Nellie Lindstrum Nilson

Birth: 1845, Sweden
Death: Oct. 26, 1904
Cook County
Illinois, USA

name :Nellie Nilson
event date:1880
event place:Geneva, Kane, Illinois, United States
marital status :Widowed
occupation :Keeping House
race or color (original) :
ethnicity (standardized) :American
relationship to head :Self
birthplace :Sweden
birthdate :1845
spouse’s name :
spouse’s birthplace :
father’s name :
father’s birthplace :Sweden
mother’s name :
mother’s birthplace :Sweden
page :383
page character 😀
entry number :986
nara film number :T9-0218
gs film number :1254218
digital folder number:004240495
image number:00570
selfNellie NilsonF35Sweden
daughterLena NilsonF8Sweden
sonMartin NilsonM4Illinois, United States
daughterJennie NilsonF2Illinois, United States
daughterFanny NilsonF0Illinois, United States
Citing this Record
“United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Oct 2012), Nellie Nilson, Geneva, Kane, Illinois, United States; citing sheet 383D, family 0, NARA microfilm publication T9-0218.

Name: Nelli Nilson
Titles and Terms:
Event Date: 26 Oct 1904
Event Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Gender: Female
Race (Original): W
Race: White
Age (Formatted): 55y 6m
Birth Year (Estimated): 1849
Birth Date:
Birthplace: Sweden
Marital Status:
Spouse’s Name:
Spouse’s Titles and Terms:
Father’s Name:
Father’s Titles and Terms:
Father’s Birthplace: Sweden
Mother’s Name:
Mother’s Titles and Terms:
Mother’s Birthplace: Sweden
Occupation: Housewife
Address: 8721 Mackinaw Ave.
Residence Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Cemetery: Oak Wood
Burial Place:
Burial Date: 29 Oct 1904
Funeral Home:
Informant’s Name:
Informant’s Name (Original):
GS Film number: 1239710
Digital Folder Number: 4204740
Image Number: 1100
Reference ID: cn 11971
“Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 Jan 2014), Nelli Nilson, 26 Oct 1904.

Family links: 
Lena Nilson Nelson (1870 – 1940)

Oak Woods Cemetery
Cook County
Illinois, USA 

Created by: TEXAS TUDORS
Record added: Jan 27, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 124212134

Shirley Lorraine Nelson Ogle

John Everett Ogle, Shirley Lorraine Nelson Ogle, Denver, CO, 18 Feb. 1949

John Everett Ogle and Shirley (Nelson) Ogle Wedding, Denver, CO, 18 Feb. 1949

Findagrave Memorial – more information and photos on her memorial page

Name: Shirley Lorraine Nelson Ogle 

Birth: Jul. 11, 1928
Dubuque County
Iowa, USA

Death: Jul. 3, 1982
Kansas City
Wyandotte County
Kansas, USA 

Daughter of Roy Leonard Nelson, Sr. & Gladys Serena (Linderman) Nelson of Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa.

Married John Everett Ogle on 18 February 1949 in Denver, Denver County, Colorado.

Sister of Roy Leonard “Jimmy” Jr, and Richard Edward “Dickie” Nelson.

Mother of Mark Randall Ogle, and Sandra Kay Ogle.

Died of Cancer.

Family links: 
Roy Leonard Nelson (1898 – 1963)
Gladys Serena (Linderman) Nelson (1906 – 1996)

Shirley Lorraine Nelson Ogle (1928 – 1982)
Richard Edward Nelson (1933 – 2006)


Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: Ashes scattered in the Arboretum & Botanical Garden in Overland Park, Johnson, Kansas 

Created by: TEXAS TUDORS
Record added: May 22, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27001998

