The Swedish Nightingale

This post is part of 2021 #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Week 13 Music

Johanna Maria (“Jenny”) Lind was a Swedish opera singer who was given the nickname of The Swedish Nightingale because of her beautiful voice and natural singing style. Or perhaps she gained her nickname because, as is sometimes believed, Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Nightingale about her*. She was ‘discovered’ at age 9, and performed onstage in her first opera when she was 17. Born in Stockholm in 1820, she was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music beginning in 1940. Jenny Lind toured Sweden and northern Europe during the 1840’s, retiring from opera at the age of 29.

She was approached by P. T. Barnum, who proposed a United States Tour. P.T. Barnum was a master at marketing and by the time she arrived in September of 1950, she was in high demand. Tickets for some of her 93 concerts in the United States were in such high demand that Mr. Barnum sold them by auction.

She made her American debut at the Castle Garden Theatre in New York City on September 11, 1850 and on October 12, 1950 she sang at the Fitchburg Station in Boston MA.

The Fitchburg Station (or Fitchburg Railroad Depot) opened to the public on August 9, 1848. It was built on the corner of Causeway and Beverly Street and was utilized by the Fitchburg Railroad. It was built of Fitchburg granite and had two train tracks inside, one inbound and the other outbound. On the second floor of the station was an auditorium. At the time, it was the largest auditorium in New England. My 4th Great Uncle, Jonas Fitch III (1811-1882), who was a well known architect and a highly talented woodworker, did the fine woodwork inside the Fitchburg Depot. He also worked on the Masonic Temple, City Hall, the Mount Vernon Church and other substantial buildings in and around the City of Boston MA.

The railroad depot was used until 1894 when the North Union Station opened next door. In 1900 Boston and Maine Railroad took over the Fitchburg Line. In 1927, when the station was being torn down Henry M. Aldrich, a Boston lawyer who was connected with the railroad, purchased one of the 70 foot tall corner towers.

The Jenny Lind Tower now resides in North Truro, MA. Rumor has it that on the night that Jenny Lind sang in the auditorium, the concert was oversold and many people were unable to get in. There was quite an uproar in the streets and she had to cut her performance short after fans began to crash the gates. To subdue the crowd, the Swedish Nightingale came out onto one of the towers and sang to the crowd outside of the auditorium.

Attorney Aldrich was not alive at the time of the concert and has no known connection to Jenny Lind. No one is quite sure why he purchased and moved the tower. In 1961, Attorney Aldrich’s daughter in law donated the tower and land to the Cape Cod National Seashore, who still owns it. It is located roughly between the Highland Light lighthouse and North Truro Air Force Station.


Ellen Lovely Turner

This post is part of 2021 #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Week 6 Valentine

Ellen [Lovely] Turner was my maternal 2nd great grandmother. She was born on May 22, 1869 and was the 7th of 10 children born to Mary and Charles Lovely. Ellen, also known as Ella, and her family resided in Milton VT.

On October 22, 1887, at 18 years old, she married Ira Franklin Turner, who was 20 years old. Ellen and Ira raised their son George in Milton, they experienced the flood of 1927, and they lived the rest of their lives in Milton.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Milton was a place where you put down roots. Your neighbors were your family and your family were your neighbors. In the 1900 census, one of their neighbors was, in fact, Ellen’s brother William and his wife.

June 1939

This photo, taken in Acton MA in 1939, is of my mother with her two maternal great grandmothers. On the left is Marion Hope (Walker) Berry, and on the right is Ellen.

On February 14, 1948, at age 79, Ellen (Lovely) Turner died of Pneumonia. She had been in the Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester VT for 3 days. Her husband Ira died months later, on October 18, 1948.

Silver Plated Treasures

This post is part of 2021 #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Week 5 In the Kitchen

In my mothers’ kitchen is a shoebox full of silverware. Much like many families have button boxes that have been passed down for generations, we have a silverware shoebox. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good button box as well as anyone, but the silverware in this shoebox intrigues me. I wrote about it before, but wanted to share more of the items.

