Tag Archives: Hans Samuel Molin

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.





Commit the Crime, Do the Time!

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Commit the crime, do the time. Well, Hans Samuel Molin was a victim of his times. He didn’t have the easiest start in life, right from the moment of birth. His surname wasn’t even Molin, as he was born on 24 April 1798 in Önnestad, Kristianstad County, Sweden as the illegitimate son of Sara Brita Krok/Krook. He was baptized as Hans Samuel Krook.

I have written about Sara Brita before. She was the wife of Anders Molin, but they separated and maybe divorced between 1783 and 1786, when she gave birth to a son in Everlov, Malmohus County, Sweden, who wasn’t the child of Anders, as the parish priest so clearly noted.

Hans Samuel, the third illegitimate son of his mother, not only had that stigma to carry, but he was born in the Invalide Hospital, or poorhouse, and his mother was noted as not being registered, or given permission to be there.

While Swedish records are quite good, in the case of Sara Brita and Hans Samuel, no Household Examinations have been found for them. Sara Brita died in Andrarum in 1812; it may be that she raised her children there as parish records for that village don’t begin until the 1830’s, long after she had died and the children had reached adulthood. In fact, the child born immediately before Hans Samuel, brother Johan Jacob, turned 21 years old only four weeks before their mother died.

One thing is for certain, in 1812, 14 year old Hans Samuel wasn’t living with his oldest half-brother, Hans Niclas Molin, in Öved as he isn’t found on the Moving In lists or on the Household Examination where Hans Niclas’s own family appears.

By 1819, though, Hans Samuel makes regular appearances in parish records – a lot of them. Between 1819 and 1823, he lived in Sodra Mellby, Simris, Tryde and then Ekerod (Roddinge), where he married Berta Jonsdotter on 10 June 1823.

Settling down didn’t seem to be in his nature, though, because between 1823-1835, Hans Samuel, Berta and then their four daughters lived in Sallshog, Tolanga, Svenstorp, Herrestad, Ravlunda, Svabesholm, and Ystad-St. Maria, where it was noted that he left Ystad on 17 October 1835 for Skivarp.

The next record is one that was peculiar.

ArkivDigital: Skivarp House Exam 1838-1844

If you look closely at the top left corner next to Enkan Kjerstina (Widow Christina), aged 77, you can see, in small letters “Fatt H,” which is the Swedish abbreviation for Fattighuset, or poorhouse.

In the fattighuset are, from the fourth entry down, Hustru Molin med Barn – Housewife Molin with children. Below her are son Andreas, daughter Sophia and daughter Petronella.

This is a very odd entry because it identifies Mrs. Molin, not widow Molin, but there is absolutely no mention of husband Hans Samuel and the family is living in the poorhouse.

At first, I thought that Hans Samuel might have just upped and left his family. Then my newly discovered Molin distant cousin, Krister, found another document in the Moving In records of Skivarp:

Skivarp Moving In Records

The notation with the family said Hans Molin’s wife and four children were being sent to the Skivarp poorhouse by order of the Malmo governor’s office. Krister speculated that perhaps they were sent there because they couldn’t support themselves because Hans Samuel was in prison. They had come from Skivarp so it was the village’s obligation to house them. That led to a search of the prisoner rolls in Malmo, as there was a jail there. The answer was quickly found in two records:

Hans Molin, 27 May 1840


Prisoner Rolls, Hans Molin 23 May 1840
First Entry on the Page

As I’ve said before, I don’t speak/read Swedish and it was late at night when I found this. With the time zone differences, I wouldn’t hear from Krister until the next morning, but I couldn’t wait to find out what kind of crime had caused him to be imprisoned and his family sent to the poorhouse. I posted a query on the Swedish American Genealogy Group on Facebook requesting translation help and, within fifteen minutes or so, I had my answer.

Apparently, in that time period in Sweden everyone carried papers that served more or less as a domestic passport. Typical identifying information was included – name, birth date, birth place. However, there were two additional pieces of information – residence, which was supposed to be entered into church parish records when one moved in or moved out, and occupation. It was against the law in Sweden to be unemployed if you were able to work.

For what crime was Hans jailed? He was unemployed! In the right column, the comment says he was released on 27 May 1740 and was ordered to find work in Skivarp so he could support himself and his family.