Frances Rossi 2015-11-14

Can we find my great-grandfather’s parents’ names or his place of origin in Sweden? When he came to America in the 1800’s, he apparently changed his name. The research tools used are the U.S. Federal Census 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940;,; Emihamn; Arkiv Digital; and Emibas.


This is the research assistance request from Frances Rossi:

I am researching Swen (Swenson) Vadeen (Wadeen), who came over in the 1880s to work at the smelter. Have not been able to locate records that indicate his parents’ names or place of origin. He was my great-grandfather.

According to the 1920 Census, his birth year is about 1864, in Sweden. We don’t know where.

He immigrated in 1883. We think he married here in Denver. He lived at 5117 Clarkson St., married Julia Carlson. Died Oct. 25, 1941. He was hospitalized at one point for “lunacy.”


And here is how I responded Oct 30, 2015:

Hi Frances,

This case has turned out to be very complicated. You may have seen that there are multiple public member trees on containing Swan and Julia. His birth year varies from 1861 to 1864 depending on which record you look at. You had a surname “Swenson” within parenthesis. From where have you received that information? I have not been able to find their marriage record and not the naturalization records either. A problem is that we do not know what name he used in the beginning of his American stay.

There is no such surname as Vadeen or Wadeen in Sweden. But there are surnames like Wedin, Vedin, Vidén, Widén, Weden. Just because a Census record has stated that he immigrated 1883 that does not have to be the truth. They always estimated the immigration year based on how many years they had been in U.S. And depending on the birth date compared with the date at which the Census record was taken there may be a 1 year variance. Same thing is true for the birth year and marriage year. It is estimated based on how old the person was at the time of the Census and how many years they have been married. So, given that we do not know for sure the name, the birth year, the immigration year and the marriage year there are many, many combinations that has to be researched. There could easily be a hundred combinations. And for each one we can find multiple “potential hits” and when you want to trace each one of those “potential hits” we may have to trace through multiple records. The total could be more than one thousand”.

Therefore, any extra information you may have could eliminate some of those combinations.

The most urgent records to find would be the marriage record and the naturalization records since we could expect to find the birth dates there.



First of all, there is no such surname in Sweden as Wadeen or Vadeen and he cannot be found in Emibas or Emiweb or Emihamn under that name. And since we do not know his birth date we cannot search for a “nameless” emigrant. So, we need to figure out what name Swan used before he was naturalized and when he was born.

There are a number of Public Family Trees containing the Swan Vadeen family on (Encl 1). One of them is the “George Family tree” (Encl 2). All the owners of Public Family trees on having Swan Wadeen in their trees have found the correct family. All their children – and they are many – are there and they all refer to Federal Census records covering 1900, 1920 and 1930. However, the information on birth year, immigration year and naturalization year varies from record to record. Therefore, I think it is necessary to analyze these differences and try to understand what they mean. So here is what we can learn from the Census records:

The 1900 Census tells us that Swan Vadeen was born July, 1862 and that he was 38 years old (37 within a parethesis) while Julia was born February, 1865 and that she was 35 years old (34 within a parenthesis). They had been married for 13 years. Both had been in USA for 15 years and therefore they had immigrated in 1885 if they immigrated before June 7. This Census is dated June 7, 1900. So at this date Swan would have been 37 rather than 38 if he was born in July, 1862. Maybe that is why his age is 37 within the parenthesis?). Julia was born in February 1865 and therefore she should be 35 years old at the time of the Census. So why was her age 34 in the parenthesis? Their marriage year should be 1887 if earlier than June 7. (Encl 3).

I could not find them in the 1910 Census. But here is what we learn from the 1920 Census. Swan is 56 years old, has immigrated in 1883 and was naturalized in 1890. Julia is 54 years old, has immigrated in 1884 and was naturalized in 1890. Julia´s mother, Sophia Carlson, 84 years old, is living with them. She immigrated in 1893 and is not naturalized. This Census is dated January 15-16, 1920. So based on this Census Swan should have been born in 1864 if he was born before Jan 15 or 1863 if he was born after Jan 16. And Julia should have been born in 1866 if before Jan 15 or 1865 if later than Jan 16. Sophia should have been born in 1836 if before Jan 15, otherwise 1835 (Encl 4-5).