Before you go any further, let me be the first to say that the pictures are not great. The lighting is bad, the backgrounds are busy. Anyone who’s been to Grandma’s house will likely know what season they were taken in by looking at tablecloth.

These all have identifying marks

The one on the top left is Extra Plate Gem Silver. Extra Plate signifies that it is silver plate, but has an extra layer of plating. Gem Silver could be the company. The International Silver Company manufactured silver plate under many different names, one of which was Gem Silver.

The bottom left is Wm Rogers & Son AA. This was manufactured by Wm Rogers & Son company. The AA signifies that there are three ounces of pure silver per gross used in the plating, instead of the standard two ounces per gross (144 pieces).

The pieces on the right are marked with D&A Bengal Silver. D&A is the mark of a company named Daniel & Arter. Daniel & Arter was established in Birmingham England in the late 19th Century. The first hallmark for the company was in 1882. In the 1930’s their dies were purchased by WJ Baker & Sons Ltd. Bengal Silver, rather than referring to the type of silver, is a trade name used by WJ Baker & Sons.

This is a decorative spoon for the American Waltham Watch Co, which operated from 1907-1949. I have numerous descendants from the Waltham MA area, some who worked at the watch company. I am not sure if this was a collectible that was purchased or was a gift from the company to an employee.

On the left are about 10 forks with the name Frost engraved on them. The Frost family is on my maternal grandfathers’ side. Also in that picture is a butter knife with the brand J. Nowill & Sons, Sheffield. The handle is some sort of hard plastic or perhaps bakelite. The company was in existence from the early 1700’s to the 1960’s. They manufactured pretty much anything with a cutting edge.

Last, but not least, are these pieces with the letters JB. But, who is JB? I am coming up with two JB’s in the family. Jonathan Beede (1734-1825), who was my 5th great grandfather on my maternal grandfather’s side, and James Nicholas Berry (1863-1949) who was my 2nd great grandfather on my maternal grandmother’s side. I would lean more towards James Berry, simply because of the year.

I guess they could have been passed along to someone in my family by a friend or neighbor, or belong to another ancestor I’m not aware of, or perhaps even purchased at a tag sale!

It’s fun to look through these pieces and think about the tables they have graced, the people who have used them, and all the tales they have to tell!!

Belle of the Ball

This post is part of 2021 #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Favorite Photo

Pearl F. (Thorell) and Merton A. Smith

For many years, Auntie Pearl and Uncle Mert lived in Big Branch, Louisiana. Big Branch is an unincorporated community next to Mandeville, on the northern side of Lake Ponchartrain.

They belonged to a ladies non-profit organization called the Mandeville Boating Association Auxiliary. Every year there was a Mardi Gras ball and celebration, each with a different theme and a different King and Queen. This picture is when Auntie and Uncle were queen and king of the ball. I think this was in 1973.

They lived there for years and had numerous guests for the Mardi Gras celebrations every year. It was a fun time and we all enjoyed visiting!!

Sharing more than just a name

This post is part of 2021 #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Namesake

I always knew that my father was named after his two maternal uncles. My fathers’ name was Arnold Lennart and when I started to research my family tree I found those two uncles, both were younger brothers to my Nana. At first I thought there was some mistake because their names were Arnold and Tage. A little more research uncovered their full names, which were Arnold Sixten Marina Tornberg and Tage Helge Lennart Minothi Tornberg (or Thornberg).

Arnold was born on February 2, 1899, Tage was born August 3, 1901, both in Goteborg, Sweden.

Both brothers served as ‘ship boys’ in the Swedish Navy beginning in their late teens. The family photo below shows them in their seaman uniforms.

After their Naval service, both came to the US. Tage departed Goteborg in June of 1919 at 17 years old. His occupation is listed as sailor, traveling to Brockton MA. Arnold departed Goteborg in June of 1922. His occupation on the ships manifest was farm laborer, 22 years old also traveling to Brockton MA.

The 1920 census (1/21/20) lists Leonard, son of Andrew and Hilda, living with them in Brockton MA. No occupation was listed. This is the first instance I have found of him being called Leonard, not Tage.

