The Kallman/Abrahamson Family: Exploring my Swedish-born grandparent's and siblings immigrant journey to "Amerika". Searching for cousins everywhere to share family stories, pictures, thoughts, ideas and new discoveries about our Swedish heritage and our family today.

~ This blog, like my family tree, is always a work in process. Please stop back now and again! ~


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 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...


DNA and Me the fourth AND FINAL part

The latest and supposedly greatest event in the study of  family history or genealogy is the advent of DNA testing. How cool, it seemed to be able to tell where in the world your ancient ancestors came from. I already, a few years back, had traced my family back quite a few generations on all my lines. There was so much excitement about DNA in the genealogy groups I attended and my brother also expressed an interest. I thought then, why not? There were a few surprises but a little internet sleuthing showed me the possibilities. Besides it was a fun game. I blogged about it.

     DNA and Me part 1 - my haplogroups
     DNA and Me part 2 - inherited traits
     DNA and Me part 3 - my autosomal breakdown

I initially tested through 23 and Me. My Heritage had the free offer to upload results from other companies such as 23 and Me to see if there were matches in their database. I hopped on since I had heard that My Heritage had more European participants and my heritage was exclusively Northern European. I just received my autosomal results from My Heritage. Here is the comparison of the two companies results and mind you these results came from the same DNA in the same spit tube.

Me part Indigenous Amazon?

It was a fun game but I think I'm finished with this DNA stuff. I can see the use for those of us Americans descended from slaves who cannot trace their roots beyond a couple of generations. I think for the adopted also. Or just those whose families have been in the Americas so long they have no clue from where they originated.  A genealogist with a law degree, The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL (not sure what all the letters stand for but I'm impressed) is a lecturer, educator and writer who wrote clearly about the limitations of DNA testing today. Read her article HERE.

Sometime soon I am sure the science will have advanced so much they will be able to tell lots from my DNA. But for now I am content to know....we are all cousins, cousins of the same mother who originated in Africa long long ago. 

What am I? I am 100% American.
 My ancestry? I take my grandmothers at their word.

          Love you both,    


Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

Make no mistake about it. I love my country. Mark Twain said this over 100 years ago and I could not say it better or agree more.

"A man can be a Christian or a patriot, but he can't legally be a Christian and a patriot -- except in the usual way: one of the two with the mouth, the other with the heart. 

The spirit of Christianity proclaims the brotherhood of the race and the meaning of that strong word has not been left to guesswork, but made tremendously definite -- the Christian must forgive his brother man all crimes he can imagine and commit, and all insults he can conceive and utter- forgive these injuries how many times? -- seventy times seven -- another way of saying there shall be no limit to this forgiveness. That is the spirit and the law of Christianity. 

Well -- Patriotism has its laws. And it also is a perfectly definite one, there are not vaguenesses about it. It commands that the brother over the border shall be sharply watched and brought to book every time he does us a hurt or offends us with an insult. Word it as softly as you please, the spirit of patriotism is the spirit of the dog and wolf. The moment there is a misunderstanding about a boundary line or a hamper of fish or some other squalid matter, see patriotism rise, and hear him split the universe with is war-whoop. The spirit of patriotism being in its nature jealous and selfish, is just in man's line, it comes natural to him -- he can live up to all its requirements to the letter; but the spirit of Christianity is not in its entirety possible to him.

The prayers concealed in what I have been saying is, not that patriotism should cease and not that the talk about universal brotherhood should cease, but that the incongruous firm be dissolved and each limb of it be required to transact business by itself, for the future."

                                                           - Mark Twain's Notebook


Swedish Midsummer. What is it?

"A Swedish Midsummer is 'endless' summer with sun,fun, great food, flowers, dancing and joy ... a piece of Swedish culture to be proud of."       ---- NORDSTJERNAN June 29, 2017

click on↓

an article by Nordstjernan with links to recipes, celebrations in America etc.


Father's Day

Old as she was she still missed her Daddy sometimes.
                                                                       - Gloria Naylor

Happy Father's Day! Miss you Dad!

