Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Wessmans in Sweden, Part 4 of 5

Here is a copy of my genealogy on this family:

Rootsweb Wessman File

Much work can still be done on this family. As mentioned before, I only worked on one line of the family, and didn't use entire classes of records.

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The first known ancestors in the Wessman line were Anders Olofsson and Ingrid Olofsdoter from Forshälla parish. He was a farm laborer. Records list six children and I suspect that there are other children in this family, but I could not confirm any others in the sources.

One of Anders' and Ingrid's sons was Per Andersson. He was a farmer. He spent his life in Forshälla and Västerlanda parishes. His wife Anna Bengtsdotter was born at Östra Berg, Hjärtum. They had seven children. Per died at age 53 when his youngest child was one year old. Anna died three years later at age 38. I couldn’t find what happened to the children, as they disappear from the parish and census records. Most likely, extended family members in other parishes took them into their homes.

Anna’s parents Bengt Torstensson and Anna Andersdotter were from Hjärtum and Västerlanda parishes. They had six children. Bengt’s parents were Torsten Olofsson and Karin Andersdotter. They had six children including a set of twins. Anna Andersdotter’s sister Kierstin owned a farm in Västerlanda, but I could not find the parents of these two sisters. Anna was still alive in 1811 and possibly longer. Perhaps she took the orphans.

One of the orphans of Per Andersson and Anna Bengtsdotter was our ancestor, Bengt Persson. Bengt was born on 10 January 1796 on the North Farm (Nordgård) in Västerlanda Parish. He was christened by the Lutheran church on 17 January. He worked as a farmer, at one time a Torpa, a tenant farmer working a small plot. During his lifetime, the nearby Göta Canal linking Göteborg (on the west coast of Sweden) and Stockholm (on the east) was completed (1810-1832). He may have been involved in providing food for the soldiers who built the canal.

When Bengt was 25 years old, he married Ingrid Ambjornsdotter who was 24 years old. She died giving birth to their sixth child, a boy named Helje who then died a week later. Ingrid and Helje were buried together, since it was wintertime. At the death of the mother, the oldest child was 15 years old and the youngest only three years old.

Bengt remarried that same year. Maret Olofsdotter was a single woman with a 13 year old daughter, Borta. Maret had been a servant in several households and had served as a wet nurse for at least two children. Borta was later sealed to Maret and Bengt. Maret’s parents were Olaf Bengtsson and Brita Larsdotter. They lived in Romelanda. Unfortunately, the parish records burned in 1815, so genealogical information on this line is conjectural before that date. In the census Olaf is referred to as Undant: a previous farm owner living on a pension from a farm. He died at age 65. His wife Brita also died at age 65. They had five children.

It is easily imagined that after many years of living as a servant in other people’s households, Maret Olofsdotter was happy to have a home of her own, even one that came with five children. Bengt and Maret had one son, Johan Bengtsson. He was born in 1840 on the farm at Braseröd, Romelanda Parish. Johan is known in the family as “John”, but I prefer to use his original Swedish name for the sake of historical accuracy. Bengt died in 1868 (age 72) and Maret died in 1885 (age 84).

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

Assignment (if you care to take it):
Look through the Wessman genealogy file. Look at the types of records that are used to prove names and dates.

I drew the map in 1997. Please attribute this blog if you wish to use it for any reason. The transcription of Bengt's christening record is also mine. Please contact me if you would like any other information on the genealogy of this family. The beautiful picture of the Göta Kanal is from

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