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


Sepia Saturday 187: The Old Book/“Postillan”

I’ve not had much time on the computer the past couple of weeks and actually almost missed this Sepia Saturday. But when I saw that it was about Family Bibles (or similar) I decided just had to put in a post, even if a little late; because I had intended to do one on this theme soon anyway!


Actually one of the things that kept me away from the computer last week was that my brother and I were going through books in the house that belonged to our parents (and before them, to my paternal grandparents). Among them were some that we managed to sell to a second-hand bookshop, but also some that in spite of their age are considered to have no monetary value.


As we’re getting closer to actually selling the house soon, we now have to make final decisions about many objects that we’ve been hesitating about. I remember finding this book two years ago and deciding to settle for just taking photos of the notes on the inside of the covers…

2013-07-23 Samuels Postilla, M Luther's Book of Sermons1

But that was before I’d found the postcard collection and other notes and photos that gave me more interesting keys to the family history.

So at long last, I ended up taking the heavy old book home with me after all.


It’s not a Bible but a selection of sermons by Martin Luther, printed in 1861. In Swedish known as Luther’s Postilla.



It was given to (or possibly bought by) my great-grandfather Samuel and his first wife Anna Sophia in connection with their marriage in 1866. Samuel was 31 years old at the time and his wife 28.


S. Emanuelsson & Anna Sophia Emanuelsson
Herre Led Oss i Din Sanning, för Ditt Namns Skuld.

Belongs to
S. Emanuelsson & Anna Sophia Emanuelsson
Lord, Lead Us in Thy Truth
for Thy Name’s Sake


1866 den 27de Januari Blefvo vi förenade till äkta makar härpå Jorden. O trofaste Jesus, behåll oss alltid i din kärlek, att vi till sist för evigt får fira Bröllop med dig i Himmelen.

In 1866 on 27th January we were united as husband and wife here on Earth. Oh faithful Jesus, keep us always in Thy love, that in the end we may celebrate the eternal Wedding with Thee in Heaven .

As far as I’ve been able to discover, there is no note made in the Postilla of the death of Anna Sophia in 1894, or of Samuel’s second marriage to my great-grandmother Selma in 1898. But all the birthdays of his children are listed on the inside of the back cover, including the two youngest born to him by Selma:


No death dates are entered, even for the children who died young. Hanna Elisabeth, born in 1874, died in 1882 at age 8. And Anna Sophia’s youngest daughter, born in 1884 and named after herself, died on Christmas Eve 1893 at age 9(½). The mother herself died four months later, aged 57.

Samuel’s second oldest daughter Olivia also died (in 1899, at age 31) before my grandmother was born .

Samuel got remarried in December 1898 (at age 63) to Selma (37), a widow with an 8 year old daughter (Hildur). My grandmother Sally was born just over a year later (February 1901), and her brother Nils in August 1902. They were a whole generation (37-38 years) younger than their oldest half-sister Emma!

Samuel died in 1907 (when my grandmother was 7 years old). Selma did not get married again but stayed on the farm with her children and Samuel’s oldest son Carl (who never married). Carl died in 1928. In 1930, the farm was sold and all three of Selma’s children (Hildur, Sally and Nils) got married. The rest of her life until her death in 1943, Selma lived mainly with my grandparents – who built the original house, which my brother and I are now in the process of emptying of its last contents before we sell it. (After my grandmother’s death the house remained in our family as summer cottage for a number of years; and then my parents built an extension and moved in there permanently and lived there the rest of their lives.)

So that’s how the Postilla ended up with me. It has been kept in the same house since 1930 when that house was built.


I’m not sure how much anyone ever read it after Samuel died (I think I can safely say that I will never be reading more than maybe a few sentences here and there from it). But evidently, at some point in time, it was considered useful for other purposes as well:

2013-07-23 Samuels Postilla, M Luther's Book of Sermons

I wonder if there is a way to determine when (and by whom) in the past it was used for pressing flowers in? Samuel or Anna Sophia back in the late 1800s? Selma in the early 1900s? My grandmother or my father in the 1940s?


