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A Family History - From the Garden

The Scandinavians
Erickson (Ersson Eriksson) * Nelson (Nilsson) Olofsdotter
* Sundin  * Olofsson * Olsson * Olfsson * Andersson
* Goransdotter * Lundquist * Backlund
* Sweden * North Dakota * Canada * California

by Mark Jon Erickson©2023 

Family history storytelling was quite prevalent as I grew up and no one more interested in telling stories was my Father Ernest Anders Erickson. He was a vault of information going back to the 1800s of our family. I realized it was important that I show interest in all he told me and I happily obliged. The tales covered the Family Cowboys, Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Farmers, Pool Hall Proprietors, Painters, Photographers, Carpenters, Plumbers and Dam Builders.

How could a kid back then avoid interest with that crew of Family. It made the films we would watch together more real and in that scenario is how it all panned out. Seeking a life of imagination, creativity and in history's pocket one views through the magic lens of family member's lives and experiences, exactly how their lives can affect your own life.

And the many surnames I discovered used by my Swedish Family members over generations was confusing to me at first, then it all fell into place. I assumed long ago that my last name was not the name used by my family in Sweden.

As I became aware of the various spellings of our names, I began to ask was I an Erickson or an Eriksson or an Ersson. I soon came to the conclusion I was part of them all. The ones that stayed in Sweden and lived their entire lives there and the ones born there and eventually to emigrate from their homeland to the West, were all family, however they spelled their last names.

Then there are the surnames created in America, slight spelling variations from the originals. Some removed the 'son' at the end of their original Swedish name and some as it was referred to 'Americanized' their names. The case in point Ersson to Eriksson to Erickson was becoming a fascination to me. And finally in the midst of all that, if that was not enough confusion, there were clerical misspellings at Immigration locations, such as in New York and Ellis Island.

Clerks asking immigrants their names and either through the fact of language difficulty, or with their patience at an end or simply the clerks were undereducated, they misspelled the surnames on the Immigration sheets and hence began name issues for the American citizens to be and ofttimes the very name they would be using in the future.

Their parents were Olaf Petter Andersson, who was born on June 17, 1836, in Stöde, Västernorrland, Sweden and Karin Goransdotter who was born on May 20, 1835, in Hassela, Gävleborg, Sweden.

Starting with my Great Grandfather Anders, who was born Anders Alfred Ersson in 1860 in Kopparberg, Orebro, Sweden. All his six children between 1886 and 1900, (including my Grandfather Frank) were born with the same surname of 'Ersson.' As the 19th Century was fading away and the 20th Century was looming the use of 'Eriksson' was being used in land documents by the Family.

The ship passenger manifest list when they emigrated from Europe in 1903 heading to the US was still Eriksson, even though that document the clerks at Ellis Island went by, someone in Liverpool had misspelled Eriksson to Ericsson. Then once in North Dakota the use of 'Erickson' appears on all documents and sticks to this day with all following generations of the various Erickson Family members. I use the three surnames when I write about my family, as a tribute to all the immigrants of the Family.

It all began for my Father Ernest Anders's Family in America when his four Grandparents independently emigrated from Sundsvall/Torpshammer and Landskrona, Sweden in 1902 and 1903 respectively. The immigration tide was flowing strong and Scandinavians by the thousands from the later 1800s through the early part of the 20th Century were on the move, seeking a new life and opportunities in the West. Many were farmers and railroad workers, as were my Great Grandfathers Anders Erickson and Anders Nelson.

To lay out the beginnings of their travels to America, the Erickson and Nelson Families pointed their interest Westward in the late 1800s and like many families of their era made it their destiny to be Americans someday. They endured the journey across the North Atlantic and then lined up and dealt with the immigration processes at Ellis Island in New York and in Boston. Once free from the interrogations held by the Immigration clerks, the Erickson and Nelsons headed by train to North Dakota for their new life to begin.

I begin with which Great Grandparent came first to the States, and my Great Grandfather Anders (Nilsson) Nelson takes that claim, traveling first by himself in 1902, with his family following in 1903. Nexty were my Great Grandparents Brita Kristina 'Christine' (Olofsfdotter-Olsson) and Anders Alfred (Ersson Eriksson) Erickson and their six children, Ernst 'Ernest' Julius Alfred, Anders (Andy) Sebran Filimon, my Grandfather Frans (Frank) Gustaf Severin, Erik Olof Helmer, Edla (Vera) Alfrida (Gallagher) and Ebba (Abbie) Angnis Kristina (Lincoln).

