Featured Post

The Beginning

So, this is Dad and Mom. Ray is the son of Conrad Herrmann and Kate Bundock. He is the step-son of Edith Armstrong and Wally Hewitt. ...

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pop Sjöholm's "Lost Years"

I used the name most familiar to Herman in the title of this blog post, mostly because, during this era, I have the most empathy for him.
It has taken me a few days to start this post, as the years between 1869-1882 are the most confusing in Pop's life; not just emotionally ( and, most probably, psychologically), but also, in location. Herman moved around a lot during these years, sometimes, I suspect, not staying in one place for more than a few months.
After Herman left the military in 1868 (either voluntarily or involuntarily-still not sure of that fact), I think he drifted without any clear perception of what he was going to do. I have no records to show that he was employed, but I do have notations in one record that during these years, he was arrested for "walking around", which meant homelessness.
After much thought, I think the best way to record the "lost years" is to just write it directly from the records. Any reader of this post can draw their own conclusions on what was going on with Pop.

The most telling of his activities and whereabouts comes from the 1866-1868 Household Examination for Dimbo. One of the notations states that in 1869 he was in Dimbo (I am slightly assuming this as it did not mention a location, so I assume it was local) and was arrested for "doing something that isn't allowed".  There is a Moving Out record for 24 Oct 1869 which records Pop going to Karlsborg. I am assuming his arrest was prior to this move to Karlsborg. It is unclear why he went to Karlsborg.
Now, where Pop was in 1870 is equally confusing. I think he gets a big kick out of confusing me from the great beyond as Pop was one of the most complicated ancestors to research. I think it has been, oh, maybe 8 or 9 years since I began to timeline Pop (timelining is attempting to record the events and movements of one ancestor from birth to death) and I still do not have everything recorded or all of his life years timelined. I know the records are there, it's just that I think Pop laughs as he skirts his way through my research.
Anyway, in 1870 there is a notation in the 1866-1868 H.E. that says Pop was areested in Linkoping for "walking around and doing bettings". This is where it confuses me, as he spent time in Linkoping and Lidkoping - two vastly different places - and, lucky me gets the two places confused. Thanks Pop! 
Pop is also in the 1870 household record in Finland either visiting or staying with his step-brother, Otto Falk. It is unknown how long he was there. The record doesn't record that info and I have no records for Pop's whereabouts until 1872 when he was back in Dimbo (again from a notation that doesn't record a specific place, so assuming Dimbo) being sentenced to 1 month in prison for petty theft. 
Once again, there is nothing in the records for Pop until 4 Mar 1873, when he was moving out of Dimbo into Göteborg. 
From 1874-1876, the Karlsborg H.E. has Pop incarerated in the parish. It is unclear to me just how long Pop was in custody. One of the notations on the record indicate he could have been released 18 Apr 1876 and left for Göteborg, although a notation on the 1866-1868 H.E. mentions on 2 Sep 1876 "stealing for the first time - penal servitude for 4 months and loss of citizen's trust for 3 years" which probably occurred in Dimbo.
Another notation on that same H.E. mentions a 1877 conviction for "defenselessness -2 years social work ending 10 Dec 1879." And that is when we find him again, in 1879, from another notation recording being arrested in Linkoping for "doing something not allowed". 
Pop, once again, briefly disappears from the records until 1882 where he is found in 3 different ones - an H.E. for Lidkoping, a Moving Out record from Lidkoping to Sil, and another H.E. in Sil where he is now living in the same household with Alma's brothers, Gustaf and Johan.
There is no record of Pop having any legal problems from this time on, and he marries Alma in 1883, just about two months prior to the birth of their first child, Axel Sigurd Linus. Alma already has a daughter, Elin Evelina, from a previous relationship. So begins the lives of Herman, Alma and their children.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another Child for Margarethe Nord

