Thursday, March 30, 2017

Coffee date.

The local historian aiding me with uncovering some nearly forgotten family information is actually friends with the woman, K., now living in the house that my great grandfather built just after the turn of the last century. The historian put us in touch a few weeks ago. Since then, she and I have been emailing a bit. She's shared some interesting information regarding what's gone on with the house since my family sold it in the 60s. Hippies in the 70s, she said, had bought the place & lived in it communally. At some point in the mid-70s, there had been a house fire that somewhat damaged the parquet flooring great grandpa Axel had laid down way back when.

Given that I was born after my great grandparents died, I don't have any first-hand information to share with the K. I do, however, have at least one old photo showing the facade of the house replete with a few generations of the family sitting cosily on the porch. Additionally, I have scads of pictures of the great grandparents, their siblings & offspring & those whom they married. I brought a few of those pictures over to my coffee date with her this afternoon. I learned a bit about her in the process. Interestingly, she is also an immigrant from Sweden just as my great grandparents were. Go figure?

The porch looks much the same is it did in the 40s when the picture below was taken. K. told me that Axel had lifted the house in order to accommodate & build garages for the two flats above. Until seeing the house, I hadn't really realised that the house was purpose built as a duplex. This new-found realisation explains why my Uncle had asked me which part of the house K. lived in. I said to him, 'The whole thing?' That was not true. K. has tenants below in the flat where my grandparents & the kids lived. I don't recall Dad ever telling me this, but I'm thankful I still have my Uncle to tell me things regarding his/their early life.

I put my Uncle, who lived in the downstairs flat with his brother (my Dad), another brother & their parents from '40 to '45, in contact with K., and, so far, it's been a profitable exchange. His memory has been jogged by her mentioning things about the house & giving name to the mostly forgotten Swedish dishes my Uncle's grandma used to prepare.

A shot of Crocker-Amazon/Excelsior, where my grandparents moved to after moving from Bernal Heights.

Swedes in Rockford, IL

K. was able to translate the postcard. Still not sure who the writer was as it was signed 'me'.

Swedes (and their spouses) on the porch

The great grandparents married in SF, early 1900s

I'll be scanning some of the above family photos for K's records. I'm glad to have made the connection with her.


  1. So much information you've learned. My daughter is the keeper of family information, many trying to trace indian heritage to join tribes. While my side of the family never got on the Dawes Roll to confirm indian heritage, my husband's side did. It is all very interesting. I do have many old pictures, but most I don't know who they are. Just which side of the family.

    1. Wow. Cool about the Indian heritage. So many of us think we have a connection to that culture, but many of us can't really prove it.

  2. Sounds like a fruitful exchange. If someone ever wanted to restore the house to its former state, you might just have the pictures.

    1. Yeah, the stucco front is certainly a cost-saving addition. I imagine I'd cost a pretty penny to restore, but wouldn't it be marvelous?

  3. We do live in a small world don't we? I love the connections you have found, and the insights and additional information it is giving you.

    1. Truly small! K. knew exactly the dishes great grandma used to make & was able to explain how & why Swedish surnames are the way the are.


A piece of your mind here:

Featured Post

Don't judge a Google card by its cover.