The 1930 Census is dated April 21. Now Swan´s name is Louis Vadun. He is 69 years old and therefore he should have been born in 1861 if before April 21, otherwise in 1860. Julia is 65 and therefore she should have been born in 1865 if before April 21, otherwise 1864. Swan (Louis) has immigrated in 1883 which is consistent with the Census 1920. Julia´s mother, Sophia, is 93 years old which means that she was born in 1837 if before April 21, otherwise 1836. Swan was 26 when he married and Julia was 22. This means that Swan was born 1861 if before the marriage date, otherwise 1860. And Julia should have been born in 1865 if before the marriage date, otherwise 1864 (Encl 6).

In the 1940 Census, dated April 15, Sven Vadeen is 78 indicating that he was born in 1862 if before April 15, otherwise 1861. Julia is 75 indicating that she was born in 1865 if before April 15, otherwise 1864. This is consistent with the 1920 Census for Julia but one year offset for Sven (Encl 7).

In the Find A Grave Index Swan Vadeen is said to have been buried on Oct 25, 1941. There is an inscription: “Vadeen, Swan 80 FW 25 Oct 1941”. This could indicate that he was 80 years old at the time of his death. If he died in October, 1941 he then should have been born before October 1861. There is no information on his date of birth and no information on where he is buried, except perhaps Fairmont Cemetary (Encl 8).

We find Julia in the Find A Grave Index as well. She was born 1864 and she died 1953. She is buried at Fairmont Cemetary, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA. Comparing with the 1930 Census this means she was born after April 21, 1864 and also later than the marriage date (Encl 9). Julia´s mother, Sophia Carlson, is in the same grave. She was born 1836 and died 1934. This confirms that Sophia should have been born before Jan 15, 1836 (Encl 10-11).

Going back to Encl 8 we can see a note: “This information is being entered from a transcription of the sexton´s records 1891-1953. The date entered is the date of burial”. So, I managed to find those records at Denver Library and here we find out that the number 80 actually shows Swan´s age at the time of death. But we also find Julia here. She is 88 when she dies. She has a middle initial “I” and she is buried 1953-03-24 so she should have died during March, 1953. As you can see Swan is wrongly defined as a female (Encl 12).

If we combine her birth year on the tomb stone (1864) with her age and burial date we can draw the conclusion that she was born later than March, 1864.

We also find Julia´s mother, Sophia. She is buried 1931-06-02 at the age of 59! This a typo of course. She was born 1836 and therefore she was 95 at death, so the digits was just reversed. The burial date shows us that her birth date was before June 1836. No, this Sophia is buried 1931, not 1934, so she is not “our” Sophia (Encl 13). The conclusion from Encl 6 was that Sophia was born later than April 21 if she was born in 1836.

Now, I managed to get to the Colorado Naturalization records and I found at least an index card for Swan Wadeen. It says that he was naturalized 1894-10-06. Nothing is stated about his birth date or Immigration year. But there is a reference to “Volume M, P-189” where this certificate may be found. I have not been able to find that yet. But now we know that he used the name Swan Wadeen in 1894 (Encl 14).

Then I tried to find Swan´s marriage record without success. So, instead, I tried to find Julia´s. I made an extremely wide search by entering just her first name, Julia, state of marriage, Colorado, and marriage year, 1886-188. And I found her! The reason it had been so difficult to find them before was that both their names were wrongly spelled. Julia´s surname was Carlston instead of Carlson and Swan´s name was Sevan Vadin! They were married 1887-06-21. No birth dates for anyone of them (Encl 15-16).

Now, the question is whether these spellings were to be found on the original or if they occurred during the transcript. The answer is that they appeared already on the handwritten record. Now, this looks like an index card again so it probably is not the real marriage licence. However, it indicates that the names were spelled like this also on the marriage licence. If so, it indicates that Swan and Julia did not hand over any written documentation to get married but rather orally told their names. If you pronounce “Sven” very slowly it could be interpreted as “Sevan”. So maybe we have learned that Swan spoke very slowly? (wink) (Encl 17).

Before trying to find Swan, Julia and Sophia in Sweden let´s see if we can find more family members at Findagrave. We find Horace R Vadeen b. 1906-09-02 d. 1989-09-13 and buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery. He belonged to US Army Air Corps during World War II (Encl 18).

And then we find Louis Walter Vadeen b. 1898-01-28 d. 1989-08-12 (Encl 19). He belonged to US Navy during World War I and was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery (Encl 20).

Finally we find the wife of Horace, Hulda H Vadeen b. 1904-04-10 d. 1988-11-13 and buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery (Encl 21-22).

Now we want to find Swan, Julia and Sophia in Swedish records. Let´s start with Julia.

