In the early 20th century my paternal grandparents, Rikard Severin Källman (1887-1968) and Lydia Abrahamson (1890-1978) immigrated from Sweden. I am exploring my Swedish ancestors immigrant journey to "Amerika" and life in Swedish Chicago. I am searching for cousins everywhere to share family stories, pictures, memories 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! ~

Saturday, March 11

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.

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