They started their sea journey departing from the Port in Sundsvall in Sweden in the Spring of 1903. Once clear of the Harbor, the ship slid into the Bay of Bothnia heading south by Alno, an island in the Gulf of Bothnia just outside Sundsvall.

Passing Stockholm, they steamed into the Baltic Sea with Gotland on their port side, Sweden's largest island, and it is the largest island shining along the waterway, then around to the southern tip of Sweden. Sweeping through Oresund, known in English as 'The Sound,' a strait which forms the Danish–Swedish border, separating Zealand from Scania, the Ericksons had already come a long way, but were still far from England.

From there they shot through the entire length of 'The Sound' to the narrows of Kronborg in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden and straight out into the North Sea heading to England. Porting in Scarborough, England and then by train, the family ended their short British journey in Liverpool. On May 12th, 1903, aboard the S.S. Aurania, out of the Port of Liverpool, the ship pointed West across the North Atlantic and 10 days later on May 21st, arrived in New York Harbor.

My Great Grandfather Anders started off in June of 1902, near Southern Sweden in Landskrona. His journey would take him from Landskrona to Malmo, Sweden, then to Copenhagen, Denmark. From there he shipped out to Liverpool, England and waited for an Atlantic steamer heading to Boston, Massachusetts. Certainly pleased to be in America he launched out of Boston by train with his destination being Painted Woods, North Dakota.

In late September of 1903, with her husband Anders having been gone for fifteen months, and everything settled with the sale of their home and the many goodbyes to family and friends in Landskrona, my Great Grandmother Gertrude 'Gerda' (Miljander) Nilsson Nelson along with her four children Sture Albin, Anton Nick, August Valentine and my Grandmother Clara (Klara) Amelia Yunhild (Nilsson) Nelson Erickson left began their journey to America.

The Nelson's made it to Malmo, Sweden by train and soon boarded the 'S.S. Scandinavian Amerika' steamer and sailed for Copenhagen, Denmark. On October 7th the family boarded the 'SS United States' at the Port of Copenhagen and headed to America. They arrived in the New York Harbor at Ellis Island on October 19th, 1903.

Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, was the gateway for over twelve million immigrants to America for over sixty years from 1892, until it closed in 1954. Gerda and her children passed through immigration and headed to 42nd Street to Grand Central Station and began the multiple long train rides that would take them to Bismarck, North Dakota where Anders would be happily awaiting thir arrival.

All had family already living in North Dakota. Anders Alfred Erickson's Brother Fredrick (Ersson Eriksson) Erickson and his Wife Karin 'Carrie' (Jansdotter) Johnson and children had a farm near the town of Slaughter, while Anders Nelson's Brother August Frederick and his Wife Josephine Amelia and their children had a Farm in Painted Woods.

The 'A Family History - From the Garden 'story is concentrated on the five children of my Great Great Grandparents Olof Petter Andersson, (born on June 17, 1836, in Stode, Vasternorrland Ian, Medelpad, Sweden) and Karin Goransdotter (born on May 20, 1835, in Hassela, Gavleborg, Sweden).

The five siblings are my Great Grandmother Brita Kristina, Sigrid Elisabet (Olofsdotter) Olfsson, Katarina Olivia (Olofsdotter) Backlund, Anders Petter 'Ante Sundin' Olofsson and Erik Olof Sundin Olofsson.

Much of what follows was sparked with the thoughtful assistance from my Swedish Cousins Solveig (way of the sun) Maria Elisabet, her Daughter Mia and her Daughter Olivia, and Birgitta and her Daughter Ingela. Solveig is the Granddaughter of the aforementioned sister of my Great Grandmother Brita Kristina, Sigrid Elisabet. Birgitta is Brita Kristina's Brother, my Great Uncle Ante Sundin's Niece. Birgitta's mother was Jenny Sundin, Daughter of Ante Sundin.