We know that she emigrated in 1884 and that she was born later than June 21, 1864. And that her surname was Carlson or Karlsson or Karlsdotter. Only one record meets these requirements: Julia Sofia Karlsdotter b. 1864-12-25 in Högsrum, Kalmar län. She leaves Tryggestad Nr 4, Räpplinge, Kalmar län 1884-06-17 to emigrate to America. We will find her on p 180 in the HER (Encl 23).

She leaves the port of Kalmar 1884-06-25. She travels alone and her final destination is Junction City (Encl 24). This is promising but to be sure we have found the right Julia we need to find out if she has a mother with the name Sophia or Sofia. So we go to the birth records for Högsrum. And her mother is Lena Sophia Carlsdotter. She is 28 years old. Not only does she have the right first (or middle) name but also the correct surname. Carlsdotter is the same as Carlson. And being 28 means that she is born 1836. This shows that we have found the right Julia.

The father is Carl Jonas Danielsson. He is a farmer. They live at W Sörby, p 263 (Encl 25).

So far, so good. But did Lena Sophia emigrate? Yes, she did. She leaves home 1896-05-15 to emigrate to America. And she leaves from the same place as Julia, p 168, Lena Sofia is born 1836-07-26 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län. From Encl 6 we know that she had to be born later than April 21. And she meets that requirement (Encl 26).

Lena Sofia leaves the port of Malmö 1896-05-28. She travels alone and her final destination is New York (Encl 27).

But what about her husband, Carl Jonas Danielsson? We find the family at Tryggestad No 4, Räpplinge, Kalmar län p 168 during the period 1895-1901. Karl Jonas Danielsson is born 1830-07-07 in Älghult. In the commentary field it says: “Nobody has heard from him during 11 years. Noted 89”. Regarding Julia it says: “Moving-out certificate to America 84”. Julia is transferred to a special list 1895-11-26. Her mother, Lena Sofia Karlsdotter leaves to emigrate 1896-05-15. Karl Jonas Danielsson is transferred to a special list 1896-11-24 (Encl 28).

The special list is “Särskild förteckning” and shows up in the preceeding volume (1884-1895) (Encl 29). In the commentary field we can read about Karl Jonas Danielsson: “Has not been heard from during 11 years (noted 89). He is supposed to have gone to Germany from here” (Encl 30).

We find the family at the same place during the preceding period (1884-1895). Julia has an older brother, Karl Wilhelm b. 1861-11-10 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län. He moves to Johannes parish in Stockholm 1885-10-28. As we already know Julia has left for America 1884-06-17 (Encl 31-33).

From Encl 25 we know that we can find Julia and her parents on p 263 in the HER for Högsrum 1861-1871. And we do. And here we find one more brother of Julia´s, Frans Ludvig b. 1859-04-07 in Kråksmåla. Carl Jonas ans Lena Sophia married 1854-12-22. The family has moved in from Kråksmåla 1863-06-25 and they move out to Borgeby p 31 in 1866-07-03 (Encl 34).

Entering Carl Jonas Danielsson into Emibas shows that he emigrated to USA already 1853 from Kroxhult in Älghult, Kronobergs län (Encl 35). We find him on page 318 in the HER for Älghult where he works as a farmhand. Here we can see that he has moved in from p 308 in 1847. Then he has moved to Kråksmåla in 1849. He comes back from p 308 again in 1852. And then he moves to America in 1853-05-28 (Encl 36).

In 1863 he and his family moves to Högsrum from Kråksmåla (Encl 34). In the MOR for Kråksmåla we can see that they move from a place called Askaremåla (Encl 37). We find Askaremåla on the first page of the HER for Kråksmåla (Encl 38). And also during the period 1857-1862. This is the home of Lena Sophia and her parents and siblings are on the same page (Encl 39). The same is true during the earlier period (1843-1857). We now have a rather complete picture of the families of Carl Jonas Danielsson and his family as also of Lena Sophia´s parents and siblings (Encl 40-41):

Carl Jonas Danielsson b. 1830-07-07 in Älghult, Kronobergs län m. 1854-12-22
Lena Sofia Karlsdotter b. 1836-07-26 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län m. 1854-12-22
Gustaf Adolf b. 1855-01-04 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län d. 1855-01-04
Frans Wilhelm b. 1857-02-13 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län d. 1857-03-24
Frans Ludvig b. 1859-04-07 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
Carl Wilhelm b. 1861-11-10 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
Julia Sophia b. 1864-12-25 in Högsrum, Kalmar län
Karl Magnusson b. 1793-02-14 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
Lovisa Sjölander b. 1806 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
Ulrika b. 1825-12-15 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
 Karl b. 1829-03-05 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
 Christina b. 1833-05-01 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
 Lena Sofia b. 1836-07-26 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
 Anna Lisa b. 1839-03-14 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län
 Cajsa Greta b. 1842-04-26 in Kråksmåla, Kalmar län