Within a few years of arriving in the US, the two brothers left on a driving ‘tour’ from Brockton MA to Hollywood CA. As noted in the newspaper article below, their plan was to sell H.M. Christenson Razors, and to write boxing news for a Swedish paper. The signed on their car says: H M Christianson’s Brockton Razors Travel With Us Across Continent.

By 1925 they had both departed the US, and eventually returned to Sweden.

My father, coincidentally, was also in the Navy – the US Navy. Here he is in his seaman’s uniform. My guess is that he was in his late teens in this picture.

As for the cross-country trip – my father loved a good road trip! He was a truck driver for many years. Dump trucks, milk trucks, tractor trailers – he loved to drive. He even taught a few people how to drive a ‘big rig’. His retirement job was driving a tour bus. He did everthing from short day trips to long, cross country jaunts.

He also had a hankering to go south in the winter. Most years he spent a couple of months in the south, some years he had a camper on his pickup truck, others years he stayed in hotels, condos, or on multiple cruise ships. He found a way to get on cruise ships at a deep discount. Apparently by being able to board a ship at the last minute, the fare was really, really affordable.

In 2010 he drove to Texas, then visited Florida and Tennessee on his way back home. He kept a travel journal that I have transcribed and included below. I have done minimal editing so that those of you who knew him will, no doubt, hear this in his voice.

Sun – 1/17/10 on Trip #1
Left Lakeville 4:30 AM
17588 miles Stop @ Cracker Barrel Milford CT 7:00 AM
Departed 8:15
Gas Harrisburg PA 18039 12:45
Winchester VA 18136 @ Shoney Inn @ 4 PM
513 actual miles
Don’t stay @ Shoney Inn again

Day 2 – 1/18/10 9 AM 18136 miles
18351 1PM
Arrived Knoxville 5PM 18592 – 456 miles
Country Inn + Suites – Very nice w/full breakfast
More money = more amenities

Day 3 – 1/19/10 18592 miles
8AM departed Knoxville TN
arrived Vicksburg MS 5:15 EST or 4:15 CST
19108 – 516 miles
Quality Inn + Suites

Days 4 + 5 1/20 + 1/21
Toured Vicksburg MS. Very old, very historic. Did the battlefield and enjoyed it very much.
Departed 1/212 7:30 AM enroute to Dallas TX
19162 miles – 63 degrees
On Rt 20 about 20 miles into Texas I saw the results of the storm that destroyed houses and other buildings. The debris was cluttered in the median against the guard rail and there were all sort of rescue personnel in the area. Stopped @12:30 for lunch + Fuel @ Love’s in Colfax Texas – 19448 miles
Departed 1:15 PM arrived Arlington TX 2:30
19508 miles

1/22/10 – Dallas Book Depository – Northfork Ranch and Stockyards
H3 Ranch Restaurant
Running of longhorn steers

1/23/10 – 19,691 miles. 9AM departure. Arrived in Waxhachie Texas @ 11:30 AM 19,741 miles. Had lunch at The 1879 Chisholm Grill – is the best, better than Dave’s. This was a stop on the cattle drives to Fort Worth or Oklahoma on The Old Chisholm Trail. Left @ 2PM. Arrived Montgomery @ 4PM. Villas on The Lake. Went shopping for food and retired about 9.

1/24/10 Sunday
Out of time share around 8:30 looking for church. Found a church called West Conroe Baptist Church (SB). Very nice about 1,000 chairs on a carpet with basketball backboards hanging from the ceiling, but pulled back against the wall. Multi use facility. The only stained glass was over the baptistry which is in the farthest point back and is made of clear plexiglass. The cross is part of stained glass.
I returned Sunday night for a missions fest and a church recruitment, with booths set up all around the sanctuary/auditorium/multi use room. They have many areas of outreach.

1/25/10 Monday
Out @ 8AM and onto Houston and Johnson Space Center. JSC is close to a ripoff but they had a lot to see (don’t buy the head set). Had dinner on the way home in Tomball TX. HCS BBQ + Texas food very good.