Lena Nilson Nelson~Swedish Ancestors~Elgin Township, Kane County, Illinois

Texas Tudor's Memorials

Cabin in the woods, Sweden (1280×853)Hallands_lĂ€ns_vapen

Birth:Feb., 1868, Sweden
Death: after 1940 Elgin, Kane County, Illinois
Daughter of Mr. (first name unknown) & Mrs. Nellie Nilson of Sweden.
Wife of Charles F. Nelson, son of Alic & Aletta Nelson of Sweden.
Mother of Ruth, William, Harold, Roy Leonard Sr, Russell, and Helen :Lena Nilson
event date:1880
event place:Geneva, Kane, Illinois, United States
marital status :Single
occupation :At School
race or color :White
ethnicity :American
relationship to head :Daughter
birthplace :Sweden
birthdate :1872
spouse’s name :
spouse’s birthplace :
father’s name :
father’s birthplace :Sweden
mother’s name :Nellie Nilson
mother’s birthplace :Sweden
page :383
page character 😀
entry number :987
nara film number :T9-0218
gs film number :1254218
digital folder number:004240495
image number:00570
Household Gender Age Birthplace
self Nellie Nilson F 35 Sweden
daughter Lena Nilson F 8 Sweden
son Martin Nilson M 4 Illinois, United States
daughter Jennie Nilson

View original post 511 more words

Roy Leonard Nelson, Sr~Elgin, Kane County, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Birth: Nov. 26, 1898
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: May 9, 1963
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA

Grandson of Alic “Alex” and Aletta Nelson of Sweden.Son of Charles “Chas” F. Nelson and Lena (Nilson) Nelson of Sweden.Husband of Gladys Serena (Linderman) of Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa. Married on 26 November 1926 in Dubuque, Iowa.Father of Roy Leonard Jr., Richard Edward “Dickie”, and Shirley Lorraine Nelson(Ogle) of Iowa.Source: My Maternal Second Cousin, Roy Leonard “Jimmy” Nelson Jr. told me that his father was from ELGIN, ILLINOIS, and died in San Francisco, California. He told me that he was buried in a pauper’s cemetery because he had no money. Cemetery name unknown.

Family links:
Charles F Nelson (1868 – 1939)
Lena Nilson Nelson (1868 – 1936)

Gladys Serena Linderman Nelson (1906 – 1996)


 Elgin (pron.: /ˈɛldÊ’Éšn/) is a city in northern Illinois located roughly 40 mi (64 km) northwest of Chicago on the Fox River. Most of Elgin lies within Kane County, Illinois, with a portion in Cook County, Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 108,188, making it the eighth-largest city in Illinois and the 241st largest city in the United States.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832 led to the expulsion of the Native Americans who had settlements and burial mounds in the area, and set the stage for the founding of Elgin. Thousands of militiamen and soldiers of Gen. Winfield Scott‘s army marched through the Fox River valley during the war and accounts of the area’s fertile soils and flowing springs soon filtered east.

In New York, James T. Gifford and his brother Hezekiah Gifford heard tales of this area ripe for settlement, and travelled west. Looking for a site on the stagecoach route from Chicago to Galena, they eventually settled on a spot where the Fox River could be bridged. In April 1835, they established the city, naming it after the Scottish hymn “Elgin”.

In 1849, the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad reached Elgin, which later would be served by railroads running along both banks of the Fox River, linking the growing town to Chicago and other urban centers. Early Elgin achieved fame for the butter and dairy goods it sold to the city of Chicago. Gail Borden established a condensed milk factory here in 1866, and the local library is named in his honor. The dairy industry became less important with the arrival of the Elgin Watch Company. The watch factory employed three generations of Elginites from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, when it was the largest producer of fine watches in the United States (the factory ceased production in the early 1960’s and was torn down in 1965). Today, the clocks at Chicago’s Union Station still bear the Elgin name.

In 1872, Elgin attracted a major state institution, the Northern Illinois State Mental Hospital and later a Veterans Administration Hospital.

Galena's Grant Park Pedestrian Bridge
Galena’s Grant Park Pedestrian Bridge (Photo credit: OldOnliner)

Gladys Serena Linderman Nelson~Wife of Roy Leonard Nelson Sr.~Dubuque, Iowa

Gladys Serena(Linderman) Nelson daughter of Edy & Gudrun (Lund) Linderman of Dubuque, Iowa, and wife of Roy Leonard Nelson Sr, about 1940.

Arline “Babe” & Eppie Ayala, Irene Weidner, Gladys Nelson, Statue of Liberty, New York, Oct. 1952.

