52ancestors, Aitkin, MN, Simon Anderson

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #4

Written by Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 

Week 4 Challange: Which ancestor would you most like to meet?

Simon & Johanna Anderson Aitkin, Minnesota

I would love to meet many of my ancestors and ask them a ton of questions. I’d like alot of clarity. I often times feel like a child that asks “Why” alot. I landed on this couple as a starting point. Simon and Johanna Anderson on my mother’s side. Simon and Johanna are from Sweden. There’s a lot of documentation on this family. Yet, I feel the personal touches are missing. The answers to questions that may bring their story to life. Our side of this branch knew nothing of this branch before I started genealogy. Thankfully through Ancestry.com, I was contacted by a distant cousin in Sweden. I am so thankful to this day, he has helped me fill in the blanks.

Simon is from Bränntjärnstorpet, Sweden. Also known as the Forest of Finns or Dan Andersson Museum. Simon was born on February 14, 1851. His parents are the Anders and Anna Stina Ersson. It’s his mother’s story of determination and strength that is so powerful, they created a museum where the family grow up in Bränntjärnstorpet. Why wasn’t that information passed down?

Simon’s Mother, Anna Stina Ersson

Simon and Johanna married in 1874 in Sweden. They had seven children in all. Two were born in Sweden and sadly, one passed away sometime during their immigration in 1881. Johanna would’ve been 22 years old. I can only imagine what it may have been like for a mother to be traveling with all of the family’s belongings and two little ones. One being so sick that she didn’t make it. I would’ve been crushed.

I’d like to know how was the journey over? What caused the two of you to make the move? What was life like growing up in Forest of Finns? What memories do you recall about your mothers and fathers? I’d like to know what your favorite dishes are and what did you make on holidays? Finally, Simon, did you purposefully grow your beard and mustache like that? He looks tough and worn in this photo. Simon died when he was 55. I still need to find out why. See what I mean, I could go on forever. These are the things I want to know.

Simon and Johanna went on to have 5 more children. One born in Iowa and the rest in Columbia, Minnesota. From Columbia, they moved to Aitken, Minnesota. There they raised their family on a farm.

Pauline (Linnie) G Anderson.

One of their children is my Great Grandmother, Pauline G Anderson. My mother would say her grandmother was amazing. She had a lot of pride for this grandmother. Pauline caused quite the stir in my family. When I started researching her husband’s side of the family, Christopher Mix, everyone called her Linnie. We all assumed that was her name. As I was doing the research and I came across documentation that her name is, in fact, Pauline. Everyone was shocked.

Great Grandma Linnie left other questions unanswered. The biggest one I have is, Why do each of your seven girls have two middle names? That’s a lot of names. Yikes.

I just want to take a moment and say a big Thank you to Amy for this challenge. This has really pulled me in. It has me thinking and reviewing my documentation and my work in genealogy. I feel better about my work. I am not a blogger BUT writing answers to the questions causes alot of thought. The names on my tree aren’t just names anymore. My relationship with them is growing.


  • 1900 Unites states Federal Census
  • Aitken County Museum and Historical Center.
  • Minnesota Territorial census 1849- 1905
  • Christer Gustafsson for all of his family research and photos

2 thoughts on “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #4”

  1. One way to bring ancestors alive like these is to connect your experience to theirs, the universal story of human experience. Their joy and love is a lot like your. Their grief and anguish, their moments of triumph, their love as parents, their hopes and dreams, none of it is all that different from us today. That’s how we can bring these people to life, even if we can’t find answers to our questions.

  2. Wonderful blog! I will follow it with great interrest!
    You know Simon’s mother was called Anna Stina Knas, or even Anna Stina Andersdotter Knas. In Sweden, until late 1800s, a woman kept their surname after the marriage. Andersdotter is because her father was Anders, and Knas because he was a soldier. A soldier was always given a new name beside his “-son” name. She never used the name Erson (actually the same as Eriksson, her father-in-law was Erik)

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