Sunday, May 26, 2013

Swedish Family History

The Anderson family has been quite interested in my great great great grandfather Johan Anderson, since he is our pioneer ancestor who brought his family to Utah and cemented the Anderson surname into the family tree. Since Johan's family were the first to join the LDS Church, and they didn't join until they moved to Denmark, the rest of the family in Sweden has less of its family history done.

Johan's parents (Anders Petterson and Stina Goransdotter) had 9 children, but only 4 of them lived to adulthood: Andreas Johannes, Petter, Johan and Anna Stina.

Hamneda Church - Built in 1889-1892

Anders and Stina moved around a bit after they got married in 1824, but in 1842 they settled into a farm in Backaryd Norregard in Sweden, and never moved again ('ryd' means clearing, and Backaryd was near the village of Back; 'norr' means north, and 'gard' means farmyard or homestead). Backaryd is near the western banks of the river Lagan, which is one of the longest rivers in southern Sweden and an important trading route since Viking times.

Their little spot was called Ekebro ('oak-bridge') and it was big enough for 2-3 families to live there and work the land. The records indicate that they were very poor. Twice the local priest of Hamneda Parish wrote notes in his survey that he had issued warnings to them about possible neglect, given their destitute state. Add to this their sadness at the loss of 5 children, including 3 girls in a row who never reached the age of four (each was named Gustava). Their four surviving children moved away when they came of age, but Johan and Anna Stina eventually moved back with their families to work the farm (I don't know where Petter or Andreas Johannes went exactly -- still working on that).

Johan Anderson
Johan and his wife Nilla moved back to the farm between 1851 and 1856 and stayed there until 1866. In that year they moved to Aarhas, Denmark, where they joined the LDS church (1874) and then ultimately moved to Benjamin, Utah in the mid-1880s. When Johan passed away in 1905, Nilla followed her children to Taber, Alberta, Canada. She died in 1909 (more detailed history about Johan Anderson is available online).

So that was Johan's story in North America. But what happened to the rest of the family back in Sweden?

Anna Stina (Andersdotter) Storgaard
While Johan ran the family farm in Sweden, his younger sister Anna Stina lived in the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, where she married a Danish man named Lars Storgaard (apparently, Swedes and Danes can understand each other quite well -- although Norwegians can understand each of them better than they can understand each other). They lived in Denmark near Aarhus for about 8 years, where 3 boys (Anders, Frederik and Johannes) were born in the villages of Harlev, Framlev and Folby, respectively. After Anna Stina's parents both passed away (Anders 1860, Stina 1865), then Anna Stina moved back to the farm with Lars and the 3 boys.

Lars and Anna Stina's move from Denmark to Sweden came shortly after the Second Schleswig War, which was waged in 1864 between the Danes and the Prussians & Austrians. Denmark lost and ceded a considerable amount of territory to the Prussians. I think times were pretty tough and pretty uncertain in Denmark in those years, likely prompting the family's move back to Sweden. At the time, Aarhus was the second largest city in Denmark and prior to the war it likely had a lot more opportunity when compared to the small farm in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. As noted above, when Johan & his family left for Denmark in 1866, they also went to the Aarhus area.

Amanda (Larsdotter / Larsen) Hagman
After Lars and Anna Stina settled into farm life back in Sweden, Amanda was born in 1870. The boys all moved away when they came of age (Johannes moved to London on Feb 2, 1887), but Amanda remained on the farm until she married a soldier named Hans Alfred Johannson Hagman in 1891. They had a son named Lars Johan Reinhold Hagman just a few months later (read into that what you will). The newlyweds started living in spot #2 at Ekebro, which must have been a smaller cottage on the farm, because everyone seems to have started there and worked their way over to spot #1 (probably a bigger house) as they became more established.

Hans Hagman
Hans Hagman was born on May 16, 1869 in Denmark, but moved to Sweden where he eventually enlisted in the military (Ljunby Company) at the age of ~18. He lived in Halmstad, on the Swedish west coast until Dec 3, 1888, when he moved 70 km inland to Hamneda. He was about 21 years old when he married Amanda in 1891. He likely continued his military service until the family moved to Canada in 1892. He became a Canadian citizen in 1896.

Moving to Winnipeg
Lars Storgaard & Anna Stina left for North America on Apr 6, 1892. Amanda and Hans left for North America in the same year, settling on a farm in the area of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Selkirk). Sadly, their first son Lars Johan Renhold Hagman died on 15 May 1892 in Winnipeg, at the age of only 4 months. By 1915 the family would come to reside at 451 Martin Avenue in the city of Winnipeg proper and have 11 more children who all survived to adulthood. The last available appearance of the family in the census is in 1911, when all but two of the children had been born.

World War One
Hans and at least three of his sons (William, Albert and John) enlisted in the Canadian military at the outset of WWI, as depicted in the newpaper photo below from Jan 18 1915, taken in Salisbury, UK (the first wave of Canadian volunteer soldiers spent that winter training in the mud and drizzle of Salisbury). Hans served with the 100th Winnipeg Grenadiers and was injured and sent home. The details of his medical discharge are currently unknown. Hans then enlisted again in June of 1915 to serve with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, although he provided his age as 3 years younger than he actually was. Based on his enlistment info, by that point his occupation had changed from farmer to woodworker. The Canadian Virtual War Memorial has no results for any war dead with the surname of Hagman, and it appears that the whole family made it home from the war -- quite a feat, given that they were among the first to volunteer, and the Canadian Expeditionary Force took massive casualties in these early conflicts. John Hagman was discharged with a gunshot wound to his leg, but re-enlisted in Jan 1918 to serve in Canada-only duty until July 1918. Sgt William Arnold Hagman returned to Canada aboard the ship Adriatic from Southampton to Halifax on 10 Sep 1919. He had been in active service for 5 years. The eldest son, William, served in England and got married in 1818 to Florence Playford, who was working in a munitions factory near Canterbury.

Calgary Connection
I found it interesting to note that Hans and Amanda had a daughter named Annie Wilhemina Hagman who married an Irishman named Alexander Cuffe, had four children and passed away in 1956 in Calgary. She was buried in the Queen's Park Cemetery. It boggles the mind that a little cottage in the tiny hamlet of Backaryd in Sweden has multiple pathways to my home town of Calgary.

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