The adventure got under way in 1903, when mentioned previously, both Brita Kristina and her younger Brother Erik Olof Sundin Olofsson emigrated from Sweden to America. Once in America they headed to North Dakota and Iowa, respectively.

Erik would also live in Canada, Minnesota & finally end up in Oregon. Brita Kristina lived in North Dakota from 1903 through the late 1930s and then moved to Los Angeles, California. Brita Kristina passed away in Hollywood, California in 1950.

Katarina Olivia and her Husband Isak Olof Backlund and their six children that were born in Sweden (two children would be born later in Canada) would follow seven years later, emigrating from Sweden in 1910 and end up in Manitoba, Canada. Sigrid and her older Brother Anders Petter 'Ante' Sundin' Olfsson stayed in Sweden their entire lives. There was contact over the years between all five of the siblings.

A letter written by my Cousin Solveig (the way of the sun) is filled with key Family stories. I added a few other family letters and passages that covers my Great Grandmother Brita Kristina and her four siblings life decisions in the later 19th and early 20th Century:

Dear Mark,

You wondered what made Brita Kristina 'Christine' (Olofsfdotter-Olsson) (Ersson Eriksson) Erickson, Katarina Olivia (Olofsdotter) Backlund and Erik Olof Sundin Olofsson make the decision to emigrate from Sweden to America. I believe that was largely due to the difficult times here in Sweden at the time, the late 1800s, and America attracted many with their vast opportunities and freedoms. One could start all over again and build up a new life with the hope that it would be a better life than what you had in Sweden.

Those who emigrated in the mid and late 19th century were largely people living on the minimum, laborers, former farmers who had lost their land or were having difficulty continuing on. Many of these people had large families to support, as did Brita Kristina and Katarina Olivia. In the end, often you simply starved. Unemployment was high and there were several years of bad harvests and prices for crops were very low. Many also saw that those who returned to visit their homeland of Sweden, had been successful in America. Their lives were better and they were flourishing. The Swedish businessmen and entrepreneurs saw in all this success their opportunity to expand their businesses in the free country. America was, 'then' a beacon of promise and opportunity.

Older brother, Anders Petter Ante Sundin Olofsson and youngest sister Sigrid Elisabet (Olofsdotter) Olsson, along with Brita Kristina, Katarina Olivia and Erik Olof were living under tough times by the 1890s in Sweden, and it was due to circumstances that their father Olof Petter Andersson inadvertently had done some years before. There is this history I will tell you now of the family going back a generation that played a big role in the particular events that were affecting the lives of the five siblings, and of course, Olof Petter's wife, Karin (Gornasdotter) Andersson.

My dad, Olof Sigfrid Andersson told me that his siblings' Grandfather, your Great Great Great Grandfather Anders Nilsson 'Ryssmo Ante' Rudin was a well-to-do man. He was a successful tailor and businessman and owned a lot of land and a lot of forest area. 'Ryssmo Ante' was married to Brita Lisa (Ingemarsdotter) Rudin and with her they had six children. They had a large farm in Stode, Sweden with substantial land and forest surrounding the farm.

When Brita Lisa passed away in 1834, 'Ryssmo Ante' began to woo the twenty-four year old maid who was employed on their farm, Stina Greta Olofsdotter Hammarstrom, who would eventually end up your Great Great Great Grandmother, but not for awhile. Stina Greta and 'Ryssmo Ante' had a son in 1836, as mentioned would be my Great Great Grandfather, Olof Petter Andersson, your Great Grandmother Brita Kristina's father.

When Stina Greta got pregnant for the second time with Lars two years later in 1838, the village priest came to the house and told 'Ryssmo Ante' that they could not live in sin anymore and must take responsibility and he must marry Stina Greta, which he did. So it was and time passed and together they had a total of seven children. 'Ryssmo Ante' already had 6 children with his first wife, Brita Lisa (Ingemarsdotter) Rudin, so in the end he had 13 children. As it became to this day, we are all thus descendants of the young maid, Stina Greta.

When Ryssmo Ante passed away in 1860, his wife Stina Greta and all his children in both marriages were allowed to inherit portions of the farms and forest. My Great Grandfather, your Great Great Grandfather Olof Petter Andersson inherited a nice farm with a lot of forest area in Stode. The farm is still there today and actress Ingrid Bergman owned it for a few years in the 1950s. She was married in the local Stode church, by the way.

