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83  Grandpa and FDR
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PER NILSSON VÄSTGÖTE

Per Nilsson Västgöte was a remarkable man.  He was born in about 1586 in Lekeryd, Jönköpings län, Sweden.  He is documented to have served as a sailor in the Battle of Stångbro.  If all other records are correct he would have been 12 years old at that time. Nothing else is recorded of his early life. 

Per married Sara Olofsdotter in about 1630 based on his first recorded child being born 1632-08-30.  They had at least seven children, three sons and four daughters, the last born in 1653 or so when Per was 67 and Sara was 41.

Per worked in the iron production industry.  He and several like-minded friends joined together to form a team involved in the mining and transporting of ore, and production and distribution of iron.  The Swedish word “bergslag” was applied to such a group.  Typically these men farmed in the summer and then mined, cut trees, made charcoal, and ran foundries to produce iron in the winter.

Per had many friends, but one in particular was very close - Willam Bononi.  He and Per were friends, neighbors, and fellow members of the bergslag.

Willam married Sara Mårtensdotter in about 1631.  They had at least six children, five sons and one daughter.

Nature and proximity prevailed, and between 1664 and 1674 all four of Per’s daughters found matches with four of Willam’s sons.  Also during this time, Willam’s daughter married, but not to one of Per’s sons.

Two years before this outbreak of hormones took place (and maybe the inspiration for the outbreak), Per’s first son Hans married a young lady from a different parish (tsk, tsk, how bold) and they proceeded to draw the line from Per to Norman Albert Sandin.  Per was NAS’s 8th great grandfather and Hans Persson was his 7th great grandfather.  Another way to describe the line is that Per is NAS’s FFFFFMMFFF, read “father’s father’s etc.”.

Per, Willam, their kids, grandkids, and their bergslag built and operated a foundry for many years with many a twist and turn of fate.  Per lived the rest of his life in Grangärde, Dalarnas (Kopparbergs) län.  He was called both Per Nilsson Västgöte and Per Nilsson Smålanning, probably due to his birth parish being on the fuzzy (sometimes moving) border between the provinces of Västergötland and Småland.  Per was widowed in 1677 at the age of 91, and finally died 1688-05-20 when he was noted as being 102 years old.

The following pages give details and documentation of this story.

 

Line of Descendency from
Per Nilsson Västgöte to
Norman Albert Sandin

1 Per Nilsson Västgöte b: Abt. 1586 in Lekeryd (F), d: 20 May 1688 in Grangärde (W)
... + Sara Olofsdotter b: Abt. 1612, m: Abt. 1631, d: 04 Mar 1677 in Grangärde (W)
......2 Hans Persson b: 30 Aug 1632 in Grangärde (W), d: 15 Mar 1710 in Grangärde (W)
...... + Kerstin Nilsdotter b: 24 Feb 1634 in Norrbärke (W), m: 07 Sep 1662 in Norrbärke (W),
          d: 31 May 1693 in Grangärde (W)
.........3 Per Hansson b: 25 Jun 1663 in Grangärde (W), d: 25 Sep 1737 in Grangärde (W)
......... + Margreta Olsdotter b: Abt. Apr 1671 in Säter (W), m: 07 Oct 1700 in Grangärde (W),
             d: 15 Aug 1756 in Grangärde (W)
............4 Elisabets Persdotter b: 26 Jan 1704 in Grangärde (W), d: 22 Oct 1740 in
               Grangärde (W)
............ + Erich Ersson Werme b: Abt. 1698 in Nysund (T), m: 30 Sep 1722 in Grangärde
                (W), d: 30 Dec 1779 in Grangärde (W)
...............5 Elisabets Ersdotter b: 08 Dec 1734 in Grangärde (W), d: 07 Jan 1818 in Långa
                  Backen, Resta, Ramsberg (T)
............... + Lars Matsson Sandin b: 02 Jan 1725 in Ramsberg (T), m: 1753 in Ramsberg (T),
                   d: 04 May 1786 in Ramsberg (T)
..................6 Lars Sandin b: 03 Jun 1778 in Ramsberg (T), d: 03 May 1821 in Ramsberg (T)
.................. + Cajsa Persdotter b: 16 Feb 1780 in Skyttetorp, Ramsberg (T), m: 02 Oct 1803
                      in Ramsberg (T), d: 22 Apr 1849 in Resta, Ramsberg (T)
.....................7 Per Sandin b: 08 Jul 1813 in Långa Backen, Ramsberg (T), d: 28 Oct 1893 in
                        Fattigården, Ramsberg (T)
..................... + Anna Cajsa Persdotter b: 01 Apr 1818 in S. Almhöjden, Ramsberg (T), m: 23
                         Feb 1840 in Ramsberg Bruk, Ramsberg (T), d: 08 Jul 1881 in Liljendahl,
                         Ramsberg (T)
........................8 Per Erik Sandin b: 03 Jun 1840 in Ramberg Bruk, Ramsberg (T), d: 17 Feb
                           1892 in Stjernfors #415, Ljusnarsberg (T)
........................ + Brita Stina Jansdotter b: 30 Jan 1846 in Ljusnarsnäs, Ljusnarsberg (T), m:
                            06 May 1875 in Ljusnarsberg (T), d: 10 Nov 1907 in Uppsala Hospital
...........................9 Charles Eric Sandin b: 01 May 1873 in Ljusnarsnäs, Ljusnarsberg (T),
                              d: 25 Jul 1961 in Bessemer, Gogebic, MI, USA
........................... + Hilma Leontina Anderson b: 15 Aug 1879 in Kandla, Ljusnarsberg (T), m:
                               20 Mar 1897 in Bessemer, Gogebic, MI, USA, d: 16 Nov 1918 in
                               Bessemer, Gogebic, MI, USA
..............................10 Clarence Carl Sandin b: 17 Feb 1897 in Bessemer, Gogebic, MI,
                                    USA, d: 02 Aug 1990 in Ironwood, Gogebic, MI, USA

