It’s been exciting to recently discover that our Olson family ancient home of origen is Halland, Sweden. Halland County is on the lower western coast of Sweden. Until 1645 it was part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Along with a few other provinces, in the southern tip of Sweden, Halland was formerly considered the region of Skaneland. The earliest ancestor of the Olson family through the paternal line from my grandfather, Fritz Werner Olson, can be traced to just after this period of history to the municipality of Kungsbacka. How interesting to learn his name, Erik Olofsson who was born about 1655 in Tolo district, three centuries before my brother Eric Olson was born in America. Erik Olofsson (1655 – 1691) was the husband of a Gunilla Larsdotter (1670 – 1723). These are patriotic names, meaning that Olof was the father of Erik and Gunilla’s father was Lars. Amazingly the shortened version of my family name, Olson, has endured throughout the tangled course of the Scandinavian naming system. References to the name can be found in other lines going all the way back to 1600. The majority of these ancestors resided in Halland County, in the municipality of Kungsbacka, Alvsaker district, in the north most part of Halland which borders Gothenburg.
My Swedish ancestry has been difficult to track given lack of initial knowledge and restricted access to Swedish data. This, a great contrast to the multitude of genealogical information available on my maternal early New England ancestors. All I had to go on was a few conversations with my maternal grandmother some 40 years ago, a handful of family names from my father that were contemporary to him, and a determination to know more. Over the years, I searched intermittently for information on my grandparents Fritz Werner Olson (Olsson) and Carla Ingrid Maria Edberg. This included immigration passenger lists to the port of Boston, a marriage certificate, a Swedish parish record documented prior to immigration for Carla, passenger lists for both Fritz and Carla (1912), and their marriage certificate (1914). The doors started to open when I finally learned names of their parents, place of origin, and a few other clues to help with the investigation.
When the Swedish genealogical digital archives became available on Family Search, I was finally introduced to new world of relatives whose stories I want to know. I’ve been able to view actual census records, birth certificates and baptismal records, marriage records, etc. that have given wonderful access to the information I’ve been looking for. Fritz’s family was from the county of Halland, directly below Vastra Gotland County, where Gothenburg is located. Gothenburg was the port of descent of immigration, but also the home of Carla. Then I came across a genealogist in Sweden who had an entry on their website for Fritz Werner Olsson, born in 1894 in Alfors, Alvsaker, Sweden, the location recorded on his passenger list. Now armed with the names of ancestors, I was able to conduct cross-verification to confirm my family line.
Here is my primary focus, and you’ll see why. Benjamin Olausson of Alvsaker, Halland, Sweden (December 27, 1830 – November 8, 1875) married a girl from his village named Inger Lena Larsdotter (June 24, 1835 – November 8, 1875). These are the shared grandparents of both Fritz and Carla through two of their seven children. Second son, Lars Emil Olsson (November 8, 1857 – May 11, 1902) married Anna Stina Andreasdotter (October 25, 1864 – May 11, 1902) from the nb village of Fotskol on May 11, 1887. Their children included Elin (1888), Berta (1892), Fritz (1894), Karl (1897), and David (1899). After fifteen years of marriage Anna became a widow and she remarried Svente Larson on March 18, 1911. A mystery remains, however, Fritz stated on his marriage certificate his parents as Svente Olson and Anna Freeman. By this time, the use of patriotic names were not as common, but I still am certain these are the same individuals.
Returning to Benjamin and Inger, their sixth child was Elfrida Eleanora (June 7, 1868 – November 20, 1904) who married Carl Johan Sventesson Edberg (September 23, 1869 – November 20 1994). Edberg apparently was a chosen name, as census records were at that time often parenthesizing partionic surnames. Carl May have chosen the new surname when he immigrated to America in 1888, though he did return to Sweden when he married Elfrida on August 1, 1891. They lived in Gothenberg. Their first child, Edith Konstantina (August 19, 1891) followed by Carola Ingrid Maria ( who changed her first name to Carla upon immigration. And from my grandmother I have my name, Carla, as does a granddaughter of Edith. A son was born a year later, Knut Wilhelm (September 27, 1893 – November 23, 1893). When Elfrida died in 1904, Edith was thirteen years old and Carola was twelve. Their father married again within a year or so to widow Anna Paulina Torrell, who brought daughters Ellen and Lily to the marriage. Half siblings Knut Tage Georg Edberg (b. May 6, 1906) and Annie Viola Eleanor Edberg (October 26, 1906) we’re born.
This research has provided a multitude of primary resources which are helping me learn about my grandparent’s past, especially through the Olsson lineage. Where they lived, and with whom they lived. It’s been a fascinating journey which I intend to share more of. I hope to dig deeper than the 1600’s. Kungsbacka is famed for its Viking graveyard. You never know what old fossil might turn up!