G.019.3 Norrköping, Järnbron

… and Secret Stamp Position Codes …
Linked to Sepia Saturday 183



Parti af Motala ström och Järnbron, Norrköping
Esping & Lundell, Import 559


To: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Storegd, Fristad
From: Gerda
Date: (probably 6 June 1902)

Congratulations to Gustaf on the Name Day from Gerda.
I suppose I’m expected home soon, I think I’ll probably come on Monday a week from now.

The card was sent from Gerda to her brother Gustaf as a Name Day greeting (see Celebrations). This helps establish the date, as the name Gustaf was (and still is) celebrated on 6 June. The year was most likely 1902, i.e the summer before they both emigrated. 6 June that year was a Friday.

The view is from Norrköping, situated by the mouth of the river Motala ström at an inlet of the Baltic Sea (East Coast of Sweden). This does not necessarily mean that was where the card was sent from, as the family seems to have had a stock of postcards with views from all over the country. 

Although the stamp on this card was removed, it can be seen that it was tilted sideways. In 1902 it was popular to send secret messages by way of the position of the stamp. Gerda’s stamp does not exactly match any of the positions in the code key below, but most likely (placed in the upper right hand corner) it was supposed to mean “write immediately” (even if tilted the wrong way compared to the key). The alternative “burn my letters” seems a bit drastic. But of course the sister and brother could also have agreed on some secret code of their own – who knows!

(click on the image above to go to the website I copied it from)
(and click on the one below to go to Sepia Saturday)

På svenska

Hjärtliga gratulationer sändes Gustaf från Gerda.
Jag väntas väl hem nu snart, tänker jag kommer nog på måndag 8 dar. Kära hälsningar

Att vykortet sändes som namnsdagshälsning hjälper till att datera det. 6 juni 1902 var en fredag. Uttrycket “åttadar” tror jag allmänt användes förr i betydelsen “om en vecka”.

Frimärket har uppenbarligen suttit på snedden på detta kort. År 1902 var det populärt att sända kodade meddelanden genom hur man satte frimärket på kortet. Gerdas placering stämmer inte exakt med någon av bilderna i “frimärksspråksnyckeln” ovan men troligen menade hon “Skrif genast!” (Alternativet “bränn mina brev” verkar lite väl drastiskt.)



G.019.2 Göteborg, Hamnen vid Lilla Bommen


Göteborg. Hamnen vid Lilla Bommen. (Harbour at Lilla Bommen)
Imp. Axel Stiberg & Co., Göteborg. 36.


To: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Storegd, Fristad
From: Gerda
Date: (ca 1902?)

Tack för kortet. Vi mår alla bra. Kommer nog snart hem tänker jag. Kära helsningar Gerda. A… Ljung helsar också.

Inga spår av datum finns kvar på kortet men att döma av typen av kort gissar jag att det är från 1901/02 snarare än efter 1911. (Åren emellan var ju både Gustaf o Gerda i Amerika.)

Firman Axel Stiberg och C:o inregistrerades 30 december 1854 av Axel Ludvig Stiberg. Företaget bedrev detaljhandel med tobaksvaror vid Östra Hamngatan 36 och hade en omfattande import. Sonen Axel Tage övertog verksamheten den 11 januari 1892 tillsammans med en medarbetare inom firman.



Thanks for the postcard. We are all well. Soon coming home I think. Love, Gerda. A… Ljung sends greetings too

Lilla Bommen is the name of a harbour for visitors in Gothenburg. The name could be translated “small toll bar”. (There was also a bigger one.)

There is no date visible, but judging by the type of postcard it’s likely to be from 1901/02 rather than after 1911. The tobacconist company that sold the card was founded in 1854.


G.019.1 Slottsskogen, Göteborg (1920-tal)

(Digintally improved copy)

Göteborg. Slottsskogen med Vita Bandets Restaurant.
Vita Bandet var en nykterhetsorganisation som öppnade
restaurang i Slottsskogen 1902 som reaktion mot det myckna supandet där.

Slottsskogen (English: Castle Forest) is a large park located in central Gothenburg, Sweden. Vita Bandet was the Swedish name for a Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), a movement originating in the United States. They opened a restaurant in Slottsskogen in 1909 as a protest against the excess of drinking going on there.