While preparing for my post on Herman's "lost years", I felt I needed to do a little more research to try and keep the timeline from being too confusing as Herman moved around quite extensively during those years.
But while researching Herman, I came across an interesting record in the Stockholm City Archives under orphanages - another record of a child for Herman's mother, Margarethe.
In the 1855 Household Examination, Margarethe, Herman and the 2nd child named Anna were living in the home of an Anders Sundholm. Also in this same household was Axel Reinhold Falk. Axel was the brother of Claes Bernhard Falk, Margarethe's second husband; but Claes and Margarethe did not marry until 1857 - about 9 months after the birth of this recently discovered child.
This child, Axel Bernhard Sjöholm, was born 9 May 1856, about 4 months before Margarethe and Herman moved out of Kungsholm and into Hedvig Eleonora. The child, Axel, was not on the Moving Out record with them.
The Orphan record states that Claes Bernhard Falk paid for the expenses of Axel at the orphanage. Unfortunately, Axel died at the age of a year old - just two months before his second birthday. I have yet to find a death record for him.
So, I have a mystery here. Was the baby Axel the child of Axel Reinhold Falk or Claes Bernhard Falk? If he was the child of Axel - where did Axel go and why did he not acknowledge his child? And why would Claes marry a woman who had his brothers' child? And why would Claes pay for the child's support?
And if baby Axel was the son of Claes, why would he be placed in an orphanage? Why not acknowledge the child as his and take him home?

I am including a snip from the orphanage record, which is in pdf.


According to my cousin in Sweden, the record shows that Claes may have taken Axel to his home as a foster child, but returned him to the orphanage later on.
Also, I had done a little more research and discovered that Axel Reinhard Falk had died prior to the child, Axel, having been born.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Herman Justus Sjöholm - Life after his mother's death

The H.E. for the year of Margarethe's death, Herman is found in the home of his step-father, Claes Falk.
The following year, Herman is found on a registration for Stockholm with Claes and a record that appears to have him moving to Finland with his step-father. But that did not happen. He was found in the H.E. later that year as a foster son in the home of Christina Eriksdötter and her daughter, Charlotte.
It is unknown why Herman was not able or allowed to migrate to Finland with his step-father, Claes, nor how he ended up in the care of Christina.  It is known that he was there for a short period of time as early the following year Herman is in a Children's Home in Hedvig Eleonora being fostered out to a man named Johannes Martensson from Dimbo, Skarborg.

And it is in Annsberg, Dimbo, Skaraborg that we find Herman in the H.E. for 1856-1860 (Herman arrived in 1859) living in the home of Johannes Martensson, his wife Johanna Andersdötter, and their two children, Anders and Anna.
From 1859 to 1865, Herman lived with his foster family in Dimbo. On 7 May 1865, Herman joined the Military, at the age of 13, serving as some type of musician, but he was dismissed from the military 12 Dec 1868 for "conviction of thefts several times". He was 17 years old.
This seems to be the beginning of Herman's legal troubles that would last for quite a while (as late as 1879). It makes me wonder if his foster father enrolled him in the military as Herman could have been an incorrigible child and Herman, at his age, could not conform to military life and lashed out by stealing. Either way, during the period of his military years, the H.E. still records him as living with the Martensson's.
So, begins the "lost years" for Herman.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Johan and Margarethe

Johan Gustaf Sjöholm was born to Olof and Ullrica on 26 Dec 1816 in Maria, Stockholm. He was their third child and second son.
Not much is known yet of Johan's childhood with the exception that his father died when he was 16 years old. The earliest record I have, aside from his birth record, is an H.E. for 1832-1833 in Maria where he lived with his parents and siblings.
On 27 Sep 1840, he married Margarethe Nord, daughter of Lars Andersson Nord and Anna Persdötter in Örebro. I'm not sure why he was in Örebro other than the fact it is the county of his father's birth, and shortly after the marriage, he and his new wife moved to Maria.
Johan and Margarethe had 6 children. Their oldest, Carl Gustaf Ulfrid was born in Maria and died 3 days after his birth. Their second child, Gustaf Laurentius was born in Katarina, but their next child, Anna Mathilda Charlotte, was born in Kungsholm.  Their fourth child and third son, Carl Johan Lambert, was born in Katarina, but their last two children, Herman Justus and Anna Mathilda Margaretha were born in Kungsholm.
Now, the reason I am going through all this is because, of all of the children Johan and Margarethe had, only one child survived to adulthood - Herman.
As I mentioned earlier, their eldest, Carl, died 3 days after birth. Their next two children, Gustaf and Anna, were born, but Anna died a little more than a year after her birth. Carl 2nd was born a little over a year after Anna died.
But I think the biggest tragedy was the following year. Their son, Gustaf, died. He was just 6 years old. The day after they buried their young son, their baby Carl 2nd, died just short of his first birthday. 
After having 4 children, this left the couple childless until their son, Herman, was born the following year. Unfortunately, the tragedy didn't end there.
Two years after the birth of Herman, Johan died. Ten and 1/2 months later, Anna 2nd was born. This leaves a question as to whether or not Anna was the biological daughter of Johan or if she was just a late term baby. 
Margarethe was now a widow with a young son and a baby daughter. That is, until 2 years later, when Anna 2nd died. 
A year later, Margarethe and Herman move from Kungsholm to Hedvig Eleonora when Margarethe marries Claes Bernhard Falk. Claes is a widower with a young son, Claes Otto. 
Margarethe and Claes marry 15 Feb 1857 in Hedvig Eleonora. The following August, their son, Claes Bernhard, Jr., is born; but Margarethe dies in November and the baby Claes dies the following month.
This now leaves Herman living in a household with his step-father and step-brother. 
He is just 6 years old.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A History of the Sjöholm Line before Herman

