Category Archives: Molin

Maternal Branches in the Family Tree: Johanna Elisabeth Molin (1814-1895)

Johanna Elisabeth Molin definitely qualifies as my least conventional 3X great grandmother, at least when compared with my Rusyn and early American families. In Scandinavian culture, she didn’t live a particularly unusual life at all.

Johanna Elisabeth Molin was the 9th of 11 children born on 12 November 1814 to Hans Niclas Molin and Anna Kjersti Sandberg in the small village of Öved in southern Sweden. Only two of Johanna’s siblings died in infancy, so their home was a busy one.

Discovering Johanna led to my first foray into the magnificent Swedish record, as she was living in Copenhagen, Denmark when I first found her. Danish records, by the way, are pretty terrific, too!

Hans Niclas, rather than being a tenant farmer or soldier, had a more specialized occupation. He was one of the men hired to protect the King’s forests and animals from hunters and poachers.

However, Johanna was to lose both her parents at a young age. Hans Niclas died in 1830 and Anna Kjersti in 1838, at which time there were still four children at home, left to fend for themselves.

Johanna worked as a servant in her teen years and early 20s in the big city of Lund, but after her mother passed away, Johanna sought a new life and made the short trip across the water to Copenhagen, Denmark.

The first record in which Johanna appeared was the 1850 census of Copenhagen, as I was searching for my 2X great grandfather, Frits Wille Oscar E. Johnson, who emigrated to Calais, Washington, Maine. He had reportedly been born in Copenhagen in  May 1845 and that information was proven to be 100% correct.

The Danish census not only enumerates married women by their maiden names, it also notes birth date and place of birth, which made it easy to pick up Johanna before she settled in Copenhagen.

She was married to Johannes Jensen (hence, Frits Americanizing his name to Johnson) and, in 1850, they were the parents of three daughters and one son at home. Johannes was a soldier in the Danish army and the family lived in army barracks next to Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen.

Given that Johannes was born in Copenhagen, the children were born there and the family lived in the city for a number of years, I was quite surprised that I couldn’t find their marriage record.

It wasn’t until the Jensens retired to Saeby, Hjorring, Denmark and I found daughter Wilhelmine’s confirmation record that said she had been baptized at the Hospital for Unwed Mothers in Copenhagen that the light bulb turned on.

It was fairly common for young ladies in Scandinavia to give birth out of wedlock.In fact, the Danish king opened the King’s Hospital for Unwed Mothers in 1765 to combat the high birth rate and poor care for the mothers.

However, Johanna was a bit more untraditional than most as she and Johannes had two children before they married with a third on the way when they finally tied the knot on 31 August 1842 in Copenhagen.

After yet more research, I discovered that Johannes, himself, had been born at the same hospital and given up for adoption when he was two days old.

Although all her children shared Johannes as their father, I have to wonder how she felt, pregnant with a third child, when she and Johannes finally married. Perhaps it was unimportant to her since she and Johannes were living together.

Johannes and Johanna were the parents of six children, all born in Copenhagen:

1. Wilhelmine Amalie, born 5 July 1840; died after 25 March 1904 when she is found on a residents’ list, probably in Copenhagen, Denmark; unmarried
2. Stillborn Daughter, 8 May 1842
3. Emilie Olivia Frederikke, born 18 May 1843; died 6 November 1916, Saeby, Hjorring, Denmark; married Niels Christen Christensen, 16 November 1866, Saeby, Hjorring, Denmark
4. Frits Wille Oscar Emil, born 12 May 1845; died 26 November 1920, Calais, Washington, Maine; married Margrethe Bruun, 9 June 1867, Flade, Hjorring, Denmark
5. Ludovica Josephine Henriette, born 4 June 1847; died after 1911, probably Aalborg, Denmark; married Jens Peter Moller, 28 April 1865, Saeby, Hjorring, Denmark
6. Avilda Eleonora Philipine, born 11 October 1850; died 25 July 1860, Saeby, Hjorring, Denmark

Johannes died at the young age of 55 years on 9 April 1865 in Saeby. Ludovica married less than 3 weeks after her father’s passing, Emilie married in 1866 and Frits in 1867.

Johanna and Wilhelmine lived with Emilie and her family in Saeby in 1870, but both seemed to prefer big city life and they returned to Copenhagen before 1880. However, each lived on their own.

Johanna died on 24 May 1895 in Copenhagen.