Also, Karl Magnusson´s father is there:

Magnus Hemmingsson b. 1757-05-27 d. 1842

And Lovisa Sjölander´s mother is there:

Sara Lisa Sjölander b. 1771-09-14 d. 1851-11-18

Going back to the fact that nobody had heard from Carl Jonas Danielsson for 11 years around 1890 we have to try to find him. We find a Carl J Danielson in Emihamn. He is leaving the port of Göteborg 1885-03-27 to go to America. He is living in Oskarshamns parish in Kalmar län. He travels alone and his final destination is Lindsborg. But is this the man we are looking for? His age is 55 but 1885-03-27 “our” Carl Jonas would have been only 54 years old (Encl 42).

But what happened to Julia´s siblings, Frans Ludvig and Carl Wilhelm? There is a Frans L Carlsson leaving Malmö in 1888 with destination Chicago (Encl 43). But this is not “our” Frans Ludvig.Frans Ludvig. He is born 1860-06-02 (Encl 44-45). I have not been able to find Frans Ludvig anywhere after 1866. Not in the emigration databases, not in the Censuses and not in the Swedish death index 1901-2013.

Carl Wilhelm moved to Stockholm and started working as a Mason. He marries Amalia Sofia Holmberg b. 1868-10-05. 1898 they have three children. They live at Vanadisvägen 17, Stockholm (Encl 46).

1909 they have four more children. 1924 Karl Vilhelm and Amalia Sofia re divorced. Karl lives at Långsjö 2 in Brännkyrka (Encl 47).

Now, what remains is to find Swan Vadeen or Sven Svensson Vedin. So what do we know about his birth year?

According to his burial date (1941-10-25) and his age at that time (80) he should have been born in 1861 if born before October, otherwise 1860. This is based on the assumption that he was buried reasonably soon after death. If he was cremated and buried long after death he could have been born much earlier. He was 69 years old at the 1930 Census April 21, 1920. This indicates that he was born either after April 21, 1860 or before April 21, 1861. Combining these two observations indicates that he was born either after October 1860 or before April 21, 1861.

In the Census 1940 which was taken April 15, 1940 he is 78 years old. This means that if he was born before April 16 then he was born 1862. If he was born after April 16 then he was born 1861. Combining all three pieces of information we can draw the conclusion that he was born between April 16 and April 21, 1861. That is a pretty narrow range. But it deviates from what is stated in the 1900 Census (July, 1862) and the 1920 Census (when he is 56 years old and therefore should have been born in 1863 or 1864).

I regard the 1930 and 1940 Censuses more reliable than 1900 and 1920. Therefore I think he probably immigrated in 1883.
I checked, in Emibas, all Sven Svenssons born 1860-1863 and having immigrated during 1883 to see if anyone had a father with the surname Vedin or similar spelling. There were 13 different Sven Svenssons. None had a family name reminding us of any variant of Vedin.

We know that Swan used the first name “Louis” in the 1930 Census. “Louis” is French and the Swedish version would be “Ludvig”. Of the 13 Sven Svenssons only one had a middle name “Ludvig. He was born 1863-11-20 in Vänersborg and emigrated from Nor, Värmlands län 1883-06-13. Even though he had the “wrong” birth year I decided to check what happened to him. He was not the only one to emigrate in his family. His father, mother and a younger brother, Karl Albin, also emigrated (Encl 48):

Sven Nilsson b. 1835-04-04 in Wä, Kristianstad län To USA 1883-06-13
Elisabet Bryggman b. 1836-09-20 in Naglum, Älvsborgs län To USA 1883-06-13
Axel Kulin b. 1860-04-13 in Vänersborg To Sthlm 1883-01-02
Sven Ludvig b. 1863-11-20 in Vänersborg To USA 1883-06-13
Karl Albin b. 1871-08-07 in Karlstad To USA 1883-06-13

This information is not entirely correct. Checking with Emihamn we find that Sven Nilsson and his son, Sven Ludvig, leaves the port of Göteborg already 1882-08-11 to emigrate to USA. Their final destination is Chicago (Encl 49-50).

