Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Monday, August 22, 2011

About The Letters

An original letter written in 1861
Click on picture to enlarge
These letters were found in Spakarp, Sweden, home of the Swenson Family since 1850.  Rune and Irene Elofsson scanned them all and have been translating them from the old faded Swedish script for several years.  All of the letters are written to someone living in Spakarp.  Irene is a Swenson descendant and Rune is an expert in genealogy in Sweden.  Since the letters were not "arranged" in any order, we have received them piecemeal as they picked one out to translate.  Slowly, we are putting together the puzzle of our Swenson ancestors who came to America.  We owe much gratitude to Irene and Rune for their hard work that makes it possible for us to read these letters today.

These are not memoirs, or memories, or made up stories of what somebody may have thought was happening.  These are letters written at the time about what they were doing, thinking, and their impressions of life here as they found it.  It was not always easy--at times it was quite difficult.  Some of the letters give advice to others considering the move to America, telling about all the hardships they may face.  Many Swedes who came to America went back home a few years later.  Leaving Sweden to come to America was not for the weak of heart or body.  And this was true for all immigrants from all countries.  Only the strong and persistent survived.  We, their descendants, benefit from their hard work.

As you read the letters, put yourself in their places.  Most of them never returned home to Sweden again, never saw their parents, other family members or friends they left behind.  Jonas Victor frequently asks how his parents are, especially his mother.  There were no telephones, email or other communication helps.  Letters took a long time to travel so they heard of any deaths many weeks later.  He asks about the "bog in Spakarp" and what they are planting there.  He inquires about old neighbors and relatives--about marriages, etc.

I hope these letters give you a new respect for your pioneer ancestors who came here to begin a new life.

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