Come Celebrate Santa Lucia Day

29 11 2021

The popular Swedish tradition of Santa Lucia will be celebrated at

Whitnall Park Lutheran Church, 5847 Lilac Ln, Hales Corners, December 12, 2021 starting at 5 PM.

The program is conducted by SAHSWI member Sonia Hummel and will feature Lucia with her attendants in a procession singing the Lucia song and popular Swedish Christmas carols.

In this Swedish tradition, Lucia brings light and music to the darkest days of winter. Crowned with candles and dressed in white, she is accompanied by her procession of attendants (tärnor) each carrying a candle, starboys (stjärngossar), gingerbread boys and girls (pepparkaksgubbar) and elves (tomtenissar).

A traditional Swedish Smorgåsbord will be served and everyone can join in dancing around the Christmas tree. Santa will arrive handing out treats for the children.

The event is open to the public.

Please refer to CDC and Milwaukee Health department guidelines concerning prevention of Covid infections. Face masks are strongly encouraged and will be available at the entrance.

CDC Guidelines for prevention of Covid

Milwaukee Health Department

2019 Lucia

2021 SAHSWI Annual Meeting

25 10 2021

The annual meeting 2021 was held via ZOOM (due to the surge of Covid 19 Delta variant) on Thursday October 21 at 7 PM. First an introduction video was played and then past year activities and annual committee reports were reviewed.

The annual meeting elected two directors to serve on the board, Karin Konrad elected for a second 3 year term and Janet Taylor for her first 3-year term. They are congratulated and we thank them for their support.

The photo video included pictures from the past year programs and historical projects. Background music features the adopted signature song for the society “Hälsa Dom Där Hemma” (Greet those back home) popular Swedish immigrant song during the early 20th century. This version is sung by Ann Charlotte Harvey, live recording from the Snoose Boulevard Festival (1973), introduced by Carol Gustafson and Mary Stetson at the March fika Zoom meeting.

A review of the annual reports followed

In addition to the ZOOM meetings and Midsommar celebration the Society activities included 2 projects; the first a reboot of Swedish Genealogy, which summarized material from the Swedish Genealogy Research Group work from the past with a listing of websites now available to support research of Swedish ancestry.

The second project is a historical project to honor the first Swedish Settlement in Wisconsin started by Gustaf Unonius in 1841 and the Scandinavian Parish that evolved with an official State of Wisconsin Historical Marker. These projects are reviewed in the following presentation.

As the last item on the agenda a discussion whether the planned Lucia celebration for December 12 to be held at Whitnall Park Lutheran church can still safely happen. A decision was made to keep it in the plans, however, with a reassessment by the board by November 13.

I like to thank all Members that have participated in our program for the past year, our Zoom meeting Presenters and Entertainers, all Volunteers at the Midsommar celebration, our Swedish Genealogy Research Group members, our Historical Project Team members, and finally I like to thank our Board Members and Committee Chairs for their dedicated support of our historical society.

Jan Ehrengren, President, Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin, Inc.

2021 SAHSWI General Annual Meeting

19 10 2021

Please join our annual meeting. 
The meeting will be conducted using ZOOM

Date and time: Thursday, October 21, 7 PM (approximate duration 1.5 hrs)

Meeting has ended. Report will be posted shortly.

New Upsala Historical Marker is moved

23 08 2021

18th of June 1948 the Swedish Pioneer Centennial Commission celebrated the Wisconsin state centennial mark by commemorate New Upsala, the first Swedish settlement in Wisconsin, and its founder Gustaf Unonius with an historical marker. The marker located on the property at Pine Lake, Wisconsin, that Gustaf Unonius had claimed when he arrived with wife and friends in 1841. Over the 73 years since the unveiling event the marker has been hidden due to vegetation growth, so most people have been unaware of it.

A newspaper article from June 1948 describes the unveiling event

As a part of the project to further honor Unonius, New Upsala settlement, and the Scandinavian Parish at Pine Lake with an official State Historical marker it was decided together with Chenequa Village to move the marker from the original location just west of highway 83 across the road to the Chenequa Village property. This will preserve access to the marker, so interested people can visit the site and view the marker in recognition of the first Swedish colony in Wisconsin and the early history of Chenequa.

Early Sunday morning, August 22nd, the move was realized. Dan Schlise, owner and President of Garden Gate Nursery and Landscaping in Hartland moved the 2000 lbs boulder to its new location, which previously had been prepared by Chenequa Village Forestry Department.

The Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin, ( appreciate all the help in order realize the move, John Yewer, once long time resident of Chenequa, for planning, preparation and coordination; Dan Schlise, Garden Gate, for the careful and safe move of the marker; Dan Neumer, Chenequa Police Chief, for organizing the support from Chenequa Village; and Cody Lincoln, Chenequa Forestry Department for preparing the new site and clean-up of the old site.

Swedish Genealogy

18 07 2021

The immigration of Swedes to Wisconsin started in 1840’s, and the 1850 census reported 88 Wisconsin residents born in Sweden. During the 1850’s the number increased to 673. The first big wave came in the late 1860’s, and the second in the 1880’s. In 2011 there were 149,377 residents claiming Swedish heritage.

Finding one’s Swedish roots can be an interesting as well as a challenging task. SAHSWI’s Swedish Genealogy Research Group (SGRG) has been collaborating and supporting this effort for many years. The good news is that the resources for doing genealogical research today has been greatly improved as records have been digitized and made available in databases on-line.

A new main page for Swedish Genealogy is being added to our website to include suggestions from our SGRG leader Marge Jothen and Bev Wenzel to assist beginning Swedish researchers. In addition, a packet of more intensive information is being compiled with suggestions from John Engel, Eva and Roger Wall and other member researchers and will include language notes and typing of Swedish vowels, Swedish websites, occupational titles, patronymics and many other topics. This packet will be shared with members of SAHSWI and SGRG. Please consider joining SAHSWI by completing the membership application in the “About Us” heading (membership). Be sure to indicate your interest in Swedish Genealogy Research Group and Bev Wenzel will include you in all future SGRG mailings, packet material being compiled and continuing activities.

To go to the Swedish Genealogy page press the link below.

Swedish Genealogy | Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin (

2021 Scandinavian Midsommar celebration

13 07 2021

held on on Sunday, June 27, 2021 in Heidelberg Park, Glendale, WI

After over a year of isolation due to the Covid-19 virus about 130 people were able to join in the traditional Scandinavian Midsommar Celebration.

The celebration began with decorating and then a formal procession led by Goda Vänner violinists Mary Stetson and Carol Gustafson. The pole was raised and the dancing could begin. Pictures provided by SAHSWI member Bob Stetson.

Participants enjoyed making and wearing the flower crowns.

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Everybody joining in a dance around the Midsommar Pole….

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…and then an afternoon of games and entertainment by Goda Vänner and Lykkeringen Dancers

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Goda Vänner, Mary Stetson and Carol Gustafson

Norwegian Lykkeringen Dancers

Midsommar 2021

13 06 2021

SCANDINAVIAN MIDSOMMAR CELEBRATION will be held at Heidelberg Park, Glendale, WI on Sunday, June 27, 2021 from 1 PM to 4 PM.

Don’t miss this unique Scandinavian event, celebrating summer solstice, in Sweden, and in Scandinavia, one of the most important celebrations of the year. It is a public event, everyone is welcome!

We are sharing the park with Bavarian Bier House Beer Garden which is open to the public where food and drink can be purchased including a special Swedish dish, and dessert. In the past it has been custom to bring a picnic lunch, this will not be allowed this year as we are sharing the park with the Beer Garden.

In order to get to the area where the celebration is being held, from the parking lot, go through the entrance to the park, pass the beer garden and when you reach the barbeque grills, turn right and you will find the entrance to the Midsommar celebration.

The Program

1:00 p.m. Getting Ready

  • Welcome – Learn about Midsommar
  • Help decorate the majstång
  • Make a flower crown
  • Learn and enjoy the Viking game of Kubb
  • Enjoy the activities in the Children’s area

Midafternoon – The Celebration

  • Join the procession to raise the decorated majstång
  •  Learn and enjoy the songs and traditional dances
  •  Enjoy the music of our own Swedish duo Goda Vänner
  •  Enjoy the dancing of the Lykkeringen Norwegian Dancers

 Closing Ceremony

  • Taking down the majstång
  • Take a flower or two home with you to celebrate the day.

