17 Viking children

John Gustafson & Signette Halvorson

  Johannes ”Johan/John” August Gustafsson/Gustafson (28/11 1855 – 10/6 1950)
  C3 branch []
  Son of Karolina Johansdotter & Gustaf Andersson
  Kättebo, Säby, Småland
  General farmer
icon-globe  Emigrated to Viking, Minnesota in 1889

  Cherste SignetteNettieHalvorson (Apr. 1864 – 23/1 1933) (m. 1883)
icon-wrench  Farmer
  16 children – Founding fathers of C3b branch: Gustafson in Minnesota

  Primary sources

The eldest son of poor but respected parents, Johan August emigrates from Sweden to New Richlandicon-map-marker, Waseca co. in Minnesota in June 1878 at the age of 23. At first, he earns a living by working as a servant at a farm, but in 1883 he marries local girl Signette ”Nettie” Halvorson, both of whose parents are from Norway. They first set up home as farmers on a rented farm in tiny Otiscoicon-map-marker a few miles out of town, but around 1890 they make a permanent move to Viking townshipicon-map-marker in Marshall co. in the far north, which however is not officially founded as a village until July 1905, so it must have been an extremely lonely outpost at the time. In 1895 there were 51 households in the township area.

They have no less than 16 children over the years, and so Viking becomes a hub for this family as some of his siblings also move there and the children grow up to form a significant part of the village. The names given to the children show quite clearly that the family grows increasingly American.

Their address in the village is 46 4th Avenueicon-map-marker, which appears to be the location of the present Viking Elementary school, and indeed it is possible that the family were involved in teaching the local children, as at least their daughter Margaret was a teacher in 1940.

By 1915 they have a grandchild to take care of as well, as they adopt the daughter of Ida, who dies in January 1916.

John’s grave in Viking Cemetery. Source: findagrave.com.

Signette’s grave in Viking Cemetery. Source: findagrave,com.


Carl’s birth 1884. Waseca County.

Emil’s birth 1885. Waseca County.

Theodore’s birth 1886. Waseca County.

Ida’s birth 1887. Waseca County.

Josephina’s birth 1889. Waseca County.

Research data

  •  name (others’ spellings): Johannes August (1855); Johan August (1855-1912); John Gustaffson (1880); John Gustafson (1884-1994); John Gustafvson (1895); Johan A. Gustafson (1900); John A. Gustafson (1905); Johan Gustafsson (1911-1912)
  • icon-female name (others’ spellings): Nettie Gustafson (1884-1920); Nette Gustafvson (1895); Nellie S. Gustafson (1900); Signetta Gustafson (1930); Signetta Halvorson Gustafson (1994)
  •  b. Säby 1855: v36245.b66.s119
  •  hous.ex. 1855-1878 Säby: v22054.b51.s328(1855-1860); v22056.b48.s438(1861-1866); v22059.b57.s392(1867-1871); v22061.b168.s549(1872-1878)
  •  cens. 1880-1940 New Richland: 1880; Otisco: 1885; Viking: 1895; 1900; 19051910; 1920; 1930; 1940
  •  cens. 1885-1930
  •  inh. v497173.b1970.s13(1911); v497173.b1990(1911); v497173.b2000.s14(1912); v497173.b2010(1912)
  • icon-user children b. Otisco: 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1889