Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swedish Family Background

I know that I go overboard in some of my enthusiasms.  Knowing that my Mother was half Swedish and a quarter Danish, I've always had a small interest in my Scandinavian heritage, but I honestly found the British part more interesting.  I have researched our family tree, but still have a few "sticking points" - mainly with my great-grandparents, who had very common Swedish names, and whose names I've been told in an Anglicized manner:  Andrew Johnson and Hannah Olson.  Watching the Vikings series on History Channel has made me want to know more. I want to know more about my family's Swedish heritage and Danish heritage.  I have been able to trace our Danish family back to 1597 in the church records at Gyllinge, Jutland, but our Swedish background remains a mystery to me.
  I know that my great-grandparents sailed to America in 1890 to await the birth of their child, my grandfather, Johan Waldo Johansson.  Poppop was duly born in Hoboken, New Jersey, christened in the Swedish Lutheran Church there, and sailed back to Sweden at the age of two weeks.  I know that he was raised in southern Sweden - a red velvet-covered photograph album was left after his death, filled with hundreds of photos  (and not a single one identified) that had been taken mainly in Karlskrona (at the studio of Karl Karlson), a few in Malmo, and one in Stockholm.  There was also a letter that was written from Christianstad.  There are, of course, many variations of the spelling of Johansson, and one can find a great variance in Andrew: Anders, Andreas, Ander, etc.  There are also many ways to spell Olson, and a few alternative spellings of Hannah.  What I need to do is look at the 1900 church rolls for southern Sweden...
I also know that Grandfather had a brother named Ben, but I have no idea whether Ben was older or younger, born in Sweden or the US...  And I have no idea regarding the ages of Poppop's parents...  *sigh*
This is one of the things that keeps me digging into records.
  I did notice one "odd" thing yesterday - I had been looking at a rune stone, set near Kallby, Sweden.  This stone is inscribed, "Styrlakr placed this stone in memory of (Karr?), his father."  The carving with it looks like someone dressed in a jumpsuit, with delineations of boots, gloves, and waist.  The head appears to be either a canine with droopy ears, or possibly a deer, as there are antlers carved above the head.  Last night, I was looking at a carving found on Baffin Island - it's identified as being a native hunter, carved by the Dorset tribe, who lived on Baffin at the time Vikings from Iceland were known to have visited.  Do you see the similarities, also?  Comments are very welcome!
This photo of the Kallby rune stone was taken by Peter Karlsson.

Dorset hunter carving found on Baffin Island

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