Gladys Serena Linderman Nelson 

Birth: Aug. 17, 1906
Winona County
Minnesota, USA

Death: Apr. 28, 1996
Harris County
Texas, USA

Daughter of Edward Francis “Edy” Linderman & Gudrun Ivarra “Gud” Lund Linderman, of Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa. Gudrun Ivara (Lund) Linderman emigrated in 1896 from Norway.
Baptized as Lutheran on November 11, 1906 in Winona, Minnesota. Gladys liked to be called Glady and preferred Serena instead of Serene.
Wife of Roy Leonard Nelson, Sr. They married in 1927 in Dubuque, Iowa.
Mother of Roy Leonard “Jimmy” Nelson Jr, Richard Edward “Dickie”, & Shirley Lorraine Nelson.
Glady & Roy Sr. were separated in Jan. 1941 in Dubuque, Iowa. Divorced on 15 Sept. 1957 in Dubuque, Iowa.
name:Roy Nelson
titles & terms:
event year:1940
event place:Ward 3, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls City, Minnehaha, South Dakota, United States
marital status:Married
race (original):White
race (standardized):White
relationship to head of household (original):Head
relationship to head of household (standardized):Head
estimated birth year:1899
residence in 1935: Pekin, Illinois
enumeration district number:50-32A
family number:11
sheet number and letter:1B
line number:61
nara publication number:T627
nara roll number:3863
digital folder number:005462085
image number:00647
Household Gender Age Birthplace
head Roy Nelson M 41 Illinois
wife Gladys Nelson F 33 Minnesota
daughter Shirley Nelson F 11 Iowa
son Roy Nelson M 8 Iowa
son Richard Nelson M 6 Illinois
Source Citation:
“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 Aug 2012), Roy Nelson, Ward 3, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls City, Minnehaha, South Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 50-32A, sheet 1B, family 11, NARA digital publication T627, roll 3863.

Glady resided with her Father from 1941 after her Mother died, and cared for him up until his death in 1968, at 705 W. Third Street, Dubuque, Iowa.
Great Aunt “Glady” worked as a Proofreader for the Dubuque newspaper, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald until she retired.
Then she sold the Linderman homestead at 705 W. Third Street, Dubuque, Iowa, and moved to Huntington Beach, California to be near her sister, Evelyn “Eppie” (Linderman) Ayala, and brother-in-law, Arturo “Art” Ayala.
Glady always remembered the nieces and nephews, and Great nieces and nephews on our birthdays. We could always count on getting a birthday card from her with some money in it. She couldn’t afford much, but we thought that a dime or a quarter was a lot of money, because back then in the 1960’s it was. It made me feel special–knowing that someone that I hardly knew–way off in Iowa, was thinking of me.
Great Aunt Glady resided with her son Roy “Jimmy” Leonard Nelson Jr., at 4045 Linkwood Drive, Houston, Harris County, Texas for the last few years of her life. She suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cremated in Texas and her son brought her ashes back to Iowa and spread around Mother, Gudrun (Lund) Linderman’s gravesite, in Linwood Cemetery, Dubuque, Iowa, because that is how she wanted it. 

Family links:
Edward Francis Linderman (1875 – 1968)
Gudrun Ivarra Lund Linderman (1881 – 1924)

Shirley Lorraine Nelson Ogle (1928 – 1982)*
Richard Edward Nelson (1933 – 2006)*

Linwood Cemetery
Dubuque County
Iowa, USA
Created by: TEXAS TUDORS
Record added: Aug 21, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21069469


 Barbara Mendelson, Irene Wiedner, Arline & Eppie Ayala, Gladys Nelson, and unknown, New York, Oct. 1952.

Alic and Aletta Nelson~Swedish Ancestors~Emigrated to Illinois in 1870

Roy Leonard Nelson Sr., 1910, Washington School, Chicago, Illinois

[above pic: Roy L. Nelson Sr., 1910, Washington Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois, son of Charles F. and Lena (Nilson) Nelson. Grandson of Alic & Aletta Nelson of Sweden.]