............................... + Mamie Eleanora Tillner b: 17 Jul 1896 in Bessemer, Gogebic, MI, USA,
                                    m: 26 Dec 1917 in Salem Lutheran Church, Ironwood, Gogebic, MI,
                                     USA, d: 29 Sep 1993 in Ironwood, Gogebic, MI, USA
.................................11 Norman Albert Sandin b: 11 Sep 1933 in Ironwood, Gogebic, MI,
                                       USA

 

The following information was assembled by researcher Jorge Lintrup of Mora, SE and then translated to English and posted on the Internet by Marie-Louise Robb of Scotland.  You will notice that names and their spelling vary wildly.  For example, the person referred to herein as Willam Bononi has many “surnames” in this quote.

 

*************************Beginning of quote from Marie-Louise Robb*************************

Wellam Beneux in Hällsjön, Dalarna

"The Frenchman in Hällsjön" - Wellam Beneux or, as he was later called Vellam Classon, Wellam Bononi, and Wellam Bonouir, was born 1580 and came to Sweden at the beginning of the 17th century.  From 1626 to 1627 he was at Finspångs bruk which Louis de Geer bought from the Crown in 1641.  It was thanks to the mastersmiths from Wallonia that cannons of the highest quality could be exported from there all over the world.


Wellam was also part of the work team at Åkers bruk in Uppland.  His job there was to crush the iron ore with a heavy sledge hammer.  This process was called "bokning" - "booking".

Around the year 1630 he moved to Norrbärke parish (W), and after a few years there he was engaged by Jacob de la Gardie.  Wellam was listed in 1636 among his people at the silver mine Wester Silfberg (or Stollbergs Mines) and he was referred to as "Dammvachtare Wällam Fransosen" (dam watchman, Wellam the Frenchman).

Before he moved to Norrbärke he had married Sara Mårtensdotter who was born in Vadstena, by the lake Vättern.  They had five sons, Frans, Eric, Abraham, Wellam, Mårten and a daughter, Brita.  The family stayed in Norrbärke until 1641 and the following year they seem to have moved to Hällsjön in Grangärde parish (W).  In 1652 he was registered in the district court as the buyer of half an acre of land.

In the archives from 1661 of the Department of Mining Affairs it was written that "The foundry at Hällsjöhyttan was built by Welhelm Frantzos and a few others, and in it was blasted in the year of 1661.

"
The others who were mentioned were the neighbor and friend Pehr Nilsson Västgöte, Matz Eriksson and Matts Larsson.  Together they would have formed a "bergslag" ".