Äkta Fotografi* – A.B. Göteborgs Konstförlag. N:o 92
*[“real photograph”]


To: Fröken [Miss] Astrid Arvidsson, Trandared, Borås
From: Hilda Jansson
Date: 27.11.1928 (?)

Hjärtlig gratulation på namnsdagen
från Hilda Jansson

Astrid – Namnet infördes på dagens datum (27 november) 1907, då det ersatte namnet Estrid, som en hedersbetygelse åt den svenska prinsessan Astrid, som föddes 1905, och har funnits där sedan dess

Jag vet inte vem vare sig Astrid eller Hilda var.
I albumet sitter kortet bland kort av mycket tidigare datum.


My best wishes on your name day*,
from Hilda Jansson

*Name day, see Celebrations

Astrid was entered as name for 27 November in the Swedish calendar in 1907, in honour of princess Astrid born 1905.

Both sender and recipient of this card are unknown to me.
In the album it sits among cards of much earlier date.


G.018.3 Glad Påsk / Happy Easter



2649. 6. Imp.

To: Herr G. Ekman, Storegd, Fristad
Sent: ?? (1901/02)
From: ??

Glad Påsk med många ägg!
Tillönskas av .r..t……n

Happy Easter with many eggs!
Best wishes from .r..t……n

G.018.2 Folkdräkter, Rättvik (ca 1901)



To: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Storegd, Fristad
Sent: ?? (Christmas 1901?)
From: ?? (Johansson, Odensberg?)


God Jul! Tycker ni inte dom här äro söta?
Hälsning fr. samtliga O-g bor [Odensbergs-bor]

Ett hjärtligt tack för v.k. [vykort?] men de där halfva meningarna låtsas vi inte om, undrar hur ni själf fördrifver tiden, h. kanske fl. st. på förslag ---

… jag klarar inte av att tyda resten!!!

Tänkte först att avsändaren är Oscar men när jag jämför med handstilen i adressen på andra kort stämmer det inte riktigt. Dessutom kallar avsändaren Gustaf för “ni”. Tanken slår mig att det kan vara “Johansson” som arbetade för Oscar men som flyttade i mars 1902. Jmf kortet G.006.1. Den här julhälsningen borde i så fall vara från julen 1901. Förslagen som jag inte kan uttryda skulle kunna handla om arbeten.

This card was sent as Christmas greeting, including greetings from everybody at Odensberg, and thanks for a card received. Unfortunately I’m unable to dechipher the last few lines, including the signature. (This is worse than modern text messages, way too many abbreviations!) The writer is wondering what Gustaf is doing, and he seems to have some suggestions that might have to do with jobs. At first I thought the sender was Oscar (Gustaf’s brother), but the handwriting does not match other cards written by him. My best guess is that the sender is Johansson, who was working for Oscar – cf. card 6.006.1. As Johansson moved out in spring 1902, and Gustaf emigrated the following winter, this card should be from Christmas 1901.

G.018.1 Untitled



Oscar E. Kulls Grafiska Anst., Malmö. Ser.1.

To: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Storagd, Fristad
Sent: (imprint) 17.11 ---- (1902?)
From: anonymous “acquaintances”

Häls-g. fr. några bekanta som ej äro obekanta.
Från Fal-b.g.n (Falbygden)

Greetings from some acquaintances who are not unacquainted.

… Hopefully Gustaf knew who they were! …


Sepia Saturday: Postal Service of the Past

Postdiligens, 1880t_2A

Postdiligens, 1880t_1B

Postdiligens 1880t_1A

These postcards were printed by the Swedish Postal Service in 1969, but depict a postal coach from the first part of the 1880s. This kind of coach also carried passengers.

I found the postcards above when going through my dad’s desk. Besides his interest in stamps, these cards may have been of special interest to him as his grandfather Samuel (while also being a farmer) used to drive a postal coach (no doubt of a simpler model) between the railway station and the country store in a smaller village. According to family stories, that's where, as 60+ year old widower and father of nine (two of whom had died at a young age), Samuel, in the late 1890's, met his second wife – my great-grandmother Selma (then a young widow with one small child). (See photos of them both in the sidebar.)

