Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fearless Females -- Agnes Emilia Fors Ekstrom

The Accidental Genealogist is another source for blogging prompts and today's grabbed me: pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less). I'm pleased to introduce my Swedish great-grandmother, as well as show you a simple way to showcase a heritage photo with the pertinent genealogical research.

Agnes Emilia Fors was born August 29, 1864, in Södertälje, Stockholm, Sweden, to Erik Edvard Fors and Matilda Vilhelmina Viberg. Erik Fors was a stationmaster for the Swedish railroads, so the family, though financially comfortable, moved frequently. As was the custom in Sweden, she left home as a teenager to make her own way. She emigrated to America as a servant, but returned in less than two years. She married the widowed tailor Gustaf Emil Ferdinand Ekstrom in Linköping, Östergötland on May 20, 1888. He had buried two babies and a wife and, with Agnes, buried yet another baby. Although Sweden’s official religion was the Lutheran Church, the Ekstroms were married in the Methodist Church, implying that they had changed religions as adults.

The scarcity of food and resources in Sweden, along with the desire for religious freedom, drove the Ekstroms to emigrate in 1891, joining many of their countrymen in Chicago, Illinois. Agnes raised her five children and a step-daughter with a deep and abiding love of God, as well as a love of fun and laughter. She saw four more of her children buried during her life. She raised two abandoned grandchildren, as well as helping to raise her youngest son's five orphans. Her life as a tailor's wife and widow was comfortable until her assets as a building owner were destroyed by the Depression not long after Gustaf's death in 1927. She grew bitter and resentful of her reduced circumstances. She died on November 01, 1946, in Chicago and was buried in the historic cemetery of Rosehill.

Her children were:
  • Step-daughter Gerda Linnea Thorborg Ekstrom, born May 17, 1885, Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden; died October 14, 1978, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
  • Frithof Benedictus Ekstrom, born March 21, 1889, Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden; died February 03, 1935, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
  • Erik Ferdinand Ekstrom, born May 29, 1891, Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden; died June 14, 1891, Linköping, Östergötland, Sweden.
  • Edward Gideon Ekstrom, born January 13, 1893, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; died September 14, 1961, Evanston, Cook County, Illinois
  • Esther Mathilda Ekstrom, born December 16, 1894, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; died May 01, 1923, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
  • Edna Ekstrom, born May 1899; died between 1900 and 1910.
  • Oliver Ernest Ekstrom, born May 22, 1903, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; died October 22, 1935, San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, Guatemala.

Agnes Fors and Gustaf Ekstrom on Club Scrap Renaissance paper kit

A Simple Heritage Layout

This layout is part of a series. It's a fast and simple way to showcase a heritage photo and show the relationships to other family members. A family tree can be created with genealogy software, written on a form or drawn by hand. Trees are especially important when sharing with non-genealogists, as it helps them visualize the relationships. This is an hourglass tree -- a tree showing both ancestors and descendants of the focus ancestor. I've also used ancestor trees and descendant trees in this series. The right type of tree depends on the size of the family and the genealogical knowledge about the subjects in the photo.

I've paired a Club Scrap foiled paper with a color-coordinated background that I added to my software, which is Family Tree Maker 11. Using standard letter-sized paper makes the tree easy to print at home.

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