The First Child of the First Child

My long-running daydream about a someday trip to Scandinavia has been updated to planning a trip that will take place within the next few months. Yippee (and eek)!

This means my 2022 genealogy goal of finding all the living descendants of my Swedish and Norwegian 4th great-grandparents moved up to the tip top of my to-do list.

Suddenly I found myself overwhelmed by the size and scope of my project. I couldn’t decide how to share my research with distant cousins in a logical, yet interesting way.

To make matters more interesting, new-to-me family members have been located, and we’d all like to know how each of us are connected.

Visuals would make comprehension easier, especially when tossing around dozens of ancestors’ names. But nine generations of my 4th great-grandparents’ descendants make a pretty cumbersome chart.

And while a nine-generation descendant chart certainly looks impressive, does it really tell the stories of the people who’s names appear in those boxes? Or show the connections between those who emigrated and those who didn’t?

I realized I was getting caught up in the width rather than the height of the tree. If a couple had nine children and each of those children had nine children, the shear number of leaves made their branch of the tree too wide to see. By following each child’s descendants one generation at a time, all the way to the present generation, I found it easier to succinctly communicate surname changes, and relationships with cousins, and how individual limbs and branches connect to the larger family tree.

My Swedish 4th-great-grandparents Andreas Jonasson and Ingrid Stina Jonasdotter had six children. Their first-born child, a son came into the world in 1834 and was named Johan Andreasson. For those unfamiliar with patronymic Swedish naming practices, this was basically a way of identifying the child as Johan, Andreas’ son.

Johan married Christina Andreasdotter and they had seven known children. It’s ever so tempting to search for the dates of death for the children currently missing that information, but my goal is to complete the 1st child’s story before the 2nd, 3rd and so on.

Anders Gustaf took the surname Linnell while serving in the military and kept it after returning to civilian life. He married Elise Johannesdotter in 1861, and they had eight children who all used the surname Linnell.

Anders Gustaf is the first born child of Johan, who is the first born child of my 4th great-grandparents. That makes him the starting point for my one-ancestor-at-a-time approach to the nine-generations of leaves on this family tree.

To learn more about Anders Gustaf, his wife Elise, and their children, I’ll follow them through the Swedish records at Riksarkivet.


3 thoughts on “The First Child of the First Child

      • Looking forward to it. So many of our relatives are just entries on a tree – we sometimes forget that we are related to living, breathing people as well.


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