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Friday, June 19, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 # 26: Anna Magnusdotter, my Farfar's Farmor (my father's father's father's mother in Swedish)

     My Grandfather, Walter Peterson, was of Swedish descent.  In 1957 he spent a year in Scotland as an exchange minister.  He was a Presbyterian Minister so he spent 9 months as the Minister in a Scottish Church (Kirk) and the Scottish Minister spent 9 months in his. At the end of the time he and my grandmother took a trip to other places in Europe. In particular they visited Sweden where he met relatives and visited the areas his mother and father had come from.  On their way home they visited our family and told us all about the trip.  I remember his joy that he had found the house his grandmother was born in and while there he had found an old key that they told him he could keep.  I have the photos he took and his notes and my father's write ups and charts based on his notes.  My grandfather spoke Swedish, it was his first language.  He didn't learn English until he was 6 and went to school in Minnesota.  So his notes are in a mixture of Swedish and English! So, this is the story of his grandmother.

     Anna Magnusdotter was born on 24 Mar 1835 in Dadesjo, Kronoberg, Sweden.  She was the youngest child of Magnus Jonasson and Elin Svensdotter.  They had four children, a son and three daughters.  Anna married Johannes Petersson on 19 Mar 1854 and lied with him in Notteback med Granhult nearby.  They had three sons, Adolph (my great grandfather), Johan Peter who died within a year and Johan Magnus. In the mid 1860's there were three years of crop failures in Sweden and there was wide spread famine.  Anna sent her son, Adolph, to live with her parents for awhile.  He told his son that his grandmother would send him home with food for his mother and family and Adoph felt that she was giving too much.

      In 1869 Johannes decided to move to America. He left first and Anna followed with the two boys.  Imagine taking a trip like that alone with two young boys!  Adolph said that mid crossing they were in a storm and the main mast broke.  The sailors managed to repair it and the ship made it to America.  They must have been very thankful for that! Johannes was waiting for them in Dassel, Meeker, Minnesota where he had a homestead farm.  We find them there in the 1870 and 1880 US Censuses.  Tragically, Johan Magnus died in 1883 at the age of 17, I don't know from what cause.  So Johannes and Anna had one child left. But he married and had five children.  They all married and had a total of  seventeen child.  Most of them married and had children and so on so today there are many descendants living in America and Canada.

     Anna died on 24 Jan 1891, just two months shy of being 56 years old.  The 1880 Census says that she couldn't write but this may mean she couldn't write English. Her husband never learned to speak English and likely neither did she.  But she was well loved by her family as evidenced by my Grandfather.

     In May, 2014, my sister, Rhonda, and I visited Sweden.  We were lucky enough to be shown the places where our family had lived, which were now mostly ruins.  We had great help from a man named Gunnar Holmgren who had been researching the farm area he lived in.  Anna's grandfather had been one of the first to farm there.  The house she was born in that my Grandfather had seen in 1957 had now been torn down but he showed us where it had been! And other places from her life.  Another Swedish cousin, Roger Olofsson (5th Cousin 3Xs removed) had found living descendants of Anna's brother, whose grandfather my grandfather had visited in 1957! We met her and one of her cousins who had been in one of my grandfather's photos! All in all a tribute to Anna whose life is not forgotten and whose family lives on!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely story, and photos, Wendy. Sounds like a wonderful trip and connections to cousins.
    [your link is not showing on the 52 Ancestors post, by the way]...