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Karin Svenson Berg

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Karin shares the story of her maternal great-grandmother, Karin Svenson Berg, who emigrated from Sweden 1902 for marriage. Her journey brought her to Mora, MN and many of the items she brought with her have been passed down for generations, along with her life story.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

Transcription

My parents named me Karin after my Swedish great-grandmother, Karin Svenson Berg. Karin was my mother's father's mother or in Swedish, my mor far mor. My mother told me a wonderful story about how Karin came to American. In the late 1800s she was an University of Lund educated woman who was teaching school in her home town of Osbi. Karin was engaged to be married to Andrew Berg, a young man from Osbi who had previous immigrated to America with his brother Nils. Karin and Andrew corresponded, and the plan was for Karin to join Andrew in America where they could be married. Sadly Andrew died here in Minnesota before Karin could come over. Nils was going through Andrew's letters and found the corresponds between Andrew and Karin. Though Nils and Karin had never met, Nils wrote to Karin and said "If you still want to come to America you can come over and marry me. Karin agreed. She travelled alone. First by steamship and then my train to Mora, Minnesota. Nils met her at the train depot and they were married at the Kenabik county courthouse. From there they travelled on horseback to Nils' home in Wahkon, Minnesota, which is about 30 miles northwest of Mora. My grandfather Arthur Berg, their only child was born in 1903. Karin and Nils lived in Wahkon the rest of their lives. After my mother died I found a box among her things a tin box from the 1800s that had been Karin's. And when I opened the box I found several things, but among those things was a tiny box with Andrew picture in it. Karin had never forgotten her first love. They grew up in the same town in Osbi. That's how I am sure she met Andrew, but she had never met his brother Nils, so that's just an amazing story. I wouldn't be here today if they hadn't met and married. My mother gave me many things that Karin brought from Sweden. Including the basket box that she carried with her on the boat from Sweden to America, which I have. She had written her name, painted her name, Karin Svenson on the front. I also have, which my mother gave me, an egg, a caddled egg set, 6 silver set. Which Karin's school children in 1902, the year she left Sweden had given her and inscribed on that on that egg cuddle set is "from grateful school children to their teacher Karin Svenson. And it has the date of 1902. They also gave her, which my mother gave me a silver decorative chalice that also has the engraving on it, that same engraving. She also brought with her many things, but also things that reminded her of home, because I think as she was leaving she knew that she would never go back. Family is important to us, as I am sure it is too many people, and our immigrant story is one this wonderful fun and amazing story, so I love to pass that on to my children and I appreciate the opportunity to pass it on to everyone.