Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Swedish Research: The Truth Uncovered

All good genealogists know that supposition can lead to many ills and sometimes it takes years to get back out of the mess that is created! I was a lucky one and the incorrect information that had been handed down in our family and taken for truth did not stay within my records for long. The value of ones own research and findings can be like finding "gold" and can lead to the TRUTH UNCOVERED.

Back in April and May of this year(2009), I did a series of three articles on "My Swedish Research". Since I am relatively new at this, my writings told of my approach to the records and what I had learned and techniques that I was using. All of these blogs may be accessed at one, two, and three for your reading pleasure. This has been a wonderful ride so far in the quest for my husband's Swedish ancestors. I have hit a few bumps along the way, but the eventual rewards have been wonderful. With only a few short months of researching at both The Family History Library in Salt Lake City and also on the Swedish site: Genlines, I have found many wonderful documents that recorded the lives of our ancestors. New names have been added, the truth was uncovered concerning others, and some great new mysteries have been brought to light--hopefully to be solved!

Part 1 of the previous story was somewhat incomplete. Our Great Grandfather, Fredrick Albert Larson was born May 24, 1867 in Lugarp, Floby, Skaraborg, Sweden. He did emigrate from Goteborg to the US in 1888. Fred married Wilhelmina "Minnie" Anderson in Chicago, Cook Co., Illinois on Dec 2, 1891. "Minnie" was born July 25, 1869. We are still unsure of her exact birth place in Sweden.

Fred's brother, Johan Gustafsson was also born in Lugarp, Floby, Skaraborg, Sweden on Aug 4, 1864. Johan's name was changed to "Hellgren" upon entering the military service. He married Maria Christina Andersdotter on April 11, 1886 in Floby, Skaraborg, Sweden. Wilhelmina and M. Christina were sisters who married brothers. I have found several records for Johan, both military and civilian, and his marriage and banns. He became John Hellgren once in the United States. Both Fred and Johan had dropped the Gustafsson patronymic name; Fred went by the last name of Larson and John by the name of Hellgren.

I can't stress enough the value of studying these wonderful Swedish records with a serious eye for the unexpected. A scant few clues can open up a world of knowledge. Another error in our records was with an old photo we had (one of only a couple we have from the old country). It was of supposedly, Gustav Larson and Clara Edlund, the parents of both Fred and Johan. I even erroneously labeled that photo in part 2 of my former blog posts as such, according to the information we had always had. Not so-the photo now has the right names, the truth has been uncovered and these ancestors now have been rightly identified as Gustaf Larsson and Klara Hansdotter. They are our Great Great Grandparents!

One of my best finds recently was of the records for Klara Hansdotter. With help from a wonderful lady at the Family History Center, her birth place was deciphered so that records there could be scoured. I recently found Klara, using Genlines records, in Brevins (Hasselo), Loftahammar, Klamar, Sweden. The prize: her father's name was Hans EDLUND. We now know where the Edlund name came from that was passed down and incorrectly attached to our photo of Gustaf and Clara. I learned that Klara was a twin, her brother's and sister's names AND...her parents, Hans Edlund and Hanna Andersdotter both drowned on July 2, 1842 in Brevins(Hasselo) , Loftahammar, Kalmar, Sweden.They left several small children orphaned, including our Klara. She has been traced to having lived with a set of Grandparents. She is listed in the household roll as Granddotter, so I have one more generation back to Jacob Bengtsson, b. Loftahammar 1798 and Stina Cajsa Andersdotter, b. Loftahammer 1812. I have not determined which side of the family they belong to as of yet.

As more information comes to light, our family has begun to really take shape. We are beginning to know them! More mysteries have unfolded which will need t be solved: the big one for me now, is how Hans and Hanna both drowned at the same time? We assume they were possible fishermen in the coastal waters around Loftahammar, but we must be very careful to assume or be led down the stray path......

More to follow.