Hej och Valkommen! My name is Matt Johnson and I am the great-great grandson of Sven Alfred Johnson who was born in Kanna parish in Kronobergs lan, Småland, Sweden, on August 26, 1856. My grandfather Sven Alfred, also known as Swan Alfred, immigrated to the United States in 1875 at the age of 19. He first took up residence in Nebraska where he remained until 1878. In 1878, he made his final move to Clear Lake, Minnesota which is just outside of Gibbon, Minnesota.
After some time in Clear Lake, he met Betsy Jacobson, my dear great-great grandmother and daughter of Swedish immigrants, and together they had 10 beautiful children, one of which was Carl Johnson, my great grandfather.
That studious, good looking gentleman is my great-great grandfather Sven Alfred, who eventually became known as Swan Alfred. On May 9th, and almost 140 years to the day of my grandfather’s immigration, I traveled to Sweden as a representative of Sven’s legacy. I was provided an opportunity to travel to Sweden through my university’s Leadership Study Abroad program. Hence, I was given an opportunity to travel to Sweden in the spirit of Swan’s memory as a descedent of a Swede – the land of my great-great grandfather’s birth and the land of my ancestors. It was quite a pilgrimage. But it didn’t end on my return to the United States. Rather, my discovery of my ancenstry through my paternal side of my family was just beginning.
During my visit, I resided mostly in Stockholm. Stockholm was fascinating and truly majestic city. I spent nearly four weeks there and I appreciated every second of it. I also met some wonderful people. It wasn’t until my last weekend that I had the opportunity, time, and resources to travel to southern Sweden to explore my ancestral roots.
Since my return to the states on June 9th, I have had some time to reflect on my experiences in Sweden. I have had conversations with relatives; I have had the opportunity to share with them my experiences and what I learned about our family and make no mistake, it took a trip to Sweden to learn about these remarkable cultural continuities; for example, Fika. Needless to say, I have plenty to write about and share. With this in mind, I will writing about and reflecting on those experiences that took place in Sweden and how those experiences continue to influence my experiences and relationships with my family and how those Swedish experiences influence my self-actualization here in the United States. Hence, what happened in Sweden and what takes place going forward will be shared through the Minnesota Swede Blog.
Please check back regularly.
Tack for besoket! Or as my grandmother used to say, “Tack sa mycket!”