By this time, in the later part of the 1880s, Olof Petter and his wife, your Great Great Grandmother Karin (Goransdotter) Andersson and children had resided on their own farm for years, the timber industry had begun to expand extensively in Sweden. Along the coasts, near ports and river tributaries, sawmills were being constructed and the companies were acquiring private forest land further inland year by year. These businessmen were as one might suspect, greedy in their dealings and they had no qualms to trick the property owners into selling their forest at lower prices than their worth.

So we get to the point where Olof Petter was rather deceived badly. The businessmen said that his forest would be useless, because one would have to build a railway right across the land to access any future logging, which they knew he would never be able to afford. So selling would be a very profitable business decision for Olof Petter. They felt there was no chance he would not say no to their offer, as the money was at the time seemingly a considerable amount.

Olof Petter was not using the land and so he felt at the time he made a good decision. In the end it was found out he could not read properly, the documents that the businessmen presented to him, basically went unread by anyone in the family. Olof Petter did not reveal that he could not read well enough to catch the true details of the contract and he hid his shame or embarrassment. Olof Petter ended up signing the papers with only his initials to the bottom of the contract.

No one will ever know what went on during these negotiations, but it was obvious Olof Petter was not prepared to protect his family's interests with these greedy businessmen. In the end, Olof Petter sold the forest property to the Lumber Company at the price agreed, he felt it was a good price and he felt rich for the moment. In a matter of a few years the money started to run out, as the Swedish economy was beginning to suffer at the end of the 19th Century.

Olof Petter and Karin now had five children to support: Ante Sundin, your Great Grandmother Brita Kristina, Katarina Olivia, Erik Olof and my Grandmother Sigrid Elisabet. The situation was beginning to get grim, money became tight and decisions were looming on the horizon that would change the lives of Olof Petter and Karin and especially their five children.

The family eventually had to sell their farm in the 1890s in Stode and buy a smaller farm in Attmar. Olof Petter was surely depressed when he realized he had been cheated. He began to drink liquor to quell his anxiety. The children, one by one, begin working at whatever they could find to help support the family. Ante Sundin and Erik Olof worked as tailors and went door to door around the various villages making suits for the well off local gentlemen. The two brothers often stayed at the homes with those they worked for. They soon rented a room nearby in the village.

A year or so later, Ante Sundin and Erik Olof had a tailoring business set up with a businessman in the timber industry in Svartvik, Njurunda. Ironically this was the same Lumber Company that had tricked their father, Olof Petter, into selling the family property. They rented a small apartment nearby so they could stay close to their clients. Their little sister, my Grandmother Sigrid Elisabet accompanied them at this point on their business venture. Sigrid became Ante Sundin and Erik Olof's housekeeper and one of their seamstresses. Sigrid cooked and took care of the household, so her brothers could spend all their time designing and making suits.

In time, Sigrid met a young man, Mattias Forsman, connected with the Lumber Industry and soon enough, she became pregnant out of wedlock with my father, Olof Sigfrid Andersson in 1896. Their relationship did not last long, as Mattais would turn out to be a weak and unfaithful man. He eventually would make his escape from his responsibilities with his son. Mattias left Sweden for Canada. Sigrid would raise Olof Sigfrid on her own, and the child would take on his paternal Grandfather Olof Petter Andersson's last name, instead of Mattais, for his own. At this time, 1896, Olof Petter's eldest son, Ante Sundin had married Brita Kajsa Lindquist, who came from a wealthy family. Brita Kajsa and Ante Sundin moved onto a farm in Lyngstern that they received from Brita's father as a wedding present. There they lived, and lived well and eventually had ten children.

Your Great Grandmother Brita Kristina 'Christine' had married Anders Alfred Eriksson in the early 1880s and had four children: Erik Olof Helmer, Ernst Julius Alfred, your Grandfather Frans 'Frank' Gustaf Severin and Anders 'Andy' Sebran Filomon and they lived on a farm Torpshammar. They would have two daughters later: Ebba 'Abbie' Angnis Kristina (Lincoln) and Elda 'Vera' Alfred Elivira (Gallagher) Erickson. By the beginning of the 20th Century Brita Kristina and Anders Alfred had decided it was time to seek new opportunities. They looked West for this new life. They left Sweden in April of 1903 and made their way to England and left Liverpool on May 12th and arrived in America on May 21, 1903. Onto North Dakota they went for their new life and their farming continued. The Family heard from Brita by letter with family news and in 1905 word came of the arrival of their seventh child, Alphons, the first of our Family to be born in America.

