Swedes Aboard the Titanic

April 1912
Arguably one of the most infamous maritime disasters was the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic sank in April of 1912. Along with the famous, the Astors, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, were scores of immigrants, traveling steerage, headed to New York and Ellis Island.

Sinking of the Titanic-Wikipedia Commons

 Our immigrant ancestors, coming during the same time period and traveling the same route, could easily have been one of these unlucky Swedes leaving their home in Sweden for a new life in the U.S. on the "unsinkable" RMS Titanic.


An interesting but sad accounting.


The ties that bind? - DNA

Well, I am over it and hope all the cousins are too.

So what if the DNA of the Abrahamson family doesn't match with the King of Sweden? More importantly (to me anyway) is that Cousin Knut Anderson got his DNA results and the first match that popped up on his screen? You guessed it....ME!!!!!

Poor ole may be out but science (and my spit in a tube) proved 
I am officially a member of the Abrahamson clan! 

Right on the money also. Knut is indeed my first cousin once removed. 
His mother was Ester Abrahamson, the seventh child of Robert Albin Abrahamson. 
My grandmother was Lydia Abrahamson, the fourth child of Robert Albin Abrahamson.


Occupation Investigation - Karl Teodor Källman

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?

In the 1883-1887 Swedish Household Examination my great grandfather Carl Teodor Andersson (father of my grandfather Richard Kallman) is working as a "Tråddragare". This translates to a wire-drawer. That did not help me, what would this be? The dictionary was no more help telling me that it is "one who draws wire". Really?? My husband, who is pretty knowledgeable explained it to me like this. A "wire-drawer" would be a person who sets up, or operates a machine that extrudes (draws) metal materials into tubes, rods, wires, etc. For instance he might work a factory machine that produces barbed wire. Now I got it.

wire drawers with their tools outside a wire factory @1890
When I thought of Sweden I always, for some reason, thought of idyllic farmland, rolling green hills and the Swedes of old being basically farmers. In fact Sweden has a thousand year old history of mining, particularly iron. Today Sweden is by far the largest iron ore producer in the EU.

To be a miner in the late  19th century was no doubt, grueling and back breaking work. It was also unhealthy and downright dangerous. Perhaps Carl considered himself lucky to instead be working in a factory.  If you can call it lucky that the family lived on company property in company owned housing with pretty poor pay, long work days and hard work.  Looking at where my grandfather Richard was born and where his family lived also gave me more clues. Grytgol, Ostergotland. There is a large factory there still in existence which has been up and running since the 1600's as one of the world's leading suppliers of industrial wire.

Carl very likely could have worked for this same company. Hard work and poorly paid, it was still an occupation that did command some respect, a blacksmith type trade.  Having a trade, he distinguished himself by no longer going by his patronymic Andersson but took the surname Källman, passing the name on to my grandfather Richard, my father Carl Melvin and me. 

my great grandfather
Carl Teodor Källman - Tråddragare
b.10 September 1853 Tjällmo, Östergötland, Sweden
d. 03 September 1910 Mjölby, Östergötland, Sweden


Occupation Investigation - Robert Albin Abrahamsson

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?

I thought I would start with my great grandfather. Seeing a portrait of him and his family for the first time was my introduction into my Swedish heritage. On his estate probate he is listed as...

Robert Albin Abrahamsson - Hemmansägare = farmer  

Robert Ablin
Gentleman Farmer
That English translation is not totally correct. On Swedish documentation there are all different words for farmer. Yes, as in English, they all farm the land, but the different words for farmer indicates also their particular place on the farm or social standing. They could be merely a "dräng" which generally indicates a young male farm laborer. A "fästebonde" was a sort of tenant farmer.  A "torpare" worked a small farm he did not own and usually paid the owner in produce or days of work. A "statare" was merely employed by the landowner. There are a few others which indicate different standings of a farmer but the occupation seems to be at its best if, like Robert Albin, you were a "Hemmansägare".  The best English translation of great grandfather Robert Albin's occupation is that he was a gentleman farmer. He owned his own goodly sized farm with buildings that gave him a bit of higher standing in the community at large. It was a pretty good place to be in late 19th century Sweden. Land was at a premium and Sweden's population had grown rapidly. The wish to own their own land was a big big driving force that sent thousands of poor Swedes to the U.S. in the mid 19th century.


The Trombone?

Moline High School
Class of 1940
Moline, Rock Island, Illinois

Wow, a swing trombone player! I think this is a first for our family. Or is it?

my first cousin once removed
Harry Robert Soderstrom
b. 15 October 1922 Moline, Illinois
d. 28 June 2010 Columbus, Indiana


Happy Birthday Mom - Grace Gunhild Sevald Kallman

 My mom died young. Way too young. Mom never had any grandchildren. One of the greatest joys of my life has been my grandchildren and until I had them I never really knew how much my Mom had missed out. The greatest loss however was to those kids. She would have been a wonderful grandmother and loved them so much. Knowing and loving my grandma and being a grandma myself I can tell you that no one loves, accepts, understands and worships you like your grandmother does. I hate it that my kids never had that opportunity to have a special relationship with my Mom.

Today she would have been 90 years old. Happy Birthday Mom! 
We, your children remember you with love and pass your love on.

Grace Gunhild Sevald Kallman
b. March 4th 1927 Chicago, Illinois
d. April 21 1975 Park Ridge, Illinois


Wednesday's Child - Ernst Robert Andersson

Linus Andersson and Lena Johanna Karlsdotter were my 2nd great aunt and uncle. Lena Johanna was the older sister of my great grandmother Anna Karolina Karlsdotter.  At the bottom of this death record for 1890 Håcksvik, Västra Götaland, Sweden is their little boy Ernst Robert Andersson. That same year, just a few months sooner they had lost a little girl named Alma. Lena Johanna bore eleven children, five died in childhood. I can't even imagine the grief of losing one of my children, let alone five. The neighboring couple (just above Ernst Robert's death record)? They lost three children in two days to diptheria. Wow.

Swedish Church Records Archive. Johanneshov, Sweden: Genline AB County: Älvsborg; Parish: Håcksvik; Volume: 990; Record Type: Död (Deaths); Year Range: 1890; Roll/Fiche: SC-1563

my first cousin twice removed
Ernst Robert Andersson
b. 17 October 1890 Skaremo, Håcksvik, Älvsborg, Sweden
d. 8 December 1890 Skaremo, Håcksvik, Älvsborg, Sweden

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