Monday, October 10, 2011

That Girl Again – Her Tragic Background

Yes, my curiosity got the better of me. I just had to find out. I wanted to know why she went into foster care. What about the mother? I had to do some more digging, work my way back into more old archives. I was hooked!


To fill in the gap in her story I had to go back to the above page in the picture. As you can see, without reading any particular words, some text is in darker ink, fresher and younger if you like. At the bottom you can read “Dot. Maria”. That’s our girl. “Dot.” is short for daughter. Above her is another girl, born in 1878, three years later than the brother on the line above. Squeezed in a bit further up is a new entry, Maria’s mother, Kersti Persdotter.

The reason for Maria and her mother being added to this page, to this household, you find in the column on the right, with the heading “Död”, which means dead. Have you guessed it yet?

In February of 1879 the wife and mother of this household dies of consumption, and in June, four months later the daughter Anna, almost exactly Maria’s age, dies of diphtheria.

Maria and her mother move in, and the mother marries the farmer on 15 May 1880. So far so good. But the farmer had obviously lost both wife and a daughter, but rather quickly replaced them with a girl the same age and a new wife six years younger. Spookily enough, the deceased wife had exactly the same name as her replacement, Kersti(na) Persdotter. Kersti, Kjersti, Kerstina and Kjerstina were all the same name, nobody made any real difference between them.

So where is the problem then? Answer: nine months after the wedding. Yes, sadly I found the evidence in the “Death Book”. Nine months and one day after the wedding our Kersti, Maria’s mother (36), dies. No cause of death was recorded, but the assumption is of course that she died in childbirth. No child, stillborn or alive, was recorded on that day, or near that day, so Kersti presumably died with the child inside the womb more or less. Tragic. Her first child was born out of wedlock, which was noted in archives to follow her wherever she moved, and then she marries properly like a “good woman” and things go horribly wrong.

Not knowing who her real father is and having lost her mother, five weeks later Maria moves in with her aunt Anna, witness at her christening and her closest relative, at the age of eleven. Three and a half years later she appears in the household as a maid with my relatives, my grandfather being just a baby. My first great aunt was just seven days away, so Maria’s presence in the family was welcomed, I guess.

Like I wrote in my previous post, she moved to Denmark within a year, she was ready to fly at the age of sixteen. Perhaps she had children of her own to care for later, but that’s another story.


oreneta said...

It IS fascinating!!!! and tragic. Though I imagine it wouldn't have been so uncommon at that time.....

Anonymous said...

What a story! Really tells you something about the times she lived in.

swenglishexpat said...

Oreneta and LadyFi - In our western society times have changed, but in some parts of the world, in particular, infant mortality is still too high.