1/26/10 20172
On the way to San Antonio, got a room @ Holiday Inn Express and then went to the Alamo and a walk around. Ate at IHOP.

Back downtown + the tour on Gray Line and went to another mission – San Jose. Quite a place, from there to the River Walk, great place. The whole city is great. Lunch @ Rita’s in San Antonio for dessert. Left there around 3:30 and back to Montgomery. Trusted GPS to return to Montgomery. Great route and good roads.

Went to San Jacinto, this is an area where Santa Anna was defeated, huge monument and free ferry ride to get there. Lynchburg, had lunch with a couple from Attleboro who have been there 5 years.

Time to relax, weather closing in with cold + rain. Rain was only showers and it ended around 10AM, no sun but it got cold. Right now 4:30 PM it’s 46 degrees and windy. Went to Tomball Texas + Goodsons Cafe for chicken fried steak, fried mushrooms, squash & mashed potato. Back at the Ranch 4:30 PM. Kind of disappointed in the chicken fried steak, mushrooms were great.

Left Montgomery @ 7:45AM (34 degrees)
20956 miles – trip miles 3,132.8
10:30AM entered Louisiana (21085)
Room @ Quality Inn for the night. 1st stop Day’s Inn. Quite a story but got a credit anyway (21220)

1/31/10 on my way to Norlins. 34 degrees windy, partly cloudy. Got a room @ (he actually left this blank, so I have no idea). Like last year but more expensive and you now have to pay for the parking $18.00/ night better than on the street.

Went to French Quarter & Bignets. Place has changed hands. Dumonds is still the best and is still there. Downtown has not changed. 9th Ward still has houses that are left from Katrina in Aug. 2004.

2/3 – Alabama & Mississippi – They have built the areas up quite a bit, but there are a lot of vacant lots along Rt #90 on the beach where there are cement steps + railings and for sale signs. Sad. The beach looked good for 45 degrees, but nice and clean and white. Casinos are there but I think they have lost some of their allure.

2/4/10 7:15 AM 21782
Left Pensacola. Long boring ride I-10. Arrived St. Augustine 4:00 PM 22203

2/5/10 22203
2/7/10 222416

Saint Augustine, weather is quite cool. Decided not to take train because it looks like rain. Did my own tour based upon last years visit. Went to the St. Sebastian Winery for a tour and a tasting of their products, hic, then the rains came and did it pour. Got the car and headed for the hotel and a change of clothes. Time to do laundry.

Sunday I wanted to get to the Presbyterian Church I visited on Saturday. They had a yard sale and I followed the signs after visiting Habitat For Humanity Restore. I could not find the church and went to breakfast. Found a way to the beach from A1A and it was to get on the beach, so I went and drove on the beach. What a blast. Found a great place to eat “Theos” greek place with a great breakfast. They also have a coffee roll the size of a sewer cover, lasted 3 days and I threw the rest out.

2/8/10 22416 9:30 AM
Departed Saint Augustine for Orlando and arrived about 2PM, took Rte 207 to Rt 17 into Orlando. Booked in HoJo on 192E. Ok but not great.

Had breakfast @ Perkins. Ok. So, so.
Lunch @ Cici’s Pizza, salad and pasta and dessert for $5.99. Went to flea markets, raining hard. Time for a nap and then off to dinner at Bob Evans. Good. Went to another flea market and a western wear store on international drive. Bought nothing.

2/10/10 22111
Left Orlando 9:30 AM heading for Tampa + maybe warmer. Nope, just as bad. Took a ride to the airport to see if there were crowds. None, normal, lots of cancelled flights. Then went to Florida State Fair and spent 3 hours there before heading for dinner @ Macaroni Grill – a little expensive.

Back to the fair for several hours and this place is huge. Left the fair around 4 and went to dinner before calling it a day.

2/12/10 22830
Ready to pull out and head to Palm Bay 8:30 AM
Arrived Palm Bay 10:30. All is good 22980. Great time with all the family.
Went shopping, eating, to the beach and even got to golf on Monday. 70 degrees. Spent two mornings scraping ice off the windshield. Also ate at Meg O’Malleys in Downtown Melbourne.

