Friday, March 9, 2018

Umlaut or Not: 52 Ancestors

A missing umlaut could have cost me a new DNA cousin connection this week. My tree had the umlaut, while his did not. Ancestry did not consider them the same surname and rightly so. Fortunately, I recognized the Anglicized surname and investigated the tree.

But then I also noticed that my own tree is full of the same sort of inconsistent spellings. It's a nuisance to spell foreign words correctly on an English keyboard, but I'm starting right now to clean up my act.

I'm starting corrections with my very first Ekström ancestor -- my 3rd-great-grandfather, Eric Andersson Ekström. He was born on December 20, 1770, in Björntorpet in the församling (parish) of Björsäter in Östergötland, Sweden (Sverige). Did you count those non-English letters? He has several source citations which also need to be spelled correctly.

Before Eric, the surname changed in every generation under the patronymic system in use at the time. He was the youngest son of farmer Anders Jönsson and Lena (Helena) Pehrsdotter. At some point he and at least one of his brothers took the surname Ekström, rather than keeping the patronymic Andersson. However, the Björsäter records are very inconsistent as to his names. His birth record says both Eric and Erick. His mother is named as Pettersdotter in the birth record, though never again.

Anders Jönsson died on August 30, 1776, leaving a widow and six children, including the 5-year-old Eric (spelled Erick in the probate). Lena remarried on September 3, 1780, to farmer Hans Jöhansson (another name with random spellings). She died on October 3, 1824, at nearly 85 years of age

The church records say that farmer Eric Ekström married Anna Brita Salomonsdotter on November 8, 1796. Baby Anders was born to Eric Andersson (not Ekström) and Brita Salomonsdotter on June 12, 1798. It was indeed challenging to find all the records for the family! Starting with the fifth child in 1807, all the births were recorded with Eric Ekström as the father. The church record that shows all the children of that marriage is a household survey record (husförhörslängder) from 1810-1814.

Eric's wife, Anna Brita, died on August 25, 1813, five months after the birth of  their seventh child, Carl Peter. That child died less than six months later. Left with six children under the age of 16, Eric remarried to my ancestress, Stina Cajsa (Christina Catherina) Olofsdotter, on May 14, 1814. They added eight more children to the Ekström family, with seven shown among the changes recorded from 1823 to 1829.

Of the fifteen children, six died before Eric's death on July 02, 1842. His living family is listed in his probate (bouppteckning), which was recorded in Bankekinds Häradsrätt (district court) book FII:32. The children of his first marriage (första gifte) are listed first, followed by his widow (who died on February 14, 1850) and the children of the latter marriage (sednare gifte).

Son Salom. [Saloman] Ekström
[married daughter] Anna Lotta Ekström
Children of Son Anders Ekström
      Jöhannes August Ekström 4 years
      Jöhanna Lovisa 9 years

Enkan (widow) Christina Catherina Olofsdotter

Son Olaus Ekström
Son Carl Ekström
Son(s) Gustaf 20 years
Adolph 15 years
Fredrik 12 years
Daughters Anna Lisa 25 [years]
Sophia 17 years

Two names in Eric's probate provide new research opportunities. Responsible for the interests of Eric's minor children was Carl Gust. Larsson. Responsible for the grandchildren was Pet. Bergqvist of Grebo parish. Interestingly, the Bergqvist family of Grebo somehow circles back to my new DNA cousin. I'm eager to see how many connections we find when our spelling is consistent!

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