The Hällsjö foundry was sometimes called Övre Hällsjöhyttan (Upper Hällsjö foundry), sometimes Klashyttan (Klas foundry), and sometimes Bjurkärnshyttan (Bjurkärn foundry). Fortunately the foundry number was always the same; all the iron that came from there was marked Nr 13.

It was of course unavoidable that Wellam and his companions should become involved in disputes with the rich mine and iron works owners who were already established in the area. Such disputes could last for years before they were eventually cleared in court. And, as usual, it was the less well-to-do mining crofters (peasants, cottagers) who had to bow down to the rich landowners and their underlings.

Quoted from the court protocol in 1657.  "Wilhelm Classon (Bononi), Peder Nilsson (Västgöte), Matts Eriksson, and Matz Larsson in Hällsjön, state that they, having been granted permission by the late lamented Mining Master, have set about building a Foundry, but that Christiern Robsam's nephew, the servant of Wullen, has opposed the building, giving as reason the fact that the same Foundry is situated too close to his own Foundry, and that the owners of the Foundry are indebted to him. Hence he has the right to appropriate the Foundry."

Quoted from the court protocol 1661 the 28th January.  "Hearing regarding the old foundry at Hellsjön and Bjurkärn foundry.  First regarding Hellsjö Foundry, that it is situated on Norrbärke Råå (on the border) and is utilised by Christiern Robsam, but was first appropriated by Jöns Persson, son of the late lamented Mining Master Peder Jönsson, resident in Lodwijka (Ludvika). At that time nobody lived in Hellsjön but there were chalets and summer grazing belonging to Lodwijka parish.

"After a period of 20 years, and after the ground had been excavated, Lars Jönsson began building a croft (1640 according to the Land Registration Books) on Grängies Råå and was taxed. Then Lars Jönsson began transporting stone and mud to finish the building on the above mentioned Foundry ground. When Jöns Persson of Lodwijka, he who had laid the foundation, was told that Lars Jönsson was going to build a Foundry there he prevented this by selling the Foundry ground to Anders Lokman.

"Lokman then finished the building of the Foundry in 1638 and blasted there twice, but since he had a debt to Johan Meijer he left the use of the Foundry to him. Johan Meijer however owed Daniel Koch money and gave him the Foundry as payment.

"
Then it was said about Bjurkärn Foundry that it was "situated on land belonging to Gränges, but not further away from the border between the parishes Gränge - Norrbärke and that the border in fact lies exactly in between the two Foundries. Hellsjö Foundry is on Norrbärke territory and Bjurkärn Foundry on Grangärde territory.

"The construction of the Bjurkärn Foundry has been started by the Hällsjö villagers, namely Wellam Bononi with his neighbours Pehr Nilsson Västgöte, Matts Nilsson, and Matts Larsson, with the permission from the late lamented Mining Master Pehr Jönsson in 1655. It was also stated that the above mentioned Foundry is situated on their own legally held and taxed ground, i.e. the Foundry now is on ground that has been and still is (1661) the chalets and summer grazing that has belonged to Lodwijka village since ancient days, and that the interested parties in the Bjurkärn Foundry have a strong link with it through their parents.

"
Wellam's neighbour, friend, and business partner Pehr Nilsson Västgöte was born in 1586 and married into a very wealthy family.  His wife was Sara Olofsdotter, born 1612 in Östansbo, Ludvika.  She was the daughter of Olof Erlandsson who had first lived at Lorentzberga and later at Östansbo, the homestead called Per Erland's Homestead which reached from the Lyvik hillside all the way down to Lake Haggen.  Olof's property reached as far as Hällsjön.

Pehr and Wellam also became related through marriage.  Pehr's four daughters were married to Wellam's four sons.  This was the beginning of a "family business" that would provide for them all.  Old Wellam is said to have said at a district court session "I most certainly own enough forest to run the Foundry, providing for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren!"

Unfortunately following generations weren't as privileged. The iron production became industrialised and the small Foundries weren't profitable any longer. Land had to be sold and in 1935 the last of Pehr's properties, Pears, was lost in a legal process against Grängesberg Ltd.

Nowadays Hällsjön is almost abandoned, not much reminds us of "The Frenchman" Wellam Classon Beneux or Pehr Nilsson Västgöte.  However, we still find their names on the map - Pears after Pehr and Welamstorp after Wellam!

