My Swedish-American Blomgren Family

Johan August Blomgren and his wife Charlotta Jonasdotter married on April 11, 1857 in Madesjo Parish, Kalmar County, Sweden. They reared numerous children in the village of Algutsboda, Sweden. Johan was born Johan August Jonasson on February 4, 1833 in Gräno, Hälleberga, Kronoberg County, Sweden to Jonas Svensson (b. 1809 Långaskruf Sodregl, Hälleberga) and Helena Josephsdotter (b. 1804 Madesjö, Kalmar, Sweden).  Johan August of modest birth and acquired the skills of a blacksmith. At the time of their marriage, Charlotta Jonasdotter  had been living as a single woman in the village of Goljemala and previously in Nybro. Algutsboda. Parish records stated that she was born on April 1, 1833 in Madesjö, but I did not find a birth record for her in that parish. 


When Johan August Blomgren died has not yet been determined, but we know he lived until 1907, as there is a 50th Anniversary photo shown below. Charlotta outlived him and died February 19, 1923 in Algutsboda at about 90 years of age. She passed on the "old age" gene to many of her descendants: my great-grandmother Minnie Blomgren Miller died in 1964 at 96 years of age. Her son, my maternal grandfather, Elmer Miller, lived a rich and full life, dying a bit short of his 94th birthday. My mother died three months' shy of 90; her sister Mona was in her 90s. Their eldest sister, Joan, is healthy and spry in her mid-90s.  

When the surname BLOMGREN was substituted for Johan's Swedish patrinymic is unknown, but when their children began arriving, they were known in local parish records largely with the Blomgren surname. Emilie Blomgren was born March 11, 1858;  followed by Jonas Josef (Joseph)  on December 6, 1859. Next came Carl Wilhelm - born November 1862; Adolf -  born February 18, 1865: then my great-grandmother, Wilhelmina (Minnie), born October 12, 1867. Anna was born in October 1874; Aron Gottfried was born July 22, 1877; and Alfred was born August 1878. The birthdates of the children through Minnie are recorded in the clerical survey for Algutsboda Parish, Kronoberg County, Sweden. Husförhörslängd 1862 - 1870 v.A1,  Family History Library Microfilm #418510. Births of later children are in a subsequent film which I did not examine; rather I extrapolated the month and year of births of Anna, Aron and Alfred Blomgren from U.S. Census data. The Algutsboda Parish church and burial grounds are pictured above. Charlotta Blomgren was buried there in 1923 and it is likely that her husband was earlier interred there. Whether their graves have been replaced by subsequent burials is an open question. Apparently, when the burial plots were filled, new graves were placed on top of old ones.

Because economic opportunities were limited in Sweden, especially compared to the "rags to riches" opportunities believed to exist in America, at least five of the children left Sweden (one by one) to start a new life in a new country. Eldest surviving son Joseph went first, going to Nebraska to work for the railroad. Why Nebraska? Because Johan August Blomgren's brother Jonas Joseph Blomgren had gone to America and was living in Dannebrog, Nebraska and working for the railroad.


My great-grandmother Wilhemina -- known as Minnie -- was next to journey to America, followed by Anna, Alfred and Aron. Whether Alfred stayed or returned to Sweden is unknown; I find him only in the 1900 Census as a member of his brother Joseph's household in Utah. You can see a portion of the actual census page below.


Joseph "Blomgreen" was listed as the head of household in Rich County, Utah. His wife, Mary, was born in Sweden and they had been married 16 years. They had five children: Mabel A. (b. June 1885 ) ; Albert or Robert G. (b. March 13, 1887); Ernest A. (b. October 30, 1889); Ina T. (b. March 1892) and August Leonard Blomgren (b. January 1896). Joseph's brothers Alfred (22) and Aron (23) were living in the household as well. Aron had arrived only months before the census. Joseph and Mary's son George V. Blomgren was born subsequent to the 1900 Census on January 24, 1901. By the 1910 Census, Joseph and Mary and their brood were living in Weston, Umatilla County, Oregon. (The photo of the Joseph Blomgren family was shared by some of his direct descendants.)