Learn about Midsommar celebrations history

Svenska Låtar (Swedish songs)

11 05 2021

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Svenska Låtar (Swedish songs)

11 05 2021

The SAHSWI March 2021 meeting featured Carol Gustafson and Mary Stetson, artistic name “Goda Vänner”, where they presented and and performed a program about Traditional Swedish Folk Music. Being American, learning Swedish Musical Language goes beyond learning melodies. Carol and Mary discussed and demonstrated how to sound Swedish in various types of Swedish folk tunes: Gånglåt, Vals, Schottis, Polska, and Mazurka. All songs are played by and recorded by Carol and Mary.


A gånglåt category includes a fiddle-tune in an easy, 4 4 or 2 4 march meter. The name in Swedish means “walking tune”, and the traditional tempo is that of a stately walk like a processional march for a ceremony; i.e. Midsummer

Gånglåt Äppelbo
Drottningens Marsch


Vals (Waltz) can be Relaxed or Quick, ¾ Time with emphasis on 1st beat.

Christina’s Waltz (Written by Christina Nilsson) – Relaxed
Fisk Vals


Schottis is similar to a Marching Tune; A happy, upbeat tune

The World’s best Schottis
Plog Anders Rattig


  Polska includes a wide variety of music. The emphasis is on 1st and 3rd beats and is often used for a Hambo

Wigers Polska
Boda Polska


  Mazurka has ¾ time – emphasis on the 2nd beat; The Mazurka dance came from Poland

Masurka Druttchikaleken

In the second part this program Carol and Mary discussed a meeting they attended about the Snoose Boulevard festival. This popular festival in the 1970’s was broadcasted all over United States, and also in Sweden.

Snoose Boulevard festival

Snoose Boulevard. The main street in a Scandinavian neighborhood was known in early 1900’s as “Snoose Boulevard”. In Chicago that was Chicago Avenue; in St Paul, Payne Avenue; and in Minneapolis, Cedar Avenue. In Minneapolis, on Saturday nights thousands of Scandinavians, Czechs, Slovaks, Irish, Germans and other Minneapolitans would come to Cedar Avenue and Seven Corners looking for a good time. They came to dance, drink and socialize in the bars, halls and theaters that lined Cedar and Washington Avenues. Swedish vaudeville at Dania Hall and the Southern Theater were major attractions. Scandinavians were the largest groups of revelers and many enjoyed “snus” (Swedish for a wet tobacco, enjoyed under the lip), which was often left on the streets after they went home. Cedar Avenue earned the epithet “snus gatan” (Snoose Boulevard). (Source: Augsburg Digitours)

Snus Boulevard Festival started in 1972 on Cedar Street in Minneapolis. Folklorist and musician Maury Bernstein organized in Cedar-Riverside the Snoose Boulevard Festival, a weekend-long revival and celebration of the songs popular along Cedar Avenue between the 1880s and early 1950s. There was dancing, and the street rang to the lively and melancholy songs of the Scandinavian pioneers. The festival was held to tell the story of immigration. In 1973, the festival was on 102 NPR radio stations. The tradition ended in 1977. (Source:

Anne-Charlotte Harvey, Swedish Immigrant, Lead Singer for Snoose Boulevard Festival has released 4 albums and 1 single between 1972 and 1986.

“Chikago (Chicago)” – Memories of Snoose Boulevard, 1972

“Nikolina” – Memories of Snoose Boulevard, 1972

At the end of the program Carol asked all the participants to sing along with Anne-Charlotte Harvey, for the Swedish Immigrants, a popular song, Hälsa Dom Därhemma, some of the Swedish immigrants really missed their home country.

“Hälsa Dem Därhemma (Greet Those at Home)” – Memories of Snoose Boulevard, 1972

If you want to hear or recollect more of these songs, search the internet for the album illustrated below.

The Life of Naturalist Thure Kumlien

4 05 2021

Like finding a rare orchid, Martha Bergland has unveiled a rare and important naturalist during the early settlement years in Wisconsin. Fellow Swede Carl Linnaeus, considered the ‘Father of Botany‘, would have nodded in approval at Thure Kumlien’s contributions in helping us understand the biological riches found in early Wisconsin” (Reference Tom Anderson, author of Learning Nature by a Country Road)

Saturday May 8 at 2 PM ZOOM meeting (US Central Time Zone). SAHSWI Board member and award-winning author Martha Bergland  will present excerpts from her book The Birdman of Koshkonong published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press. The book describes the life of Naturalist Thure Kumlien.

Link to Join ZOOM meeting on May 8 at 2PM, no pre-registration needed.

The Birdman of Koshkonomg book is available for sale directly from Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Amazon, or your local book store.