Evelyn R. Soderstrom Eckberg

Sharing a cute photo of cousin Evelyn R. Soderstrom Eckberg
Many of the records I have found show her middle initial to be "R".
Anyone know what the "R" stands for?
I am guessing Ruth, for her mother
my great aunt Ruth Abrahamson Soderstrom

Tack så mycket Evelyn
for sharing your Soderstrom memories
and photos with the extended family!


Grandpa Richard Kallman = snus

If I had only one word to describe what I remember about my grandfather the word would be snus. Seal brand Snus. That is what I remember about him. He seemed to forever have a scowl on his face and a frown. A frown with a little dribble of tobacco slipping out of the corner of his mouth.  I don't ever recall seeing him smile or laugh. Sitting with his arthritic hands curled around his cane with a growl he would bang his cane on the floor and holler "SNUS"!!! Grandma would painfully get up (she too was very arthritic) and fetch his snus. I remember once her crying silently over his demands. One summer he sat on our back porch. My grandmother, mother and aunt were inside in the kitchen. As my cousin and I were coming up the stairs he reached out and grabbed my cousin. "you two go to the store and buy Seal brand snus". We tried to explain to him that they would not sell tobacco to kids and he proceeded to  swing his cane at my cousin. I ran into the kitchen hollering for my Aunt and Mom. "Grandpa is hitting Robert with his cane." Funny, I remember it like yesterday because to me it epitomized the type of man my grandfather was yet my cousin has no memory of the event. Seal brand snus is what he always used, tucked under his lip making little sucking sounds. Sorry to say, I did not like the man.

These past years as I have looked into my family history my thoughts of the man have softened considerably. Or is it my own advancing age?  Here is what I now think about that crippled crabby old man with the snus dribbling out of his mouth.

I belong to a facebook group with a focus on Swedish genealogy. We in America are searching for our Swedish ancestry. Those in Sweden are looking for family in America. I have numerous times seen a post by a Swede, most likely my age, looking for their grandfather. Leaving a hard life he scraped together the money for a ticket to America with the promise to send for the wife and family he left behind. But he never did and their genealogical research now shows he married again leaving  a wife and children forever in poverty. Grandpa Richard came to America for a better life and although it certainly was better it was also tough. He lived in a time of two world wars and the Great Depression.  Hard times in America and one business venture after another failed.  I heard he often had to pack and leave his home in the middle of the night as he did not have the rent money. But he always took his wife and children with him. His children loved him. I remembered my Aunt crying uncontrollably at his funeral. My father named his son after him. He was a good father. An older cousin remembers him fondly as the one who took her out for driving lessons. I now have photos of him as a younger man, healthy and full of hope and smiling. The crippling arthritis he suffered? There were none of the drugs then that are available today. By the time I came along life had beat him down, he was old and severely crippled, in pain with rheumatoid arthritis. And he just wanted his snus.

Who was I to judge him? I who was born in a very different time and place to a much easier life? How bad a man could he have been to produce such a good man as my Dad? Seal brand snus? Even today snus is a very popular Swedish habit. Heck grandpa, if that is what made things tolerable for you? You go right ahead.We owe you that.....and more.....much much more.

my grandfather
Richard Severin Kallman 
b. 3 October 1887 Grytgòl, Hällestad, Östergötland, Sweden
d. 28 August 1968 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA

Occupation Investigation - Margareta Maria Källman the Laundress

Many of the old Swedish parish records list an ancestors title or occupation.
The words are often confusing, antiquated and make little sense to me.
Now and again I like to investigate, do some research.
What is the meaning of my ancestors title or occupation?
How did he support and feed his family in his time?

Today I looked at the very difficult, hardscrabble, poorer than poor, life of my great aunt Margareta Maria Erikksson Källman. 

I look today at the family photos of the beautiful countryside of Sweden and hear of their now enviable welfare system and find it hard to believe that 100 years ago, life for our ancestors was not beautiful nor enviable on any level. The 100 year period from 1870 to 1970 turned Sweden from being one of the poorest countries in Europe into the fourth richest country in the world. 

