View Full Version : Assistance finding death record Ester Carlson née Anderson (*1898.11.19--1944?.??.??

27-08-18, 23:02
When, where and under what circumstances did my paternal great-grandmother die? Ester Carlson née Anderson (born: 19 Nov 1898 in Bitumen, Noyes Township, Clinton County, Pennsylvania—Married Charles J. Carlson in Gogebic County, MI 30 June 1917--Ω: ?? 1944?)

A Swede-Finn, Johan Wilhelm Anders-Henriksson (Lillbåsk / Lillblom / Hertsbacka)was born 27 Mar 1875 in Träskböle, Korsnäs, Ostrobothnia, Finland to a typical peasant farming household. He was the third child, but the first to survive of at least eight
children. At approximately 18 years of age, in 1893, he went to Pennsylvania to work as a coal miner. At some point in 1897 he married Sofia Johansdotter Grannas / Markusfolk, who was most-likely an arranged bride or a correspondent from the same region of western-most Finland, born 27 April 1878 in Korsnäs.

At that time, Swedes and Swede-Finns did not have inherited family names unless they were nobles, aristocrats or clergy. By 1901, the law changed in Sweden so that henceforth, surnames would be permanent and inherited. My surname, “Carlson,” is thus a “frozen patronymic” rather than a proper surname. In any case, the 1900 U.S. Federal Census shows that the names were Anglicized to John Anderson and Sophia Anderson. John Anderson is a coal miner from Finland living cheek and jowl with other coal miners, many of whom are listed as “Hungarian” but in fact are ethnic Slovaks, since what is now the Slovak Republic or Slovakia was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary while Bohemia and Moravia were part of the Austrian Empire within the so-called “dual monarchy.” The Swedes and Finns had a Lutheran Church—now long gone—and the Slovaks had a Catholic Church, which apparently remains in the area of Noyes Township.

Esther appears as Esther Anderson, born Nov 1898. Her mother came to the United States in 1897, and her father John Anderson in 1892. His passport record, however, indicates he obtained his passport 21 Feb 1893, and used the name Johan Wilhelm Andersson Hertsbacka.

By 16 Feb. 1901 in Bitumen, Noyes Twp., Clinton County PA her little brother Carl Edvin Anderson was born [U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 for Carl Anderson 325-05-8803 {16 Feb 1901-Aug 1977 Chicago, Cook, IL} also U.S. Federal Census Records].

Now bear with me, because here things get a bit convoluted. John Anderson, ill with tuberculosis and black lung, took his bride and young children back to Finland. Some anecdotal evidence has it that Carl Edvin may have been sent to live with relatives in Illinois or elsewhere. In 1903, John Anderson’s nine-year-old little brother Karl Emil Anders-Henriksson Lillbåsk was crushed to death in the mill at that farm. Whether that was a motivation to return home to assist his parents, I’ll probably never be able to ascertain. In any case, he and Sophia had another son in Finland, Arno Sigfrid Anderson Lillblom, (A: 15 Nov 1904 in Träskböle, Finland—immigrated to Regina, Sasketchewan in 1920--Ω: 1966 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada).
John Anderson died 14 July 1908 in Korsnäs. Sophia Johansdotter Anderson died 31 March 1911 in Korsnäs.
Three years later, 25 July 1914, at age fifteen, Ester Anderson returned to the United States. She came aboard the SS Baltic by way of Liverpool, and I have all of that passenger list manifest information and the Ellis Island record.
Between 1914 and about 1916, she lived at the home of her paternal aunt Emma Christina Anders-Henriksdotter Lillblom/ Hertsbacka aka. Emma Christina Anderson (A: 2 Oct. 1882 in Korsnäs, Finland, immigrated 1902, married iron miner Alfred Smedman “Smith” on 13 Aug 1904 in Clinton County, PA. Moved to Kane, McKean County, PA for a few years, and then relocated about 1908 to Sagamore, Pennsylvania, before finally appearing on the 1910 U.S. Federal Census in Eveleth, St. Louis County [Duluth], Minnesota). I have contacted Smith descendants, but they have refused correspondence or other communication. At any rate, after living in Eveleth, Minnesota, Esther Anderson went in 1917 to Ironwood, Gogebic County, Michigan to marry my late paternal great-grandfather, the iron miner and sometime lumberjack nine years her senior, Charlie Carlson (A: 31 July 1889 in Korsnäs, Finland [only son]—immigrated 18 July 1907 through Boston—most likely—Ω: 11 Nov. 1945 Bessemer Township, Gogebic County, MI) on 30 June 1917. The couple’s first son, Carl Werner Carlson, died the year of his birth, 1918, just over two months old. Their second son, my late paternal grand-father, David Charles Carlson (A: 29 May 1920—Ironwood, Gogebic Co., MI—Ω: 23 Aug. 1961 Spokane, WA) was sent to rural Shoshone County, Idaho when he was approximately seven or eight years old to live with his paternal aunt, the childless Selma Carlson and her husband Artur Georg Anderson.

