Author Archives: schlomo


According to the dictionary, an obituary is an article in a newspaper about the life of someone who has died recently. It is valuable for genealogists and historians because it may include a short biography stating the name, age, and whether the person died of an illness or accident. It may go on to describe the education, career, accomplishments, challenges overcome, residences, and family information. Listed are close family members who have died previously, followed by the names of survivors shown in the order of parents, spouse, children (males, usually first), and on down the line. Pallbearers, doctors, and persons who were particularly helpful, as well as any memorial wishes, may be shown. The article usually concludes with the date and place of services and burial. This is usually followed by the name of the funeral home.

The above is generally true for most parts of the United States, but the obituary may be much shorter in other countries.

What is written in the obituary generally reflects the writer and his/her relationship with the departed, because obviously, people usually don’t write their own announcements. The size of the article may reflect the financial means and beliefs of the person placing the announcement in the paper, because it is charged by the inch.

Nevertheless, an obituary can be a valuable genealogical and historical tool, because it tells the story of a life in abbreviated form.

Whether or not the person is described as he or she actually lived, the American obituary attempts to show how the departed adhered to the moral standards and values of his/her time and place, his/her human accomplishments and his/her beliefs regarding the remainder of their journey.

Among the obituaries that will follow are those of Americans, Swedes, Germans, and citizens of other countries. They were chosen for various reasons and are not meant to be comprehensive:

1. The obituaries may be a follow-up to people mentioned in my previous books;
2. My including them might be to memorialize people who were helpful to me in research or in life lessons;
3. Their stories are interesting, of genealogical or historical value, and I wish to preserve them for possible future writing.



Anna’s Journey
I knew the widow Palm’s story and the writing by Pastor Elroy Haverlah was good — it made me cry from time to time. What got to me was the depiction of a close family relationship. It is true that the Palm and Nelson families at Palm Valley (Round Rock, Texas) were close, but I was thinking about Anna’s relationship to my own family in Sweden. She was a blood relative. Her father, Johannes Carlsson, born in 1773 in Sweden, was a younger brother of my great-great grandfather, Anders Carlsson known as Anders Björklund when he became a military musician (drummer) like their father, Carl Björklund. That made her a first cousin of Johan and Emma Björklund, both of whom were my great-grandparents. Johan and Emma were orphaned when their
father died of TB when they were toddlers. Their mother, Ingela, had to rear three little children by herself with no help whatsoever from her husband’s family to which Anna and her brothers, Carl and Daniel Hurd, belonged. Ingela and her children survived without going to the poorhouse, but, at this point in my research, there is no indication that Anna’s family even knew about my great-grandparents, but they must have. Johan Björklund, my great-grandfather, came to Texas also and is buried at New Sweden, while Anna and her brothers are buried at Palm Valley separated by only a half-hour’s car trip. My family passed down a large amount of lore, but not a word about this story was ever breathed to me. It intrigues me and will probably become a theme in a story about the Björklunds in Småland.

Scattered Poems by Christian Stannow and translated from Swedish by John Weinstock, former head of the Germanic Languages Department at the University of Texas. Dr. Weinstock’s language sings in its richness.

Next book waiting for me is about our DNA:
Sam Kean’s The Violinist’s Thumb.
It is about Love, War, and Genius, as Written by our Genetic Code.
I will be tackling the topic of a cousin marriage in Sweden as it pertains to my family.


I’m reading Die Neuere Geschichte der Stadt Neu Ruppin (1863) a reprint by Ferdinand Heydemann to gather background for a story about the Jordan family in Prussia, specifically Schoeneberg, a suburb of Berlin. Topics that I will tackle soon are the Huguenots in Berlin and life in the Berlin of Frederick the Great, including the military. Perhaps touching on German troops during the American Revolution.

A project partially finished: Discovery of the death date and place of Otto Schroeder, my husband’s maternal grand-uncle who was the personal chauffeur of the first automobile of Kaiser Wilhelm, the German emperor. I’m still trying to find a German newspaper article about his death. He was found dead on the beach at a resort, Hohwacht in July 1916.

Being honored by the Swedish Americans

Charlene Hanson Jordan at the presentation of Merit Awards by the Swedish Council of America at a banquet at the Driskill Hotel in Austin on April 4, 2014.

Charlene Hanson Jordan

“Charlene is a member of SWEA-Austin, Vasa Order of America, and the Elgin Historical Association.
“Charlene is also an author. Her latest, and fourth book, “WHISPERS IN THE CHURCH, Swedish Witch Hunt, 1672″ was published in 2012. Her third book, “Stuck in the Mud at Post Oak Island” is on Texas and Swedish immigrant hisory. The preceding books were “Crossroads Elgin” and “Twelve Texas Swedish Quarterlies.”
“Past recognitions include a 2005 commendation from the American Associatin of State and Local History, Uddevalla’s Order of the Raven (Swedish: Korpagillet), and Post Oak Island Masonic Lodge’s Community Builder of the Year (1997).”

[It was a Jordan family event in that Minnie and Ella Jordan performed on the violin and guitar and Andre and
Travis Jordan stayed for the dinner. Travis took the photograph on his iPhone.]