“The Swedish Emigration to America
During the period of 1821 until 1930 about 1.3 million Swedes emigrated;
some to Canada, Australia, New Zealand South America but the
overwhelming majority to the States. Nearly a sixth, in total over 200,000, did
return to Sweden, but more than 1 million left their country for good.
Among the factors that pushed people from Sweden: down-sizing of farm labourers (better tools, redistribution of land)

 the rapid population growth (“the vaccine, the peace, the potatoes”)

 the years of bad crops during the second half of the 19th century

discontent with society (military conscript duty, religious intolerance)

Among the factors creating a pull to America:

 the supply of fertile land and of work opportunities

 the immigration propaganda

 the emigrants’ letters home to Sweden”

Lena Nilson Nelson  

Birth: Feb., 1868, Sweden

Death: 1936
Kane County
Illinois, USA
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Nellie Nilson of Sweden.
Wife of Charles F. Nelson.Son of Alic & Aletta Nelson of Sweden.
Mother of Ruth, William, Harold,Roy Leonard Sr,Russell, Edwin, Helen, and Gurney :Lena Nilson

event date:1880
event place:Geneva, Kane, Illinois, United States
marital status :Single
occupation :At School
race or color (original) :
ethnicity (standardized) :American
relationship to head : Daughter
birthplace :Sweden
birthdate :1872
spouse’s name :
spouse’s birthplace :
father’s name :
father’s birthplace :Sweden
mother’s name :Nellie Nilson
mother’s birthplace :Sweden
page :383
page character :
entry number :987
nara film number :T9-0218
gs film number :1254218

digital folder number:004240495
image number:00570
Household Gender Age Birthplace
self Nellie Nilson F 35 Sweden
daughter Lena Nilson F 8 Sweden
son Martin Nilson M 4 Illinois, United States
daughter Jennie Nilson F 2 Illinois, United States
daughter Fanny Nilson F 0 Illinois, United States
Citing this Record
United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Oct 2012), Lena Nilson in household of Nellie Nilson, Geneva, Kane, Illinois, United States; citing sheet 383D, family 1, NARA microfilm publication T9-0218.

name:Lena Nelson
titles & terms:
event date:1900
event place:ED 467 Precinct 9 Chicago city Ward 15, Cook, Illinois, United States
birth date:Feb 1868
relationship to head of household:Servant
father’s birthplace:Norway
mother’s birthplace:Norway
race or color (standardized):White
marital status:Married
years married:4
estimated marriage year:1896
mother how many children:4
number living children:1
immigration year:1883

sheet letter:B
family number:174
reference number:57
film number:1240264
digital folder number:004113723
image number:00070
headEmily HeldF33Illinois
sonClay HeldM13Illinois
sonCharles HeldM12Illinois
sonHarold HeldM10Illinois
daughterMertle HeldF4Illinois
servantLena NelsonF32Norway
sonRoy NelsonM2Illinois
Citing this Record:
United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 08 Dec 2012), Lena Nelson in household of Emily Held, ED 467 Precinct 9 Chicago city Ward 15, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing sheet 8B, family 174, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1240264.

name:Charles Nelson
residence:Elgin Township, Kane, Illinois
estimated birth year:1868
relationship to head of household:Self
marital status:Married
father’s birthplace:
mother’s birthplace:
film number:1820375
digital folder number:4300539
image number:00574
sheet number:7
Household Gender Age Birthplace
self Charles Nelson M 52y Sweden
wife Lena Nelson F 48y Sweden
son Harold Nelson M 21y Illinois
dau Helen Nelson F 11y Illinois
Citing this Record
United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 06 Oct 2012), Charles Nelson, Elgin Township, Kane, Illinois; citing enumeration district (ED) , sheet 7B, family 183, NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1820375.

name: Lena Nelson
event: Census
event date: 1930
event place: Chicago (Districts 1251-1500), Cook, Illinois
gender: Female
age: 62
marital status: Single
race: White
birthplace: Sweden
estimated birth year: 1868
immigration year: 1880
relationship to head of household: Housekeeper
father’s birthplace: Sweden
mother’s birthplace: Sweden
enumeration district number: 1300
family number: 289
sheet number and letter: 10B
line number: 90
nara publication: T626, roll 471
film number: 2340206
digital folder number: 4584272
image number: 00669
Household Gender Age Birthplace
head Edward Kociamski M 72 Poland
sister Victoria Kociamski F 54 Illinois
housekeeper Lena Nelson F 62 Sweden

Citing this Record:
United States Census, 1930,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 Jan 2013), Lena Nelson in household of Edward Kociamski, Chicago (Districts 1251-1500), Cook, Illinois; citing enumeration district (ED) 1300, sheet 10B, family 289, NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 471.
Oak Hill Cemetery
Kane County
Illinois, USA
Created by: TEXAS TUDORS
Record added: Nov 14, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100683699

Seal of Illinois. Center image extracted from ...
Seal of Illinois. Center image extracted from Illinois flag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Swedish Christmas Smorgasbord and Traditions

christmas 2007
christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)
Swedish flag
Swedish flag (Photo credit: flavijus)
Sweden (Photo credit: loops)

Christmas treeSanta ClausSanta-Christmas-Stockings-needlepoint

Scandinavian tradition holds that in VĂ€rmland, Sweden, a white-clad maiden, wearing a crown of burning candies, brought food to the starving villagers on the shores of Lake VĂ€nern.

