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


The Wilander Family - Sepia Saturday 639

In last week's Sepia post I gave some examples of photos from my great-aunt Gerda's album that I've had difficulties identifying. There are a lot more of those; both in her album and in albums that belonged to my grandmother Sally. Recently, I came upon another important 'identification clue' in one of Sally's albums, though: 

'The Wilander family in Floby'

It struck me that I had seen the same photo (but anonymous) in Gerda's album:

And also a very similar one, obviously from the same occasion:

The elderly couple at the far end of the table must be Gerda's and Sally's oldest sister Emma (born 1866) and her husband Brynolf Wilander (born 1865). The younger man should then be their son Erik, born 1901 (one year younger than my grandmother Sally); and the woman at his side his wife, Vera. (I only have her name pencilled in on a family tree drawn by my father.) And in that case, I the little boy must be their son Bengt, born 1933. Leading up to the assumption that this photo is probably from the summer of 1935. The two women on the right are probably Erik's older sisters, Ella and Edit. Below, I've enlarged the faces from the first photo, as I'm hoping that might help me to identify them in other photos as well. (All the original photos are really tiny, so it's not until I get them enlarged on the computer that I usually have a fair chance to even guess...)

Emma & Brynolf

Vera & Erik

Ella & Edit 

The young woman taking Erik's place in the second photo looks like she's wearing an apron. My theory for now is that she's a maid employed by Emma & Brynolf. (In the census of 1910 they had a maid living with them who was born 1883. As this is 25 years later, probably not the same one here.)

Brynolf was a merchant, and owned a country store in a village named Floby. In my grandmother's albums there are two photos of their house there. Comparing them, I take it that the family lived in the same house as the shop. 

The Wilanders' house in Floby

"The coffee corner" at the Wilanders' house in Floby

The photos of the house/store are probably from the late1940s, as my grandparents did not have a car until after the war (and I'm pretty sure it was my grandfather who took both these photos.)  The woman is probably my grandmother Sally. The man I suppose must be Brynolf. (I don't have the year of death for neither Emma nor Brynolf, though.) 

In Gerda's album, I also found the photos below of the younger generation(s) Wilander. Whether I managed to get them in the right order, I'm not sure - Gerda obviously never bothered about that, as all of her photos seem to have been put in quite haphazardly (neither in chronological nor any other kind of 'logical' order...). (There may be even more that I have not yet identified.)

(PS. Strikes me now that it's not the same pram in the two photos. I suppose the first one may be of the mother with the first or second child rather than the third.)


I förra veckans Sepia Saturday-inlägg hade jag några exempel på foton från Gerdas album med för mig okända personer. Det finns många fler sådana, både i hennes album och i min farmor Sallys. Nyligen hittade jag ännu ett 'nyckelfoto' i ett av Sallys album – försett med anteckningen ”Wilanders i Floby”. Det slog mig att jag sett samma foto (men anonymt) i Gerdas album. Vid närmare kontroll fann jag att det där t.o.m fanns två nästan identiska foton från samma tillfälle – men inklistarade långt ifrån varandra i albumet. 

Jag utgår från att det äldre paret vid bordets bortre ände är Gerdas och Sallys äldsta syster Emma (född 1866) och hennes make Brynolf Wilander (född 1865). Den yngre mannen bör då vara deras son Erik (född 1901 – ett år yngre än Sally); och kvinnan vid hans sida, hans hustru Vera. (Jag har hennes namn bara från ett släktträd skissat av min pappa.) Den lille pojken måste väl då vara deras son Bengt (född 1933). Vilket leder till slutsatsen att fotot bör vara från sommaren 1935. Kvinnorna till höger gissar jag måste vara Eriks äldre systrar, Ella och Edit. 

Jag förstorade ansiktena från det första fotot parvis, då de möjligen kan vara till hjälp att identifiera fler foton. (Nästan alla originalbilder i albumet är väldigt små i formatet, vilket inte underlättar.)
Den unga kvinnan som bytt plats med Erik på det andra fotot ser ut att vara iklädd förkläde. Jag gissar därför att hon är anställd som hembiträde eller dylikt hos Emma och Brynolf. I folkräkningen 1910 har de en piga i hushållet som var född 1883 (Anni Teresia Fritz). Då detta foto är taget 25 år senare är det troligen inte samma person (hon på fotot ser ganska ung ut); men hade de en piga 1910 så hade de troligen också någon anställd på 30-talet.