In 2013, we had the opportunity to visit Copenhagen and I was pleased to walk in my ancestors’ footsteps. We even viewed, from the street, the apartment which was Johanna’s last home.


18th & 19th Century Family Mobility in Southern Sweden

In my previous post, I mentioned that my Swedish ancestors were very mobile, working from place to place. Actually, it is historically accurate to say that Swedes who lived in the southern part of the country, particularly in the old Malmöhus County, which covered most of the southern tip of Sweden in the 1800s, moved far more frequently than residents in northern Sweden.

I don’t know why that is true, but in addition to traveling around southern Sweden, a number of Swedes migrated to Norway and even more settled in Denmark.

Why did residents move so frequently? First, if a man or woman was an unskilled laborer or a farm worker, they had to live where they could find a job. It was actually illegal to not have a job and a way to support yourself and jail sentences were regularly handed out by the local court.

Second, it was common for men to marry in their very late 20s or even well into their 30s. Accordingly, they moved where the work was. Females also married later than, say, their counterparts in New England, where young ladies typically married around age 21. I have a number of female ancestors who, like the men, married in their late 20s or early 30s and then started a family.

With the later average age for marriages, there are many instances of children born out of wedlock. For those children, life was more difficult as they had no family stability in the home.

Third, once children were in their late teens, they were expected to get a job. That meant that by the time they reached 20 years old, many children no longer lived at home because their job was too far away to walk to and from their parents’ home each day.

Hans Samuel Molin is the youngest of the children born to Sara Brita Krook, mother of yesterday’s sketch on Jöns Abraham Krook.

Hans Samuel always used the Molin surname and he definitely wins first prize for the person who moved the most times in his life.

Here is a timeline of his life and the places he lived:

1798: born in Önnestad
1820: moved into Tryde
1820: moved to Simris
1822: lived in Röddinge
1823: married in Ekeröd
1823: daughter born in Tryde
1825: lived in Tolånga
1826: daughter born in Östra Vemmerlöv
1828: lived in Ravlunda
1832: son born in Södra Mellby
1835: lived in Ystad St. Maria parish
1836: daughter born in Skivarp
1840: left Malmö and moved to Skivarp
1840: lived in the Raus poor house
1848: lived in Hjärnarp
1851: moved out of Hjärnarp
c1854: taxed in Båstad
1862: died in Blentarp

What does this list look like in terms of geography? Well the map program wouldn’t let me add any more locations after Ystad, so the purple arrows represent Skivarp, and then Raus, Hjärnarp and Båstad in the top left corner, off the map, and, finally, Blentarp, which is the arrow at the bottom center of the map near Skurup.

Hans Samuel literally lived all over southern Sweden in his 64 years of life and I imagined he walked many of those miles.

How did I find him in all these places? I mentioned that Sweden kept some fabulous records. They didn’t take national censuses, but did create an even better set of records called Moving In and Moving Out records.

As persons moved from place to place, they were required (but didn’t always do) to visit the minister to tell him where they were moving. The minister noted the date and the place where they planned to live. The receiving minister recorded the same information in the new town.

Believe me, even knowing where Hans Samuel was off to next kept me plenty busy trying to find him in those records and then in the Household Records organized by families in each parish.

As you can see, Hans Samuel never stayed long in one place even after he married. Records note him as a watchmaker, a saddle maker, farmhand and forest worker, along with several abbreviated occupations such as “Carab” and others I can’t make out clearly enough to even try to translate. He and his family were even forced to live in the poor house in Raus because he had no job.

Life was tough for Hans Samuel Molin, born in the poor house, with an unknown father and raised with no occupational skills. However, he married when he was 25 and raised five children with his wife, Berta Jönsdotter.

This snapshot view of one man provides a glimpse of his difficult life circumstances. The map certainly gives me a perspective I wouldn’t otherwise have, given my limited knowledge of the geography of Malmöhus County.





Swedish Mystery #2: Jöns Abraham Krook (aka Molin)

Yesterday, I shared the smattering of information I have discovered about Elsa Christina Sandberg. Today, I have a second mysterious person for whom only two records exist.

Jöns Abraham Krook was born in Everlöv, Malmöhus, Sweden on 30 July 1786 to Sara Brita Krook who had married Anders Molin in 1776. Together, they had four sons, two of whom lived to adulthood and have descendants today – Hans Niclas Molin, my ancestor, and his brother Johan Peter Molin.

However, around 1783, they went their separate ways and Sara Brita went on to give birth to three sons whose fathers are unknown.

