Friday, November 11, 2016

Research tips for November

The Swedish digital provider of digitized Swedish church record Arkiv Digital announces free access to their records for the Weekend of 12-13 November.

Linda Kvist has started a new podcast about Swedish genealogy in English it is called
Cousin Linda 

The Minnesota Historical Society has opened a new website for showing digitized Swedish-American newspapers. 

Hundreds of Swedish-language newspapers were published in the United States from 1850 onward,
catering to America's Swedish immigrant communities. Use this online portal to learn more about these newspapers, and to search over 300,000 digitized newspaper pages from 28 different Swedish American newspaper titles published across the United States between 1859 and 2007. 

North Park University  in Chicago has digitized the records of the first Swedish church in  Chicago
the St. Ansgarius Protestant Episcopal Church

Founded in 1849, St. Ansgarius Episcopal Church was the first parish established for the growing community of Swedish immigrants in the city of Chicago. The church was formed jointly by the Swedish and Norwegian communities within the neighborhood of Swede Town (present-day River North). Gustaf Unonius (1810-1902), a Swedish pioneer and Episcopal priest, served as the church’s first pastor for 10 years.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Swede Hollow -The Swedish slums in Saint Paul, Part 1

In the swedish consiousness the typical Swedish Emigrants to USA are often symbolized by swedish author Vilhelm Moberg main characters in his novel series The Emigrants.
In the books the young hardworking farmer couple Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson  immigrates to Chisago county,Minnesota to create a better future in the 1850thies.

What few realise is that this image is only part of the thruth. Most swedish emigrants came to USA to settle in larger or smaller cities. The swedes also got their fair share of prejudices,racism,disease and slums. On of the slums that some of the swedish emigrants lived in was Swede Hollow on the East side of Saint Paul Minnesota. Situated between Payne Ave. and East 7nth Street on the border between Railroad island and Dayton's Bluff the area is now a park a green area but until 1956 it was one of the poorest parts of St. Paul.

 The area is located in the lower part of Phalen Creek Valley a narrow gorge about1,2 kilometers long surrounded by 20-30 meter high cliffs . in its bottom flows a stream Phalen Creek. The area has several springs and caves .The stream soon attracted industries to the surrounding area. Several breweries primarely the large Hamm Brewerey.its large buildings and its owners Theodore Hamms magnificent residence was right next to the ravine.  A railroad line to Duluth went through the valley.

 The area´s first inhabitants were non swedish trappers and ,loggers and odd job workers who lived there in the 1840-thies. the Swedes began to settle in the area in the 1850thies and came to dominate it for fifty years. They called the area Svenska Dalen (Swedish Valley) but it soon became known under its unofficial name Swede Hollow (Swedish hole)

Swede Hollow, looking north from East Seventh Street before creek was enclosed
1912-1915 courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society [1]

By the end of the 19th century Swede Hollow was an place where poor immigrants could find cheap accomodation when they began their life in USA It also was a stepping stone werethey  could reside for some time until they could  "move up" both socially and geographicly   to more more social-established areas in the city .it was also a refuge for those who went through hard times and needed a place to pull themself together . it was a slum and many remained poor diseases flourished and child mortality was high.

Swede Hollow was not devided into street,blocks and lots. The only street in Swede Hollow meandered along Phalen Creek. .The houses and shacks were self build  and build  close together were there were  place left . Some inhabitants  kept small animals as chicken out of necessity. The residents took their water from a well  and used the creek as their sewer. Some of the residents built their outhouses on piles over the brook

In 1881 the swedes got new neigbours when a group of Irish moved into the valley..The Irish area became known as Connemara Patch .The Irish lived downstreems Phalen Creek from the swedes and sometimes got the dirt from the swedish outhouses.the relationships between the groups was tense.

At the start of the 20tcentury as more of Swede Hollows swedish residents became more socially established.They bagan to move up from the valley and into more established neigbourhoods in immigrant groups began to settle in Swede Hollow .First italians later poles and other East europeans.After World War one the area became home to newly arrived Mexicans.

