January 1, 1858-1921

Sweden, Emigration Registers, 1869-1948 [database on-line]. Lehi, Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018. Image provided courtesy of ArkivDigital

My second great-grandfather was given the name Pehr August when he entered the world on 01 Jan 1858 in Svenarum, Jönköping, Sweden. He was the 5th of eight children born to spiksmed (nail-smith) Carl Tolf and his wife Helena Stina Åhman.

Pehr was just 11 years old when his oldest brother Gustaf emigrated to America. A few years later their brother Frans Magnus followed in Gustaf’s footsteps.

In the fall of 1872 14-year-old Pehr accompanied his sister Karolina Fredrika to the parish office. They both took out emigration papers. Karolina used hers to board a ship bound for America, but Pehr (now called Peter) returned home.

Finally, in the spring of 1878, Peter August Tolf traveled to Geneva Illinois to begin a new life with his parents Carl and Helena, and his three younger sisters; Frida, Christina and Amanda.

Peter would later become a foreman at the U. S. Wind Engine and Pump Company, marry Swedish immigrant Augusta Sophia Landstrom and have three children. Together with Claus Peterson and Charles Wenberg, Peter would be instrumental in forming the Swedish Mission Church in Batavia Illinois.

Another New Year’s baby in my family tree is Peter’s niece Pearl May Tolf, the daughter of Peter’s brother Frans Magnus. Frans, whose name was Americanized to Frank, settled in Dixon Illinois. Pearl was born in Dixon, the oldest of Frank and Matilda’s (nee Peterson) six children.

Pearl was living with her uncle Peter’s family when the 1910 census was taken. In 1913 she married Virginia-born Algernon Chastaine Porter. They had two daughters; Margaret born 1915 and Frances born 1916. Algernon served in World War I from 1 May 1918 to 22 Aug 1919. After the War, the young Porter family took up housekeeping in Richmond Virginia with Algernon’s mother Blanche and his sister Ruth.

I’d been unable to locate Pearl in the 1930 census and wondered if she and Algernon had divorced. While I am still looking for 1920-1930 information about Pearl and her daughters, I was saddened to learn recently that Algernon took his own life in 1931.

Shirttail relatives in my tree who were born on the first of January include Lester Wayne Kimmel (01 Jan 1915 to 30 Jun 1937) who married Louise Virginia Hedrick, the daughter of Eva Matilda (nee Tolf) Hedrick, Pearl May Tolf’s younger sister;

and Alexander York (1 Jan 1919 to 10 Sep 1974), the brother-in-law of Eloise Adelaide Clarke, whose grandfather is my 3rd great-grandfather Maryland-born Morgan Henry Clarke;

and Victor Desire Vogel (01 Jan 1921 to 21 Jun 2005) who married Fern Mary Giles, a descendant of my Mangels ancestors.



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