No one knows how long ago the tradition began, but it was so far back that the festival of Santa Lucia was marked by a notch on the primitive “primstav” (calendar stick), the precursor of the calendar. It later became customary in western Sweden to finish the threshing by Lucia Day so as to begin the cooking and baking for the long Christmas festivities. From its beginnings in VĂ€rmland, the customs in honor of Santa Lucia have spread throughout Sweden, and more recently to the rest of Scandinavia. Today, the festival is celebrated in schools, hospitals, businesses, and towns; each of which has its own Lucia Bride and festivities to mark the beginning of Christmas. Santa Lucia Day is also an international holiday, celebrated not only in Scandinavia, but also in Italy and France in the rites of the church.

The origins of this tradition are not in Scandinavia, but in Syracuse on the island of Sicily around A.D. 304. According to the Sicilian legend, Lucia’s mother, a wealthy lady, had been miraculously cured of an illness at the sepulcher of Saint Agatha in Catania. Lucia, a Christian, persuaded her mother in thankfulness to distribute her wealth to the poor. So, by candlelight, the mother and daughter went about the city secretly ministering to the poor of Syracuse.

As Lucia Day comes at the darkest time of year, the candies of the ministering Santa Lucia portend and witness to the True Light – the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the morning of the thirteenth of December, the strains of “Santa Lucia” are heard everywhere in Sweden as the white-robed maiden comes out of the night with her burning crown of candies dispelling the darkness. In honour of her martyrdom, it has long been the custom to donate money on Lucia Day to institutions working for the blind.

In traditional celebrations, Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. It is one of the few saints’ days still observed in Scandinavia. In some forms, a procession is headed by one girl wearing a crown of candles (or lights), while others in the procession hold only a single candle each.

A traditional kind of bun, Lussekatt (“St Lucia Bun”), made with saffron, is normally eaten on this day.
—Touch of Europe: St Lucia Holiday Celebrations in Scandinavia

Patroness of the blind, her name derives from the Latin lux, which means light.

Santa Lucia is also associated with the harvest and Sicilians customarily celebrate her feast day with cuccia, a hearty porridge made with wheat berries. 
In Sweden her veneration is a delightful celebration where children dress in white, bear candles and sing songs in her honour. Sweetbreads are served in remembrance of a terrible famine in which she appeared in the harbour with boatloads of food to save the starving. A near identical legend takes place in Siracusa, hinting that Norse pilgrims may have brought this legend home with them from Sicily.
—Santa Lucia of Siracusa

Swedish Smorgasbord

Swedish Christmas Smorgasbord


After nearly a month of waiting, Christmas Eve finally arrives — the height of the celebration in Sweden. Work is at an end, schoolchildren are on holiday and the Christmas preparations are complete.
A family affair

People have bought their presents and their Christmas food in crowded shops and department stores, and the home has been cleaned and decorated according to each family’s traditional habits.

Christmas is the main family event of the year, and there is always a certain amount of discussion about where to celebrate it this time round. Sweden, as we have mentioned, is a large country, and those wishing to be reunited with their families often have to travel far. Train and air tickets need be booked at least two months in advance, and motorists are advised to start their journeys in good time.

Waiting for Santa Claus can take all day — or so the children feel.

Waiting for Santa Claus can take all day — or so the children feel.
Photo: Heléne Grynfarb/

Modernisation of Christmas

Christmas in Sweden is a blend of domestic and foreign customs that have been re-interpreted, refined and commercialised on their way from agrarian society to the modern age. 

Today, most Swedes celebrate Christmas in roughly the same way, and many of the local customs and specialities have disappeared, although each family claims to celebrate it in true fashion in their own particular way.