****************************End of quote from Marie-Louise Robb****************************

 

I have spent considerable time researching the families of Per Nilsson Västgöte and Willam Bononi.  I have not found the Mining Affairs documents or the Court Protocols mentioned.  I have no reason to doubt the quotes from these sources, but I haven’t seen them personally.

However, I have found many of the birth, marriage, and death records for family members and can confirm that four Persdotters married four Willamssons.  Except for Frans and Kerstin they all seem to have had many children and spent their lives on Helsjön.  Frans died rather young and Kerstin remarried.  I have not been able to track her very long after her second marriage.

This report shows the marriages of Per’s daughters with Willam's sons (bold) in short form.

 

Descendents of Per Nilsson Västgöte

1 Per Nilsson Västgöte b: Abt. 1586 in Lekeryd (F), d: 20 May 1688 in Grangärde (W)
... + Sara Olofsdotter b: Abt. 1612, m: Abt. 1631, d: 04 Mar 1677 in Grangärde (W)
......2 Hans Persson b: 30 Aug 1632 in Grangärde (W), d: 15 Mar 1710 in Grangärde (W)
...... + Kerstin Nilsdotter b: 24 Feb 1634 in Norrbärke (W), m: 07 Sep 1662 in Norrbärke (W),
          d: 31 May 1693 in Grangärde (W)
.........3 Per Hansson b: 25 Jun 1663 in Grangärde (W), d: 25 Sep 1737 in Grangärde (W)
......... + Margreta Olsdotter b: Abt. Apr 1671 in Säter (W), m: 07 Oct 1700 in Grangärde (W),
             d: 15 Aug 1756 in Grangärde (W)
.........3 Hans Hansson b: 05 Feb 1665 in Grangärde (W), d: Unknown
.........3 Oloff Hansson b: 10 Mar 1667 in Grangärde (W), d: 03 Dec 1699 in Grangärde (W)
.........3 Sara Hansdotter b: 24 Feb 1670 in Grangärde (W), d: Unknown
.........3 Kari Hansdotter b: 07 Sep 1671 in Grangärde (W), d: 1767 in Grangärde (W)
.........3 Nils Hansson b: 28 Jan 1672 in Grangärde (W), d: 1722 in Grangärde (W)
.........3 Lars Hansson b: 01 Jun 1674 in Grangärde (W), d: Unknown
......2 Per Persson Västgöte b: Abt. 1635 in Grangärde (W), d: Unknown
......2 Brita Persdotter b: 11 Jan 1635 in Grangärde (W), d: Unknown
......2 Elisabet Persdotter b: 1643 in Grangärde (W), d: 29 Dec 1736 in Grangärde (W)
...... + Erik Willamsson b: 1637 in Silvberg (W), m: 25 Sep 1664 in Grangärde (W), d: 22 Mar
          1726 in Grangärde (W)
......2 Kerstin Persdotter b: 07 Jun 1646 in Grangärde (W), d: Unknown
...... + Frans Willamsson b: Dec 1631 in Norrbärke (W), m: 29 Sep 1665 in Grangärde (W),
          d: 30 Apr 1680 in Grangärde (W)
......2 Erland Persson b: 30 Aug 1650 in Grangärde (W), d: 1709 in Grangärde (W)
......2 Karin Persdotter b: 01 Apr 1651 in Grangärde (W), d: 09 Jan 1710 in Grangärde (W)
...... + Willam Willamsson b: 10 Aug 1649 in Grangärde (W), m: 02 Oct 1670 in Grangärde
          (W), d: 19 Jun 1698 in Grangärde (W)
......2 Margreta Persdotter b: 25 Aug 1653 in Grangärde (W), d: 20 Jan 1732 in Grangärde (W)
...... + Abram Willamsson b: 20 Apr 1646 in Grangärde (W), m: 27 Sep 1674 in Grangärde
          (W), d: 09 Feb 1717 in Grangärde (W)

 

The next two pages are samples from the tracking files I produced for the parish of Grangärde.  They illustrate the Västgöte and Bononi families and the interfamily marriages.  Note that the same day that Frans and Kerstin married, Frans’ sister Brita also married.

