Olof Liljegren – Letters from the Civil War

Today, in ArkivDigital we have Swedish American church records for the following states:

  • Illinois – 2 congregations
  • Iowa – 88 congregations
  • Kansas – 99 congregations
  • Minnesota – 125 congregations
  • Missouri – 9 congregations
  • Nebraska – 120 congregations
  • Oklahoma – 1 congregation
  • South Dakota 1 congregation
  • Wisconsin – 12 congregations

In many of these archives along with church records such as membership, birth, marriage, death, reception and dismissal records, you will often find anniversary booklets and historical notes that present a history of the congregation, ministers and early settlers. In browsing these books, one will find many items of historical and also genealogical interest.

In the archive for the Cambridge Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Minnesota, you will find a very interesting set of letters, Olof Liljegren – Our Years in the Civil War. This collection consists mostly of letters translated into English written by Olof Liljegren to his father in Sweden, Jonas Nilsson, in Boggsjö, Sundjö parish in Jämtland county between the years of 1861 and 1864.

Olof emigrated from Sweden in 1858 to North America. He served in the Third Minnesota Regiment during the Civil War and in 1865 died in the United States Army in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1865. Besides the letters written by Olof to his father, the collection also includes a letter to his sweetheart, Mary Edblad, a pioneer school teacher in Isanti County, Minnesota as well a letter from Sargent Glader to Olof’s father notifying him of Olof’s death in 1865.

olof letter 1861

Letter dated December 1861 from Olof to his father. Cambridge Lutheran Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:31 Image 20 (AID: v886267.b20) Link

In the above letter Olof writes to his father the following:

“I have not told you anything about myself. I enlisted in the U. S. Army for three years or the duration of the war. We are building up a Swedish regiment with all officers having been trained in Sweden which makes them excellent officers. The captain’s pay is $108 per month, first lieutenant, $100, 2nd lieutenant, $75, Corporal $15, and private $10 per month.

I took this step after much thought and decided my life is worth no more than the next man and if I die, I feel I can not die for a better cause than to stop slavery.”

 olof deathLetter from Sargent Glader to Olof’s father notifying him of Olof’s death dated December 17, 1865. Cambridge Lutheran Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:31 Image 80 (AID: v886267.b80) Link

“I am sending you a few lines to let you know your son Olof died in the United States Army at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, September 25, 1865. Two days before he died, I stayed with him one day and one nite. He was then so poorly he did not think he could get well. He told me to write to you and gave me authority to take card of his belongings and send his medal home to Sweden.”

To find these letters:

  • Go to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select archive search
  • Select country, United States
  • Select state, Minnesota
  • Select Vol:31 Printed Documents

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Swedish congregations in Oslo and Berlin

Berlin ParishSvenska Victoriaförsamlingen i Berlin OI:3 (1926-1941) Image 4510 (AID: v793345.b4510, NAD: AD/BERLIN/0001) Link.

We have previously posted blogs about the Swedish congregations in Copenhagen and Paris: Svenska Gustafskrykan in Copenhagen and Svenska Sofiaförsamlingen in ParisWe also have records for Swedish congregations in other countries, namely Svenska Victoriaförsamlingen in Berlin, Germany, along with Svenska Margaretaförsamlingen in Oslo, Norway.

Both congregations were established in the beginning of the 1900’s. The birth books for the Oslo congregation begin in 1911 and the marriage and death books begin in 1912. In Berlin, the birth books begin in 1902 and the marriage and death books begin in 1903. For Berlin, there are also congregation books along with moving in and out registers which are missing for Oslo.

In addition to the common record types, we have photographed other types of documents for both the Berlin and Oslo congregations. An example of one is the Svenska Victoriaförsamlingen in Berlin OI: 3 volume which contains documents about church taxes from 1926 to 1941. Among the documents included are letters from church members who believe they do not have to pay a tax. The image above shows a letter from a woman who married a German man and thereby became a German citizen. Since she was required to pay a German church tax, she wrote that she no longer wanted to pay taxes to Victoriaförsamlingen.

Read the blog entry in Swedish.

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Dean C. A. Landberg’s Diary

Many of us are used to browsing in the church books, estate inventories and other documents and discovering information about our ancestors. As we gain more knowledge about them, we still want more.  Many of us  will visit the farms or places where they lived. But we become ecstatic if we find some old letters or diaries that help us better understand our ancestor’s life. If you are lucky, maybe one of your ancestors wrote a diary describing his or her daily life.

Dean Carl August Landberg was born in 1802 in Uddevalla and died in 1871 in Naverstad in Bohuslän.  He studied in Lund and received his master’s degree in 1829 and was ordained as a minister in the same year. He was a teacher at Gustafsberg orphanage until 1841 when he became the vicar in Narverstad and Mo. His diary from 1817 to 1845 has been preserved at the Regional Archive in Göteborg. Archive Digital has photographed this book which contains many interesting insights about his life as well as the daily weather.

diary symbols
Prosten C A Landbergs dagbok (Privatarkiv A0591) 1 (1817-1845) Image 8 (AID: v3586.b8, NAD: SE/GLA/10548) Link.

In his diary, he created special symbols so that he could quickly summarize the day’s weather and his mood as shown in the above image. In addition there were some symbols used in connection with his work. A few of the symbols are translated below:

snö – snow
snö med yra – whirling snow
blåst – wind
åska – thunderstorm
regn i myckenhet – heavy rain
mulet – cloudy
frost – frost
vackert klart väder – beautiful clear weather
särdeles märkvärdig händelse – particularly remarkable event
glada underrättelser – good news
ledsamma underrättelser – bad news
glatt lynne – cheerful
dåligt lynne – poor temper or bad mood
opasslig - unwell
sjuk – sick
Convivium – festivity

In the image below on the right side we see his entry for Wednesday, December 17, 1834.

diaryentryProsten C A Landbergs dagbok (Privatarkiv A0591) 1 (1817-1845) Image 39 (AID: v3586.b39, NAD: SE/GLA/10548) Link.

Onsdagen den 17/12. Vackert klart väder och frost. Marschalk på bröloppet till Mattilda Lignell och Schultz – circa 40 personer – Björklund war min Embetsbroder – kl 2 på natten slut – låg hos Björklund. Convivium (= fest)

Wednesday, December 17th. Beautiful clear weather and frost. Usher at the marriage between Mattilda Lignell and Schultz – around 40 persons – Björklund was my fellow clergyman – ended at 2 AM – stayed over at Börklund’s.  Festivity.

You can read the original article in Swedish here.

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