2/16/10 23247
Depart Palm Bay
GA 23503 @ 11:30 AM
Arrived White GA 23789 5:42

2/21/10 24509 10:10 EST Departed Nashville. Smooth driving arrived Roanoke 4:30 EST
24,932 – 423 miles

Departed Roanoke 7:45 AM 24932

And that is the end of that travel journal. Roanoke was likely his last or next to last stop of that trip that lasted a little over a month. Quite typical of his winter trips.

Whether or not he was named after his uncles, I’m sure they would have still shared some common traits.

A Family Legend takes an unexpected turn

This post is part of 2021 #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Week 2 – Family Legend

There are many members of my extended family named Alden. As I’ve written previously, Alden can be found as a first, a middle or a last name for generations in our family. When I was younger, I heard many times that we were descended from John Alden, who came over on the Mayflower. In the early 1980’s one of my grandmother’s cousins researched the family tree – and to everyone’s surprise and dismay, found that we are not related to John Alden.

Apparently, our tree goes back to a Henry Alldin whose parentage could not be proven. The Mayflower Society deleted his name from their roster about 1960. He was also removed from the Alden Kindred. The notation below is on a family tree wall hanging that was he created after much research.

I have always thought that one day I wanted to do the research again. I don’t have any of his source documents and it might be interesting to see exactly what I can find. I recently took a quick look at John Alden on Family Search and used their View my Relationship tool. I was surprised when it revealed a path from me to John Alden. I was, however, even more surprised to see that line actually comes through Mrs. John Alden. Apparently my tree goes back to Priscilla Mullins. I wasn’t expecting that! Time to do a little more research…..

Cogswell’s Grant

This post is part of 2021 #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Week 1 – Beginnings

Well, my first blot post of 2021 is about the same subject as my first blog post of 2020. But what a difference a year makes! Not only has life as we knew it been disrupted by COVID19, but I have learned a lot and actually took the opportunity to visit the homestead of my ancestors.

The Cogswell Family’s arrival in the US had quite a memorable beginning. In May of 1635, John and Elizabeth Cogswell,, who were my 12th Great Grandparents, along with eight of their children sailed from Bristol England on the ship Angel Gabriel. Last year I wrote about their journey, which you can read here. I also wrote about the home in Westbury Leigh which John inherited from his father. The family lived there for many years before coming to the US.

This plaque, at Colonial Pemaquid ME, resides in the spot where the family first set foot in America.

John Cogswell was granted 300 acres of land in Chebacco (now known as Ipswich MA). I was able to walk that land recently. It was an amazing experience and so heartwarming to know that I was walking on the land that my ancestors owned and loved. There are 170 acres (of the original grant of 300) owned and preserved by Historic New England.

This salt hay barn, built in 1719, is the oldest building on the property.

The house holds a plaque dated 1732. At that time, the land was owned by Jonathan Cogswell Jr. who was the 4th generation to own the property. He built the salt hay barn as well as the house.

A couple of observations – on the back (blue side) of the house, there is a section that appears to be an add-on as it closely abuts two of the windows. And, I find it strange that one side of the house (the side with the plaque) only has windows at the very top. The house, which is a museum of American Folk Art, is not currently open to the public so, I could only see the outside.

There is also a working barn on the property. It has two fabulous cupolas and is the building that greets you as you drive into the property. The back of the barn is painted the same light blue as part of the house.

This is an amazing, undeveloped property that overlooks the Ipswich River. Words do not do it justice, so please enjoy the photos.


This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 52 – Resolution.

I began 2020 hoping to participate in this challenge every week. Life, however, had other plans. I did sporadically write blog posts and, along the way, was able to research some interesting stories. I found a few rabbit holes that amused and amazed me and uncovered some pretty interesting folks along the way! There are so many more stories to tell!

My first post of this year was about Cogswell’s Grant, a piece of family history that I was fortunate to be able to visit recently. I will tell you about that visit soon.

My genealogical resolution for 2021 is to continue uncovering family stories and to continue sharing them.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, healthy, Happy New Year!!