Postdiligenser Fristad foto

This black-and-white photo I found among some of my grandfather’s (Gustaf T.) photos that I sorted through a couple of months ago. He was a journalist and photographer and among the photos left behind by him, not all are family-related – and with some it is hard to determine whether they are or not! (Those that I thought were not I gave away to the local history society.)

The building in this photo is the railway station at Fristad (in the province of Västergötland, Sweden). It is the village where my dad grew up, and his parents and grandparents before him. This station house was built in 1900 (the same year my grandmother Sally was born) but my guess (from clothes etc) is that this photo is from the late 20's or early 30's – and might well have been taken by my grandfather.

The post office was also in the station house at first, I'm not sure for how long. Anyway this photo seems to be of the postmen and postcoach drivers delivering the post around the village and surrounding countryside.

My great-grandfather Samuel retired from farming in 1903, and his oldest son Carl took over the task of driving the post as well as the running of the farm. (I know this from an article that my father's cousin once wrote for the local history society's annual magazine.) Carl died in 1928. His younger brother Gustaf ran the farm at the end until it was sold in 1930; if he also took over driving the post I’m not sure. I think that it might possibly be him on the carriage to the right in this photo (not wearing uniform).

Either way, the photo shows a time when postal service was taken seriously!

Linking to Sepia Saturday 182

De två vykorten med postdiligensen gavs ut av Posten 1969, men föreställer en postdiligens från 1800-talet, sedan 1900-talets början i Postmuseets ägo. Diligensen användes för befordran av både post och passagerare.

Jag hittade vykorten när jag gick igenom min pappas skrivbord. Förutom att han samlade frimärken, så kan de här korten kanske ha varit av speciellt intresse för honom med tanke på att hans morfar Samuel på 1890-talet brukade köra posttransport mellan järnvägsstationen och lanthandeln i Nitta. Enligt familjehistorierna var det där som han, som änkling i dryga 60-årsåldern (och far till nio barn, av vilka två dött i barnaåren) träffade sin andra hustru, Selma – då ung soldatänka med en liten dotter. (Tillsammans fick de ytterligare två barn, min farmor Sally och hennes bror Nils.)

Det svart-vita fotografiet fann jag bland foton efterlämnade från min farfar. Han var journalist och fotograf med hembygdsintresse, och det är inte givet att alla foton har direkt anknytning till vår egen släkt eller nära vänner. En del gruppbilder och okända porträtt har därför lämnats vidare till hembygdsföreningen. Den här bilden fanns två kopior av och jag behöll en. Byggnaden är stationshuset i Fristad, byggt 1900. Det innehöll till en början även postkontoret (hur länge vet jag inte). Av kläder mm att döma gissar jag att det här kortet snarare är från sent 1920-tal eller tidigt 30-tal. Det kan mycket väl ha varit min farfar som var fotografen.

Samuel överlät 1903 Storegården till sin äldste son Carl, som också tog över postkörningarna. Carl dog 1928. Jag tror han var sjuklig ett tag innan dess. Fram till att gården såldes 1930 var det brodern Gustaf som tog över där. Jag vet inte om han även tog över postkörningarna. Om han gjorde det, så skulle det kunna vara han på vagnen till höger i bild (i vanliga kläder, inte postuniform). Det känns som om det är något välbekant över silhuetten… Men säker är jag inte.

Hur som helst är det ett intressant foto som förtjänar sin plats i den här bloggen (som ju till stor del bygger på vykort som skickades med post i 1900-talets början).


G.017.3 Skånsk Bondgård (Scanian Farmhouse) ~1902


No 148. Skånsk Bondgård. [Farm house in Skåne/Scania]
Imp. F.W.H. & Co.


Postmark: Sörby [June 1902 (?) Cf/jmf G.008.3]
To: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Storegården, Fristad
From: Ester

Tack för vykortet. Är nu i Grolanda och trifs ganska bra,
fastän tiden är ju dubbelt längre än på Obg [Odensberg?]
Kära hälsningar till Eder alla, Ester.
Avs [sänt från?] Simonstorp, Sörby

Det slår mig när jag uttyder namet “Grolanda” att jag sett det omnämnt förut. Sökning leder till vykortet G.008.3, skrivet vid midsommartid 1902 av A-A, som har hälsningar till Gustaf från Grolanda. Det stämmer ju bra om Ester vistades i Grolanda den sommaren. Esters anmärking om “tiden” tyder väl på att hon arbetade där.

