In Search of our Lundgren Swedish Heritage

Carl Julius Lundgren and Family

The following is the story of what I found out about Carl Julius Lundgren and my heritage in Sweden in the summer of 1994. In the following text will also be the information needed for you to follow up on a visit to Sweden (including pictures, maps, genealogies, and documents). Alternatively, you can follow the migration of this family from Willmar MN (ca 1880) to Madelia MN (ca 1890) to Morris MN (ca 1900).

 

The Visit

Before beginning I had several helpful conversations with Violet Brudelie (RR 2 Box 28, Butterfield, MN 56120 tel: 507-956-2613). In these conversations she put me on the trail by telling me of Carl Julius Lundgren plus Oscar Valfried, Axel Victor, Gustof Adolph, and Anders Johan (Andrew) Sandborg's father Johanes August Andersson. She also provided information on his life, death, and burial in Barkeryd Church a few kilometers north west of Nassjo, Sweden (click here to see a map of the area with the villages shown). The adventure started with a trip to the church.

Young Oscar with his father Johanes August Andersson

The church is located about half way between Goteberg and Stockholm in mid-Sweden. It is easily accessible by flying into Copenhagen, Goteberg, or Stockholm and renting a car. This area is sparsely populated, as there are many rolling hills, lots of pine trees, and sandy, rocky soil. Many people including all of Johanes August Andersson's sons migrated out of this area (called Smaland) in the 1880's due to poor economic prospects, poor crops, and letters from happy immigrants in America.

We arrived at Barkeryd Church and began the search for the grave. There was no gravestone since Johanes August Andersson's family had failed to keep up the payments to the church so Annie and Gideon Andreasson were buried atop his grave. This gravesite is also shown in the south view of the church as the closest gravestone to the camera on the right of the pathway.

The Front Gate of Barkeryd Church

The South Side View of Barkeryd Church

Annie and Gideon Andreasson Were Buried Atop His Grave

All the Lundgren/Sandborg boys had been baptized at this church and Johanes August Andersson had been married inside this church; the picture below shows the inside of the church as decorated for the midsummer festival. Johanes Anders Andersson (and Johanes Andersson's father) had been baptized at an earlier church building that was replaced by the current building in about 1847. In spite of the change in building, the font still exists in which all were baptized as shown in the next picture below.

 

Inside Barkeryd Church

The Font in Barkeryd Church

We were assisted in our search by Reverend Roland Kvist of the Barkeryd church. He is shown in the center of the next picture; his address is Komminister, Prastgarden Barkeryd, 571 94 Nassjo, Sweden tel: 0380-230 75. Reverend Kvist had been a missionary for 18 years in South Africa so his English was excellent. He had just recently came to the church so I think this provided an interesting opportunity to learn more about the history of the parish.

Reverend Roland Kvist (center)

Reverend Kvist called up an antiquarian from his parish, Evert Jonsson (the above picture - right) (Stromsfors, S-57-194, Nassjo, Sweden tel: 0380-23078). Note that Evert and Wife only speak Swedish so Reverend Kvist provided the translation. Evert recalled the location of Johanes August Andersson's house so off we went. We made a stop at the Old Homestead Museum (Lantbruksmuseum); click here for details on two Swedish museums with information related to our ancestors. This museum has farm implements from 1850 onward - to find it head directly west from the church about 1 mile. We also a look at the Church records at his Reverend Kvist's house (more on that later).

The house that Johanes August Andersson, wife Louisa Jonasdoter, and sons lived at was called Lofholmen ("leafy promitory on a lake") in the village of Kramsang, parish of Barkeryd; perhaps his home's name reflects his love of fishing at the nearby lake. Note this village really doesn't exist anymore and cannot be found on modern maps. It was on an old road long since bypassed by a modern highway.

Johanes August Andersson's House Called Lofholmen

Johanes August Andersson died at this house in a fire in 1/12/1918 so the house was a ruin. The property is now owned by Sune and Inger Hakansson (pictured later) (Kramsang, 57100 Nassjo, Sweden). The Hakansson's do not speak English. Inspired by Violet Brudelie, they had put Johanes August Andersson's tombstone at the site of his house.