After word War two the city authorities began to see the area as a burden.In 1956 it "discovered" that the sanitary conditions in Swede Hollow was unfit without access to municipal water and sewers.
Despite protest from local residents,they were evicted . On november 2 1956  the Saint Paul Firedepartment set the remaining empty houses on fire. in 1978 the area begame inagurated as a park Swede Hollow Park.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Minnesota Day in Ljuder Church August 14, 2016

 This year's Minnesota day celebration was held on August 14  and took place as usual in Ljuder Church in in Lessebo municipality in Småland .The area is known for being the home area of swedish author Vilhelm Moberg's and the setting for his novel series (The Emigrants) about the  of the first significant wave of immigration to the United States in the 1840thies and 1850thies.
The opening speach was held by  the municipality manager in Lessebo Christina Nyquist.

photo: Gunilla Grügiel

This year's Honorary speaker was retired bishop of Växjö Jan-Olof Johansson, He spoke on the subject "Always on the run" which he compared the migration flows past and present.

The Swedish-American of the Year Nils Lofgren with roots in  the province of Värmland was  presented by the Grand Lodge Deputy of the Vasa Order of America   Catherine Bringselius-Nilsson.
Nils Lofgren has become known as an outstanding musician and guitarist of  Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.

Guests were sounding the  handbell ensemble Strikepoint from from  Duluth in northern Minnesota.They  have  toured worldwide and now they entertained the  the audience in Ljuders church with several beautiful melodies with their bells of different sizes.

Gunilla Grügiel (left) Monika Banas(right)
One of the  most popular features  on the program each year is  "Greetings from near and far away " Among the greatings this year was Swedish Emigrant Institute Fellow of  2000 Monica Banas from the University of Krakow  

Another faithful visitor to  to the Minnesotaday and other Swedish-American events was Carl Boberg who brougt greetings  from his hometown Nisswa in nothern Minnesota .

Last but not least was the Swedish Emigrant Institute's first director Professor Ulf Beijbom present along with his wife, textileartist Viola Kristiansson.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Early Emigrants: Sophie Sager -a woman before her time Part 2

Sophie's ordeal had made her aware of the lack of  legal rights for women and especially single unprotected women. She becan holding pulic lectures advocating for better womens rights first 1849 in Stockholm and later Uppsala and in the following years she visited Malmö,Gothenburg and Copenhagen.

She got a lot of audience, mostly young men but often met with  criticism because of her lack of “ladylike behaviour” Sophie  was ahead of its time and deviated from the ideal of the  passive, good womanhood. She had dared to do that no one else before her had done, namely, to use police force to defend their right not to be assaulted.. Maybe she was considered to forward  as she frequently advertised their activities in the press. 

her litterary production was little and and her talent lacking . Among her works include: Emanciperade fantasier i vers och prosa(Emancipated fantasies in verse and prose) 1850)
 Fonsterbarnets avslöjande genealogi (Pictures from life or Foster Child and its genealogy) (1852).

Sophie's thoughts were not revolutionary. She believed in the institution of marriage but thought women should have the right to a good education and to move freely in the community without having to bow to unnecessary conventions or be molested.

Emigration and life in the US
In1854 Sophie emigrated to the United States. She sailed with the bark Columbia from Hamburg with 200 German emmigrants. and arrived in New York August 5, 1854 In the lists of arrival she is listed as seamstress with her she had a two and a half year old child, if it was her own child, or if she has a child on behalf of another is not clear .

In 1855 Sophie married   the German music professor Eugene Adolphe Wiener (ca1813-1888). They had two  sons, Gabriel (1856-1932) and Victor Bolivar (1862-1932) The family settled in New York most of the time at different addresses in Brooklyn
Inthe Us federal census Census 1860 Sophie's husband is listed as music professor and in 1870 he is listed as as pianist and Sophie as musician
In 1861 Sophie published a pamplet called Woman's Destiny and Man's Duty Sophie and her husband separated around 1878 around 1878. In the mid and late 1880s Sophie held lectures on various topics, for example feminism, often her piano playing son Victor Bolivar performad with her, In 1887 Victor married a s girl of modest family background .She that was not good enough,for him according to Sophie who told the local newspaper, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle that he couldhave married a girl worth 60 000 dollar .. In 1888 Sophie became a widow according to the newspaper, he had devoted much of his time to think about a strategy how people could avoid bumping into each other on the street. 1893 Sophie suggested in the nespaper that passenger ships that sailed across the seas to oughto always sail in pairs if there were an accident they should be able to assist eachother.
Funeral and death
Sophie Sager died February 28, 1901 in her residence at 151 Jefferson Avenue in New York, According to the death certificate, she was 76 years old .She was buried two days later at her husband's side at the Greenwood Cemetery. According to an obituary d she was a famous lecturer
A year later, February 26, 1902 a memorial service over her was held inover her in the Swedish-American Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brooklyn by Pastor J Jacobson.
The late memorial service supposedly gave rise to the rumor she'd died in 1902 Sophie's two sons died in 1932 Gabriel was unmarried, Victor had 4 children reaching adulthood