The mother, Elisabeth, and the youngest son, Karl Albin leaves Göteborg 1883-06-29 with the same final destination, Chicago (Encl 51-52).

I have not been able to find them in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census (and the 1890 Census was destroyed by fire as we all know) but I found them April 16th in the 1910 Census in Chicago City, Cook County, IL. The surname has now changed to Nelson. Karl Albin is Charles A and he is 38 years old and married with children. Sven Ludvig is not there (Encl 53-55).

Charles Albin Nelson dies 1941-07-08 in Kenedy, Karnes, Texas, about the same time Swan Vadeen dies (Encl 56).

Could Sven Ludvig Svensson be identical to Swan (Svensson) Vadeen? Theoretically he could. He could have spent a year in Chicago with his family 1882-1883 before moving to Colorado in 1883 and then meeting Julia sometime between 1884 and 1887. But it will be difficult to prove.

Another research path would be to contact the Colorado archives to try to get the real Marriage certificate and the Naturalization record for Swan. What we have seen so far is only the index cards. The original documents may show his correct birth date.
But now I am running out of time.

Kjell S Andersson 2015-11-13
1 All Public Member Trees result for Swan Vadeen
2 George Family Tree: Swan (Louis) Vadeen
3 1900 US Federal Census
4 1920 US Federal Census
5 D:o. Enlarged
6 1930 U.S. Federal Census
7 1940 U.S. Federal Census
8 Swan Vadeen
9 Julia Vadeen
10 Sophia Carlson
11 D:o. Enlarged
12 Fairmount Sexton Records Index 1891-1953. Julia and Swan Vadeen
13 D:o. Sophia H Carlson
14 Colorado Naturalization Records. Naturalization Cards 1880-1906. Swan Wadeen
15 Colorado marriage records 1886-1888. Julia Carlston and Sevan Wadin
16 D:o. Details
17 D:o. Index card
18 Horace R Vadeen
19 U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index 1936-2007. Louis Walter Vadeen
20 Louis W Vadeen
21 Hulda H Vadeen
22 U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Hulda H Vadeen
23 Emibas Räpplinge H 1884 006. Julia Sofia Karlsdotter Danielsson
24 Emihamn 3805a:7:7944
25 BR Högsrum C:6 (1861-1895) Image 25
26 Emibas Räpplinge H 1896 013. Lena Sofia Karlsdotter Danielsson
27 Emihamn 1896:1268:7348. Lena S Karlsdotter
28 HER Räpplinge AI:12 (1895-1901) Image 174 / page 168
29 HER Räpplinge AI:11 (1884-1895) Image 248 / page 233
30 D:o. Enlarged
31 HER Räpplinge AI:11 (1884-1895) Image 195 / page 180
32 D:o. Left hand side enlarged
33 D:o. Right hand side enlarged
34 HER Högsrum AI:6 (1861-1871) Image 270 / page 263
35 Emibas Älghult G 1853 015
36 HER Älghult AI:11 (1846-1853) Image 332 / page 318
37 MOR Kråksmåla BI:1 (1862-1894) Image 10 / page 13
38 HER Kråksmåla AI:10 (1862-1870) Image 19 / page 1
39 HER Kråksmåla AI:8 (1857-1862) Image 9 / page 1
40 HER Kråksmåla AI:7 (1843-1857) Image 9 / page 1. Upper part of page
41 D:o. Lower part of page
42 Emihamn 26:213:195. Carl J Danielson
43 Emihamn 1888:3530:6294. Frans L Carlsson
44 MOR Kristvalla BI:2 (1861-1895) Image 74 / page 141
45 HER Kristvalla AI:10 (1885-1894) Image 157 / page 303
46 Rotemannen 2. Rote 6, häfte 6094, sid 18, rad 20. Karl Wilhelm Karlsson
47 Rotemannen 2. Rote 34, häfte 26491, sida 1, rad 1. Karl Wilhelm Karlsson
48 HER Nor AI:19 (1881-1885) Image 379 / page 370
49 Emihamn 21:207:4476. Sven Nilsson
50 Emihamn 21:207:4476. Sven Ludvig Svensson
51 Emihamn 22:868:5021. Elisabeth Nilson
52 Emihamn 22:868:5021. Karl Albin
53 U.S. Federal Census 1910. Chicago City, Cool County, IL
54 D:o. Further down on page
55 Elizabeth Nelson in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census
56 Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976