Three Pictures of Johanes August Andersson's Tombstone

The first picture below shows me standing at the entry to the ruin of the house. In the next picture you see the wall around his property. The thrid picture is the old bridge on the old road in front of Johanes August Andersson's house; he would have taken this bridge to the nearby Nassjo where he would pick up the supplies for his small business (more on this later).

At the Entry to the Ruin of the House

The Wall around His Property

The Old Bridge by Johanes August Andersson's House

Reverend Kvist called the owners of the property, Sune and Inger Hakansson, to meet with us that evening. It turns out that Inger's grandmother, Augusta, made all funeral and estate arrangements after Johanes August Andersson's death (Exhibit 1) so they knew about Johanes August Andersson. She did this since she was his friend; his wife Louisa had died in 1887 and all his children had left for America.

Reverend Kvist, the Hakanssons, and I went to grandmother's old house, long since unused. A young picture of her grandmother, Augusta, was still on the wall. Her grandmother had saved from the fire Johanes August Andersson's mug (used for milk we are assured - not beer - you dipped your hard Swedish bread in it to make it edible) and a mirror from his house.

 

Two Pictures of Ingers Grandmother's Old House

A Picture of Inger's grandmother

Johanes August Andersson's Mug

A Mirror from Johanes August Andersson's House

When his wife had died (according to death records, she died of a chest infection in Barkeryd on 1/1/1877 (not 1887 as I earlier reported)) and sons left, Johanes August Andersson supported himself with a small garden. He also made matchboxes for the safety match company in Jonkoping (safety matches were invented there). He would roll his wheel barrel to Nassjo to pick up the material, go over the old bridge shown in an earlier picture and bring the materials home. When he returned with the completed matchboxes he kept some of his favorite boxes at home. These were saved by Inger's grandmother in her big house shown above; the old style heating system in her house is shown below.

Match Boxes Made by Johanes August Andersson

The Old Style Heating System in Ingers Grandmother's House

Should you want to retrace this the enclosed maps should be helpful but you do need a translator such as Reverend Kvist to talk with Evert and the Hakanssons.

 

The Immigrant Museum

About 50km from Johanes August Andersson's house is the Immigrant Museum in Vaxjo (House of the Emigrants, Museum Park, Box 201, S351 04 Vaxjo, Sweden Tel: 0470-20120). This museum's lower level has an excellent series of displays in English on conditions in Sweden at the time, the routes taken by immigrants, and what they found on their trip.

Incidentally it is most likely that all Johanes August Andersson's sons went from Goteberg to Hull England, then by train to Liverpool, and ship to the New World. This is because the British were at the time in the business of transporting people (including the Remus family) from all over Europe to find new homes and were making money doing so.

On the second floor of the museum are microfilms of all existing church records (and other records) that might be used to find the history of a family. You pay 50KR (about $6) and they assist you in the search. Good eyes and knowledge of Swedish is helpful to do this.

As noted earlier I found a lot of good information at the Immigrant Museum in Vaxjo (House of the Emigrants, Museum Park, Box 201, S351 04 Vaxjo, Sweden Tel: 0470-20120). They also do research for a fee ($50) and I picked up a form. They were commissioned to do the genealogical search I referred to earlier on Johanes August Andersson and Louisa Jonasdotter. But if anyone reading this would like to pose his or her own questions, just write to the above address for the form. The House of Emigrants also provided a listed of professional researchers; you can get a copy of this list from Violet or I.

The records found in this museum, the records of Violet Brudelie, and records available from other sources provide the genealogical information on the ancestors of Johanes August Andersson and Louisa Jonasdotter. Click here to see their genealogy. Click here to see his family tree of descendents. Or click here to see the family tree in interactive form.

 

 

Originally written 12/7/94

Please send any information and queries to Bill Remus at

Remus@hawaii.edu

 

 

Exhibit 1 Letter from Augusta Johansson to Johanes August Andersson's sons dated 7/14/1918

Exhibit 2 Page 55 of 1870 Barkeryd Census

Exhibit 3 Page 357 of 1870 Barkeryd Census