Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Who Am I? - Mr. & Mrs. Ed Swanson of Holdrege, Nebraska

Happy 4th of July! It's another hot and steamy day here in south Florida. I got up at 6:30 this morning to go for a walk and the heat index was already 90 degrees. On Independence Day we tend to think of family and country and getting ready for the bar-b-que and fireworks. For my family, we will be attending a pancake breakfast at church, grill out some Korean bar-b-que burgers and watch the fireworks in our neighborhood.

Over the last couple weeks I have had people contact me concerning my ancestral posts at my other blog - They have been appreciative of the stories I write and the pictures I have included in the biographies. So, since I have some time this morning, I decided to add another story here about one of my found pictures and how I determined who was in the picture in the hopes that some relative would find it and claim them.

Mr. & Mrs. Ed Swanson - Holdrege, Nebraska
Today, the picture is of Mr. & Mrs. Ed Swanson of Holdrege, Nebraska. I found this picture at an antique show earlier this year. So, now the search begins. What do I know from clues in the picture?
1) The writing on the picture says "Mr. & Mrs. Ed Swanson, Holdrege, Nebraska". That's a pretty good clue.
2) The studio was Love out of Holdrege, Nebraska.
3) The clothing indicates that it was probably a wedding picture near the turn of the century.

One thing I need to find out is where Holdrege is located. A quick Google search informs me that Holdrege is the county seat of Phelps County. The town was founded in the 1880s as a railroad stop. The current population of Holdrege is about 5,500.

So, I begin my search looking in the 1900 and 1910 censuses for an Ed Swanson in the area of Holdrege, Nebraska.

And, one quick search later, I find an Edward E Swanson listed in the 1900 census in Holdredge, Phelps, Nebraska. Can it really be that easy? This Edward is 22 years old, born in Illinois in September 1877. He is living with his family, consisting of his father Andrew J Swanson (born September 1828), mother Caroline C (born May 1833), and siblings Mary E (born May 1869) and Hulda R (born January 1873). Based on this census record, the parents immigrated from Sweden in 1854 and all the children were born in Illinois. Andrew is listed as a retired farmer, Hulda is listed as a teacher and Edward is a carpenter. Andrew and Caroline had been married 45 years and had 10 children, 7 of which were still living.

The 1910 census shows an Edward A Swanson living in Center Township, Nebraska. Center Township is just north of Holdrege. This census shows Edward with a wife, Jennie A (age 29), two daughters Abbie M (age 10) and Inez E (age 7), and a son Lemar A (age 5). Edward and Jennie had been married 9 years and had 4 children, 3 of which were still living. Jennie and all of the children were born in Nebraska. Edward was listed as a farmer.

I was able to find a Nebraska marriage record for Edward and Jennie Berglund. They were married in Phelps County, Nebraska on 20 June 1900, just a week after the 1900 census. Based on this information, I did a search for Jennie Berglund in the 1900 census and found her living with her family in Center Township. Her family consisted of her father Johan E Berglund (born May 1845), mother Anna S (born May 1851), and siblings James W (born July 1831), Hattie V (born May 1887), Dora O (born May 1890), Esther E (born January 1893), and Carl J (born October 1895). Her parents were born in Sweden, were married for 23 years and immigrated in 1876 and 1877. All of the siblings were born in Nebraska. Johan is listed as a farmer.

Edward registered for the WW I Draft on 12 September 1918 at the age of 41. He lists his occupation as farmer and his address as RFD #1, Holdrege, Phelps, Nebraska. Jennie is listed as his nearest relative. His physical description is listed as medium height, medium build, light hair and blue eyes.

The family is still in Center Township at the time of the 1920 census. All three children, Abbie (age 19), Inez (age 17) and Lamar (age 14), are at home and Abbie is listed as a public school teacher. Later in 1920, Abbie married Victor Stubblefield in Holdrege. By about 1924, Inez had married Walter Hoffman.

It is known that Abbie and Inez moved to California with their husbands in the early part of the 1920s because in the 1930 census, Inez had a daughter aged 4 years and 9 months old who was born in California and Abbie's son was born in Los Angeles County, California in 1923.

By the 1930 census, Edward, Jennie and Lamar, along with Jennie's mother Anna have moved to Pasadena, California. We can wonder why the family moved out to California. The move was prior to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression so neither of these events seem to be the cause of the move. The family owned the property at 1154 Second Avenue South in Pasadena, California and it was valued at $6,000. According to the 1930 census, Edward ran a poultry farm and Lamar was an automobile upholsterer. Abbie and Inez are both found with their families, living in Monrovia, California.

In the 1940 census, Edward, Jennie and her mother Anna are living in Arcadia, California. Did they move? Nope. According to the census they were still living at 1154 South Second Avenue, which is the same address they were living at in Pasadena in 1930. It looks like the boundaries had moved and now they were in a different town but still in the same home. One thing I did notice from the 1940 census was that Edward was now 63 years old and employed as an asphalt paver with the Work Projects Administration (WPA). If you have ever done road work, you know how dirty and hot it can be to be an asphalt paver. The WPA was started in 1935 as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal program. This program employed millions of people during the Great Depression. One year later, on 15 November 1941, Edward's wife Jennie died at the age of 61. Edward lived another 30 years and died on 6 November 1971. He is buried in Live Oak Memorial Park in Monrovia, California.

If you are related to this family, or know someone who might be related, please have them contact me so I can send them the picture that started this journey of discovery.


Shanmathi said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

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L. Hedgecock said...

I keep seeing boxes and boxes of old photographs in antique stores and flea markets. I want to rescue them all!

Great post.

genealogylizgauffreau said...

Impressive detective work! I hope the wedding photo can be reunited with its family.