The Great Chicago Fire and the demand for builders and construction workers attracted many Swedes from 1871 until 1924 when US curtailed the welcome. Chicago became the home of our Swedish family roots in America.
Swedish life for our family began in early 1900 when Albert Källgren emigrated to Chicago from Sollefteå Sweden seeking prosperity and fortune. This blog primarily focuses on the life of my Grandmother Maja Källgren Wittenstrom.
Changing his Swedish name from Källgren to Charlstrom happened during Albert’s application interview for an American passport so he could travel back home to Sweden as a naturalized citizen.
Albert sent a provocative note to his brother August in Sollefteå Sweden inviting him and his family to join him in Chicago. Twenty five year old Maja decides to take up her Uncle Albert’s invitation and challenge.
Maja’s father died of Pancreatic Cancer in 1921. Perhaps Maja was seeking a relief from her grief? Perhaps her father’s estate distribution may have made the voyage affordable? In 1922 Maja left Sweden to see what the Roaring Twenties in America was all about.
Genealogy and family history are woven together in story form in my book: My Maja A Grandson’s Tribute.
This blog entry reflects Maja’s storytelling, documents, images and personal recollections of the author related to Chicago.
This blog will shares events thru the beginning of the Great Depression.
In 1922, Grandma Maja finds Carl Oscar Wittenstrom while attending church in Chicago. After a brief romance they are married and start a family.
Carl Oscar Wittenstrom was 100% Swede relocating to Chicago seeking to make his fortune coming from Cadillac Michigan.
Coming from a farm and lumbering community, Carl Oscar tried his hand opening an auto repair shop. An explosion of automobile sales created a demand for mechanics.
Maja and Carl Oscar buy house in a Swedish neighborhood/community known as South Shore.
Carl Oscar dies suddenly of a heart attack in 1932. Maja and children travel to Sweden to grieve and decide how to survive what has become America’s Great Depression.
Maja and children return to Chicago from Sweden to face the Great Depression.
Maja goes to work as a night nurse as breadwinner. She converts their bedrooms on the second floor for roomers/boarding house
Take a visual image tour as I share photos that represent Swedish life in the Chicago community for Maja and children, and later grandchildren.