I have been pondering the past couple of days on the best way to talk about the life of Herman Sjöholm without getting to wordy. However, I am a wordy person when I blog, so here it goes:
I am going to start with my earliest ancestor on my Sjöholm line - Lars Larsson - and make my way down the line to Herman.
I don't know exactly where Lars Larsson was born, but the H.E. for Mosjö, Örebro for the years 1750 -1765 records his birth year in 1706. The earliest record I have found for Lars was his marriage to Ingrid Mansdötter in Mosjö on 20 May 1730.
The H.E. mentioned above recorded a number of people in Lars' household, but it is most difficult to read. Ingrid's birth year was recorded as 1700, and their son, Lars, born 1736, was easy to decipher, but the others were much more difficult.  I think it's safe to say that he had at least one, maybe, two siblings at that time. 
The son, Lars, was the first one to use the Sjöholm surname. I have no record of his father using it. Father Lars death record for 20 Oct 1758 in Mosjö records his surname as Larsson. I have yet to find a death record for Ingrid.
Lars Sjöholm married 1st) Maria Persdötter b. 1725, and 2nd) Catharina Olofsdötter b. 1744. 
Because Lars and Maria's oldest child, Anna, was born in Grythyttan in 1764, it is unclear whether Lars and Maria married in Mosjö or Grythyttan. The couple and their daughter moved to Nora prior to the birth of their son, Carl, in 1767. Lars and Maria had 5 children - Anna, Carl, Catharina, Christina and Maria - before Maria Persdötter's death in May of 1780. 
The following December of that same year, Lars married Catharina Olofsdötter. They had two children together - Fredric and Lisa.
The Sjöholm line at this point jumps not from a son of Lars, but a daughter - Catharina. In 1784, Catharina and a man named Carl Hölmgren had an illegitimate daughter, Cathrina. Sadly, Catharina died before her first birthday. Catharina had another illegitimate child - a son, Olof. I have been unable to find the father for Olof, but I do know his name was Olof, also, as for a time Catharina's son went by the name of Olof Olofsson before permanently switching to the surname of Sjöholm. I have no other information on Catharina at this time, so I don't know if she ever married or when she died.
I am now on my 3rd great-grandfather, Olof Sjöholm.
Olof, the illegitimate son of Catharina Sjöholm and a man named Olof, was born 4 Jul 1787 in Nora. Olof is listed in the H. E. of 1787-1790 in the household of his grandparents, Lars and Catharina along with his mother and her siblings.
According to transcribed records on familysearch, Olof married Ullrica Gillberg on 25 Oct 1812 in Stockholm. It does not say where in Stockholm, but it could have been Klara as a Moving out record for Oct 1813 records Olof and Ullrica moving out of Klara and into Maria. 
Olof and Ullrica had 5 known children - Catharina Sofia, Carl Olof Ullric, Johan Gustaf, Fredric Wilhelm and Franz August.
I have only one H.E. for Olof with his family, from 1832-1833 in Maria before Olof's death in 1833 at the age of 45. 
Ullrica Gillberg (other spellings are Ullrika, Ulrika, Ulrica) was born illegitimate to Stina Mattsdötter on 8 Jan 1787 in Dingtuna, Västmanland. As far as I can tell, her birth record does not record a father.
I only have one H.E. for Ullrica prior to her marriage to Olof, from 1787-1788 in Dingtuna in a village called Gillberga. Perhaps this is how she acquired her surname. No other family is listed except her mother. All I have for her mother, Stina, is that she was born 17 Jul 1757 in Sweden.
I have the birth records for all of Olof and Ullrica's children, but only the death records for Johan and Franz.
My 2nd great-grandfather was Johan Gustaf. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Disproving a Family Story - Herman Justus Sjöholm

