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)

Please find here the meeting invitation link. SAHSWI 2021 Annual meeting

If you have ZOOM installed on your device, you will be automatically connected to the meeting when you click on the link.The meeting will be opened 15 min prior to meeting start, do not press the link before that time.

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, (sahswi.org) 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 (sahswi.org)

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: Snooseboulevard.org)

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.

The Birdman of Koshkonong

22 04 2021

Don’t miss the next SAHSWI ZOOM meeting Saturday May 8 at 2 PM. 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.

Thure Kumlien was one of Wisconsin’s earliest Swedish settlers and an accomplished ornithologist, botanist, and naturalist in the mid-1800s. He settled on the shore of Lake Koshkonong in 1843 and soon began sending bird specimens to museums and collectors in Europe and the eastern United States, including the Smithsonian. Later, he prepared natural history exhibits for the University of Wisconsin and became the first curator of the new Milwaukee Public Museum.

“With the same keen eye and careful study that Thure Kumlien himself employed, Martha Bergland lifts the enigmatic man from the specimen drawers of history, restarts his heart, and sends him soaring. The sacred brotherhood of Increase Lapham, John Muir, Sigurd Olson, and Aldo Leopold has a new member.”
—B.J. Hollars, author of Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds

Marjorie Jothen 102 years!!

20 03 2021

During the SAHSWI March meeting 2021 we celebrated with Marge her 102nd birthday. “Goda Vänner” Carol Gustafson and Mary Stetson, led the ZOOM participants in singing “Happy Birthday” and followed up with “Ja må hon leva” on Violin. Then presented Marge with a fabulous birthday cake.

SAHSWI Past President Barbara Froemming spoke a tribute to Marge…

“This is a very special day! Our wonderful Marge Jothen is celebrating her birthday. This is not just any old birthday – this is Marge’s 102nd birthday. I’m not sure that all of you know Marge has been a member of the Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin since the mid-80s. She has always been a leader, having served on the Board of Directors for many of those years, and more recently, she served as President. Currently, Marge is our genealogy “guru,” helping our members who are searching for guidance in their family history pursuit, and also helping in the genealogy research room at Scandinavian Fests. AND, she has made sure our Society’s historical files have been properly maintained. I could go on and on, but let’s just say Marge has been a terrific role model, a mentor to many of us, and a great friend!”

Marge is 102 years young and has surpassed the Swedish birthday song, translated “may you live to be a 100”, a great accomplishment to stay young for so long.

Marge told her story in the 2019 March newsletter. “Between 1869 and 1892, my 4 grandparents, 4 great-grandparents, and 12 great-uncles and -aunts emigrated from Sweden, primarily from Småland, some from Östergötland and Dalsland, to settle mostly in Chisago County, Minnesota.” She has researched her family history and is the author of two books:

  • The Carlson Family: Sons of Carl Gustaf Petersson: Ancestors, Descendants and Emigration from Gärdserum, Småland, Sweden to Fish Lake, Chisago County, Minnesota, 1991 and  
  • Warme Swedish Ironsmiths: Descendants of Carl Werme (1711-1772) in Sweden and America, 2000.

In the article published in 2019 Marge continuesI’m proud of my Swedish heritage and have enjoyed learning more about it, traveling to Sweden 4 times and finding the areas of my heritage: Småland, Östergötland and Dalsland.”   However, researching Swedish heritage is only one part of her busy life:

  • Born in Minneapolis, MN on March 13, 1919 to Arthur Warme and Hannah Carlson Warme, when her father was serving in France, as a private in the 3rd Infantry in WWI. 
  • Moved to Milwaukee in 1921, and to Whitefish Bay in 1928 where school had program for music, art, and gym.
  • During the depression in 1930 Marge’s father lost his job at A.O.Smith resulting in difficult times. Marge explains We moved 4 times in Milwaukee before my father was able to borrow money for a down payment for an old house. Then we lived in a mansion on Prospect Avenue, my father got a job as a caretaker there and in addition to his salary, we also got to live there.”
  • Education BS in  Public Health Nursing (University of Minnesota) and MA in Educational Administration (UW-Milwaukee). 
  • Army nurse in WWII, serving in the South Pacific.    
  • Worked in public health nursing (Visiting Nurse Association) in Milwaukee for 25 years and advanced to Director
  • Continued as a Director in Madison for another 2 years responsible for the Handicapped Children Program.
  • Member of Swedish-American Historical Society of Wisconsin, Inc. (SAHSWI) for 38 years, served as Board member, Vice President, President, Historian, Julotta and Misommar committees and Founder and Coordinator of the Genealogy group

Marge is providing part of her heritage to the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. She is donating a collection of items relating to iron smithing, including rare iron muffin tins, a book including manufacturing and trade secrets of iron smithing written by her second cousin, and other items, which are included in exhibits by the Institute.