An Adventure in a New Country

This post is part of #52Ancestorsin52Weeks – Week 5 So Far Away

Ragnar Wilhem Burman (Dec. 21, 1903 – Feb 2, 1982) was born and died in Goteborg Sweden.  He is my 1st cousin 2x removed and I had not heard of him until I got a message this morning from a cousin in Sweden asking for research help. He said that Ragnar went to the US to work for a few years in the 1920’s.  He returned to Sweden in the late 1920’s, married and had a daughter.  According to the daughter, he had also married while in the US and had a daughter.  The only clues he had were that he worked at a golf club near the Hudson River in NY and may have lived in Yonkers.

Using his given name, date of birth and the other info I had, I was able to find some information about him.

Kungsholm ShipOn September 19, 1923 William (as he called himself in the US) signed on to work on the SS Kungholm, which was a passenger ship sailing between Gothenburg and New York.  William served as a waiter on two voyages in 1923.  The first arrived in New York on October 3, 1923 and the second arrived on November 8, 1923.  On his third voyage aboard the SS Kungholm*, he was a bed steward.  When the ship arrived in New York on February 1, 1924, William deserted the ship prior to it’s departure from New York.

Judging by the formal documents that had to be completed by the ship’s captain, it was common to have some disruption of crew members on each sailing.  In addition to Deserting Seamen, they had to report Discharged Seamen, Seamen Signed On At This Port, and Seamen Left in Hospital (or Died).  On this sailing, there were four deserters, eight who were discharged, and ten who signed on in New York.

William spent the next five+ years in New York.  There is a William Burman living in Yokers in 1928.  His occupation is listed as a waiter, which matches what we know of him.  I am still searching for information regarding a wife and child in the US.

Gripsholm Ship

On July 13, 1929 William, along with three others,  signed onto the ship MS Gripsholm** in New York and sailed back to Gothenburg.

This was such an unexpected find and fun to spend a little time today researching a ‘new’ family member.




Here is how we are connected:
-Ragnar’s mother Amelie Naemi is a sister of #11 Hilda Maria Winberg
– #11 Hilda Maria Winberg (1872 – 1926) married Nov. 7, 1891 #10 Anders Johan Tornberg (1869 – 1943)
– Their daughter #5 Astrea Oskara Tornberg (1897 – 1975) married April 18, 1919 #4 Gustaf Harry Thorell
– Their son #2 Arnold Lennart Thorell (1936-2016) married August 1956 #3 Rachel
– Me


*SS Kingsholm was operated by the Swedish American line from 1923 – 1926.  The ship began sailing between Rotterdam and New York for the Holland America Line in 1902.  In April 1912 she alerted RMS Titanic to ice early into its ill-fated maiden voyage.  More information about the ship can be found here.

**MS Gripsholm information can be found here

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