Due to this rupture, and the death of my paternal grandfather long before I came on the scene, the separation, possible divorce, and separate fate of Charlie Carlson and Ester (Anderson) Carlson remains a mystery. Family lore has it Ester may have become dependent on alcohol and lapsed into full-blown alcoholism. Charles J. Carlson, Esther Carlson, and her younger brother Carl Edvin Anderson appear living together in Erwin, Gogebic County, MI on the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. By the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Charles Carlson is a single boarder living in Au Train, Alger County, Michigan where he is working as a lumberjack. I have never found Esther Carlson on a 1930 U.S. Federal Census, or a 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

Did she go back to Finland? If so, she would have had to do so before WWII, no? Finland fought a war with the USSR between Nov. 1939 and Mar. 1940 on its own. By June 1941, Finland was a “co-belligerent” with Germany after its surprise attack on the USSR opened the opportunity to regain territory lost in the early war. While many Americans were very sympathetic to Finland in the first war, and the U.S. avoided declaring war against Finland after 1941 (Great Britain, however, did assume belligerency against Finland in the second phase), travel into the wartime Baltic seems most unlikely. Did she return to Eveleth, Minnesota? Her aunt Emma Christina divorced Alfred Smith before 1930, and she moved to Chicago, Il. Did she go to Chicago’s north side to live with Carl Edvin Anderson’s family? Did she go to Canada to live near her youngest brother Arno Sigfrid? Did she move to another state? Most importantly, and the source of my “brick wall” query: Where and when and under what circumstances did she die? I cannot find a death record in Minnesota, Michigan, or Illinois. If she was addicted and dependent on alcohol, might she have been in a county or state hospital in one or another of those states?

Family lore has it that her son, off to midshipman’s school at Columbia University in New York, attempted to look her up in … Chicago? Apparently the reunion was not a happy one, and the two remained estranged. The death certificate of Charles Carlson in Gogebic, Co., MI lists him as “widowed.” That puts her death before late 1945.

An Esther W. Carlson, living as a divorced 31-year old boarder in Denver, Colorado appears on the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. But the marriage age is 22 and not 18, and her parents are from “Sweden” rather than Finland. Of course, the census enumerator might have been mistaken/misinformed. The kicker here is that in Noyes Township, Clinton County PA in 1898 an Esther Carlson was born to a Swedish couple, John S. Carlson and his wife Mary. The brother was Reinhold Carlson. Those Clinton Co., PA Carlsons are no relation… At least not this immediate!

There was a Dr. Earland I. Carlson, born in 1925 in Chicago, and who died in 2002 in Pennsylvania. His father was a Charles J. Carlson, but his mother “Esther Carlson” was actually born Anna Vilhelmina Ester Danielsdotter/Danielson born in 1889 in Holsbyrunn, Sweden, and died in 1972 in Chicago, IL. That is emphatically not my great-grandmother.


08-12-18, 22:50
I found her.

She had been institutionalized in 1943 at the Manteno State Hospital in Kankakee County Illinois. She remained there for the remaining 24 years and 9 months of her life. She died 22 Nov. 1967.