One aspect of researching family is proving or disproving family stories or legends. My great-grandfather, Herman, had a great family story connected to him, one I grew up listening to as my mother told it over and over through the years. As an adult, I began to believe the story was just a little too unbelievable. So, one of my research goals was to prove (or dis-prove) this family story.
Before I begin telling this family legend, I must clarify the pronunciation of the Sjöholm name. My mother always said that it was pronounce "Shur-holm". My brother told me it was pronounced "Wee-ohm". Wikipedia had a person with the same surname and a recording on the page of the name's pronunciation. It appears that my brother was correct. The pronunciation is "Wee-ohm" and it is said really fast - like trying to combine the two syllables.

Now, the story Mom told about her grandfather was as follows:
Herman was the illegitimate son of the King of Sweden. His mother was known as Katrin the Beautiful and her grandfather attended private boarding schools. When his mother, Katrin the Beautiful, would visit him in a large, very opulent carriage, she would bring him wonderful gifts. 

This story was told over and over again when I was growing up. It was a great story and created all sorts of wonderful fantasies in a child's mind. However, as I grew older, it became more and more just a far-fetched tale. How did an illegitimate child of a King become a humble house painter?   Eventually, my cousin said that the story was not true and that Herman had grown up in a Foundling  Home in Stockholm. So, when I began researching the Genline records, Herman was one of the ones that I researched first. 

Herman's immediate family - his wife and children - was relatively easy to find from Ragnhild's birth record and the recorded parish of her birth. But all Herman would report of his place of birth was Stockholm - and Stockholm is a large area to cover. It took many hours and many days to find him, but find him I did.
And the story was not related to royalty, but rather quite a sad one - of which his inner strength and the support of two significant people in his life helped him to triumph over the hardships in his life.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sjöholm Family Photographs

Herman Sjöholm and Sigga

Sigga's funeral in Mariestad

My Great-Grandparents, Herman and Alma Sjöholm with my grandmother, Ragnhild

A Memorial to Gustaf from 1902, front

A Memorial to Gustaf, back

Ragnhild and Judith.

Elin and her brother, Georg. It has been told by Mom  that Georg lost an eye caused by the Nazi's during WWII.

Great-Grandpa Herman leading a Temperance Parade

Axel,  Gottfrid and Ragnar

The Sjöholm Family Line

Grandma's family took a bit of researching on Genline to find the correct records. Even with her death certificate, marriage certificate, Naturalization certificate, letters, postcards and photographs, finding the correct Parishes still took hours of pouring through pages of Household Exams, birth records, etc. What really helped to find Grandma's family were the postcards from Göteborg and her birthdate. This information made it fairly easy to find her birth record.  Tracking the family through the H.E.'s was a tad bit more difficult until I became proficient at finding the exact information on her birth record. 
As you can determine, all of the Genline records are written in Swedish. I had discovered over the years I've researched these records that one tends to pick up on what certain words mean, i.e Död for death, Födde for birth. Ancestry.com made this easier by translating these words in the record description. Still, I was working with Genline for the first 2-4 years before the records became available on Ancestry.com and Genline is a website from Sweden, so learning the basics was a complete necessity. Fortunately, Genline had a web page dictionary for Swedish to English translation on the most important words in the records.
I finally determined she had been born in Örgryte, a municipality in Göteborg. It didn't take me long to find the family in the H.E.'s after that discovery.
Grandma was born in 1895 to Herman Justus Sjöholm and Alma Linde (sometimes spelled Lindhe) Lått. 
Herman and Alma had 9 children - 7 natural, 1 from a prior relationship of Alma's, and 1 adopted.  When Herman and Alma married, Alma already had a young daughter - Elin Evelina Linde. They proceeded to have 7 more children - Axel Sigurd Linus, Tor Ragnar Hilding, Adolf Fredrik Georg, Herman Julius Gottfrid, Gustaf Otto Rudolf, Ragnhild Amalia Hermina and Judith Linnea Torhilda. They would later adopt another daughter, Sigrid Matilda Dorothea, whom they nicknamed Sigga.
The family moved around a bit before settling for a number of years in Örgryte. Herman and Alma had married in Sil, Skaraborg, where Elin and Axel were born. Alma's parents, Otto Lått and Christina Andersdötter had lived in Sil, also.
The family moved on to Göteborgs Karl Johan, where Tor (who went by Ragnar) and Adolf (who went by Georg) were born. 
Herman (their son who went by the name Gottfrid) was born in Göteborgs Gamlestads, where the family lived for a very short time before moving to Örgryte, where the rest of their children were born, except Sigga. Sigga was born in Skälvum, Skaraborg. 
After years of studying the photographs of grandma's family, I could tell they were close-knit. But they were not without their share of tragedy and sorrow.
When their son, Gustaf, was just days before his 10th birthday, he fell from a kitchen counter he had climbed on to retrieve something from a top cupboard. He had brought to the kitchen a metal pole that he had been playing with and leaned it against the table. When he fell, the pole pierced him through the stomach and he died, according to Mom, a few days later.
Sorrow again visited the family in 1916, when their adopted daughter, Sigga, died from an illness at the young age of six. At the time, the family was living in Mariestad, Skaraborg. Mom told me it devastated her grandfather, who was quite close and very fond of his adopted daughter. 
Of course, Herman wasn't without his share of sorrow and trouble in his life either.  My next blog will be on the truth of Herman's parentage, as there was a family story that was unlikely to be believed, and the real tragedy that was the truth. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ragnhild's Family Line