Via sökning på Google Maps får jag fram att Grolanda ligger sydväst om Falköping och söder om Floby:


Enligt uppgift från min släkting Bengt W (mail 22.04.2013) arbetade Ester som “hushållerska först på Vartofta egendom so Falköping och sedan på Adelsnäs trädgårdsskola vid Åtvidaberg. Hon drev sedan under många år blomsterhandel i Mullsjö. Hon trappade ner med en konfektyrbutik.” (jmf 2013-03-01: Behind the Counter) Jag antar att hon var i Grolanda före Vartofta. (Sommaren 1902 var hon 26 år gammal.)

Jag börjar se att 1902/03 var en förändringens tid för hela familjen: I Odensberg övergav Oscar lantbruket för att bli lanthandelsföreståndare. Ester flyttade till Grolanda och därifrån sedan vidare. Gustaf och Gerda utvandrade till Amerika. På Storegården föddes i augusti 1902 Samuels och Selmas andra barn, min farmor Sallys lillebror Nils (yngst i syskonskaran). Året efter, 1903, överlät Samuel Storegården på äldste sonen Carl och drog sig tillbaka på “undantag”.

Det är några vykort till kvar från “före utvandringen”; sedan tror jag att jag ska försöka göra en sammanfattning innan jag fortsätter med korten från Gustafs och Gerdas Amerika-år.

In English

Thanks for the postcard. I’m now at Grolanda. I quite like it here, although the hours are twice as long as they were at Odensberg. Lots of love to you all, Ester.
[Sent from] Simonstorp, Sörby

With help of a previous card from June 1902 (G.008.3) this one can be be dated to around the same time. From a relative I know that Ester used to work as housekeeper at a big estate (and later in life as a florist and shopkeeper); I’m guessing her work at Grolanda was before her housekeeper job on the big estate, perhaps on a smaller farm.

The old postcards so far bear witness to 1902/03 being a time of signifcant changes in the lives of all the Ekman siblings. Oscar gave up farming to become a shopkeeper, Ester moved away to work at some other farm or estate, Gustaf and Gerda emigrated to America. Back home at the family farm, their father and his second wife had another baby in August 1902 (my grandmother’s younger brother), and in 1903 Samuel (at the age of 68) retired and let the oldest son Carl take over the running of the farm.

There are a few more postcards from “before the emigration”; after those I’ll do a summary post before I start on the cards from Gustaf’s and Gerda’s years in America.


G.017.2 Högklint, Gotland (~1902)


No 140. Högklint.
Imp. F.W.H. & Co.


To: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Storegården, Fristad.
Date: sent around 6 June, probably 1902.
From: Maria B—n

De hjärtligaste hälsningar på Gustafs-dagen från Maria B—n. (Är nu hemma i G—m.)

Gustaf hade namnsdag den 6 juni på den tiden likaväl som nu.

Maria B—n är okänd för mig, jag vet inte heller vad ortsnamnsförkortningen G—m kan tänkas stå för. Det som ligger närmast till hands är kanske Gudhem i Falköpingstrakten (?)


In English

This card was sent as a name-day greeting – see Celebrations. Gustaf is celebrated on 6th June.

Högklint is a high cliff on Gotland, Sweden’s largest island.

Image from www.gotland.net


G.017.1 Mösseberg, Midsommar


Mösseberg, Ankdammen. 52737
Imp. G.W. Lundins Bokhandel (Hjalmar Lundin) Falköping



Date: Unknown, possibly 23.6.1902 (Midsummer Eve)
Sent from: Mösseberg, Falköping (spa resort)
To: Herr Gustaf Ekman, Storegården, Fristad
From: Gerda

Jag är nu på Mösseberg och har mycke roligt. Här skulle du varit med. Jag kommer nog hem på tisdag e.m. på halv 7 tåget tänker jag, eljest på sista tåget, möt mig då.

Hälsningar från Gerda

Hälsningar från Anna E—? o E—r o Edith.

Tack för brefvet, det kom oförväntat.


