, Lydia and Evelyn with the happy flowery ladies

There must have been a special on flowery dresses the year this photo was taken! 
I am guessing the date to be around 1950 and in Chicago judging by the home these gals posed in front of. To the far right, I see Aunt Anna Jacobson with my grandmother Lydia Kallman just behind her shoulder. Smack dab in the middle front it sure looks like Evelyn Jacobson. I cannot identify the rest of the happy flower gals though. Can any of you?

Neighborhood group? Church group? If you can identify any other of these happy ladies, drop me a line?



Happy Birthday Tante Anna!

127 years ago today Anna Abrahamson Jacobson was born.
The second child of nine born to Robert Albin Abrahamson and Anna Karolina Karlsdotter.

my great Aunt
Anna Abrahamson Jacobson
b. 31 Jul 1885 Östra Frölunda, Ålvsborg, Sweden
d. 2 Mar 1965 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA

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


America's forgotten Swedish colony

“New Sweden was the last of the European 
colonial empires to be founded in North America”
from History.com click and read about ↓


Midwest - Nordstjernan - A Chicago, Andersonville landmark returns

Chicago, Illinois:

After three years of missing the historic blue and yellow Andersonville water tower that had to be removed from the roof of the Swedish American Museum, a replica is being assembled in the museum’s nearby parking lot, getting ready for installation. 

Read all about the progress in the lastest edition of...