Karl Olov Englund was a large man with a full beard who worked in an iron factory during the week and was a Lutheran priest on the weekend. Olov was married to a lady named Emma Augusta and they had ten children, five of these children emigrated to the USA – one of which, Helga, married another immigrant Swede – George Bernhard Ericson (who appears to have changed his name from Eriksson once emigrated) – and went on to become my great great grandmother. (Bernhard is from Södermanland originally.)
The post I wrote yesterday sparked some discussion and seemed pretty popular – within the comment thread I stated I would write about my Swedish heritage as that has become a point of interest. So this morning, I went online to see if I could find some images I knew would be online of my ancestral home of Axsmarsbruk (Axmar’s Iron Factory) which would be a bit better than my scrapbook pictures. I found myself linked back to my own pinterest page that I had all but abandoned years ago, Haha. I have since found some better alternatives through my great uncle Calle’s facebook page and through bugging my mother, though you may still have to suffer through some of my poor-quality scrapbook pictures.
I have Swedish heritage on both sides of my family – the Ericson and the Johnson side, though I know a lot more about the Ericson/Englunds than I do about the Johnsons. The Johnson side is largely mixed with Dutch and a bit of English – mostly Dutch and Swedish, however, as the Swedes started to intermarry with the Dutch in 17th century New Amsterdam (New York.) My dad tells me too that there was some Russian noble blood mixed in somewhere back then too. There are books published on this part of my lineage, though I don’t have copies to be able to read through it all myself. I know as far as the Swedish side of it, my father has traced back to the Öland area of Sweden, though it was far back enough in history that there was no real traces left to discover when he visited the island. I now wish I had gone too, not sure what I was up to at the time that prevented me going on that trip. My Dad did; however, just give me this a couple months ago – apparently he had collected enough sand from the beach there to put in bottles for each of his kids. It just took him awhile to actually separate them into bottles it seems, lol.
We did find plenty of information about my mother’s Swedish side when we went to Axmarsbruk and Axmarby (Axmarby being a village about 30 minutes from the ‘bruk) in Gästrikland – Gävle Kommun, Gävleborg.
Axmarsbruk has an old shut down factory surrounded by forest with small cabins interspersed between the trees. There is an old stone warehouse that serves as a restaurant and houses a small museum of the area on the top floor. Up there there is this image:
This is a photo of the factory staff from the early 1900s, “Stor Papa” (Big Pappa) Englund is the one that is 4th from the right in the front row; dark vest, lighter jacket. He was so named by our relatives because of siring so many children that branched out through Sweden and America. Image taken from HERE.
Here are some images of hyttan, or the factory:
A before and after – a picture from when it was functioning (it functioned for about 250 years before closing in 1927) and a picture as it was in 2001 when my family visited.
And a further, better, picture from Gr Uncle Calle:
This is the Church in Axmarby that Karl Olov preached at:
This building no longer serves as a functioning church, but houses another local museum. We went to the area a few times while living in Sweden – the first time we asked the few locals we happened upon in the woods about the area, and turned out that we had stumbled upon someone who had married a relative of the Englunds and while they just had a summer house there, there was another relative that lived just down the road all year round. This is how we stumbled into a wealth of family history and got to meet living relatives as well as more easily find family records in places like Hamrånge church.
During this time my sister, Hanna, and I took silly pictures of each other and collected rocks made from the iron waste, which were abundant in the area.
Later we gathered again for a family reunion where we had a picnic in the nearby park, and several members of the party toured the factory and later the old church-museum. I was a bored teenager and did not bother with such activities, much to my regret now.
At one point, I don’t recall when it was exactly – sometime between the first visit and the family reunion. One old lady went around pointing out things that she recalled from her childhood. She pointed out where the Englund family homestead had stood before it burned to the ground, and talked of rowing a boat out to an island close by to farm the family potatoes. She also talked about riding on the handlebars of a cute boy’s bicycle when the youth would gather to hang out near the water.
Alright, I think that covers it about as well as I can for the moment, but I’ll share just a few more pictures …because I can.
Now, can we please talk about why George Bernhard’s sisters were named Hilda, Milda, and Hulda, respectively? (While he and his half brothers have no such relations to their names LOL)