Witnessing History

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 50 – Witness to History.

When you think of an ancestor witnesssing history you probably think of a well-known event like the Hindenburg disaster or the San Francisco earthquake or the celebration of the end of WW1. I have often thought about how wonderful it was that Nana was able to enjoy the beginning of transatlantic air travel in her lifetime.

When my Nana immigrated to the United States in 1917, she and her parents traveled by ship. They boarded the Helig Olav in Gotenborg Sweden and landed in New York USA about a month later.

In 1958, just 41 years later, she traveled to Gothenburg on an airplane. A trip which likely took two days.

How amazing that must have been! To travel that distance in such a short time must have seemed surreal. In fact, 1958 was the first year that transatlantic passengers carried by air exceeded the total carried by sea.

I know there were many advances in technology, science and humanity during her lifetime, and I am sure she marveled at many of them.

My Cup of Tea

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 42 – Proud.

“A woman is like a tea bag: You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

I frequently say that I come from a long line of strong women. When I look back on both my maternal and paternal lines, they are full of women who, although they may have been scared, they did what needed to be done. When it came to profiling someone I am proud of, I couldn’t pick just one but chose to mention numerous female ancestors. These are not in any particular order.

Elsa Viola Henrietta Thornberg Emberg (my paternal Great Aunt) was 17 years old when she emigrated from Sweden to the US, bringing her two younger cousins with her. They spent over a month on the journey and were then detained at Ellis Island until an adult picked them up. She remained in the states and eventually most of the family arrived to stay on US soil. You can read about Elsa here, here and here.

Elizabeth Thompson Cogswell (my maternal 12th Great Grandmother) sailed to the United States with her husband and eight of their nine children in 1635. After 12 weeks at sea, on their first night in New England waters, they had to ride out a hurricane aboard ship. Unfortunately the ship broke apart, spilling all of its’ inhabitants and their possessions into the sea. The family all survived and were able to salvage most of their possessions and the money they had brought with them. You can read about the family here, and about their homestead in England here.

Hilda Maria Winberg Tornberg (my paternal Great Grandmother) was born in Sweden and by age 20 was married and had a baby. In all, she gave birth to 11 babies, five of whom died very young. She was 44 years old when her youngest was born and, for reasons unknown to us, her youngest daughter was raised as her own by one of her older daughters. Hilda left Sweden when that baby girl was an infant. She lived and worked in the US, but died seven years later. I often wonder if she was sick when her the baby was born, or if the birth was exceptionally difficult and she couldn’t raise her. Whatever the reasons, I’m sure that was not an easy decision to make. You can read about Hilda here.

Marion Hope Walker Berry (my maternal second Great Grandmother) packed up her household and moved herself and their four children from Massachusetts to California to be with her husband, who was helping to rebuild San Francisco after the 1905 earthquake. Within four years, she had another child and moved the family (with husband this time!) back to Massachusetts. One of the items she moved with her was a treadle Singer sewing machine that is still in the family. I often think about the stories that machine could tell! You can read about Marion here.

Edith Hope Berry Carbone (my maternal Great Aunt) is the above-mentioned baby girl who was born in California. Aunt Edith was a pillar of the community in Acton MA. She served as Library Trustee, a president of the Women’s Club, a member of the Maynard Garden Club, Emerson Hospital Auxiliary, Walden Guidance Association and Treasurer of the Emerson Hospital Board. You can read about Aunt Edith here.

Lillian Elnora Frost Taylor (my maternal second Great Aunt) joined the US Army Nurse Corps during WW1 and was deployed in 1918, serving on hospital ships traveling from France to New Jersey. She returned to her hometown after her deployment and cared for her father and brother after the death of her mother. She married at 46 years old, cared for an aging aunt, and was also a school nurse in Acton MA. You can read about Lillian here.

I know there are more, but these are a few of my favorite stories. Strong women are usually raised by strong women, surrounded by a support system, and have an innate resiliency that carries them through life. I am proud to be part of this family, and even prouder to share a photo of some of the strong women in my family who are fabulous role models and will be the stories that are written by future generations.