Sad story. Do you know this family?
- This may sound strange, but according to my family lore, Swedish immigrant John William ANDERSON gave or sold his daughters Lillian and Helen ANDERSON to a farm owner when they were children and then returned to Sweden. I have been told that they were treated badly and used as child laborers for years until Lillian ran away to Connecticut. I am trying to confirm or disprove this story.
Here is what I know from doing genealogy (census, vital and church records): John ANDERSON immigrated from Sweden in 1910 when he was 22. I suspect that his parents had died in Sweden. He was living in Woodland in 1910, was baptized as an adult in New Sweden in 1917, and was living in Stockholm in 1920. In 1913, when he was 25, he married 20 year old Maria (Mary) Elizabeth MAGNUSON. She had been born in New Sweden to Swedish immigrants. I know of two children. Helen was born about 1916. Lillian was born 1918 in Stockholm, ME. Their mother Mary died before 1920, perhaps birthing Lillian. In 1920, rather than living with her father, Lillian (not yet age 2) was a "boarder" in the Stockholm household of Edward G. and Christina ANDERSON, according to the census. I am unaware of any blood relationship between the families. Strangely, Helen (age 4) was also living in Stockholm, but with her father John ANDERSON and her elderly maternal grandparents, John and Christina MAGNUSON. I do not know why Lillian's father kept Helen but sent Lillian across town. John ANDERSON seems to have disappeared after 1920, so perhaps the family lore is correct that he went back to Sweden without his children. In 1930, both Lillian (age 12) and Helen (age 13), now parentless, were both "boarders" in Christina ANDERSON's household (Edward had probably died).
Lillian eventually moved to CT (alone as far as I know), got married, and raised a family. I do not know what happened to Helen.
Have you heard of these families? Can you add anything to this story? Did such things happen in New Sweden? What generally happened to orphans in this area during the depression? Who would know about such stuff? What records, if any, might have been kept? Do you think Lillian and Helen were adopted, or was this wink and a nod kinda deal? Was the payment for "bordering" his children essentially the sale of his children as per family lore? Did John ANDERSON have a record? Any info would be appreciated.
Peter from Maryland