Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ida Matilda Johnson - 52 Ancestors

Ida Mathilda Jonsdotter was born 21 October 1865 in Brånhorvan, Vena, Kalmar län, Sweden. She left Sweden with her family when she was 5 years old. Her family homesteaded on land northeast of McPherson, Kansas.  

She grew up on the farm and when she was 16, married the next door neighbor, Johan August Johannesson on 1 Sept 1882 in McPherson. Because of a shortage of marriageable women in the area, John waited until Ida was old enough to marry and married her. Their American names were Ida M. and John A. Johnson. Ida moved next door and so, came to live in the house that she had always been able to see from the window in her parents’ home.

They had 9 sons and 2 daughters. All but the first 2 sons survived and helped run the farm.

Arthur and John (both died as children)
Arthur (my grandpa)

By 1920, they had left the running of the farm to their son, Arthur and his wife, Ida, and moved to the Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas. They built a vegetable and fruit farm near Alamo, Texas.  Several of their children helped them with both of the farms.
After John died in 1940, Ida and Edith stayed in Texas; moving to the house at the right. This is the last house they lived in. Ida died 17 August 1952 in Alamo, Hidalgo, Texas.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Uncle Reuben's Journey Movie - The Uncle Reuben Project - Year 3

School is out for another year and I have more to add to "The Uncle Reuben Project" files. I was afraid that by the 3rd year, I wouldn't have anything else new to do for the project but that isn't the case! 

In January, my class had enjoyed making a movie about Simeon Swartz for our Kansas/Pioneer unit and they enjoyed it so much that I decided we needed to do that for Reuben, also. The story is a fairly long one so each child had to have 2 parts. They drew pictures and I filled in with some photographs from my genealogy files. I wrote the script from notes taken during interviews between Uncle Reuben and my Uncle Don.

When we were finished, we shared the movie with some other classes and our principal. They enjoy sharing their work with others. I let parents know the show times and several showed up to watch. We also invited the students from years 1 and 2 of the project (now 3rd and 4th graders) to see the new addition. 

We hope you enjoy it!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Never Give Up - Friday's Faces from the Past

My family tree has a few researched branches so long they almost reach the sky. I can't take the credit for most of that growth. Much of it was accomplished years before I ever began my research.
Memorial stone in Byarum Parish, Jönköping, Sweden
My loose translation: Memorial To the memory of the
532 Byarum residents who 1853-1930 emigrated to America,
to seek their 
My great grandfather, Johann August Johannesson, was one
of the 532 that left Byarum in 1869.
I have had help and I've been fortunate to meet some wonderful cousins along the way who dropped crumbs for me to follow when I needed it.
Other branches have only grown a few inches in all the years my family has been working on our genealogy.

One of the most stubborn branches has been my dad's Johnson and Nelson lines. All four of his grandparents came to America from Sweden in the mid 1800's as young, single adults. We had vague stories of Sweden, and a few names that had been passed down, but little else.

If you know anything about Swedish names before the 1900's, you know that each generation received new last names.

August Johannesson really was Johannes' son! Johanna Håkansdotter really was... you guessed it, Håkans' daughter!
That makes for very difficult searching made even harder by the fact that I didn't speak much more Swedish than "thank you," "yes," and the names of some traditional dishes.

It was a very slow growing branch! 

The information I had on my Swedish ancestors existed on my Ancestry.com tree for years without comment, as the branches around them grew with new information and newly found cousins.

Years of searching and waiting ended abruptly one day last spring when I opened a message from a
Anders and his family in their home in Jönköping, Sweden
woman in Sweden claiming that her grandfather, Anders, and my great grandfather, John, were brothers. John had come to America while Anders had remained in Sweden.

The pictures started coming and I found myself looking into faces of family. Familiar family resemblances! I never dreamed this would happen after so much time.

After many questions, much research, and major breakthroughs in my understanding of Swedish records, I am proud to call Gunnel my cousin. We write back and forth and share new and old bits of family news.

And... I've started planning a trip to Sweden!

Never. Give. Up.