Erik Olof Sundin Olofsson married his Amanda Kristina Nilsson in 1893 when he was twenty one years old. Soon enough, Erik and Amanda had three children, Ebba Kristina Sundin Bjork, Elseba Dagny Amanda Sundin and Alcassar Marino Sundin-Sundeen.

Unfortunately, after their third child Elseba, was born, Amanda passed away in 1900. Desolate and unsure what to do next, Erik Olof decided the best thing to do was to immigrate to America in 1903. He would leave his three children behind in Sweden, staying with relatives till he was settled in America. Once he passed through Ellis Island in New York City, Erik would travel to Kiron, Iowa to meet up with his cousin, Jonas Svensk (Swede). As time tumbled along, Erik journeyed to Minnesota, then Canada and finally settled in Oregon. His three children would eventually join him. Unfortunately to this day, we know little details of Erik's life in North America.

Katarina Olivia and Sigrid at this point were living at home on the farm in Attmar. They worked to provide for their parents. Soon Katarina Olivia met her Isak Johan Olof Backlund and they married. Sigrid stayed with her parents and raised her son, Olof Sigrid. Katarina and Isak had seven children that were born in Sweden: Thelma was born in 1899, Sadie (Sara) was born in 1902, John (Yokam) was born in 1906, Oliver (Agda) was born in 1906, Nels (Olof), Isak were born in 1906 and Karl was born in 1908.

On October 13th, 1910 Katarina and Isak and seven of their eight children departed from Vasternorrland for Liverpool, England. From Liverpool, aboard the S.S. Empress of Britain they immigrated to Quebec City/Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where they arrived on November 11th, 1910. From there they eventually ended up in Macoun, Saskatchewan, where Katarina and Isak's 8th child, Eric was born in 1911. Katarina and Isak and family moved to a farm in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada, in 1916 and in 1921 moved to another farm in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.

Previously in Sweden, the five sibling's parents, Olof Petter and Karin had moved to a smaller and simpler farm with Sigrid and her son, my Father Olof Sigfrid. You remember the painting with the little simple houses in a Winter motif that I sent to you. That farm was not far from Ante Sundin's farm. Olof Petter, Karin, Sigrid and her son Olof got help with food and other things from Ante Sundin. Sigrid was often at Ante Sundin's farm helping with chores on their farm and the children. To earn a little extra money, Sigrid picked blueberries that she sold in the small community markets in Matfors. She also helped in the farms when they were going into their season of slaughtering animals for market.

At this time, Ante Sundin and Brita Kajsa were dependent on the inheritance from their parents, but Olof Petter had nothing. Your Great Grandparents Brita Kristina and Anders had seen an opportunity to have a better life in America. They had been in contact with Brita Kristina's Aunt and Uncle Ingrid and Jonas Svensk, who had emigrated from Sweden to America in 1870 and had settled in Kiron, Crawford County in the American State of Iowa. Anders' Brother Frederick lived in Slaughter, North Dakota, so with family members already in America there were opportunities, and Brita and Anders felt their destiny was to live in America. This 1878 letter that I shared with you, written by Great Aunt Ingrid to her sister Karin, Brita Kristina's mother and father Olof Petter Andersson, surely influenced your Great Grandparents decision to go to America

January 27th, 1878
Jonas Svensk and Ingrid Svensk Kiron, Crawford County Iowa, North America
Dear Sister Karin and Brother in Law Olof, After a long silence I would like to write to you once again. I have written a letter to you before, that I never got a response from. Could it be that there was no address there either. Has it been lost? We are all alive and have good health. I on the other hand have been and still am suffering from gout. The winter is stunningly beautiful, good weather and no snow. Our cattle are outside all of the time. I should tell you if the other letter hasn't arrived.