Now that I've covered, pretty much, my paternal lineage (with the exception of Edith's family line - which I will cover later), I want to get going on the maternal lineage, since that is what I've been working on the most for the past few months.
I will start with my maternal Grandmother, Ragnhild Amalia Hermina Sjöholm. 
Even though in my early teenage pre-internet days of researching my tree, I was interested in finding out more about my grandfather, Hilmar; it was actually grandma's lineage I pursued. I had more knowledge of grandma, knew her personally (grandpa died before I was born), and Mom's stories of her family were more of grandma than anyone else. Also, having grandma's belongings at the house gave me more insight into her than to grandpa.
Of course, as I mentioned before, the pursuit of genealogy in pre-internet days, especially for a young teenager, was no easy hobby. It was a time when every aspect of researching had to be done by mail - sending away for records from the appropriate repository, whether it was from an archive or a court house. That also included the cost of the source searching for the correct record and mailing it out. A slightly expensive hobby for someone on a babysitter salary. 
However, many years later, with the advent of the World Wide Web, that all changed. 
For many years after I began internet genealogy, Scandinavian records were still difficult to find online. But Grandma lived in the United States from the age of nineteen until her death at the age of 79 in 1974. So, I concentrated my research on U.S. records - Census, directories, marriage, immigration - any record I could find for her. 
It wasn't until I discovered Genline that Grandma's family started to be added to the family tree. It took a subscription to the site, but I was now earning more than just babysitting pay.  
Genline is a fantastic resource of Swedish records if you have Swedish ancestry. Now that Ancestry.com has a database for all the records from Genline, it has been much easier to research the Sjöholm and the Bjerkmann family.
The one thing I really like about Sweden's records are the Household Examinations. These records are similar to Census records, recording every person in a household, but instead of every ten years, as in the U.S., H.E.'s were taken every year. Combine this with birth, marriage, death and moving in and moving out records and one can construct a timeline for an ancestor from the time they were born until their death. 
FYI: Moving In and Moving Out records are records that were kept of each person moving in or out of a parish. They are very convenient for following an ancestor from one place to another.
So, there were some things I already knew about my grandmother from her scrapbooks and what Mom had told me. 
Now, on to the Sjöholm family.

A few prized pictures from the Bundock Line

Probably my most treasured of photos'. This is the only known picture of Emma Curtiss and her daughter, Lilla Florence. My 1st and 2nd great-grandmothers.

My 2nd great-grandfather, Rodolph Ambrose Spencer, with his brothers, John and Orra. Rodolph is on the right and John is on the left. Orra is standing behind them. John and Rodolph are wearing their Civil War medals. Orra was a Circuit Preacher.  Rodolph was married to Emma and his daughter was Lilla.

Our family believes this is Ambrose Spencer, father of John, Rodolph and Orra. The back of the photograph said R.A. Spencer, but after comparing other photo's of Rodolph with this one, it is believed it was mis-labeled and it is actually Ambrose. Ambrose was the husband of Mercy Ann Russell.

This is Joel Curtiss, the father of Kelsey Curtiss who was the father of Emma. Joel is my 4th great-grandfather.

This is Mary Hall, wife of Joel Curtiss and mother of Kelsey; grandmother of Emma. Mary is my 4th great-grandmother.