Sara Olofsdotter death record

1677-03-04 Wife Sara, Per Nilsson’s of Helsjön 65 years

 

Per Nilsson death record

 

1688-05-20 Per Nilsson Smålanning of Helsjön 102 years, was a sailor in the Battle of Stångbro, dates

 

The above images are the death records for Per and his wife Sara.  In both cases the record for the person is in the middle of the image and is left for the reader to find.  Other death records are included for comparison of writing style and content.  The English interpretation / translation is the author’s with help from various sources.  Here is a discussion of the information.  The two clips may have been written by different persons.  The two formats are certainly a bit different.

Sara’s death record is clearly from 1677.  The month and day is “item” indicating the same as the previous entry.  (This Latin term is sometimes spelled “ibidem”, “idem”, or other variations.)  The previous entry has the Latin name of a moveable feast day “Invocavit” or first Sunday in Lent.  According to the tables, Invocavit in 1677 was March 4th.  Since all of the dates in this section of the records are feast days, I would tend to believe that the dates are burial dates rather than death dates.

The first letter after “item” looks very much like an “S”, but is actually an “H”, short for “hustru” or wife.  (Compare the character to the first letter of “Helsjön” after Per’s name.)  Sara is clear, and Per Nilsson in Helsjön is clear.  “Sara, wife of Per Nilsson in Helsjön” is implied.

Sara was 65 years old upon death.

Per’s record was in the year 1688. That was noted on a previous page and by the clerk’s convention was not repeated on this page (116R).  The month is clear and is preceded by April and followed by June.  The date is clearly 20.  Another researcher interprets the small 30 as the date of burial.  I have found no other example of this convention in nearby records.  In addition, May 30 was not a Sunday in 1688 and most burials occurred on Sundays at that time.  I’m not even sure the characters are “30” – possibly “Bu”?

The first name is spelled “Pär”, one of the common “equivalents” for Per.  The patronymic name is “Nilsson” indicating son of Nils.  The “slash” after the “Nil” stands for double s.  After the fact, the clerk inserted “Smålanning” above the entry.  Per was known as both Per Nilsson Västgöte and Per Nilsson Smålanning.  Västgöte suggests he was a person from Västergötland, while Smålanning suggests he was from Småland.  In fact the borders between those two provinces were fuzzy.  Per’s place of origin may well have been in Västergötland at one time and Småland at another time.

Per died on Helsjön, a large farm where he had lived for many years.  The farm is variously spelled Helsiön, Hällsjön, Hellsjö, etc.

According to this record he was 102 years old, making his year of birth 1586.  Remember this as you read the following information.

Per “was a sailor in the Battle of Stångbro”.  The clerk put in a date of “1593 28 Sept” and later added “1598?” probably referring to that Battle.  The Battle of Stångbro indeed took place in 1598 when Per would have been 12 years old!

The death record immediately after Per’s is for 7 year 2 month old “Pär”, son of Erik Willamsson in Helsjön.  Pär was Per Nilsson’s grandson, who apparently died the same day as his grandfather!

 

[Editor’s comments. 

You will find references to (F), (T), and (W) in this document.  These are codes for Swedish “counties”, specifically Jönköpings län, Örebro län, and Dalarnas (Kopparbergs) län.

The phrase “servant of Wullen” probably is flowery language similar to “late lamented” and not meant to describe a person who actually waits on Wullen.

The word crofter is the English translation of the Swedish “torpare”.  Americans would be more apt to use peasant or perhaps cottager.  The word croft to translate “torp” would likely be cottage.  However, based on the context in this translation, I’m guessing the Swedish word used was “bruk” and a more appropriate American translation would be shop or factory.]

 

 

AFTERWORD

Swedish records are remarkable.  That it is possible to know this much detail about a person born more than 400 years ago is hard to believe.  If you are interested in genealogy, I highly recommend that you arrange to have Swedish ancestry!

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that this line of my ancestry is flawed.  My grandfather was born out of wedlock.  His mother married a Sandin, and it is that line that leads to Per Nilsson Västgöte.  While this is “probably” not a blood line, it is the line that produced my surname, and as such has a certain meaning.

To be perfectly transparent, I need to add that my father’s parents married a month after my father was born.  While not exactly a DNA test, I have pictures of my father with two brothers in their middle ages and it would be hard to deny common parentage.

I hope this gives you some feeling for genealogy research in Swedish records and the kind of information that may be available.  Ponograms #26 and #27 will give you a look at the value of bouppteckningar (probate papers).