We moved from the place we lived before four and a half years ago. We bought land here in Kiron, Iowa and settled as best as we could. We built a house in the following manner. Dug a hole in a hill fourteen feet in a square. Dressed it in planks, two windows and a door and a small vestibule. And this is the house we still have. It is very expensive to get lumber here because everything needs to be shipped a long way, and there is not a single forest or bush within a five mile radius from here. And even in that it is very small and insufficient.

There is no other solution for fuel than to buy. We believe we have sixty acres of cultivated land and harvested six hundred bushels of wheat last year. Also one hundred bushels of grain and nine hundred bushels of corn. We have four horses, two cows and four oxen and one heifer, two calves, two swine and a flock of chickens.

We can make two trips into town every day if we please, and there we have a railroad. I like being here as much as in Sweden. There are many here who come from Hassela and many from Stode and the rest of the Swedes are from other various places. Daniel Danielsson sends his greetings to you. Spik Anna has requested greetings a long time ago if we ever wrote. We call them Lena Lindblom and Anna Michaelson.

Herman Eriksson sends his greetings. He lives two and a half miles from us and close to Lindblom. He manages the best out of all the Swedes around here. Our son Jonas goes to School and he is a good schoolboy. Our other son, Eric, writes below. I will have to end with a dear greeting from everyone to you, kindly write to us.

Your affectionate sister,
Ingrid Svensk

p.s. from Eric I understand all well that my poor penmanship will betray me if I were to sign it, but it cannot be helped. Mother has asked me numerous times to write to you. But I have withdrawn. I send my greetings to you. There is a bit of the paper left, but it is late so I will stop and say Farewell.....Eric

Your Great Uncle Ante Sundin and my Grandmother Sigrid Elisabet stayed for the rest of their lives in Sweden. Sigrid passed away in 1939 and Ante Sundin passed away in 1947. I knew them both well and recall many of the stories they told me. That and the research that my Daughter Mia and I conducted in the last years, I can relate to you now, that enough information is available to us to be able to tell you this story I just wrote you. I know you have wanted to know all these details. There is always more to find out, yet here is an extremely important history of your Swedish Andersson, Olofsdotter, Sundin, Olofsson/Olsson, Eriksson and Backlund families.

Your Great Aunt Katarina Olivia (Olofsdotter) and Great Uncle Isak Johan Backlund were inspired by Brita Kristina and Anders Alfred Eriksson-Erickson's emigration in 1903 that had taken them to the Northern Plains of the American State of North Dakota. Katarina and Isak would follow, as you have read above, on their own journey west in 1910, settling in Manitoba, Canada.

Great Uncle Erik Olof Sundin, we know through the exchange of letters with his cousin, Jonas Svensk Jr. (transcribed below) who was living in Kiron, Iowa with his family, received an invitation to emigrate to Iowa from Jonas. After his wife, Amanda Kristina passed in 1900, he was desolate and realized he had to do something for himself and his three young children, aged 1-4 years old. In 1903, Erik Olof left his three children with family in Sweden and began the long journey heading to the west. It was there that he would spend the rest of his life.

Kiron Iowa, March 20, 1903
To Erik Olof Sundin Svartvik, Sweden

My Dear Cousin,
I am hereby allowed to write a reply to your letter that came to me recently. But I'm bad at writing in Swedish, so you have to apologize for my mistakes. I can read Swedish well enough but am uncertain when writing.

My father and mother are both dead. My father died on January 3, 1901 after only three days of illness. He had a heart defect. Both were born in 1823. My brother Erik died on January 24, 1890, thirty nine years old. We were only two siblings so now I am the only one left in my family. My brother has four children living, Inez, Rose, Georg and Algot. The oldest is twenty years old and the youngest is twelve. On my father's side I have many cousins after my uncles Erik Ljunglof and Johan Nordell. Uncle Ljunglof and Nordell are dead, but Aunt Ljunglof is still alive.

Now in answer to your question about traveling to America, if you want to travel alone I will send you a ticket from Stockholm to Kiron. At the moment there are good times and full of work and the times never get so bad that you have to starve if you want to work. In this place there is probably no work for a tailor, but in the larger cities there is enough work for a tailor. So if you are willing to work with anything until you have looked around, then it is enough.

