Hilda Ekman - One story

Hilda Ekman

My great grandmother's sister Hilda Charlotta Ekman grew up as one of four sisters and one brother, children of a village blacksmith. Like many others at that time, in 1893, she moved to work in Stockholm. Although none of her siblings ever went to America numerous relatives had done so earlier. Uncles, aunts and cousines, and most likely, numerous friends, both in her home village Västra Vingåker and in Stockholm. In the spring of 1900 she started out on her own journey to America. The records show her leaving Stockholm 12 March. 27 April she departed from Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast, bound for the UK, then further on to the USA.

The Oceanic (source: Wikipedia)

Hilda departed from Liverpool 2 May on "The Oceanic" and arrived in New York 10 May. She carried 4£ in her pocket when she passed through the immigrations control on Ellis Island.

Ellis Island arrival

Immigrants on Ellis Island 1902. (source: Wikipedia)

Of her few years in America very little is known. Soon upon arrival to New York she got employment as a servant in a danish family, Hansen, in 252 54th St, Brooklyn, Kings, New York.

1 October 1905, following seven weeks of sickness, she passed away at Saint Barnabas Hospital, Newark, in typhoid fever. At that time her address was 118 Dickerson Street, Newark, NJ. She was doing house work, probably working as a servant or maid. Whether she lived and worked at the same place is not known.

It would take more than 18 months before distribution of the estate could take place in Sweden. Deducting costs for her burial and administrative and legal expenses, the inheritance came to 539,65 US dollars, equating to 2017,37 Swedish kronor, which was shared between her father and her siblings 27 April 1907.

Hilda was buried at West New Brighton Cemetery, in Staten Island, Richmond county.







Hilda Ekman Certificate and record of death, State of New Jersey - Bureau of Vital Statistics

US Census 1900: Census Place: Brooklyn Ward 8, Kings, New York; Roll: T623 1047; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 108

Riksarkvet; UD:s arkiv, 1902 års dossiersystem, volym 3685, E/1b-13, 1901-1910, E: Arv, från New Yorks konsulatdistrikt.

Church records: miscellaneous

The legal proceedings


Following her death 1 October 1905 it took over 18 months of administrative and legal proceedings to settle the bills with the undertaker and to arrange the transfer of the remaining inheritance to her family in Sweden. A dispute arose between the estate and the undertaker which prolonged the process. Acting on behalf of the estate was the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and its Consulate in New York. For the legal aspects the Consulate hired August Reymert of "August Reymert, Attorney & Councellor at Law" on 60 Broad Street, New York. The Newark authorities had employed the undertaker Morey W, Smith as administrator of the estate, and regarding legal matters the authorities used lawyers "Lambert & Stuart" in Newark.

For the Swedish MFA to be able to act on the estate's behalf the first thing to do was to get a certificate from the priest in Västra Vingåker proving the relationsship between Hilda and her father and siblings. Next document was the Power of Attorney for the MFA to act at all. (there were actually two: one signed by the relatives living in Västra Vingåker, one signed by those living in Stockholm). These documents were sent from the MFA in Stockholm 9 March 1906 and on 12 April the Swedish Consulate responded that Mory W. Smith had been appointed administrator of the estate and that they estimated the whole process to take 9 months.

August Reymert got busy working for the estate. Just to illustrate his actions:

  • 1906 April 2 Went to Newark N.J. and examined documents in court.
  • 1906 April 10 Went to Newark N.J. and had interviews with Lambert & Stuart and examined security on administrator's bond.
  • 1906 April 11 Wrote Swedish consulate.
  • 1906 April 17 Prepared affidavites and had same sworn to by Swedish consul and transmitted same to Newark N.J.
  • 1906 May 1 Received letter from McKillop, Walker and Co of 302 Broadway, New York. Answered the same.
  • 1906 June 20 Prepared notice of appearance in behalf of Swedish heirs and filed same with attorneys in Newark N.J.
  • 1906 July to Dec Correspondence at various times and interviews in contesting the undertaker's bill.
  • 1907 January 2 Received notice for presentation of administrator's account for January 26, 1907.
  • 1907 January 26 Attended the accounting.
  • 1907 February 11 Attended at Newark N.J. in Orphan's Court as attorney for the Swedish heir.
  • 1907 February 14 Attended at Newark N.J. at office of administrator and at office of his attorney and received check to the order of the Swedish Vice-consul at New York for 620.10 dollar.For the above services including disembursments for copies of documents, railroad fares and other travelling expenses, etc 75 dollar.
  • Received payment


Statement of account

"Hilda Eckman died in Newark N.J. about September 1905 and was buried on Staten Island, Richmond County, New York. She left on deposit in a bank 425.00 dollar and a policy of insurance on her life for 500 dollar which was taken out in June 1905 and on which only one premium had been paid of 12 dollar. There being no relatives here, the undertaker, who had charge of the funeral, Morey W. Smith, was appointed administrator of the estate by the Surrogates' Court on February 14 1906. The various legal proceedings were taken and an accounting was made in the Surrogates' Court of Newark N.J. in the month of January 1907 and the administrator's accounts have been ratified by the court. From such accounts it appears that the amount realized was 938.10 dollar.

  • Undertaker and funeral expenses 189.50 dollar
  • Court expenses 50.50 dollar
  • Lambert & Stuart, lawyers 25.00 dollar
  • Administrator's commissions 50.00 dollar
  • Doctor's and notary's fees 3.00 dollar
  • Balance 620.10 dollar

Deducting the fees and expenses of Mr August Reymert of New York as per the annexed bill 75.00 dollar leaves balance of 545.10 dollar paid to the swedish consulate this 15th day of February 1907".

16 February 1907 the Consulate communicated the outcome of the accounting to the MFA in Stockholm. Having received 545,10 dollars the Consultate deducted 5,45 dollars for expenses leaving 539,65 dollars for the estate. At the time this equated to 2017,37 Swedish kronor which were to be split between Hilda's father and her four siblings.

In the letter from the Consulate to the MFA there is a remark (in translation):

"It should be noted that energetic attempts have been made to have the funeral bill reduced, but they were not successful, both using good will and threats, as the undertaker declared the cost higher than usual, the deceased passing away in Newark, NJ, but the funeral taking place in Staten island. To take the matter further to court has not been considered an option due to the costs that would follow from such an action".

13 April 1907 Hilda's sister Anna Sofia Ekman visited the MFA in Stockholm. She presented the necessary Powers of Attorney, acting on behalf of the rest of the family, and received 2017 kronor and 37 öre.

Final distribution of Hilda Ekman's estate took place 27 April 1907. It was shared by Hilda's father, blacksmith Karl Gustav Ekman, her sisters Josefina Vilhelmina, Anna Sofia, Selma Karolina and her brother Karl Gustav.




January 25, 2008