The food you eat at Christmas may still depend on where you live in the country, or where you came from originally. But here, too, homogenisation has set in, due in no small part to the uniform offerings of the department stores and the ready availability of convenience foods. Few have time to salt their own hams or stuff their own pork sausages nowadays.

Ingmar Bergman‘s Oscar-winning film Fanny and Alexander, although set in the late 19th century, nevertheless reflects Swedish Christmas celebrations today: a bright and lively occasion, full of excess, good food and happiness, but also a time during which family secrets tend to surface.
Christmas holidays
Holiday leave over Christmas and the New Year is fairly long, usually extending a week into January. Once Christmas Eve is over, a series of enjoyable — or, in some cases, dutiful — visits to friends and relatives ensues. 

Swedes travel many a mile during the holiday period. Christmas Day with the Olssons, Boxing Day with the Perssons and a week’s skiing in the mountains with the Svenssons.

In the north of Sweden, a white Christmas is sure to be enjoyed.
In the north of Sweden, a white Christmas is sure to be enjoyed. Photo: Henrik Trygg/

Perhaps celebrating Christmas is more complicated than ever nowadays. Present-day family constellations, comprising ex-wives and ex-husbands, children from marriages old and new, newly-acquired relatives and mothers-in-law, are all hard to fit into the nuclear family celebration that, deep down, all Swedes prefer. As though they weren’t already under enough pressure to celebrate a perfect Christmas.
High expectations
As a rule, Swedes expect a great deal from their Christmases. There should be snow on the ground but blue skies and sunshine, everyone is expected to be in good health, the ham must be succulent and tasty, and presents must be numerous. Moreover, the children are expected to be happy and well-behaved and the home is expected to be warm and bright.

Everyone does their best, and the Swedes perhaps are better placed than most to celebrate Christmas. The ever-present candles and lights provide a nice contrast to the winter dark, the red wooden cottages are at their most attractive when embedded in snow, and the fir trees stand dark and sedate at the edge of the forest. Santa Claus moves about the land and the North Star pulsates up there in the night sky.

The typical Swedish red wooden cottages are at their best when embedded in snow.
The typical Swedish red wooden cottages are at their best when embedded in snow. Photo: Thomas Adolfsén/

The perfect Christmas tree?
On the day before Christmas Eve, Swedes venture forth to look for the perfect Christmas tree. This is a serious matter — the tree is the very symbol of Christmas, and it must be densely and evenly branched, and straight. If you live in a city or town, you buy the tree in the street or square.

Those who live in the country fell their Christmas trees themselves. Many Swedes believe — mistakenly — that their legal right of access to the countryside allows them to fetch a tree from the woods wherever they like, with an axe, a bucksaw or — as in western VĂ€rmland on the Norwegian border — with a shotgun. Not to be recommended.

Trees are decorated according to family tradition. Some are bedecked with flags, others with tinsel and many with coloured baubles. Electric lights are usually preferred to candles on the tree because of the risk of fire.

Homes are also decorated with wall hangings depicting brownies and winter scenes, with tablecloths in Christmas patterns, and with candlesticks, little Father Christmas figures and angels. The home is filled with the powerful scent of hyacinths.

At 3 p.m., the whole of Sweden turns on the tv to watch a cavalcade of Disney film scenes that have been shown ever since the 1960s without anyone tiring of them. Only then can the celebrations begin in earnest.

Abundance of food
Christmas presents are under the lighted tree, candles shine brightly and the smörgÄsbord has been prepared with all the classic dishes: Christmas ham, pork sausage, an egg and anchovy mixture (gubbröra), herring salad, pickled herring, home-made liver patty, wort-flavoured rye bread(vörtbröd), potatoes and a special fish dish, lutfisk. The ham is first boiled, then painted and glazed with a mixture of egg, breadcrumbs and mustard. Lutfisk is dried ling or sathe soaked in water and lye to swell before it is cooked.

Once all have eaten their fill, Santa Claus himself arrives to wish the gathering a Merry Christmas and distribute the presents.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Po Tidholm is a freelance journalist and a critic with the Stockholm daily, Dagens Nyheter. Po Tidholm wrote the main sections about how we celebrate in Sweden today.

