Sunday, April 24, 2011

Alex Elge/Johnson - yet another twist..

I have now found the departure records for the Montana Elges in 1887. These records confirm some of my hunches, and adds yet another twist to the mystery of Alex´identity.

They did indeed emigrate from Oslo - or Kristiania, as the city was known at the time. Alexander, Maria, Edvard, Otto, Beata and Ernfrid Elge all depart Kristiania on March 4, 1887, on board the Elster Line´s ship "Rollo", with Helena, Montana, stated as their final destination. Rollo was a feeder ship which took them to Hull in England. Here they would board a train across England to Liverpool, where they boarded the Britannic for their Atlantic crossing.

Now come the interesting parts. They all use the Americanized spelling "Elge" already when boarding the ship in Kristiania. Alexander Elge is a US citizen, unmarried, and his age is listed as 36 years, which means he was born around 1850, not 1861 as listed in the 1900 Helena census.

A birth year of 1850 matches my prime suspect, that Alexander was in fact Per August Elg. It also gives him time to establish the ranch in Wyoming around 1877. Perhaps it was not "Alexander Johnson" who died, as stated in Margaret´s history of the ranch, but his wife Sophia? After which Alexander decides to make a fresh start with his younger siblings in Montana?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Alex Elge/Johnson - the mystery deepens..

In a previous blogpost (November 2009) I mentioned the mysterious Alexander Elge/Johnson, who is nowhere to be found in Swedish records. In the 1900 US Census for Helena, Montana, Alex Johnson, born Aug 1861 in Sweden is a boarder in the family of Nels & Marie Nelson. Marie is Maria Sofia Elg, who married Nels Nelson in Helena, Montana, in 1889. The family´s address is 1050 Bedford Street.

The birth date matches the age in the 1887 passenger manifest, which makes him too young to be Per August Elg, and also too young to have settled the Johnson ranch in Laramie.

This was a lucky find as I was searching for Maria Sofia. Unfortunately, there are too many Alex Johnsons in the census database to go through them all to see if he can be found under this name in other censuses.

Since my previous post I have double-checked all possible Swedish records:
There are no departure records for any of the 1887 Montana emigrants. No doubt they slipped away through Norway, without notifying the authorities. Swedish parish records for the Johan Elg family show no Alexander - or any son born in 1861 - and there are no gaps in the record.

Furthermore, there is no Alexander or Sophia at all in Swedish emigration records from their part of the country in 1877-79 (when Alexander and Sophia first emigrated according to Margaret Johnson´s history of the Laramie ranch), and no possible Elg from any part of Sweden during the same years.

Yet, Alexander Elge, born abt 1860, travels with Frans Otto, Edward and Maria Sophia according to the 1887 US Arrival records, and in 1900 Alex Johnson, b 1861, is living with Maria Sophia´s family..