A 'Swenglish' journey through family photos, notes and postcards from the early 20th century.


G.002-1 Motorboats at Westervik

G.002-1 Motorbåtar i Västervik



Poststämpel: ?
Till: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Odensberg
Från: M.B---

Spårö sund vid Westervik.
Foto: S. Eriksén, Westervik

Hjärtligt tack för vykortet idag!
Hälsningar många.
Väntar på nästa v.k. [vykort]

De där båtarna ser ut att gå fort… måste vara motorbåtar!
När kom motorbåtar i bruk? – Enligt Wikipedia testades den första motorbåten med bensinmotor av Gottlieb Daimler och Wilhelm Maybach i Tyskland 1886.1

Kortet är troligen sänt 1901 eller 1902. Jag har tjuvkikat lite framåt i albumet och det verkar som att Gustav for till Amerika i slutet av 1902, för att inte återvända till Sverige (och då till Storegården i Fristad) förrän 1911. En teori just nu är att Gustaf och Gerda kan ha farit samtidigt till Amerika 1902, fastän de sedan skildes åt vid ankomsten. Gustaf till Pennsylvania, Gerda till Chicago. Mer om det när jag kommer till de kort som utgör bevis för teorin!

Jag har påbörjat en “tidslinje” i marginalen, där jag kan föra in årtal, var Gustaf och Gerda då verkar ha befunnit sig, och ev andra viktiga händelser i familjen. Tidslinjen kan komma att ändras om jag stöter på ytterligare eller motsägelsefulla uppgifter!

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In English:

Postcard to Gustaf from somone with initials M.B.
View from Westervik (
Västervik) on the south east coast.
No postmark to show if it was also sent from there.

Heartfelt thanks for the postcard today! Many greetings. Waiting for the next postcard. M.B---

Those boats look like they’re going fast…
When did motor boats first come into use?
Wikipedia provides the answer:

1 The first boat powered by a petrol engine was tested on the Neckar river by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1886, when they tested their new "longcase clock" engine. It had been constructed in the former greenhouse (converted into a workshop) in Daimler's back yard. The first public display took place on the Waldsee in Cannstatt, today a suburb of Stuttgart, at the end of that year.

The card was probably sent in 1901 or 1902. I have had a peek into the future and it seems that Gustaf left for America in the autumn of 1902 (not to return until 1911, and then to live on the family farm). It also seems Gerda must have left around that time too. Maybe they even went on the same boat? (I don’t know that for a fact though) but split up at arrival in the new country. Gustaf went to Pennsylvania, Gerda to Chicago, Illinois.

I have started a “Timeline” in the sidebar, where I can enter years, with notes of where Gustaf and Gerda were at various times, and other important events in the family. The timeline might change if I come upon additional or contradictory evidence!


  1. I wonder if they ever saw each other after they split, looks like they were fun loving buddies. I also love the tiny little lighthouse way in the background.

  2. That's a splendid photograph from that era of relatively slow shutter speeds with what would probably have been a heavy plate camera (although roll film cameras were available then). It's the fact that it has been taken from in front in what appears to be open water so was the cameraman on a boat too. All in all with this one it's the technical details that fascinate me.

    1. Very interesting observation Graham. I didn't really think of that (having so much else to think about!)

  3. I like the history research that's going on at the same time as the family history investigations. They make the posts particularly interesting.

  4. Thanks John. Yes I find my thoughts wandering off in all kinds of directions when examining these old postcards; realizing that what's oldfashioned to me now might have been brand new to those who originally sent and received them.