Brynolf var 'handlande' och ägde en lanthandel i Floby. I ett av Sallys album finns två foton av Wilanders hus, ett av framsidan och ett av baksidan. Från dessa drar jag slutsatsen att de bodde i samma hus som affären. Det som visar framsidan ser ut att ha skyltfönster och en skylt över dörren, men enligt Sallys anteckning är det ”Wilanders hus i Floby”. Fotot av baksidan har anteckningen ”'Kaffehörnan' vid Wilanders i Floby”.

Jag gissar att båda dessa foton är från sent 1940-tal, eftersom mina farföräldrar inte skaffade bil förrän efter kriget (och jag är rätt säker på att det är min farfar Gustaf som tagit bilderna). Kvinnan på bilden från 'kaffehörnan' tror jag är min farmor Sally. Mannen antar jag är Brynolf. (Jag saknar dock uppgift om dödsår för både Emma och Brynolf.) 

I Gerdas album finns också ett antal foton av den yngre generationen Wilander (Erik med familj). Jag har tagit med några av de lättast igenkännbara här. Om jag lyckats få dem i rätt tidsordning är jag dock inte helt säkert på. När Gerda satte in fotona i sitt album (om det nu var hon själv som gjorde det) så tycks hon inte ha brytt sig om att försöka hålla sig till vare sig kronologisk eller annan ”ordning”. Jag har namn och födelseår för två av barnen (Bengt, 1933 och Ulla, 1939), men inte för det tredje. 


  1. Very nice buggies! I was confused about the photos at first because I was looking at the last one and didn't see a younger man. Then I scrolled back up and there he was!

  2. Kristin, yes, those two photos are deceptively alike (sorry!) I got confused myself when flickering through Gerda's album (where they are not on the same page), thinking that she had put the same photo in twice... Maybe I could have done a better job of the presentation here - but I'll leave it for now.

  3. Bravo for finding two perfect matches for our Sepia theme! Your photos are like those spot-the-difference picture puzzles. I often play a similar game trying to guess who is holding the camera. For my family photos it is usually my dad who always brought a camera or two to every event. In the background of your first set is a white tent which seems an unusual structure for a garden unless it was a catering tent put up for a large event like a wedding or birthday party.

    1. Mike, yes, I wondered about the white tent, too. Another reason to put up a garden tent in Sweden could be Midsummer celebrations, though. And once it is up, why not leave it... Swedish summers are rather unreliable! ;) As for birthdays, all I can say for sure is that it's not Emma's birthday they're celebrating - she was born in November! And the little boy in May. As for the others, I don't have their exact dates of birth.

  4. Such fun puzzles you are working on, and then posting them in two languages here! I am most thankful!

    1. Thanks Barbara. It was the "international" postcard collection that made me go for a bilingual blog in the first place - with the early postcards being from Gerda's and Gustaf's years in America... and then Gerda continuing to travel... And it has proved helpful, as along the way it has brought me response from readers both in America and in Sweden. Besides Sepia Saturday comments, also some who contacted me by email and were able to confirm or add valuable information about specific people and places. So I am most thankful, too! :-)

  5. I was confused at first too! I'm always interested in things like the embroidered tablecloth in the first photos since I love to collect vintage linens. One of the things I have done over the years to try to identify what photos go together is to look at the back - sometimes each photo has a number stamped on the back. If I'm lucky enough to find some that match, I can put them in order. There are some really nice photos here!

    1. Kathy, in Gerda's album all the photos are firmly glued to the pages - not a chance to have a peek at the back!

  6. You have inspired me to try and do a better job with my "unidentified" photos. I tried once with my late dad to see if he knew anyone. "No, we should just throw them out," he said. Needless to say, I saved them from the bin...now to do what you have expertly done and try to place them in context.

    1. Good luck with that, Molly! I'm thankful that a couple of years before my dad died I did sit down with him on one occasion and went through a (small) bunch of photos that had belonged to another of my grandmother's sisters (Hildur). Those were not in an album; but I then put them into one, with notes attached. Many of the same photos are also found in albums that belonged to my grandparents and my dad, so that has been helpful. What kept confusing me for a while, though, was that in one photo dad mixed up who was who of his mother's older brothers (in a photo from before dad was born). But I figured that out later.