One of my most excellent genealogical adventures has been connecting my P.W. Pearson family to Eulie Olson and his descendants. I was reviewing recent DNA matches on Ancestry and came across another set of cousins – descended from an aunt of both P.W. and Eulie.
First, let’s get our bearings. Here we see a chart for the family of Nils Olsson and Botill Jönsdotter. They lived in the parish of Ivetofta in southern Sweden. They had five children. One son, Johan, died in infancy; I believe the other son, Ola, stayed in Sweden The three daughters all came to America. Until the DNA match came along, I knew little about the oldest daughter Elna, only that she left Sweden for America in 1866.
The red text shows how the first cousins fit in.
I made the connection between Johanna and Bengta thanks to a stray postcard sent by Eulie Olsson to his cousin P.W. Pearson sometime in either 1910 or 1919 (hard to read the date on the postcard…). Relive the postcard fun with these past posts (if you only have time to read one or two of these, read Part 4 of the postcard series and the last one about Nils Olsson in Swedeburg).
- A Mystery Postcard
- The Mystery Postcard, Part 2
- The Mystery Postcard, Part 3
- The Mystery Postcard, Part 4
- Bits and Pieces
- Elusive Olsons
- Nils Olsson in Swedeburg
The recent match to my Mom’s DNA was to someone who had posted a family tree that showing descendancy from Oliva Erickson…daughter of Elna Nilsdotter…daughter of Nils Olsson and Botill Jönsdotter…living near the town of Mead in Saunders County, Nebraska!
It didn’t take me long to confirm the match. ArkivDigital (digitized Swedish records) recently filmed all the Swedish-American church books in Nebraska. In the book for the Alma Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mead, we find the following entry for the Ola Ericsson family1:
Here is a transcription:
Sec 10, Twp 14 Rge 8
- Ola Erickson, b. 17 Aug 1859 in Ivetofta, Kristianstad
- Elna (Nilsdotter), b. 18 Dec 1842 in Mjellby, Kristianstad
- Anders, b. 3 Dec 1866 in Vasa, Minnesota
- Elsa, b. 30 Jul 1867 in Vasa, Minnesota
- Anna, b. 9 Feb 1871 in Alma, Nebraska
- Ingri, b. 3 Mar 1873 in Alma, Nebraska
- Olivia, b. 25 Aug 1874 in Alma, Nebraska
Everything about this Elna lines up well with our Elna except the month of birth – records in Sweden show Feb 18 while this record shows Dec 18. Seems like it could be confusion or typo somewhere along the way where month “2” becomes month “12” or something like that. Elna was indeed born in Mjellby before the family moved to Ivetofta.
Elna left Ivetofta in May 1866, apparently already pregnant with Anders. Still much work to find corroborating evidence of all of this but it all seems to fit together.
Apparently Ola and Elna first settled in Vasa, Minnesota and then moved to Saunders County, Nebraska in 1871. This solves the mystery of why Johanna came to Nebraska – she arrived in Saunders County in 1873, apparently to be near her sister Elna. Bengta and Eulie came to Saunders County in 1875. Grandpa Nils arrived in 1881 and lived with Bengta and her family.
The DNA match person on Ancestry is descended from Elna’s daughter Olivia and I believe her to be my fourth cousin. Olivia was one of several children in that family (I believe Elna had even more children than what is listed in the church book), so there are many other first cousins to Eulie and P.W. that I can look forward to finding.
1Mead Alma Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:1 (1870-1946) Image 14 / Page 9, ArkivDigital (AID: v883466.b14.s9)