Elisabeth Engquist Kihlberg
“Elisabeth came to the United States with her husband, Dr. Björn Engquist. In California, she worked as a freelance writer for the Swedish press and as a volunteer for different Swedish-American organizations until she started working at the Consulate General of Sweden in 1985. As part of New Sweden 88, she helped plan seminars for the Scandinavian teachers at American universities and organized numerous cultural events.
“Here in Austin, Elisabeth has worked as a coordinator for college students wanting to study abroad. In 2005 she was instrumental in starting SWEA – Austin Chapter and was President for three years. She has also helped rescue the old Moline Swedish Lutheran Cemetery [Elroy] that was founded in 1897.

Barbara Gustafson Pate:
“Barbara has secured over $40,000 from the city of Austin for restoration and protection work for the Swedish Log Cabin in Austin Zilker Park.
“The work on the cabin starts next week after the end of the Zilker Garden Festival this weekend. She also serves as a docent to provide information to the thousands of visitors to the festival about the Swedes who settled Texas.
“She has for several years served as Chair of the Evangelical Free Church Cemeteries Association which has created an endowment to maintain two Swedish Evangelical Free Church Cemeteries.”

Carrin Mauritz Patman:
“Mrs. Patman has during her active part of her life been a dedicated promoter of Sweden and Swedish culture in the Austin Texas region. She has always been involved in all different Swedish organizations as well as established a unique relationship with Texas University where we today, thanks to Carrin, have a chair dedicated to learning Swedish.
“Thanks to Carrin’s dedication a Foundation for Swedish Studies Excellence Endowment has been established and today a monetary platform including over 1 Million US$ is securing that a Swedish profile will continue to bepresent at the University of Texas.”
[Carrin’s husband, Bill Patman, a Democrat, served in the Texas State Senate, District 18, and in the United States House of Representatives, District 14. He died in 2008. Carrin received the highest honor from the Swedish Council of America, the SCA Great Achievement Award, that includes the Swedish Order of the Polar Star.]

LeLand Lundgren
“Leland has devoted a lifetime to honor his Swedish heritage. He has worked tirelessly for many, encouraging others to appreciate the strong character and resilience of the Swedish people, who immigrated to America.
“Leland has been a leader of the Austin Scandinavian Club of Austin and the Elgin Texas Swedish Interest Group. He promotes the respect and honor due our ancestors for their courage in coming to this country to secure freedom of faith and to procure the hopes and dreams of a better life for their families.”
The Swedish Council of America is a national umbrella organization uniting nearly 350 organizations and thousands of individuals interested in the Swedish heritage. The Swedish Council of America maintains headquarters and staff in Minneapolis, MN and is governed by a Board of Directors representing many geographic, cultural, professional and organizational interests throughout Swedish America. It is the mission of the Swedish Council of America to “support and to foster cooperative relationships between all groups and individuals whose purpose is to promote knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the Swedish heritage in American life, and to strengthen contemporary cultural and educational ties between North America and Sweden.”

Bertil Fredstrom, who often does his magic shows around Elgin, was the Swedish Council of America’s board member in charge of the Austin event.

Shared Links

These are resources used but are listed in no particular order:

Swedish Council of America
New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church
Swedish American Genealogist
The Genealogy Center – Allen County Public Library [Indiana]
International Genealogical Index (I.G.I.)
Family Search
Scandinavia House (NYC)
Museums of Sweden (Visit Sweden)
Visit Sweden
German Convention Bureau (GCB, English)
Guildhall Library, City of London
City of London Museum
Vasa Order of America
SWEA (Swedish Speaking Women)
Lexin (Dictionary Swedish/English)
Swedish Academy Dictionary
German dictionary
JBGF (Jönköping)
Swedish military registry
Kinship Center, Karlstad
Decorated Farm Houses, Hälsingland (download)
German Adademic Dictionary
Biblical Archaeology
National Archives
Library of Congress
German Emigration/Immigration
Germans to Australia
Norwegian Emigration
Immigration History Center (MN) & Archives
Cyndi’s List, Ellis Island
Prussian Palaces and Gardens
Bertil Fredstrom’s magic shows
Swedish National Archive
Old/unusual Swedish words
Swedish folk lore
Swedish judicial records

Historical Research Associates, Inc. (HRA) provides cultural resource management, historical research, and litigation support services for public and private clients across the country.

History Associates is a historical consulting firm that provides a wide range of services.

2014 Tour, land & air, rev. 02 JUN 2014

Sightseeing in London, including visits to St. Pauls Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. A visit to the magnificent fjord country of Western Norway, including a cruise along the Lysefjord to see the Pulpit Rock.

We’ll be in Stavanger to participate in the International Food Festival.  Stop in Copenhagen, the wonderful Danish capital. In Sweden, visit ancestral places, meet people, see great scenery and experience culture. The tour is relaxed and will not require a great deal of walking.

Continue reading “2014 Tour, land & air, rev. 02 JUN 2014” »

Album of Galleries


Images in and around Elgin, TX

Whispers in the Church

Images from Whispers in the Church


Charlene's Family photos