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Marie, story about my family, emigration 19th Century migration to America part one

Updated on June 11, 2015

Farewell to home

Picture of immigrants ready to leave for a new land public domain in U.S.
Picture of immigrants ready to leave for a new land public domain in U.S.

Some background information

This article is one of several to tell the story of Marie, which is just one story or my family in the 19th century. It is a story of one woman's migration to America and is one episode in Swedish genealogy. I hope you enjoy Marie's story and choose to read on..

In 1891 two brothers, like so many Swedish people then, left Sweden for a new life in America. One went to Montana; the other to Minnesota. The one that settled in Minnesota was my grandfather Nels. Marie, who is the subject of this hub is Nels’s sister, thus my great-aunt.

Nels was a shoemaker. He also did farming and occasionally worked as a lumberjack. They also took in boarders, presumably other immigrants. It was common then for immigrants to seek out people they know or are from your same village. People in Sweden usually knew what was going on in America because in letters sent home were published in the newspapers or displayed in public places.

Nels sister Marie followed much the same pattern. She left Sweden in a couple of years after her brother and proceeded to go to his farm.What we know of that time is based on a few letters of Marie’s that have been preserved and some information gleaned from relatives in Sweden.

Nobody seems quite sure of what eventually happened to Marie. My sister. Rose Marie Vint, did the research on our family history. I was rather taken with Marie’s story, which I think is not only the story of an immigrant but that of a young woman who traveled a long distance alone to go to a strange place at a time when I did not think women did such things.

I intend to publish some of those letters here and have written some scenes as I imagine things might have been.

Anti-immigration dream

  Public domain. downloaded from commons. Picture is to discourage people from leaving Sweden.
Public domain. downloaded from commons. Picture is to discourage people from leaving Sweden.

Letter from cousin in Sweden

Partial Letter from cousin in Sweden to my sister

I’m glad you appreciated the letter I translated from Maria. I now send you some more letters from Maria to Sweden (that’s all I have) It is so interesting to read about her trip over the Ocean, She has told it so well. Since she has arrived to the States I think she didn’t write so much to Sweden and as I can understand my grandpa Pettrus wasn’t so fond of her journey to U.S. Before she left Sweden a man named Elias Vicktor Hansson (also from Sweden) wrote to Maia and sent her a ticket and money for her trip. He lived at your grandpa Nils-Olof’s house in the beginning of his stay in U.S. Neither your Andrew or my grandpa were fond of that and therefore I think my grandpa didn’t write to Maria the first years she was in U.S. In the last letter dated 1903 she told she was engaged and going to be married. I don’t know if she married or not.

The cousin continues that Maria had visited Sweden once about 1912 and no one knows her fate. She might have been lost in the wreck of The Empress of Ireland.

© 2009 Don A. Hoglund


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    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids


      My daughter is interested in family history. Maybe she will come up with something more. I appreciate you reading about Marie. There was something about her that stood out for me, more than the other family information.

    • profile image

      val 4 years ago

      No one knows what happened to Maria after 1913, I have tears in my eye reading this. She was so brave, I'm in love.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      There were only a few letters available that Marie had written. I am sure there were many others that did not survive. I did check census records and church records and did not find her.The last hub in this series gets into some speculation about what might have happened to her.Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Well done and glad to find your writing through Becky Katz's hub. I can only imagine how difficult a journey that would have been to make during those times. My own grandmother came by ship from Austria in 1902 as a young teenager. How I wish I could read her journals from those days! I was able to discover her name on a passenger list through the Ancestry dot com site.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for reading this.I am still wondering what happened to Marie.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      da, this explains a lot! Thanks for directing me here. I like how you asked, What happened to Marie? This drew me in- I was with you!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Peggy W

      Thanks for commenting. I thought that it was a bold thing for a young woman to do back then.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      That would have been a very brave thing to do back then...sailing off to a new land by herself!