From Known to Unknown

Beginner genealogists are encouraged to start with what they know and work backward toward facts as yet unknown. But in the case of my third great-grandmother, I know more about her 1822 birth then I do about her 1901 death: Lena Stina, or Helena Christina as she would later be known, was born 28 Feb…

She Was Once Young

When you meet someone who is old, do you think they were always old? Or do you wonder about the path that led them to this place, the events that shaped them into the person standing before you? Ranghild Katarina Henrietta Tolf a.k.a. “Auntie” was my great-grandfather‘s sister. She was a surrogate grandmother to my mother and likewise…

Four Generation Photograph

I love seeing pictures of my ancestors and multiple generation shots are my favorites. Four generations in the same professionally posed portrait are a rare find. That’s what makes this photograph so special. The baby in the picture is my grandmother Harriette Kathlyn Tolf born 02 Jul 1909. She’s posing with her father Harry Wilhelm Tolf (1884-1964), her…

16th Century Swedish Records

Today is the anniversary of my 9th great-grandfather’s death. I saw the record on a page in a parish book from 17th century Sweden. I have a direct line ancestor who’s death was recorded 330 years ago. How amazing is that? Even more amazing is the page I found at ArkivDigital scanned and digitized from a parish…

Did Harry Tolf mellow with age?

One member of my family described him as “one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet”. Other family members, the ones with memories of Harry Tolf’s earlier life, told a different story. As a genealogist I try to keep all the stories in mind. And look for documentation to prove or disprove them. Harry Wilhelm Tolf…

Carolina Fredrika Tolf 1855-1930

From page 1 of the Thursday, February 6, 1930 issue of the St. Charles [Illinois] Chronicle: “OBITUARY Mrs. Peter Swanson Mrs. Peter Swanson passed away at her home on Fourth St. south at 10 p.m. Thursday, January 30. Her death was the result of a paralytic stroke which she suffered on the previous Monday. Mrs.…

Pullman Employee Charles Youngberg

According to the Swedish Husförhörslängder or household examination records 1882 to 1885*: Karl John Ljungberg left Sweden for North America in 1883. He doesn’t appear in the Swedish Utflyttning or moving out records in that or surrounding years, but I can confirm he arrived in America. Americanized Charles Youngberg worked his adult life for the Pullman…

Peter Tolf and Augusta Landstrom Marry

At first we thought there were two couples; Peter & Christine Tolf and Adolf & Augusta Sandstrom. Isn’t that what it looks like? But it was actually only one couple, Peter Tolf and Augusta Landstrom. They each brought a sibling to act as witnesses when Peter and Christine’s brother Frans Tolf married Matilda Peterson on…

Oh Those Beautiful Hats!

Their fathers Peter (1858-1929) and Frans Tolf (1852-1928) were brothers. And so Ranghild Katarina Henrietta (1889-1973) and Eva Mathilda (1891-1957) were first cousins. Eva had a sister named Pearl May (1883-1967). The three women got together often. As a matter of fact, Pearl lived with Ranghild and her family in the 1910 census. Then in 1913 Pearl…

Karl John Raymond Tolf 1891-1973

He was my grandmother’s Uncle Ray, the younger brother of her father. My mother and my sisters and I called him Unkie. While I was thinking about writing this post, it dawned on me – with some surprise – that I actually knew someone born in 1891. Not knew of him, but knew him. And I’m thankful that I…