Both Minnie  and her sister Anna  migrated to Walla Walla County, Washington by the time of the 1900 Census. Anna met and married Edward Anderson in Walla Walla County on December 16, 1896. They are found on the 1900 Census in Walla Walla County, Washington, but had moved from there before the 1910 Census. They had three children: Thelma, Raymond, and Irene Anderson. Edward died prior to the 1930 Census, at which time Anna was living on Boren Street in Seattle with her three children, the youngest one 18. Daughter Thelma was employed as a public school teacher. Anna Anderson died in Seattle in the 1960s.
Wilhemina Blomgren about 1885

I haven't determine when or how Wilhelmina met her first husband, John Albert Nelson. I only know that he was a Norwegian and that they married around 1891. They had three children before his death about 1897; only two of the children survived -- Mamie Magdalene and John Wilhelm Nelson.


After John Nelson died of tuberculosis, Minnie married for a second time, this time to another Swede - Samuel P. (Bengtsson) Miller. They were married November 15, 1899 in Walla Walla County, Washington. They are found living in the Frenchtown Precinct of Walla Walla County in the 1900 Census on land that Minnie's first husband had homesteaded. 


As John Nelson's widow, Wilhelmina Blomgren Nelson Miller was entitled to perfect her late husband's homestead land claim. To do so, however, she had to become a U.S. citizen.

 Samuel P. Miller had homesteaded land in Wallowa County, Oregon a few years previously, but would work the harvests in the Walla Walla valley at harvest time for extra money. He met Minnie Blomgren Nelson when she was cooking for the harvesters in a cook wagon. Like Minnie, in order to perfect his land claim near Enterprise, Oregon, Samuel had to become a citizen.

Once he established his citizenship, Samuel proved up his land claim, demonstrating in doing so that he'd lived on the land for the requisite period of time and that he'd made improvements to the land, such as building a home and outbuildings.

Samuel & Wilhemina Blomgren Miller Family
About 1902, Samuel and Minnie moved to Wallowa County  where Samuel's homestead claim was located, with Mamie and John Nelson, plus the new little "Millers." Their children were: Elmer (my grandfather) b. October 5, 1900; Oscar (b. March 6, 1903); Mabel Marie  (b. February 20, 1905) Herbert Samuel (b. September 22, 1907 ) and Stanley  (b. July 29, 1911). Samuel Miller died in eastern Oregon in 1925; Minnie outlived him for almost four decades.
Samuel and Minnie Miller's family out for a spin in their Maxwell, in front of the family homestead outside of Enterprise, Oregon about 1920
Fred Blomgren and Anna Francson wedding
Aron Gottfried "Fred" Blomgren arrived from Sweden aboard the ship Saint Paul on April 21, 1900. By the time the census was taken that summer, Aron had made his way to northern Utah, where his older brother Joseph was living. From there, he migrated to Edwall, Lincoln County, Washington where he patented land and married a young woman named (according to marriage records) Anna Francson.

Fred and Anna had three sons: Walter H (1906 -1989) ; John Harold (1908 - 1978); and Fred. Fred, was born about 1914 and died as a young teenager. Fred, Anna, and son Harold were living on the homestead land at the time of the 1940 Census.

Aron Gottfried "Fred" died on November 25, 1961 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Cheney, Spokane County, Washington. His home in Lincoln County was only a few miles away.

Two of  Walter's descendants still resided in 2003 on or near land patented by Aron Gottfried Blomgren in Lincoln County almost a century ago. Others can be found in various places in the Pacific Northwest. The Lincoln County descendants possessed a family photo album that contained the original Swedish wedding photo of  Johan August Jonasson Blomgren and Charlotta Jonasdotter shown at the top of this article. They were kind enough to share a digitized version with me.