Tuesday, July 30, 2013




Four years after his wife, Elisa(beth) Charlotta Anderson,
Died the day after giving birth to their 5th child, Anna,
Lars Magnus Karlsson and eldest son, Mattias Fridhof,
Left Tösse and Åmål, Sweden, in 1879, to cross the Atlantic,
Eventually living in Hibbing, Minnesota, my home town.

Anna died at five years of age, in unknown circumstances.
Of three remaining siblings, Lars Gustaf left Sweden in 1888;
My great grandmother Britta left in 1892, at 20 years of age.
Only Anders Hjalmar stayed in their homeland, generating 10 children,
Whose descendants I first visited 128 years after the initial departure.

The Mattias Fridhof's' Line and Anders Hjalmar's Line had many chidren,
Lars Gustaf's Line, six, and Britta Carolina Ingeborg's Line, only three.
Six generations later, Lars and Elisa's progeny have formed renewed 
Connections, traveling and visiting to and from Homeland and New Land.
Blood is indeed thick; when bloodlines gel, wonderment bubbles.

Ginny, from the Mattias Fridhof's Line, visited Sweden in her twenties.
In the late 1990s, she organized two Karlsson/Carlson reunions,
Inviting our Swedish cousins to also attend; ten Swedes visited.
Since the reunions, 11 more Swedes traveled to visit us in the US;
One worked in US for almost 2 years; 2 others are earning degrees.

Studying the family map/genogram, other patterns leapt from the page.
Original siblings named children after their parents and siblings.
Anders Hjalmer, staying in Sweden, named a daughter after his
Departed sister, my great grandmother, Britta Carolina Ingeborg.
Versions of my name, Anna, Anne, and Ann, skitter across the page.

Some names repeat and continue to transform down the generations.
Six women in my direct line share versions of great-great and great grandmothers' 
Christian names: Elisa(beth) Charlotta, Britta Carolina Ingeborg, 
Helen Elizabeth, Betty Helen and Jeanne Carolyn, and, me, Ann Beth. 
Because of this repetitive naming, I feel specifically connected.

Twins, twins, twins run rampant trough this family, genes in both
Direct descendant lines and those who join us via partnerships.
In one Swedish family, the grandmother's father is a twin, 
She is one of a set, and a set in children and grandchildren.
A US pair of female identical twins served in WWII armed forces.

My grandmother's brother Bill encouraged his twin granddaughters
To retain contact with a Swedish pair of similar age, which resulted
In enduring relationships including visits to homes in both countries.
Family reunion booklets include a large, special section for pictures 
And narratives of twin lore. We expect more pairs in the future.

Occupations also flow among and along the Karlsson/Carlson lines,
Again in direct descendants' as well as partners' vocational  lives.
On both sides of the Atlantic, spreading from MN thru the US,
The family lives near lakes, settling in similar topography, generating 
Skilled sailors, seamen, ship captains, sea rescue volunteers.

Family members contribute at all levels of educational settings:
Au pair, pre-school, elementary, high school, and college, 
Transmitting valuable information, experience, and expertise.
In addition to many nurses, other medical specialties are represented,
Such as doctors, dentists, energy workers, and x-ray technicians.

My grandfather was a police officer in Hibbing; two contemporary
Swedish men also protect and serve members of their communities.
Both women and men served in armed forces, in war and peace.
Many volunteer for community and international causes: Ethiopian
Orphanage and clinic, sea rescue, Save the Children, Shelter Box.

The head of this migrating family sent letters and wrote poems.
Others, both past and present, write academically, creatively, 
humorously, and, of course, offer collections of recipes and menus.
Icons on my imaginary family shield: Innovation, service, good humor.
Our motto: "Offer service to family, community, and the world."
My conclusion: I am immensely proud and happy to be related.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) July 30, 2013

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