Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Few Answers and Many Questions

I have mentioned before that I have an affliction.
Genealogical Addiction.
It comes and goes.
When it goes, it can stay dormant for years.
But when it returns, it tends to come with a vengeance.
It worms its way into my thoughts and dreams.
It ties up the computer and makes my desk look like a tornado has hit.
It's back.
And my mother is an ENABLER!!!!!!
Years ago, she gave me a binder filled with my family history.
Pedigree charts, photos etc.
Over the years, I have dabbled online and found new things.
But now.
I have jumped in completely..
Genealogy is confusing as it is without getting sidetracked with wayward thoughts from another family line.
So....I now have individual binders that is helping me corral the paperwork as well as staying on task.
I decided that I needed to focus on one branch at a time
Much of my Dad's maternal side has been done as well as my Mom's maternal side.
I have decided to tackle my Mom's paternal line that leads back to Sweden.
Growing up,  I knew my Grandad as a man who was a wonderful woodworker, former Forest Service Ranger, lover of horses and his granddaughters.
I also had images of an unhappy childhood. 
He left home at 12 or 13 to work.
He also put himself through college.
AND was the first forester
to earn TWO degrees!
On his own.
What sparked that need to leave?
Was it just the need for money to help support his family?
I think there was more.
I knew that his mother, Anna, did not have much of a sense of humor.
She is the one whom was given a tasty... fresh from the tree...  olive by my mom when she was a little girl.
Mom got in trouble.
I think everyone thought it was funny but her Grandma.
Have you ever tasted an olive straight from the tree?
As an adult, I realized that of all my grandparents, Grandad Ed was the one who seemed to not come from a jovial and happy home.
Once my granddad married my grandma, he thought of her family as "his family of choice".
She had what he had wished for.
They were also immigrants, but laughed and had fun together.
I wondered why his family...or at least his mother...hadn't..
What molded his family to become the people they were?
That's the other thing I am learning with this research.
The questions.
The answers that beg to ask even more questions.
These thoughts wake me up at 3:00am to completely redirect what this blog post had begun as.
Recently, Mom gave me some history that she had as well as photos.
Combining some of that information, some sleuthing through census records and
putting the pieces together painted a picture in my mind of my Great Grandma Anna was was and why she was like she was.
So here we go....if you care to join me.
My great grandmother Anna was born in Sweden in 1879. 
Her parents were Olof and Hanna.
I was so excited that we have an Olof in our family.

Made me smile.
Hanna and Olof lived on her family farm where my great grandma was born and then moved to another village where sister Alma was born...3 years later.
Sadly, Olof was killed when Anna was 6.
The story is that he was killed on his last day of work in a mill at the age of 31.
He had planned on farming.
(I have located the death certificate and am trying to verify that story...but I don't read Swedish) 
Two months after the death of Olof, Hanna and her two girls moved back to her family farm where she gave birth to a third daughter.
Olof's daughter.
I wonder what their life was like during this time.
Six years after the death of Olof, Hanna remarried, although apparently not happily.
Four months after her mother remarried, Anna came to America to live with an aunt.
She was ELEVEN!
Her name and the address where she was to live were sewn into her coat.
Mom remembers hearing that there may have been a teenager travelling as well who was to watch out for her on the crossing, but we haven't verified that.
She lived with her Aunt in Minneapolis for 4 or 5 years and then became a servant and/or cook in a wealthy home.
Anna learned to read and write English and became an American citizen.
I believe, from census records, that she worked for a lawyer and his family.
In this house.
(It has been renovated and is now a duplex and sold several years ago)

Anna was thrifty and saved her money.
Mom has the silver plate tea set that she saved and saved for.
The story is that she would host tea parties for her servant friends in the house on their days off..
I got the feeling it was to impress others.
Eventually, Hanna as well as Anna's two sisters, would come to America, albeit at differing times.
But only Alma stayed permanently.
This is a photo of my great grandma Anna (on the right) and her sister Alma.

In 1905, Anna met and married another Swedish immigrant, John Emil "S".
She had been in Minneapolis for 15 years.
From the marriage certificate,  I discovered they were married by a minister named Joseph Hogg.
The marriage was witnessed by Anna's youngest sister, Elvira and the minister's wife.
Because of the witnesses, I deduced that they were probably married in the minister's home.
This is it.
After the marriage, the new "S" family moved to Seattle where my Grandad and his older sister Nathalie was born.
Followed by two brothers.
The children were not allowed to speak Swedish in the home because their parents wanted them to be true Americans.
Over the years, John Emil worked as a carpenter, a farmer and a millwright in lumber mills.
Seems my Grandad's skills and love for wood came to him genetically.
Anna travelled back to the old country several times that I can see...the final time passing away on the ship! 
Mom just told me that tale and I have located her death certificate in England...where the ship was headed.
I will save my pennies to get a copy of that record one day.
Events in our lives always leave a mark.
How we choose to
view and act upon those marks define us.
I wonder if I would have been as strong and determined as Anna must have been.
Looking from the outside, I hear of her not being a joyous person as well as domineering.
Those qualities probably allowed her make it in a new country as a child and young adult without her immediate family, but she lacked the ability to tease and have fun.
I imagine living the life she lived did not offer much humor in her everyday life.
What she missed out on in that regard!
I wonder if  Olof had lived and her family remained in tact if she would have been different.
Yes...these are the questions that now keep me awake at night.
It's a problem.

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