Two Swedes in Illinois

Frans Skoog & Selma Sahlgren

  FransFrank” Hjalmar Skog/Skoog (20/12 1878 – 2/12 1948)
  C1a branch []
  Son of Emma Landelius & Carl Johan Skog
  Rogslösa, Östergötland
icon-globe  Emigrated to Illinois 1900
icon-wrench  Piano finisher, cabinet maker; farm labourer

  Selma Augusta Sahlgren (9/9 1883 – 29/9 1966) (m. 18/11 1905 in Winnebago, Illinois)
icon-home  Daughter of Janne Sahlgren & Anna Johansdotter
  Ledsjö, Sverige
icon-globe  Emigrated to Illinois 1902
  3 children

  Primary sources

Frank’s signature in 1942.

Frans grows up in Hässleby Skattegårdicon-map-marker in Rogslösa parish in Sweden, the son of a poor farm worker. He is freed from military service and emigrates to Illinois in February 1900. He settles in the town of Rockfordicon-map-marker, where he is naturalised under the name Frank Hjalmar Skoog. He has blue eyes and brown hair.

In 1905 he marries the Swede Selma Augusta Sahlgren from Ledsjö outside Skara, in Winnebago west of Rockford. She is the daughter of small-scale farmer Janne Sahlgren and his wife Anna Johansdotter. She had moved from home to Skara town in 1898, only to return home in the year 1900, and then she moved with her family to Ågården. In april 1902 she had decided to emigrate to North America, and two years later her little sister followed.

The couple has 3 children.

  • 1.   Roy Elmer Skoog (7/5 1906 – 19/12 1977)
    •  Arlene Edith Peterson icon-stop
  • 2.   Henry Edwin Skoog (14/10 1909 – 1/9 1982)
    •  Mildred Trolander
  • 3.   Eleanor Skoog (b. 5/5 1919)

In 1910 he worked as a piano finisher at the Schumann piano factory icon-external-link in 915 Fulton Avenue. While he was working there, they proudly launched a new piano player, i.e. a self-playing piano. All in all, the family was probably doing rather well in their new life.

Their home at the time was in 1426 7th Avenue in Rockford. Everyone in the area were Swedes and spoke Swedish, so it would have been quite homely. Their house is one of the few still standing in that block, and unfortunately it seems likely that it is going to be demolished eventually in order to widen the creek which has caused severe flooding in the area.

Frank Skoogs home 1426 7th Avenue Rockford. Source: Google.

When Frank is registered for the First World War in 1918, he works as a farm labourer in Argyleicon-map-marker north of Rockford. The landscape there is similar to what he would have known from Sweden. It seems that they also had a permanent address in the Harlem suburb.

Soon afterwards, they rent their own farm on Cherry Valley Road southeast of Rockford. In 1930, they have moved to 2115 10th Avenueicon-map-marker in Rockford, but Frank is still listed as a farmer.

The children soon move from home, and the parents settle on 322 South Prospect St.icon-map-marker. In 1940, Frank has reinvented himself and is working as a cabinet maker in the furniture industry.

In 1942 when he is drafted for the Second World War, he lives on 220 Sanders St. in Rockford, which has since been incorporated into the hospital grounds and turned into a parking lot. At the time, he worked for Dewey Lundquist at the Blackhawk Furniture Co.icon-map-marker on 159 Morgan St. The buildings are long gone.

The Rockford Furniture Herald 1927. Did Frank make some of these cabinets?

This was one of many reputable furniture manufacturers in Rockford, which had a long tradition of producing fine furniture, and several of the companies were run by Swedish families icon-external-link.

The Furniture Map of Rockford. Source: Rockford Furniture Herald, April 1925.

Selma dies in the small community of Davis Junctionicon-map-marker south of Rockford.

Rådhuset i Davis Junction. Källa: Google.

The town hall in Davis Junction. Source: Google.

Research data

  •  signature: Frank Hjalmar Skoog (1918); Frank Skoog (1942)
  •  name (others’ spellings): Frans Hjalmar (1878-1900); Frank Hjalmar Skoog (1906); Frank Hjalmer Skoog (1918-1942); Frank Skoog (1910-1940)
  •  name (others’ spellings): Selma Augusta (1889-1902); Piga/P. Selma Augusta Sahlgren (1898-1900); Selma Skoog (1910-1940); Selma A. Skoog (1917); Mrs Selma Skoog (1942)
  •  b. Rogslösa 1878: v39989.b25.s43
  •  hous. 1878-1900 Rogslösa: v28743.b114.s215(1878-1880); v28743.b125.s237(1880); v28744.b182.s171(1881-1894); v28746.b118.s110(1894); v28746.b110.s102(1894-1900)
  •  hous. 1889-1902 Vättlösa: v16459.b81.s68(1889-1892); Holmestad: v16437.b34.s21(1892); v241983.b350.s27(1893-1898); Skara: v17319.b42.s31(1898-1900); v243822.b500.s38(1900); Holmestad: v241984.b3390.s330(1901-1902)
  •  cens. 1910-1940: 1910; 1920; 1930; 1940
  •  mant. 1910-1940
  •  milit. 1918; 1942
  •  arv. v76610.b323(1884)
  •  naturalisation: 1906