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171Can anyone recall this family?

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  • Peter Blood
    Feb 28, 2006
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      Please ask an old one with a memory if they can remember this family with a
      sad history:

      Lillian ANDERSON was born 11 Feb 1918 in Stockholm to John William ANDERSON
      and Maria (Mary) Elizabeth MAGNUSON. Her older sister Helen was born in
      1916. Their father John was born in Sweden in 1888. Their mother Maria/Mary
      was born in New Sweden in 1893 to Swedish immigrants. Everything that
      Lillian's living sons know about Lillian's childhood was told to them, but I
      have confirmed some of it through census records. When Lillian was less than
      12 months old, her mother died (I do not have an exact DOD despite trying -
      it is conceivable that she died in childbirth). According to family lore,
      John gave his own daughters away to a family who put them to work on their
      farm and allegedly treated them like slaves. I was told that Lillian
      eventually ran away, but I cannot confirm.

      Here is what I know from census records:

      In 1920, Lillian ANDERSON is just shy of two years old. and is living on a
      farm in Stockholm with Edward and Christina ANDERSON, age 35 and 47,
      respectively. Despite the ANDERSON surname, IF these people are related to
      Helen and Lillian, it is not a close relation. Two year old Lillian is
      listed in the census as a "boarder." Who takes in a 2 year old border? Also
      living in the house are three of Christina's children from a previous
      marriage, ages 21, 18, and 14, and one daughter with Edward, Lorna, about 5.

      Strangely, Lillian's older sister Helen, now 3 and a half, is living in
      Stockholm with her father, John William ANDERSON, and her mother's parents,
      John and Mary MAGNUSON. In other words, after his wife Mary died, shortly
      after the birth of Lillian, John seems to be paying another family to board
      his 2 year old daughter Lillian but is raising her 3½ year old sister with
      her maternal grandparents.

      John ANDERSON disappears after 1920 giving some support to the claim that he
      went back to Sweden without his young children.

      In 1930, both Lillian ANDERSON and Helen ANDERSON are living with Christina
      ANDERSON in Stockholm. Her husband Edward ANDERSON is not listed. Perhaps he
      died. This time the census incorrectly lists Helen and Lillian as
      Christina's daughters whereas their true mother was Mary MAGNUSON. There is
      an additional contradiction within the census itself. It says Christina was
      born in Sweden but that the birthplace of the mother of her two "daughters,"
      Helen and Lillian, was Maine.

      I do not know the relationship between Christine ANDERSON and Helen and
      Lillian ANDERSON. Perhaps it was a formal adoption. perhaps it was something
      else. How would I find out?

      I have some evidence that by 1939, the sisters had left the farm and moved
      to New Britain, CT. Lillian worked there as a housekeeper, then for a
      catering company. Her sister died in New Britain of tuberculosis. Lillian
      married about 1940 but ends up raising two sons alone in CT, working very
      hard all of her life.

      Peter Blood
      Urbana, MD
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