My great uncle, Håkan Patrik Källman was the older brother of my grandfather Richard Severin Källman. Although from a very poor factory working family he must have had high hopes as he left for America in 1901 at the age of 21. He married Margareta Maria Erikksson in 1902. As she came from Örebro and he from Östergotland I am guessing he met her in the U.S.. Their first child, Arthur Patrik, was born in Joliet, Illinois in 1903. That promising beginning was overshadowed by his health. As his parents before him, Patrik had tuberculosis. He returned with his small family to Sweden in 1904. Patrik and Margareta had another son, Evert Håkon, in 1905. Their twins, Aina Maria and Erik Henrik were born in 1907. Erik was either stillborn or died shortly after birth, Aina lived only a few weeks. Son Evald Arthur was born in 1908. Eight months after Evald's birth Patrik succumbed to tuberculosis. Margareta was now alone to raise her three  boys. 

In the 1911 -1920 församlingbok of Mjölby, Östergötland, Sweden Margareta is recorded as "Backstugor och tomter", working as a "Tvätterska" or Laundress.

This is a picture of a typical Backstuga seen in southern Sweden. Many Backstuga's were just a single room cottage built on someone else's farm and they were often built into a hill because wood was expensive. Three wood walls and the back wall of dirt into the hill. A Torpare rented land with a lease agreement. Those in the backstuga's were called Backstugusittare and were totally dependant on the landowners whims, considered paupers. With no legal rights they could be thrown out at any time. They were exempt from taxes as these folks were the poorest of the poor. Sometimes the landlord would allow them a small plot to have a garden. Margareta had a small garden (och tomter)but she mainly supported herself and her boys by being a laundress.

Margareta  gave birth to daughter Valborg Maria Elisabeth in 1912. I blogged about her birth earlier in ELISABETH MARIE KÄLLMAN - I WONDER IF SHE KNEW?  Margareta gave birth again in 1916 to Georg Anton. That little guy, also noted as öakta or illegitimate, with no father listed, died after just a year. I do not for a minute believe that great aunt Margareta was so lonely for a man she went out looking to be intimate with anyone. No way. She was in a very tough situation. I don't think she ever would have wanted to bear a child to live in those harsh circumstances. It saddens me to even consider what her circumstances were, what she may have had to endure or deal with to provide anything at all for her children. The only welfare in Sweden at this time was through the church. Her illegitimate and unbaptised children?  Her children were totally without a future in early 20th century Sweden. 

The "Promise of America" was her salvation. In 1922 Arthur at 18, who had been born in the U.S., returned.  Margareta and Elisabeth followed him in September of 1923. Evert 18, and 15 year old brother Evald followed in December of 1923. My grandfather Richard was listed on the ship manifest as their American contact.

The family left Chicago and ultimately settled in Minnesota. It would only be a guess but perhaps they left Chicago to protect their sister and mother? My Dad spoke of having cousins Arthur, Evald and Evert but never mentioned Elisabeth. Perhaps my family in Chicago would have been a bit judgemental of Elisabeth's birth 4 years after the death of her "father"? Who knows? Again, just a thought.

Margareta lived to be 96 years old. How pleasant was her life in America? I don't know but I will bet you however that Margareta never again worked as a laundress. 

a strong woman and a survivor
my great Aunt, 
Margareta Maria Erikksson Källman
b. 16 July 1880 Örebro, Örebro, Sweden
d. 6 August 1976 Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, USA

**1911 -1920 församlingbok of Mjölby, Östergötland, Sweden, Swedish birth/death records,
 Immigration Ship Manifests and Minnesota death records for each mentioned family member 
can be accessed on my family tree on See bottom of this webpage.**


Happy Mother's Day - to my Grandmas

This Mother's my grandmas!

Grandma Kallman and me                  Grandma Sevald and me

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

my maternal grandmother
Dagmar Gundersen Sevald
b. 10 Jun 1900 Eidanger, Telemark, Norway
 d. 12 Jun 1991 Skien, Telemark, Norway


A family find in an old yearbook - Melvin Soderstrom

accessed on U.S., School yearbooks, 1880-2012.
Moline High School in Moline, Rock Island, Illinois
Class of 1943 yearbook the "M"

Was there perhaps a plan to keep the brains in the family?
Robert Liljegren's brother Bill will one day marry Melvin's sister Esther.

my first cousin once removed
Melvin Andrew Soderstrom
b. 11 December 1924 Moline, Rock Island, Illinois
d. 24 December 1982 Winston-Salem, Forsyth, North Carolina