A Happy Surprise

We rec’d a pleasant surprise by e-mail this week, as a result of inquiries I’d sent to a couple Swedish genealogical societies.

Not only did a kindly woman named Ingrid respond, she attached a page she’d scanned from a church history book. Pictured there were my husband’s great-grandparents, Elias Andersson and his wife Johanna Carlsdotter. Not a high-quality copy but exciting, nonetheless. In the words of my sister-in-law, Elias and Johanna look  “formidable.”

Page from Revesjo church book

I do not speak Swedish but I recognized the names of some of their children in the text above their photo. I saw “Anders Ludvig 1865.” That’s Bill’s grandfather, born in 1865 and known as Andrew Ellison after he settled in Minnesota.

I could also decipher a few other facts with the help of Google Translate. For example, I concluded Andrew’s brother Carl Wilhelm was born in 1853 and died the same year – of “kikhosta.” Translation software helped me understand the cause of Carl’s death was pertussis, or whooping cough. Another sibling, Ida Charlotta, was born in 1868 and died of “masslingen” in 1869. The cause of Ida’s death was measles.

Little wonder that Johanna and Elias look “formidable”! They lived a hard life. They had (at least) eight children and lost two of them as infants. Two of their surviving children, Andrew and Selma, emigrated to the United States as young adults and were never seen by their parents again.

When we visit Sweden in September, we hope to visit Flyasen, where Johanna and Elias raised their family 150 years ago.

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