Written by David Anderson
Editor’s note: With the help of reporters at Dala-Demokraten newspaper in Hedemora, Sweden, SRIO President David Anderson’s family history research led to a momentous trip to Sweden in 1998. The trip coincided with his parents’ 50th anniversary. Meeting newly discovered Swedish relatives and viewing the locations where his ancestors lived and worked made David’s story come alive. In Part II of his blog post (Part I dated 10 February 2022), David shares his Swedish heritage through photos.
Grådö, Hedemora. My grandfather was born at this location. The house he was born in was torn down during WWII, as were many other cottages in rural Sweden, for use as firewood in Stockholm. Even if the cottage was no longer there, we still had to see the location. We were lucky to see a rose growing where the house used to stand. Left-Right: Jane Åhmark-Vikman (friend and translator); my mother Dorothy, Anna Mattsson (Pelles Anna’s granddaughter, introduced in Part I of our story); my dad George; Tomas Vikman (a newly found distant relative and husband of Jane); Ivan Mattson (husband of Anna, digging up the rose).
Grådö rose. The rose from Grådö is a small pink one that blooms once a year.
Källviken, early 20th century. This photo was in my Uncle Eric’s collection, along with another wide-angle view of the farm. I found out that my great grandmother’s brother (farfar morbror) lived at Källviken around the time that she emigrated to America which accounts for why we have a photo of the farm. He and his wife may be the couple on the right.
Källviken 1998. I sent a copy of the old Källviken farm to Anna Mattsson, Pelles Anna’s granddaughter, before our trip in 1998. Anna thought she knew where this farm might be and located two possibilities. The first farm looked possible, and then we saw the second, and I knew it was a match. With an extension of the house on the right, and a change in a window on the house on the left, we have the same view in 1998 as that taken early in the 20th century. Even a granite fence post remains in the same spot. All of us got a case of ‘goose prickles’ when we walked around the yard.
Soldattorp, Jönköping. A small soldier’s cottage stands in the Jönköping City Park Hembygsgården. It is from Linderås parish. The soldier Anders Gabriel Stjerna who lived in the cottage in 1842 drowned on 8 Feb of that year leaving behind a child and a pregnant wife, Lovisa Johansdotter (my farmor farmor, a 2nd great grandmother). Lovisa’s brother also drowned the same day. The tragedy forced Lovisa to leave the cottage but soon after, she married her deceased husband’s younger brother, Pehr Gustav Becker. In the photo shown here, descendants of Lovisa and both of her husbands are visiting the cottage with us in 1998. The Lingmerths (seen here on the left with my dad George in the tan jacket) are descended from Anders Gabriel, while I am descended from Pehr Gustav.