Jöns Abraham Krook’s baptismal record was like no other I’ve ever come across. His parents were recorded as Anders Molin and Sara Brita Krook. Someone apparently knew better because they reported to the church minister that Anders Molin left for Marstrand, Sweden (over 200 miles away from Everlöv) too long before to be the father of Sara Brita’s baby.

The minister CROSSED OUT Anders Molin as the father and noted that he was in Marstrand, leaving the father unknown and Sara Brita’s baby being born out of wedlock.

Sweden has created some magnificent records and I’ve found out so much about my Swedish ancestors, but there are some limitations, like missing church books.

The Molin family was last found together in Vankiva, Malmöhus, Sweden in 1783.

They obviously left with Anders heading to Marstrand, where he appears in the tax records in 1784.

However, nothing has been found to determine whether Anders took his two sons with him or whether they remained with Sara Brita.

Nor have any records been uncovered explaining where Sara Brita was living between 1783 and 1786, when she gave birth in Everlöv.

It’s possible that Sara Brita moved to Everlöv, but there are no other church records there that go back to the 1780s, aside from the baptismal record.

The record doesn’t say that Sara Brita lived elsewhere, although it notes a godparent from Hemmestorp, so she may well have lived in Everlöv. Sara Brita was born in Veberöd, only about 4 1/2 miles away, which could explain how she came to live there from Vankiva, which is over 50 miles away from those two towns. Veberöd records don’t go back far enough to help either.

Back to Jöns Abraham Krook! I mentioned that he left only two known records. The first is his baptismal record. The second is the probate file of his mother, Sara Brita Krook, after she died in 1812.

All five half brothers are listed as heirs, although two are only referred to as Hans:

1. Hans (Niclas) Molin
2. J(ohan) P(eter) Molin
3. Jöns Abraham Molin
4. Johan Jacob Molin
5. Hans (Samuel) Molin

All five heirs are called “Molin,” even though only the first two sons of Sara Brita Krook shared Anders Molin as their father and all were living on 12 November 1812, the date probate was concluded.

It has been relatively easy to pick up the trail of all the sons of Sara Brita Krook EXCEPT for Jöns Abraham.

I’ve been on a quest to try to find something, anything else, however small a tidbit of information to add to the story of Jöns Abraham’s life.

One monkey wrench in this mix is that, in this time period, this family sometimes used Krook, sometimes Molin, and, in still other records, reverted back to the patronymic surname of Andersson (son of Anders).

There are a few family trees online for Jöns Abraham, but no one has any more information that I had originally found.

FamilySearch records have provided two possibilities that might relate to my Jöns Abraham; ArkivDigital and MyHeritage partnered to produce an index (not fully comprehensive) of Swedes living in the 1800s. One possibility has been found in that database, too.

Each of the three possibilities has, so far, turned out to be one-record dead ends. However, in the hopes that someone might be descended from any of them and who might be able to provide further details, I’m sharing the little I’ve found.

The downside is that none of these men is called Jöns Abraham, but not every record calls the Molin brothers by first and middle names. Also, each of these men has only been found in one record.

1. Jöns Krook, born 1786,  married Bengta Rasmusdotter and had two daughters born in Genarp, Malmöhus, Sweden – Kjerstina on 28 February 1821 and Elna, born 1 December 1822.

2. Jöns Krook, born 1786, was a soldier in Istorp, Älvesborg, Sweden in the 1801-1809 Household Record book. His wife was Brita Persdotter, born 1771 (no, that’s no a typo) and son Carl was born 1805, in Istorp.

3. Jöns Andersson was born 30 July 1786 (exact same date of birth for my Jöns Abraham), place unknown. He was unmarried living in Tving Parish, Gunnetorp, Blekinge, Sweden, found in the 1813-1814 Household Record book.

Where are these places relative to Everlöv?

Genarp and Everlöv are both due east of Copenhagen, while Gunnetorp is northeast about 110 miles, while Istorp is about 160 miles north up the west coast of Sweden.

Note, though, that Swedes in the southern portion of the country were VERY mobile even in the 1700s. Remember, Anders Molin moved to Marstrand, which is on an island off the coast of Gothenburg, seen in the top left corner.

I will continue to dig to see if anything else can be uncovered about Jöns Abraham Krook aka Molin and possibly Andersson. My gut feeling, given that I’ve found the other four brothers in multiple records, is that Jöns Abraham likely died in the first half of the 1800s and perhaps never married.