During the first week in August, we welcomed a couple from Sweden who were in search of family members who came to Jamestown many years ago.
Many of our research requests revolve around this very subject, as most often the older generations who kept in touch passed away, leaving a void.
As we recount this fun experience, we hope to inspire those of you who are descendants of those brave immigrants – miracles do happen and contact can be re-established!
The couple, Anders and Dianna Hedenstöm, enjoyed a tour through their ancestor’s church with tour guide Janet Wahlberg:
“Jim and I were honored to be asked to take Anders and Diana for a tour of First Lutheran Church. The first thing that they said was , “Oh my , it is really big”. We took them first to the nave where they were again amazed at the size of the church and the fact that at one time all 1,200 seats were actually filled on Sunday morning. They commented on the beauty of the ceilings and the alter and were very impressed that one of the stained glass windows was of King Carl XVI Gustaf. I was unable to tell them why he was chosen for that honor. They took several photos of the nave. We then took them to the Fellowship room where they were able to see the portraits of all of our pastors including our first Jonas Svensson, who served from 1856-1858. After showing them a few more nooks and crannies of the church, we took them to dinner at the Celoron Hotel where we enjoyed a couple of hours of conversation. We learned that Anders had been an exchange student to the United States while in high school. Delightful couple.”
Cindy Dustin had been researching the names they sent via email, contacted “local cousins”, and set up a meeting for them at the Research Center:
“On Friday, August 5, the Hall House welcomed some very special visitors, two from far away, and several others from our own backyard. Anders and Diana Hedenström came all the way from Hjo, Sweden to meet Anders’ second cousins, Jean Pigman and Joanne Nelson.
Anders had sent in a research request in June, and the Hall House researchers quickly got to work on it, since he and Diana were to visit Jamestown from the Albany area, in early August. Anders’ great-grandparents, Anders Albin and Amelia Berg, were from Asgarde, Stora Aby Parish, Ostergotlands. Anders and Amelia had many children, five of which immigrated to Jamestown beginning in 1897. The three brothers, Carl, Erik and Anders (Andrew) and two sisters, Elin (Nelson) and Hilda (Madeen), arrived here and began their new lives. They worked and bought homes, and all but Andrew married and had families.
Several more brothers and sisters stayed in Sweden, one of which, Conrad Berg, was Anders Hedenstöm’s grandfather.”
Anders and Diana were given the completed research which included cemetery records and property searches. They visited Lakeview and Sunset Hill cemeteries as well as First Lutheran Church and the Fenton History Center. They were amazed that we had so much information on their great aunts’ and uncles’ and their families. After researching the obituaries of the immigrant siblings, the Hall House researchers were able to identify the local cousins, and they happily agreed to meet their Swedish relatives. The cousins were able to visit and compare genealogical information. A great time was had by all!”
“One last opportunity gave Anders and Diana a bird’s eye view of life in Jamestown “back in the day”.
As the newly reunited Berg descendants were saying their good-byes, I mentioned that because four of the Jamestown Bergs were Veterans, they were welcome to join an already scheduled “Behind the Scenes” home tour of the Mansion, including the Military Tour. The local cousins had things scheduled, but Anders and Diana were happy to come back after lunch and join in.
They seemed to be so very amazed at everything they saw, but a big surprise for Anders was discovering the chair exhibited in the Swedish Room which was made especially for King Carl XVI Gustaf on his 1976 visit to Jamestown. The real thrill was discovering that it was made at Union National Furniture Company, where his grandfather’s brother, Eric Berg, had worked many years before.”
We do hope to see them again someday, and we hope this story has inspired you!