Mösseberg, Kurort nära Falköping, grundad 1864.
Jmf mina kommentarer till vykort G.003.1 - Kanske hade Mösseberg trots allt redan vid sekelskiftet börjat bli mer av semesterort än kurort för lungsjuka?

Av poststämpeln syns vaga spår av att datumet kan ha varit 23 men inte vilken månad eller år. Troligen 1902 eftersom det sitter sorterat så i albumet. Midsommarafton firades på den tiden den 23 juni oavsett veckodag, och inföll 1901 på en söndag och 1902 på en måndag. Gerda skriver att hon tänker resa hem (till Fristad) tisdag em/kväll. Kanske var hon på Mösseberg för midsommarfirande? (Det som väcker tanken är midsommarstången på bilden…) E—r kan stå för Ester (Gerdas ogifta syster) och Edith deras syster Emmas äldsta dotter.

In English

Postcard sent to Gustaf from Gerda from Mösseberg, a spa resort near Falköping. In the picture you see a Swedish midsommarstång = midsummer pole (similar to maypole), reflected in the duck-pond in the park. There is not enough of the postmark to see the whole date but it could have been 23.6.1902, i.e. Midsummer Eve, which that year fell on a Monday. Gerda writes that she expects to go home on the train on Tuesday afternoon or evening, and wants her brother to meet her. She includes greetings from Anna (unknown to me), E—r (probably her sister) and Edith (probably her oldest niece, daughter to Emma). She also thanks her brother for an unexpected letter.




G.016.3 Borgholms Slottsruin/ Borgholm Castle


Oskrivet och odaterat vykort, troligen ca 1902.
Förlag: Hjalmar Appeltoffts Bokhandel.


Enligt en uppgift jag fann vid sökning på internet grundades Hjalmar Appeltoffts Bokhandel år 1885 i Kalmar.

In English

Unwritten and undated postcard, probably ~ 1902.
Published by Hjalmar Appeltoffts Bokhandel (bookshop), Kalmar (founded in 1885).

Borgholm is the main city of Öland [island off the east coast of Sweden], but one of the smallest cities in Sweden. The city received its charter in 1816 and emerged as a spa-town in the shadow of the ruins of the once mighty Borgholm Castle, which burned down in 1806.

File:Borgholm .JPG

Borgholm Castle, 2006 (image from Wikimedia Commons)


G.016.2 Brahehus + Diversehandel, Gränna


Brahehus, Grenna [Gränna]  (oskrivet vykort/unwritten card)

Förlag: Gottfrid Gustafsson, Grenna
Import: Gust. Lundgren & C:o, Norrköping
100 P (?)
Okänt tryckår, men troligen från ca 1902

Brahehus är ruinen uppe på kullen i bakgrunden.
I förgrunden ser vi (enligt skylten ovanför dörren)

Speceri och

Antagligen är det väl Gottfrid Gustafsson själv som står vid staketet t.v. (?)

Den största skylten på väggen under fönstret är reklam för
Mazettis Choklad & Cacao


Mazetti chokladfabrik startades 1888 av Emil Mazetti Nissen och firman hette ursprungligen Malmö Choklad och konfektfabriks AB. Firmamärket var från början en dalkulla med en stor chokladbit. På 1890-talet bytte man namn till Mazetti. 


Jag hittade denna bild (via Google Image Search) på Brobygubbens Bildblogg, 24 september 2006


In English


Brahehus, Gränna, Sweden, 2010 (Wikimedia Commons)

Brahehus Castle was built for Count Per Brahe the Younger in the 1640s. The ruins are situated at Gränna in Jönköping County in the province of Småland, Sweden. From the ruins you have a view of lake Vättern and the island of Visingsö.

Brahehus is the ruin on top of the hill in the background in the old postcard. The building in front is a country store owned by Gottfrid Gustafsson. (My guess is that Gottfrid is the man standing by the fence to the left.) There is no year printed on this unwritten card but it’s probably from around 1902 (as it has been placed together with other cards from that period in the album).

On the wall by the window there are some advertising signs. The biggest of these is for Mazetti Chocolates and Cocoa. The Mazetti chocolate factory in Malmö, Sweden, was founded in 1888 by Emil Mazetti Nissen. There is still a chocolate factory in the original premises, but now under a different name.