Sophie was ridiculed in her own time by her contemporaries.Today she is often seen as a early pioneer in the fight for womens rights. An her cause that a woman have the right to go unmolested in the public sphere is as actual now as it was then. However, Sophie was according son Gabriel against women's suffrage Today there is a street named after her in Enskededalen outside Stockholm.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Early Emigrants: Sophie Sager -a woman before her time Part 1

Sophie Sager
Among the earliest  Swedish emigrants was  also a female pioneer whose career took her from the swedish countryside to the dangerous sides of Stockholm and later  across the Atlantic to Brooklyn.New York.  The first woman held public  lectures on women's rights.
and sued a man for assault and battery in her own name.

Childhood and adolescence
Sophie Lisette Sager came from a  family  of  industrialists .Born in 1825 in Byarum ,Jönköping county, the daughter of  Gabriel Sager and his second wife Johanna Bergenholz. After her father's death in1834, the family went broke .and in1840 they had to move to the poorhouse  .Sophie education came to depend on the charity of relatives. According to Sophie she later had to earn a living as a governess and companion.

In 1848 a relative paid for Sophies  travel by steamboat to Stockholm and for her stay there in order to learn fine needlework. It  was Sophies plan to open her own dress shop in Stockholm.
Her  experiences in the shady suroundings there, would turn her life upside down, and drive her on to the public stage.

The trip to Stockholm The Sager case
After her arrival Sophie took lodgings with a shoemakermaster family Dillström in Bollhusgränd in Stockholms Old city. Bollhusgränd was already in the late 18th century known to be a prostitution district.  After rows and quarrels with mrs Dillström who had an illigal tavern and wanted Sophie to be at the guests disposal,
Sophie was forced to move and managed, thanks to a certain stable manager Gustaf Adolf Möller , to find lodgings with his housekeeper.Lovisa Ström.  Sophie soon  discovered that miss Ström  was Möller’s mistress and also engaged in prostitution under the cover of “receiving needlework”. Before long, Sophie  also had a nocturnal visit, . The visit was energetically rejected. The stable manager then began a sexual siege of the dismissive Sophie , which ended with attempted rape and assault.

Sophie managed to escape and was tended to by a doctor Johan Eric Brisman  who helped her report Möller to the police and documented her injuries. The long and detailed statements to the court Sophie Sager wrote herself, and she represented herself before the court.
The statements were thus the first of Sophie Sager’s writings to be published. They reveal a reality that her contemporary female authors probably never had any personal contact with and did not write about. Stockholm’s nocturnal world of bars, prostitution, and general immorality. Möller was convicted and scandalised and left Stockholm  in 1849.

The trial was  a sensation and  extensively written about in the  Stockholm newspapers.
and the documents concerning the trial were printed as a book Sagerska målet (The Sager case)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ship Disasters: Austrias fire September 13, 1858 Part 3


The Aftermath

Austria started burning at about the level of 45 ° 01'N 41 ° 30'W about midway between Newfoundland and the Azores. the burned out wreck  probably drifted for a while before it sank to the bottom (Austrias wreck site)

 Austrias wreck  created a stir on both sides of the Atlantic, primarily in the USA and Germany, and newspapers reported extensively about the disaster.

 On 3 November 1858 The Hamburg city  Senate conferred .the Hamburgian honorary gold medal to Captain Ernst Renaud of the  Maurice and C A Funnemaityrk of  the  Caterina and honorary medal in silver to 4 other crew members for  the rescue of the surviving passengers.

 Charles Rosene jr  returned to his mother and siblings  in Richmond, Virginia, about 1870 he settled  in New York where he worked as  an actor .He  married at least two times and had seven children. According to the US Federal  census in 1900 he  was  retired and living with his family in Manhattan He died 1911 in New York  at an institution for the mentally ill .

The fate of  Charles (Claes)  Högqvist, Sven Nilsson and Swen Peterson remains  unknown they  probably remained  in USA.

