This week the theme is described as “Oops – We all make mistakes. This week, consider writing about a mistake that an ancestor made or that you’ve made in your research.” Well, I recently spent a whole week exploring a big “oops” in my family tree.
This post is inspired by the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge.
One of my earliest Swedish immigrant ancestors was Lisa Stina Hultman, who came to America with her family in 1854 at the age of 11. She and her siblings were quite prolific and there are today hundreds or maybe even more than a thousand Hultman descendants living in America. An extensive family tree was published in 1970 by Frank Holtman1, who was Lisa Stina’s nephew.
Frank did some impressive research and was able to track down an article from a 1934 Swedish historical journal that mentioned Lisa Stina Hultman by name.2 The article included a detailed analysis of the Hultman family tree and traced the family back to Johan Hultman – he was the personal guardian and taffeltäckare (literally, “table-setter” – a form of personal butler) for King Karl XII of Sweden. I have had all kinds of fun over the years bragging about my tangential connection to a famous Swedish king.
Frank Holtman could not have known that the 1934 article had a serious flaw, one which erroneously connects our family to taffeltäckare Johan Hultman. I was first alerted to the problem through a Facebook post – a distant cousin in Sweden alerted me to some of the discrepancies in the 1934 article. I looked into it and his information checked out. I wrote about this previously in a posting entitled, “Negative findings about Hultman ancestry“.
So if taffeltäckare Johan Hultman isn’t our ancestor…who is? I took this as a challenge and devoted most of my week at the Swedish American Genealogist Workshop in November to researching this question.
Here is the family tree that was described in the 1934 article. The tree goes from taffeltäckare Johan Hultman at the top left to Isak Hultman at the bottom right (Isak was Lisa Stina’s grandfather).
After my research, I was able to refute the above tree and put forward a corrected one:
The new family tree isn’t nearly as exciting or consequential – but to the best of my knowledge, it’s true.
Our newly-discovered ancestor Lars Arvidsson Hultman was a soldier and served for twenty years in the Jönköping Infantry Regiment. Sweden was at war with Prussia during his service, but I don’t know (yet) if Lars was deployed.
Lars was married twice. Our Jonas Hultman was a child from his first marriage. Lars lived a long life but sadly died in the poorhouse at age 82.
I wrote a big boring paper about my genealogical research which you can download below. Credit goes to the staff at the SAG workshop who helped provide research strategies and steer me in the right direction.
True Parents of Isaac Hultman – PDF (536 KB)
True Parents of Isaac Hultman v2 – PDF (536 KB) (updated 16 Feb 2023)
I think this is the most extensive piece of Swedish ancestry research I have ever undertaken!
Good-bye, taffeltäckare Johan – it was nice knowing you. But you’re not my 7x-great-grandfather.
1 Holtman, Frank. The Holtman Clan in America. Knoxville, Tennessee, 1970. Available at FamilySearch library (not currently in digital format).
2 Wernstedt, Folke. “Bildrag till taffeltäckaren Johan Hultmans biografi.” Karolinska Förbundets Årsbok, 1934, pp. 232-239.