September 22, 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.

 

Bravery or Stupidity – You Be the Judge

These stories are not in any particular chronological order, or of any importance really, except maybe to me. C.

Out On a Trestle

When I was a teenager I was with a group of friends who decided to visit a local railroad trestle so we could see it for ourselves. This took place here in western Washington State, but for the life of me, I can’t remember just where the bridge was. I just know it was up in the hills somewhere with no buildings or houses around. This trestle had no rails on it except the railroad tracks for the trains. I presume this was an old logging train route.  I didn’t go out on the trestle as far as the other kids because I knew there was going to be a train coming with just my luck and I wouldn’t be able to run to escape it. It seems like there might have been some curved culvert type things on the edge of the trestle but not all along the sides. That could have worked for a quick escape, but what if I dove into it and flipped right out? What if the air being pushed by the engine just blew me right out of there and into the creek below? In any case, I lived and never went out on a trestle like that again.

The Body in the Middle of the Road

This next event happened here in Port Orchard, Washington sometime in the early 1990’s. Jim and I were out in the early evening on Halloween night driving home to dole out candy to our own trick or treaters. We were just rounding the curve on Lund Avenue after turning from Jackson and alarm bells went off in my head as we saw a small “body” laying sprawled across the road. I yelled at Jim to pull over and I jumped out to go rescue the kid. As I was bending down to see what I could do a car was coming at me from the opposite direction. I put my hand up hoping to stop them but they didn’t seem like they were going to slow down. Great, not only would they run over this kid again, but me too in the process! It was one of those scenes where to you everything seems to creep along as it all happens, but in reality it was almost immediately that I determined that this was not an injured child, but a “body” dressed up like one and flung in the road for fun. In my defense, it ‘could’ have been a real kid who fell down and the other kids didn’t know it. We were in a heavily populated area and on Halloween you know how excited kids seem to dart from house to house and neighborhood to neighborhood. After I got back in the car I was amazed at myself to think that I was just ready to rush to some injured person’s aid.

The Attorney and the Homemaker

In the 1980’s we lived in a big two story house in rural Port Orchard. Surrounding us were neighbors with ten and five acre parcels. Ours was just shy of one acre and we had spent many days of hard labor trying to reclaim to the yard from the overgrowth of wild huckleberry and salal bushes. We’d even fenced off our yard in the front with the intention of keeping out ‘critters’ of all kinds. In that era Jackson Perkins would sell a large variety of roses in reduced prices. I wanted to fill my front yard with them and little by little we did so. In those days I was younger and spryer than I am now and I took on the task of mowing the yard and weeding the flower beds. It was so infuriating to me when I would go out to admire my yard, or to mow and there would be ‘deposits’ of dog poop here and there. The most frequent depositor was the dog across the street who had a whole ten acres to poop on, but no, it came in our yard to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs for the most part. It’s their owners who irritate me.

It wasn’t just this one neighbor, we had a few other dogs  on our street and in nearby acreages that would also come by to share their processed cheap dogfood piles. One of them was a big golden lab that came from our neighbors behind us who also had ten acres. This dog would show up in our yard way to frequently and after a while it was just too often. The road we lived on was about a half mile long and straight so some of the cars would really get up a full head of steam and race down the road at unhealthy speeds. With trees on the sides of the road too, there was no way that man nor beast could get out of the way fast enough. My first attempt at trying to keep the dog on its own property was to call the owners and let them know we had their dog at our house. On that occasion the wife did come and get the dog. The next time though, my phone call to them was for naught and it seemed like I was being unreasonable to ask them to keep their dog on their ten acres. That gave me a clue that these people thought that the leash laws didn’t apply to them and that I was just “bothering” them.

The next time the dog showed up I had a leash and I put the dog on it and called animal control to come pick it up. I felt sorry for the dog, but my intention was to send a message to the owners to follow the law. Apparently, that didn’t sit too well with the husband because a day or so later he and his wife, kids and the dog rolled into our driveway like Lord and Lady Gotrocks. Jim and I were sitting out in the front yard and the husband, who happened to be an attorney at the time, got out of the car and proceeded to berate me for having their dog impounded!

He began his little tirade and I gave it right back to him. He thought he could brow beat me for reason. I knew he was wrong and told him that as an attorney of law he should know there are leash laws in this county and he needed to abide by them. All this time Jim is sitting on the picnic table just watching the verbal exchange. It wasn’t about winning the argument and him driving off in a huff, but I did feel rather brave to go up a practicing attorney, make my case and not be browbeaten by some pompous ass. Also, I don’t think their dog came in our yard ever again.

 

 

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