Agneta Lilja is a lecturer in ethnology at Södertörn University College, Stockholm. Agneta Lilja wrote the sections about the history of Swedish traditions and festivities.


by Agneta Lilja, Södertörn University College

Christmas, which commemorates the birth of Christ, has long been the most important festivity of the year. In the old days, it was a feast for the whole household as there was plenty of fresh food to be had. The Christmas table was laid with ham, pickled herring, jellied pig’s feet, sausage, rice porridge and lutfisk (ling). The food was to be left on the table overnight, as it was then that the dead came to feast.

Homes were cleaned and decorated with wall hangings, and fresh straw was laid on floors. The birds were given an oatsheaf and the mythical farmyard brownie a plate of porridge. The practice of bringing a Christmas tree into the house and decorating it was imported from Germany in the 1880s. Initially, Christmas presents were given anonymously, and playfully, often in the form of a log of wood or the like wrapped up and tossed through a front door. In the 20th century, people began giving one another real presents, handed out by Santa Claus, who was modelled on St. Nicholas, the patron saint of schoolchildren.

At the early-morning church service (julotta) on Christmas Day, traces of earth could be seen in the pews where the dead had held their own service overnight. After the service, people raced to get home first. The winner would harvest his crops before anyone else that year.

On Boxing Day, you got up early to water the horses in streams running north, as Saint Stephen, the patron saint of horses, was said to have done. Another practice, which breached the no-work rule,was to muck out other people’s barns.

Twelfth Night commemorates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem. The Swedish tradition of ‘star boys’ (stjĂ€rngossar) derives from this. In former times, boys often went round the farms carrying a paper star, singing songs in return for schnapps. Today, the star boys are a part of the Lucia celebration.

Hilarymas (Knutsdagen) on 13 January marked the end of the Christmas holiday in Sweden, and was celebrated with a final medieval-style feast. People scared one another with straw figures hung from trees. In bourgeois circles, the Christmas tree was plundered of its edible decorations. Tree-plundering is still practiced in Sweden today.


English: Snow Cover Across Scandinavia. In thi...
English: Snow Cover Across Scandinavia. In this mostly cloud-free true-color scene, much of Scandinavia can be seen to be still covered by snow. From left to right across the top of this image are the countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and northwestern Russia. The Baltic Sea is located in the bottom center of this scene, with the Gulf of Bothnia to the north (in the center of this scene) and the Gulf of Finland to the northeast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Helen Louise (Meyers) Nelson, Kansas

Nelson family,

Roy Leonard Nelson Jr, Helen Louise (Meyers) Billy, and Jodi Nelson, 1960’s, Topeka, Kansas.

Shawnee County Courthouse, by Leonard & Martin
Shawnee County Courthouse, by Leonard & Martin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Helen Louise (Meyers) Nelson and Roy “Jim” Leonard Nelson Jr, Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas in 1951

Resided at 3117 Girard Street, Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas. He worked for Goodyear. She was a homemaker.

Helen was the daughter of Harold Edward Meyers and Helen A. Roman.

[Picture below left was Helen, Harold, Velva (Gray) and Helen Meyers (Nelson)]

Naomi & Harold Meyers, Velve & Helen Meyers, Kansas

Helen’s Paternal Grandparents were Cassisus “Cass” Meyers and Mary Elizabeth Fleichman.

Helen Louise Meyers was wife of Roy Leonard Nelson Jr. he was the son of Gladys (Linderman) Nelson of Dubuque, Iowa; and Roy Leonard Nelson Sr. of Illinois and Iowa. Roy and Helen Nelson were the parents of Jodi and Billy Nelson of Kansas. 

Roy, Willie, & Jodi Nelson, Jan. 1954, 1709 Cheston, Jacinto City, TX


William “Billy” Nelson [top left], Gladys, Roy, Helen, Shirley, & John Ogle, 1955, Topeka, KS. [top right] Billy Nelson [bottom left]. Billy, Roy, Jodi Nelson, Topeka, KS [bottom right]

Roy Leonard Nelson Sr., 1910, Washington School, Chicago, Illinois[picture above: Roy Leonard Nelson Sr., 1910, Washington School, Chicago, Illinois.]

He is the Grandson of Charles F. & Lena (Nilson) Nelson of Sweden and Illinois.

Great Grandson of Alic & Aletta Nelson of Sweden.