Several weeks ago, I wrote about a possilbe Frank Rudeen family that was living next door to Uncle Carl Rudeen and Aunt Anna Stark in Altona, Illinois in 1870. So who the heck is Frank Rudeen? I have answers!
So let’s backtrack a bit and get our bearings. My great-grandfather, Gust Rudeen, came to America in 1882. He came to Lancaster County, Nebraska to be near his Uncle Carl Rudeen who had come to America fourteen years earlier.
What’s kind of amazing is that back in Sweden, Uncle Carl left the family farm of Eket in 1852 – before Gust was even born – and moved to Askeryd parish. Uncle Carl emigrated to America with his wife and two daughters in 1868. I wonder if Gust ever even met Uncle Carl before coming to America? A lot of letters would have had to be shared across the ocean to keep in touch over all those years. Oh I wish they had survived.
So as I mentioned in the previous post, we find Uncle Carl in the 1870 census living in Altona, Illinois. He is working for the railroad. The census taker spelled his name “Rhodins”. Living on either side of Uncle Carl’s family was Gustav and Anna Stark (I only recently discovered that Anna was Carl’s sister) and the mysterious Frank “Rhodins” with wife and daughter.
I have not been able to find anyone in Carl’s and Gust’s extended family by the name of “Frans”. A little bit of creative thinking was in order.
Fast-forward to the 1880 census and we see that Frank and his family were still living in Altona1, even though Uncle Carl and Aunt Anna had moved away by then. Now Frank’s surname is shown as “Roden”. Their daughter Agnes has a son C. G. Lindberg, and the family has an eight-year-old female boarder, A. Bjorklund, living with them.
This family apparently retained the spelling “Roden” and this enabled me to find several more key records. I found death records for both daughter Agnes and the father Frank. Frank’s death record2 gives some very specific information: his date of birth (19 Jul 1836) and place of birth (Vesta Rydfors, Sweden).
There is no such place as “Vesta Rydfors”, but I’ve messed around with enough Swedish records to guess that “Vesta” should probably be “Västra” (translates as “west”), and a list of Swedish parishes starting with Västra shows a likely candidate: Västra Ryd, a parish right next door to Askeryd!
Going to the birth records for Vãstra Ryd in 1836, I immediately found a birth record3 for a Frans Gustaf Gustafsson.
ArkivDigital has some amazing indexes for records going back to 1860. Searching for anyone named “Frans Gustaf” born on 19 Jul 1836, I immediately find “Frans Gustaf Rydén” born in Västra Ryd! I’ve seen this spelling before; when Gust’s father died back in Sweden, the probate papers referred to Gust as “Anders Gustaf Rydén”.
Frans Gustaf Gustafsson and Frans Gustaf Rydén are indeed the same person. So what’s his connection to our family? Well, as far as I can tell, NONE. I traced “Frank Rudeen” from birth to emigration and found no connection at all to our Marbäck Rudeen’s. Frank’s parents and grandparents were all born in Västra Ryd – no connection that I can see to either Askeryd or Marbäck.
The first time Frank used the surname “Rydén” was on the occasion of his first marriage. I suspect it had something to do with the name of his parish, Västra Ryd. Swedish men often changed their names when they went into military service. However, Frank was a carpenter and shoemaker, not a soldier. His new wife, however, was the daughter of a soldier. Her surname was “Grip”. Maybe Frank just thought it was time to ditch the old-fashioned patronymic name and go for something more upscale.
Uncle Carl did not take the name of “Rydén” until he came to America. My best theory at this point is that he met his next door neighbor Frank who was a fellow Smålander and Uncle Carl said, “Hey, I like your name! Askeryd is sort of like Västra Ryd, let’s both be Rydéns!” And when my great-grandfather Gust came to America, he thought Uncle Carl’s surname was pretty sweet and decided to use it too.
Another hint that we are probably not related to Frank is that after the two families were apart, Frank’s family became “Roden” and Carl’s family became “Rudeen”.
For the benefit of other researchers grappling with Rudeen, Roden and Rydén families, here is a table with all the records and information I found about my non-ancestor Frans Gustaf Gustafsson Rydén. A few words about him; he was married three times. His first wife Emma died of smallpox less than year after they were married. His second wife Agnes died fairly young. He married a third time to Matilda. He worked as a shoemaker and bootmaker in Chicago. His only biological daughter died, perhaps during the trip from Sweden to America.
|1836 Född||v42368.b71.s133||1836 Jul 19 – Västra Ryd|
|1836-1843 HER*||v27021.b10.s7||Frans Gustaf with parents, brother and sister. Sockneskomak. – church builder?|
|1844-1846 HER (1844-1850)||v27022.b11.s3||Living at Perstorp. Parents are Gustaf Svensson and Sara Greta Johansdotter. Both are natives of Västra Ryd. Left for Rybomålen 1846.|
|1846-1850 HER (1844-1850)||v27022.b140.s133||Family moved to a different location|
|1856 HER (1851-1856)||v27023.b44.s30||Dräng on Björnstorp farm; arrived 1856|
|1858 HER (1857-1861)||v27024.b125.s114||Dräng on Knapparp farm; arrived 1857, left for Norrköping in 1858. Surname Gustafsson.|
| 1858 Aug 15|
|v39303.b13.s19||Married to Emma at Norrköpping Borg. Name is Frans Gustaf Rydėn. Occupation taktäckare (roofer)|
|1858-11-11 Move in||v39400.b92.s177||Arriving St. Olai, Norrköping Dräng Frans Gustaf Rydėn from Västra Ryd with piga Emma ..Carlsdotter Grip from Borg v L.? Certificate #400|
| 1858- HER|
|v28203.b152.s149||Timmk. (carpenter?) Frans Gustaf Rydėn and wife Emma Wilhelmina Carlsdotter Grip (b. 1839 6/12). Living at Garstrōm in Rosen quadrant|
| 1859 May 29|
|Emma dies – cause of death = smallpox|
|HER||v28203.b402.s399||Living alone at Prinsen? Leaves from here to go back to Västra Ryd in 1863|
|1863-24-11 Move in||v42361.b9||Arriving Västra Ryd from Norrköping – name is “Rydin”|
|1863-1865 HER||v27025.b202.s192||Frans Gustaf Rydén with wife Agnes Petersdotter and daughter Agnes born in Stockholm. On same page with a couple of shoemakers. Daughter may not be Frank’s, says she’s illegitimate.|
|1863-1867 HER||v27026.b178.s168||Frans Gustaf Rydėn with wife Agnes and daughter Agnes living at Sjöarp|
|1868-1869 HER||v29314.b49.s40||Living at Broby Norrgård with wife Agnes, daughter Agnes and daughter Ida. Listed as saddle maker. Arrived from Arby 1868. Left separately for Amerika – Frans #22, Agnes #49|
| 1869 Apr 17|
|v40895.b32||Frans Gustaf Rydėn leaves for America|
| 1869 Oct 23|
|v40895.b33||Agnes and two girls leave for America|
| 1869 Nov 12|
|v479726.b2140.s421||Agnes and two girls board ship at Göteborg. Name is Agnes Rodėn.|
*HER = Household Examination Record11880 Federal Census, Altona, Knox, Illinois; Roll: 220; Page: 393B; Enumeration District: 152 2Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 3ArkivDigital v42368.b71.s133