Signe Viktoria Carlson Bolin (1889-1954)

This is the only photo I have of Signe and, as with Hilda, it’s a scan of a photocopy. If anyone has a better copy, I’d love to see it.

Signe was the daughter of Karl and Hilda Illman Karlsson. She was responsible for bringing her siblings, Albin, Rose and Hilda to this country.

“Signe (Susie) was the first to come to this country. She received the money for the trip from Gustave’s brother-in-law. She had to work as a maid on a farm to repay the money. Rose said the last she heard of Gustave’s brother-in-law, she believed his last name was Pilgrim, was that he was a wealthy man, living in Texas. ” -Rose Carlson Nystrom’s recollections recorded by her daughter, 22 April 1982.

According to Elisabeth Bjorklund, Gus‘ granddaughter, Signe traveled to America with Arvid Pihlgren, the brother of Gus’ wife, Nanny. It’s not surprising that an American would mishear Pihlgren as Pilgrim. Indeed, the ship manifest for the S.S. Saxonia sailing from Liverpool to Boston in 1908 shows both Signe and Arvid, with their final destination being Oakland, Nebraska.

screenshot-2016-11-26-at-8-33-57-am Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963

Signe would marry Oscar Bolin and Arvid would marry Anna Lech. Arvid died in Nebraska. It was his son who lived in Texas.

Arvid Pihlgren

Lindy Nystrom (1931-1940)

Lindy Nystrom

Lindy was the fifth child of Swan and Rose Nystrom. He died in a grain elevator accident at the age of nine and is buried in Cuming County, Nebraska. It must have been a terrible time for my grandmother – just a few weeks before Lindy’s accident, her daughter, Roberta, twin of Robert, was delivered stillborn. This photo hung in my grandparents’ house for as long as I can remember.

Version 2
Lindy is seated, second from right. His sister, Violet, is standing third from left. Oakland, Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Kelly Nystrom.
Lindy’s funeral. Left to right: Rick, Willie, Vern, Gene.
The mill where Lindy was killed.



Hilda Ingrid Carlson (1897-1955)

Hilda was the daughter of Karl and Hilda Illman Karlsson. Though she was older than Rose by almost four years, she was the fourth and last sibling to immigrate to the United States. Signe came first, followed by Albin and Rose. Hilda was 23 when she arrived in 1920 in less than auspicious circumstances.

“Guy was supposed to come to this country next, but was drafted into the service, Hilda came in his place, 2 years after Rose. Hilda was $50.00 short of the fare and had to stay on Wilson’s [sic] Island until the $50.00 was received. She was there for 3 months, the officials wrote Oscar Bolin and said if they didn’t receive the $50.00, they were going to send Hilda back to Sweden. The money was sent and Hilda, the only Swedish person on the island with no-one to talk to continued on. She got on the train and didn’t understand the conductor when he said Oakland. She continued on to Sioux City, unable to speak English, wandered around for some time until someone helped her get back to Oakland.”-Recollections of Rose Carlson Nystrom as written by her daughter 22 Apr 1982.



“Hilda had a son, name unknown, last known living in Chicago, believed to be an Attorney. It was unknown to family members that Hilda had a son, until he appeared at Hilda’s funeral.”-Recollections of Rose Carlson Nystrom as written by her daughter 22 Apr 1982.

Karl August Karlsson (1860-1932)

Karl August Karlsson was born 7 May 1860 to Carl Frederik Andersson and Anna Lovisa Jansdotter. Records show he was born in Lerback in the Narke province of county Orebro in south-central Sweden.

Lerback Church, Narke, Sweden circa 1930 from Swedish National Heritage Board.

Karl married Hilda Carolina Illman who already had a son, Gus. Karl and Hilda would have nine children together: Tekla, Signe, Gertrude, Albin, Ture, Hilda, Rose and Fritz.

“Karl August Karlsson (American spelling Carlson) worked as a shovel sharpener in a blacksmith shop for 20 years until the shop burned down. Then he went to work at Motala Verkstad (like a department store) melting lead into bars, as he was a big strong man. He was paid approximately $75.00 a month. At this writing Motala Verkstad is still open and doing business. He was born in Nerke, Sweden.” -Rose Carlson Nystrom about her father, as told to her daughter 22 Apr 1982.

From the photo album of Rose Carlson Nystrom, daughter of Karl August Karlsson.


Backside of above photo. “My dad in hospital listen to radio Motala” is the handwriting of Rose Carlson Nystrom. “Took his leg off” is the handwriting of Joann Nystrom Money.










According to his son, Albin Carlson,

“Father Karlsson was a fine man in every respect. He had more patience than any man I ever met. Very popular with all kinds of friends.”