Here at this place it is almost only swedes. So it is not difficult to get to the language path. I hear that an unmediated person gets along better here than in Sweden. The daily salary for a regular job in the country is never less than a dollar a day. If you want to come then it is best that you answer soon, so I will send a free ticket at once. Spring work has already begun and the ground is starting to turn green.

Health aunt and uncle.
I must stop now for this time.

Jonas Svensk
Kiron Crawford Co U.S. America Iowa

In the end, three of the five of the Olofsdotter / Sundin / Olsson / Olfsson siblings would make it to Canada and America. They would all raise their families and succeed in their new homeland as farmers, laborers and businessmen/women. Their children and grandchildren and so forth continue on to this day. As in many tales back then, with the varied lifestyles and experiences, it's all a very exciting historic story of our family.

I hope you enjoyed. Solveig, Mia and Olivia

The letter below was written in Swedish in Hollywood, California in May of 1943 by my Great Grandmother Brita Kristina and sent to her son, my Grandfather Frank (Frans) Gustaf Severin & daughter-in-law, Clara (Klara) Amelia (Nelson-Nilsson) Erickson in Bismarck, North Dakota. The letter was translated from Swedish by Solveig and Mia in Sundsvall.

A letter from Medelpad
December 12th, 1943

Dear Son Frank, Daughter Clara & Dian Marcella

Happy Birthday my son. May you and the family be well and enjoy the times. The violinist, and my older Brother Anders Petter Ante Sundin recently had his 80th birthday in Sweden. I received word yesterday. Ante Sundin is one of the few now living violinists of the old style within the 'Malpabygden,’ who faithfully carries the traditions of the last century's well known musicians in the province of our old homeland of Medelpad, Sweden.

He has a rich repertoire, very faith-hearted and a pure playing style. Sometimes when he plays an ecstatic realm takes over and can be purely magical. Ante Sundin has participated in most musician's meetings over the last sixty years, both local provincial as well as national musician's meetings. There he always wins their top prize.

In 1910, when Nils Andersson in Lund organized the first musician's meeting at Skansen with contributions from Anders Zorn, Sundin participated and received the ‘Zorn Medal in Silver.’ On his recent 80th birthday, Ante Sundin received the same honor, a Gold Medal, the ‘Zornmarket’ (Zorn Badge Trophy) awarded by the Swedish Youth Musician's Prize Committee and the Svenska Folkdansringen, the Swedish National Organization for Traditional Music, Dance and the Arts Swedish Youth Musician's Prize Committee given to prominent musicians in Sweden.

Now I send this news of my dear old brother Ante Sundin to you, Frank and Clara, so you can see that he is in a good health and mood. How glad I am to have heard all this news from my sister, Sigrid In Sundsvall.

Ernest wrote to me from Texas and he is off to England very soon. I wish him comfort in his new exploits and hope he flys well and safe and comes home soon. He has been a good boy, and writes to me often. Very proud of my grandson. I think of you Frank and your Brother Andy who came home in 1919, what you went through in the Lost Battalion and the terrible news about Ernest Julius, who rests now ever since in Wilton. I wish my grandson all the best. Look forward to seeing you all soon.

From Mother Erickson Brita Kristina

I often think about that particular story, my Great Grandmother Brita Kristina unconsciously in 1943 endeavored in keeping her Swedish Family history alive and known by writing that letter to her Son Frank and Daughter-in-Law Clara Amelia. Knowing her Grandson Ernest Anders was flying Heavy Bombers in the war in England, with remembrances of her sons, three that served and one son of those, my Father Ernest Anders's namesake, Ernest Julius, that did not return from the First World War. 1943 was a time capsule of thoughts and Family activity from America to Europe. The fact that Frank and Clara kept the 1943 letter along with hundreds of other letters, cards, hundreds of photographs and documents for decades was in keeping with that concept of archiving our history. They continue in a long line of caretakers of our Family history. As time and memory travels, they passed their archive onto their son, my Father Ernest Anders. These preceding remembrances are some of the many tales they and others helped keep alive, 'A Family History - From the Garden' is a testimony of their lives and experiences. The following photographs are just some of the many Family images that were fortunately kept over the last almost one hundred and fifty years. They are the lasting visual testament of the Family.

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