 H C Andersen deeply mourned Henriette Wulff .  She had been  one of his closest friends,and  she had been like a sister to him. With her death his wish to visit USA  vanished since he became scared of the sea voyage . He wrote a poem in her memory in seven stanzas published in the danish newspaper Dagbladet, on October 22, 1858.

In Åby parish the pastor  wrote in the note on Carolina Nilsdotter emigration to America in the margin of the church examination rolls  "perished  during voyage   to America  Sep 13th 1858"

The news of August Theodor Mankées death reached both   his family in Stockholm and the ba ptists in Rock Island,  his two small  daughters were send  to the family in Stockholm where they grew up. One moved back to Chicago while the other became a clergyman's wife on the island of Gotland.

 Carl Johan Holmberg's gold nugget was taken  from his dead body and sent to his sister in Sweden

Anders Viktor Lindstein remained in the USA a few years after the sinking of the Austria but returned to  Sweden. around 1861. He remained unmarried  and lived a quiet life .Han worked as inspector at an ironmill  but was active in the Swedish Sharpshooter movement in Falun in 1860-thies.  He died in 1890 in Falun and was buried in Stora Kopparberg.but by then the disasater of the  Austria had  slipped into history's oblivion.

Friday, March 4, 2016

New prince in the Royal family !

Crown princess Victoria and Prins Daniel got their second child on March 3rd when the crown princess gave  birth to her second child and first son. (her first being 4 year old princess Estelle).
The little boy will be named Oscar Carl Olof and will become duke of Skåne
King Carl Gustaf announced the happy event to members of governement and the swedish people

The Happy family has returned to their home at  Haga castle

And here is the first picture of the little prince 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Shipping disasters: Austrias fire 13 September 1858 Part 2

The Fire 

After taking up the English passengers in Southampton  Austria sailed out onto the Atlantic .The journey  was relatively uneventful since ther was  headwind the ship was  estimated to arrive in New York a little  later than expected.
At noon on September 13 it was decided to fumigate  the sterage, by smoking it by dipping a red  hot chain into a bucket of tar. The chain soon  became too hot for the boatswain to hold and dropped onto the deck, which immediately caught fire. Soon  the cry was heard:
Feuer! (Fire !!)
Although the ship traveled only at half speed, it was impossible to stop the  steam engines since  enginecrew had become  asphyxiated   by the  smoke.
As the helmsman and the captain abandoned the ship,  the ship swung into the wind, which further allowed the fire to spread along the ship, devouring the  the mahogany veneer and varnished bulkheads and painted shots. The propeller could not be stopped and the rudder became useless.
Panic broke out on board. The passengers who did not suffocate  by the smoke were burned to death by fire or drowned when they jumped overboard to escape the flames.  Others died when they were drawn into the rotating propellers.
Anders Victor Lindstein told:
The horrible scene at the ship's fire is difficult to describe, you can make yourself an idea about it at the thought that out of 600 people, only 89 became saved. I saw mothers take their children, whose clothes already on fire, and throw them into the sea before  plunging  themselves into the waves

Charles Rosene and his son Charles Jr. had been sitting near the engineroom when the fire broke out. Charles, Jr. told:
:My father and I ran forward to escape the fire and was followed by the other passengers. I saw the fire penetrate through the valves within 10 to 15 minutes came the call to the lifeboats!
The panic-stricken passengers struggled to get space in a lifeboat, but disarray prevailed
Several lifeboats were launched but . but drove off before anyone had time to rise.
When the firstofficer took a knife and cut the ropes that held one of the lifeboats  it fell into the water, the passengers that were  inside were thrown out and the boat filled with water Charles Jr. ended up in the water but managed along with some others get  into the boat, it  however, turned over several times and  more people fell out and drowned.
Charles Sr.clinged to the boat for a short while but then lost his grip , and disappeared into  the waves. Claes Högqvist clung to one of Austrias lifebuoys for several hours before he could be helped into the lifeboat.
The first vessel to observe the disaster was the French bark Maurice which  immediately rushed to help.  Att seven in the evening arrived at the burnt ship and could rescue the first survivors.fromthe lifeboat.   The next morning the Norwegian sailing ship Catarina picked up the remaining  survivors who clung to the charred hull or were  floating on wreckage nearby  while the charred remains of the burned-out ship was left to sink.
Anders Lindstein was one of the last people pulled alive from the water.., his friend Carl Johan Holmberg was hanging dead on the bowsprit, where he had tied himself. In total, only about 90 people were  rescued of the ships  originally about 540 occupants.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shipping disasters: Austrias fire 13 September 1858 Part 1


During the  early days of the swedish emigration In the 1840-1850 thies   most emigrants left Sweden on sailings ships from swedish ports .Most of the ships where not regular passager ships .The journey could take between 8-12 weeks. However, there were already at that time bigger ships specialized in passenger traffic with hundreds of emigrants on board.

