Baldur Fridtjof Nansen

This portrait, taken in Christiania, Norway, shows Baldur Fridtjof Nansen. The photograph was taken by the Olsen & Thomsen studio, possibly in the 1860s.

Baldur Fridtjof was born on December 30, 1817, in Egersund, Rogaland, Norway. He was the second child of Hans Leyerdahl Nansen (b. 1764) and Vendelia Christiane Louise Møller (b. 1790).

According to Wikipedia, Baldur Fridtjof Nansen was “a lawyer without ambitions for public life”, who worked as a clerk to the Supreme Court of Norway. Furthermore, according to NRK, Baldur ran a small firm mainly dealing with property and wealth administration.

In February 1854, Baldur married Minna Sørenssen (b.1829). In December that same year, they had their only child, Hans Moltke Nansen. Minna died just six days after delivering the child, leaving Baldur a widower.

In 1858 Baldur married one of his clients, the widow Adelaide Bølling (born Wedel-Jarlsberg in 1821). In addition to Baldur’s son Moltke, the couple also had Adelaide’s five children from her previous marriage to care for (including Hjalmar Bølling, mentioned elsewhere in this blog). The couple soon had a new child, Frithjof, but he died only 15 months old. It’s possible the couple had yet another child, Minna, who died young, but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

On October 10, 1861, the couple had another son, also named Fridtjof. This son survived childhood and went on to become a well-known explorer, scientist and diplomat. A year later, the couple had another son, Alexander Christinus.

In 1877 Adelaide Nansen died, making Baldur a widower once again. Baldur never remarried. He died on April 2, 1885.


Addy Bölling

This portrait, probably taken sometime after 1905 by Werner Wångström in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, shows Adelaide Hilda Sofia Bölling. Adelaide, who was known as Addy, was born on August 7, 1879, in By parish in Värmland. Her father, Hjalmar Bölling, had several children from a previous marriage, but for her mother, Hilda Ekenberg, Addy was the first child.

Addy grew up in Värmland with her family, and moved with them to Orlunda, Östergötland, in 1894. In 1896 Addy moved to Helsingborg, possibly to join her older half-sister Emily.

In 1905 Addy was living in Stockholm, Sweden, working as a private nurse. In late 1906 she moved to Luleå, in the far north of Sweden. In 1910 she married Johan Strindberg.

Addy died in 1946 in Linköping, Sweden, just over 67 years old.

Theodor Hjalmar Bölling

Another portrait of a child in the Bölling family, this one shows Theodor Hjalmar, born on October 6, 1876, in By parish, Värmland, Sweden. Hjalmar was the fourth child of Jacob Christian Hjalmar Bölling and Marie Thomine Wiel.

Hjalmar moved with his father, stepmother and siblings to Orlunda parish, Östergötland, in 1894. After his father’s death in 1895, Hjalmar stayed in Orlunda for roughly a year before moving back to Värmland.

I haven’t researched Hjalmar further, but a note I found on claims Hjalmar went to sea, and had his ship founder off the coast of Africa. Hjalmar went ashore in South Africa, and eventually found work as a foreman at a carpentry plant in East London, South Africa. His further adventures are unknown, but definitely seem worthy of further research!

The portrait was taken on July 20, 1897, when Hjalmar was twenty years old.

Emily Bölling

This portrait was taken in 1894 in Karlstad, Värmland, Sweden. It shows Emily Maria Bölling, the eldest surviving daughter of Hjalmar Bølling and Marie Thomine Wiel.

Emily was born on March 6, 1875, in By parish (or possibly Bro parish) in Värmland, Sweden. She grew up in Värmland, where her father was a farmer, miller and farm foreman. At some point Emily moved to Gothenburg to study household economics at the Göteborgs skolköksseminarium (school kitchen seminar), from which she graduated in 1895.

From Gothenburg, Emily moved to Helsingborg, Skåne, Sweden. Emily was hired as the first teacher of household economics at the Helsingborg elementary school in the autumn of 1895. She appears to have been a very popular and respected teacher, and was made an honorary member of the Helsingborg Housewife Association.

In parallel with her work as a teacher, Emily worked summers as a summer camp matron. In particular, she helped develop the summer camp in Markaryd. During the semesters, she spent most of her time helping other social causes, and was an active member of the Helsingborg Board of Poverty Relief.

I am not sure Emily ever married, but at the time of her death she did have a foster daughter.

Emily died on November 14, 1929, in Helsingborg Hospital, and was buried in Pålsjö cemetery in Helsingborg.

Jakob Bölling

This portrait, taken on April 13, 1894, in Motala, Sweden, shows Truls Baldur Jakob Bölling. He was the first child of Hjalmar Bølling and Marie Thomine Wiel. He was born in Bro parish in Värmland, Sweden, on September 22, 1871.

When Jakob and family moved to Orlunda parish, near Vadstena, Sweden, Jakob seems to have gone into the army. In 1895, he was made a lieutenant in the Jönköping regiment. In later years, Jakob abandoned the military and in 1902 became a missionary for the Swedish Mission in China. Jakob moved to China in October that year.

Jakob died in China in 1907, leaving behind a widow and two small children.

Inez Berzelius

This next portrait provides a bit of a mystery! The only data I have regarding the picture itself is the handwritten note on the picture: Inez Berzelius -95.  Also, the portrait is placed next to the portrait of Jakob Bölling (born 1871), and it seems that the portraits aren’t placed randomly in the album. Could it be that Inez was Jakob’s wife?

Scanning the Kugelberg newspaper clippings archive for Berzelius yielded a promising lead: a Torsten Berzelius was mentioned as having made a career in journalism/bookprinting in the US, and was apparently the son of a J. Berzelius from Börstad, near Vadstena, Sweden. This Berzelius family seems a good starting point for my search. Sure enough, after scanning through the household examination records of parishes close to Vadstena, Östergötland, Sweden, I found the family, living at Börstad Ödegård, Orlunda parish.

The father, Jakob Berzelius, a farm owner with a fair amount of land to his name,  and his wife, Olivia Maria Thalin, were listed together with their many children. Their oldest son, a Torsten Jakob (born on May 22, 1872), had emigrated to the US. Their oldest daughter was Inez Maria, born on October 17, 1873.

A scan though church death records yielded an Inez Maria Bölling (!), born on October 17, 1873. Clearly, Inez had married a Bölling at some point, so many things point to the portrait being of Jakob Bölling’s wife. I still haven’t been able to find a record of this supposed marriage, but the fact that Inez and Jakob both lived in Orlunda parish in 1894-1895 makes it likely they had opportunity to meet. I’ll keep looking.

A New Year’s Portrait

According to the handwriting on the back of this group portrait, it was taken on New Year’s Eve of 1894, in Vadstena, Sweden. In the portrait are Hjalmar Bölling’s children: Adelaide, Jakob, Hjalmar, Emily and Einar. The identity of the the two women isn’t 100% certain – the way they are listed at the back of the picture makes it seem that Emily is on the left and Adelaide is on the right. However, after comparing with a fair number of other portraits, I’m leaning towards the girl on the left being Adelaide, or Addy as she was called, and the girl on the right being Emily (or Emelie, as her name is sometimes spelled).

Jakob, Hjalmar and Emily were from Hjalmar’s previous marriage with Marie Thomine Wiel; Addy and Einar were born in his second marriage, to Hilda Ekenberg.