Where did they go?

Numerous descendants to Henrik and Maria emigrated to America in pursuit of a better life. These Swedish emigrants primarily entered USA via New York. From New York they spread all over the States. This constitutes a great challenge; the emigrants turning immigrants. Where did they go, what became of them, what became of their America dreams?

My great grandmother's sister Hilda Charlotta Ekman was only one of all those who ventured to cross the Atlantic. In 1900 she walked onboard a ship in Gothenburg, heading for America. She must have had great expectations. I know very little about her life and experiences in America. She only lived for five more years. The little I know is told here.

The Swedish church records provide some information but the most common notation on the destination of an emigrant in the records is "North America", nothing else. Through shipping documents you often get more precise information on dates of departure and arrival, on port of embarkation and port of arrival. The Ellis Island records many times turn out to be a true gold mine when they list the name and address of a friend or relative already living in USA. Through numerous other US records additional information can be gathered, not the least through the national censuses.

But to be perfectly honest, it's not for one man or woman to single handed follow the trace of each single descendant to Henrik and Maria going cross the Atlantic, from 1850 and onwards. Trying to keep up with those remaining in Sweden is a challenge in it's own right. It makes better sense to rally support in the pursuit from descendants looking back in time, from present time America towards the old world, backtracking the footsteps of their ancestors.

Why not combine our efforts and meet half way? If you find a match with a person in the list on the DESCENDANTS page you'll be able to follow the tracks back to Henrik Klasson Ekman and Maria Jansdotter. With only some exceptions each descendant of Henrik and Maria has been found up till ca 1850-1895, if remaining in Sweden.

If you on your side can contribute to the chart on Henrik's and Maria's descendants up to present times, I would be ever so grateful if you would consider sharing the information with me. To facilitate your search for any matching persons, please take a look at this list. This list holds more than 350 descendants emigrating, primarily to the USA, and covers the period up tol approximately 1900. Some of those in the list may have come back, it did happen in some cases. Any additional information on where the roads took these emigrants would be of great interest.









The first emigrant

The first emigrant in the descendant chart of Henrik Klasson Ekman and his wife Maria Jansdotter left for America already in May 1853. She was Stina Kajsa Hättström, originally from Karlskoga, and she emigrated from Herrnäs in Bjurtjärn where she worked as a maid. It was the journeys to America by the sons in the Pettersson family of Herrnäs which triggered a quite massive wave of emigration both from Bjurtjärn and from Karlskoga 1853/1854.

Later the same year her parents, Karl Hättström and Anna Olsdotter, as well as four younger siblings, followed her example and joined a large company of emigrants heading for Stockholm in Pepin, Wisconsin, leaving their homes in Karlskoga. There is a most interesting story told about this group of emigrants here. (in Swedish)

After several dead ends and help from genealogists in USA II have been able to find Stina Kajsa in the US records and thus been able to trace her immediate descendants. She married Per Axel Jonsson (Peter Axel Johnson) in the late 1850s and gave birth to at least eight children. She lived in Stockholm, Pepin, Wisconsin until her death in 1899. Her parents, her sister Anna Lovisa and her brother Erik have also been possible to trace in the American records. Her brothers Karl and Johan, however, are not yet found. There is one piece of information which says that Johan died during the Atlantic crossing. This was a common destiny for members of the large group which emigrated from Karlskoga and Bjurtjärn in 1854.

The older brother of Stina Kajsa, Olof Hättström, never left Sweden. He remained in Karlskoga. He married in June 1854 and perhaps the reason for him not emigrating was the fact that his wife was carrying their first child when the rest of the family left for America in November 1854. Olof died in Karlskoga in 1912.

Stina Kajsa left Gothenburg, Sweden, in May 1853, travelling on the bark Christiana. She arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, 10 August 1853. A transcript of the passenger list can be studied here. I have added some information following attempts to identify the passengers.

For those interested in Stockholm, Pepin, as well as litterature on the hardships experienced by the 1853/1854 emigrants the following texts can be recommended:

- History of Stockholm, Wisconsin, "Stockholm's Saga", (Collaboration of Mrs. Eric W. Forslund and E.J.D. Larson)

- "An American Letter of 1854 from a Värmlänning", E. Gustav Johansson. (Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly vol.18, 1967 pp.93-100)

- Comments on a Chicago Emigrant Letter of 1854, by Kjell Nordquist. (Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly vol.18, 1967 pp.169-172)

- "När Karlskogaborna fick Amerikafeber", by Kjell Nordquist. (I Karlskoga Bergslag förr och nu, 1962 pp.70-77)

- An Emigrant Letter from Quebec, 1854. by Anders Johansson. (Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly vol.30, 1979 pp.234-239)







December 15, 2007