They were combined sail and steamships that passed from the British, German and French ports. They traveled quicker  across the Atlantic than sailing ships and crossed the Atlantic in about  14-21 days. Even though they were both bigger and faster , they were not always safe. Several major disasters occurred during the 1840-1850's. one of the worst was the Hamburg-America Line Austrias fire on September  13th 1858.

The Hamburg-America Line had started its passenger traffic in 1847 with sailing ships but in 1857 supplemented  it with steamers and purchased four new ships to operate the route from Hamburg  to  New York. In  1855  Hammonia and Borussia entered into service i, and in 1857 followed the sister ships Saxonia and Austria.

Austria was built on Werft Caird & Company (Caird & Co.) shipyard in Greenock in Scotland and launched June 23rd  1857.She was 318 ftand 2,684 BRT, with three masts and single screw propeller propulsion. The ship was built as a troop transport ship for the British  East India Company. She was, however, an unlucky  ship. Already  on October 5th  1857, she was hit by  a storm in the Bay of Biscay which killed  a crew member  .It severely damaged the ship  which had to sail back to Plymouth  to undergo extensive repairs. On her second trip, she  again encountered   a storm  both steam engines were badly damaged this time she must also return for repairs in Plymouth  In  May 1858 was taken over by the  Hamburg-America Line and was deployed on the route Hamburg-New York

The fateful trip


On the quay in Hamburg where emigrant ships moored swarmed with people .Most of those who would sail  with Austria came from different parts of the  german speaking areas.There were no united Germany yet..Hamburg was an independent city state, and the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein belonged to Denmark...Some of the passengers  came from different parts of the  the Habsburg empire , a number of Americans who were visiting Europe were a also among the passengers. A dozen Scandinavians had also solved tickets in different price ranges.

Henriette Wullf and her friend and companion Caroline Howith from Copenhagen had allowed themselves first-class tickets .Caroline  was a was a well-travelled  single 54 year old sophisticated lady  and a close  friend of the writers H C Andersen and Fredrika  Bremer .This would be Caroline's third trip across the Atlantic in 10 years. She had previously visited both the Caribbean and the United States with her brother and  after his death, she decided to definitively emigrate  and settle in the United States.

Two returning  Swedish gold-diggers Anders Viktor Lindstein  and his friend John Holmberg had bought tickets in the cabin  class both men came from Västra Vingåker in Södermanland.They had visited friends and family and were now both on their way back to California .

Among the third class passengers were some other returning Swedish gold-diggers including Swen Peterson and S.P. Swensson from Landskrona area in Skåne .Swensson had married Peterson's sister Olivia and she was now following them back to USA. .The three siblings Anders,Sven and Carolina Nilsson came from Kläckeberga in Kalmar county .They had early lost their parents Anders had became a sailor and was now returning to bring his siblings to USA. .From Söderhamn came Charles Högqvist who had been on a visit  to his hometown Söderhamn in Hälsingland  ,with him followed the farmer Lars Dahlström from Söderala who decided to seek his fortune in America

Other Swedish passengers who had been home on a visit, Charles Rosin
Rosin had already in his youth emigrated from Kalmar  to America now he and 16-year-old son Charles  Jr.on their  way home to Richmond , Virginia after having visited relatives,
August Theodor Mankee had visited relatives in Stockholm and was now on his way home to Rock Island, Illinois. Among the  Scandinavians were also Sven and Daniel Danielsen who sailed to Hamburg from Stavanger. in Norway.
On August 31  all passengers were  carefully recorded In the passenger lists

Austria sailed September 1, 1858  from Hamburg on her  third trip to New York with about 538 people aboard passengers and crew under command of Captain FA Heydtman three days later she arrived in  Southampton where additional passangers boarded  .In the morning of September 4rd  Austria  steered out on  the Atlantic  The ship was estimated to arrive  in New York on September 18th. Unfortunately most of those on board were never to arrive to their destination.