July 21, 2017

Was Johan a Larson, an Anderson or a Nordgren?

Tracking the Life of Johan Andersson from Sweden to Washington State

 

I thought maybe he was a Larsson, because that was the name his brother (also Johan/John B went by. But… It’s taken me years to understand where and how to look for information on my ancestor Johan Andersson who was born 6 May 1868 in Veddige, Halland, Sweden. I’m not done by any means, but this article will bring everything up to date regarding what I know now.

Johan/John Andersson Nordgren immigrated to North America in 1883/4 (1920 US Fed Census) and his oldest child Andrew Leonard Nordgren along with his wife Anna Lena Andreasd?tter (Anderson) who arrived later. I know this sounds convoluted, but as far as I know Johan came to America first, and his wife stayed in Sweden and didn’t arrive until around early 1892. I know she was in the United States because Andrew Leonard was born 01 Sept 1892. Going by the normal span of pregnancies lasting 9 months, one can assume that John and Anna Lena were together in one location near the end of December or early January.

The Andersson surname is a recent discovery I found on Ancestry in the Swedish marriage records for Johan/John and Anna Lena. Finding that record set me off in a whole new direction, but I’m still confused. Of course, that’s the fun of doing genealogical research. All these puzzle pieces, but in this instance each piece could be going by a few different names.

This is what puzzles me: Did John Andersson ever go by the surname Larsson/Larson while he was in the USA. The reason I wonder this is because John’s brother John Bernt went by the surname Larson. The two John’s mother was named Anna Lena as well and she also had come to the United States in 1892. She was a widow and her husband Anders Larson had died around 1876 in Denmark. [Note: I just read recently that if you’re looking for records in Denmark you might try looking in German records as well.]

Back to my John Anderson [Nordgren] line.

  • John, Anna Lena and their son [we called him Leonard] were in Hector, Renville, MN in 1892.
  • Uncle Leonard said that he and his mother went back to Sweden for a while. John went back to Sweden too, but then something changed their minds again and they came back to the USA sometime between 1893/4 and lived in an unknown location.
  • The next child, my grandmother Hulda was born in 1896 near Odebolt, Sac, Iowa. Why were they in Iowa? We’re they migrating and great grandma had to stop to have Hulda? They must have had to stay for a while in Iowa because in1897 another girl, Olive Josephine was born that year.
  • Two years later the family of five has moved on to Bellingham, Whatcom, Washington and we know this because another daughter is born in 1899. Sadly, this daughter Ester, died about a month later that same year.
  • Two more children were born in Washington, Oscar in 1902; Edith Elvera in 1906.

One last thing that I’m wondering is a woman called Alice Anderson. My mom told me that when she lived in Seattle during the war years (WWII) that a woman named Alice Anderson used to come see her and they would go exploring together. Mom was the only daughter left at home during those years, as her sister Jeane was married and living elsewhere, and the other sister Joyce, was either in nursing school, or had graduated and was working in Alaska or in the Army.

So, the big question is, “was Alice a relative to John”? There had to be some reason why she was around.

 

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