Nelson/Nilsson Family History

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Nelsons, 1904
The Nilsson family, 1904, New York

Henning, Eric and Inez Nelson, summer 1902
The Nilsson family, 1894, Stockholm, Sweden

Henning, Eric and Inez Nelson, summer 1902
Henning, Eric and Inez Nelson, summer 1902, Stockholm, Sweden

My great- grandfather

Eric Adolph Alexander Nelson
b: 12/12/1889 Stockholm, Sweden
d: 5/26/1968 Huntington, NY

My great- grandmother

Esther Debora Johansson
b: 2/7/1891 Gothenburg, Sweden
d: 1993 NY

My paternal grandfather

Robert Henning Nelson
b: 5/22/1921 Brooklyn, NY
d: 3/27/1985 Huntington, NY


The Nilsson Family

Claes Nilsson
Claes (or Klas) Nilsson
b: 1/15/1861 Gothenburg, Sweden
d: 12/18/1942 Brooklyn, NY
  Matilda Wilhelmina Adamson
Matilda Wilhelmina Adamson
b: 9/1/1856 Nättraby, Blekinge County, Sweden
d: 12/26/1905 NY
  Eric Nelson
Erik Adolf Alexander Nilsson
b: 12/12/1889 Stockholm, Sweden
d: 5/26/1968 Huntington, NY
  Henning Nelson
Henning Olof Klas Nilsson
b: 9/25/1892 Stockholm, Sweden
d: 2/4/1977 New York
  Inez Nelson
Inez Brita Matilda Nilsson
b: 9/25/1892 Stockholm, Sweden
d: 1918 New York

The Johansson Family

My great-grandmother Esther Debora Johansson was the only one in her family to immigrate to and remain in the United States. Her family was:

Carl August Johansson b. 5/3/1852 Foss Parish, Gothenburg County, Sweden
Ida Margareta Abrahamsdotter b. 7/20/1849 Månstorp, Vellinge Municipality, Skåne County, Sweden
Married 1/12/1879

Their children:
  • Torborg Ragnhild Johansson b. 6/24/1879 Domkyrko Parish, Gothenburg, Sweden; d. 7/28/1964 Sweden
    Emigrated to America 10/3/1899, moved back to Sweden 3/6/1905
    Married to Robert Leonard Blomberg b. 1878 d. 9/13/1928
  • Hugo Maximinus Johansson b. 5/29/1881 Domkyrko Parish, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Elin Irene Margareta Johansson b. 7/12/1885 Kristine Parish, Gothenburg, Sweden; d. 4/30/1954 Sweden
    Married to Anders Sjöberg, d. 10/28/1910
  • Simson Laurentius Gottfrid Johansson b. 1888 d. 1/10/1892 (died from measles, about age 4)
  • Ester Debora Johansson b. 2/7/1891 Kristine Parish, Gothenburg, Sweden; d. 1993, New York
  • Daga Maria Johansson b. 4/1/1893 Kristine Parish, Gothenburg, Sweden; d. 1/8/1969 in Sweden (unmarried)
Source: Swedish census records

1890 and 1900 Swedish Censuses

1900 Census

Nilsson Family
Location: City/county: Stockholm; Parish: Maria Magdalena rote (ward) 16
  • Klas Nilsson, b. 1861; Torpa, Älvsborgs län (county - now Västra Götalands län); Occupation: Bryggeriarbetare (worker at brewery)
  • Matilda Wilhelmina, b. 1856; Nättraby, Blekinge län
  • Erik Adolf Alexander, b. 1889; Adolf Fredrik (parish), Stockholms stad (city)
  • Henning Olof Klas, b. 1892; Adolf Fredrik, Stockholms stad
  • Inez Brita Matilda, b. 1892; Adolf Fredrik, Stockholms stad
Johansson Family
Location: Sjätte Roten 1 A, Göteborgs Kristine
  • Johannisson*, Carl August, b. 1852, father (Occupation: policeman)
  • Abrahamsdotter, Ida Margareta, b. 1849, mother
  • Hugo Maximinus, b. 1881, child
  • Elin Irene Margareta, b. 1885, child
  • Ester Debora, b. 1891, child
  • Daga Maria, b. 1893, child
* Misspelling

1890 Census

Nilsson Family
City/county: Stockholm; Parish: Adolf Fredrik
  • Claes Nilson, b. 1861; Torpa, Elfsb.; Occupation: Handelsbitr. (shop assistant)
  • Matilda Vilhelmina Adamson, b. 1856; Nättraby, Blek.
  • Erik Adolf Alexander, b. 1889


Immigration: Nilsson Family, 1903

The Nilsson family arrived in New York from Stockholm, Sweden on October 19, 1903. The passenger list for their ship, the SS United States reads:

Nilsson,Klas42 yrs 8 mons
"Mathilda47 yrs 1 month
"Erik13 yrs 9 mons
"Henning10 yrs 11 mons
"Ines10 yrs 11 mons
Nelson passenger list

It indicates Klas' occupation as "laborer" and that they plan to stay with "Brother-in-law John Ferdon at 1536 128th St., N.Y. City."

Henning Nelson later wrote about the trip:

Our last address in Stockholm: Brännkyrkogatan 152.

We are on our way to U.S.A. the 7th of October 1903.

We arrived at quarantine late Sunday afternoon Oct. 18th off Ft. Wadsworth S.I. and disembarked on Ellis Island Monday forenoon October 19th, 1903. Here Aunt Maria* (Mrs. John J. Ferdon) and Aunt Nanny** (Mrs. Carl Adamson) met us for the ferry ride to Manhattan and then to 152 E. 128th St. via 3rd Ave. elevated line. This address then became our first home in New York.

En route to the elevated station we encountered a barking dog which prompted me to remark to mother, "Mamma, titta mamma! Hunden skäller på svenska." (Translated: "Mom, look mom! The dog barks in Swedish!") My aunts and mother got a chuckle out of that one.

Uncle John greeted us most cordially. Brother Eric and I spent part of the evening on the floor looking over some cancelled postage stamps.

* Aunt Maria is Matilda's older sister, married to John Ferdon, the brother-in-law mentioned in the immigration record.
** Aunt Nanny is Matilda's sister-in-law, the wife of Matilda's younger brother Carl Adamson.

Immigration: Esther Johansson, 1912

Esther Johansson arrived in New York from Gothenburg, Sweden on November 12, 1912. The passenger list for her ship, the Hellig Olav, reads:

  • Johanson, Ester*
  • Age 21, female, single
  • Occupation: Domestic, can read & write
  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Last residence: Göteborg, Sweden (Gothenburg)
  • Relative: Father, Carl Aug. Johanson, Göteborg
* Misspelling of her name
Esther Johansson passenger list

Naturalization: Claes Nelson, 1912

Claes Nelson Naturalization Certificate

Certificate of Naturalization - Claes Nelson

  • Issued June 7, 1912 to Claes Nelson
  • Address: 645 48th St. Brooklyn, NY
  • Description of holder: Age, 51 years; height, 5 feet, 9 inches; color, white; complexion, fair; color of eyes, blue; color of hair, brown
  • Name, age and place of residence of wife: Elina Nelson, 47 years; 645 48th St., Brooklyn, NY
  • Names, ages and places of residence of minor children: Henning and Inez, 19 yrs (twins), Brooklyn, NY

1920 and 1930 U.S. Censuses

1920 Census

Nelsons, 1920 census

Eric, Esther and Viola Nelson
  • Home in 1920: Brooklyn Assembly District 16, Kings, New York
  • Eric Nelson, 30 (Born Sweden; immigrated 1903, naturalized 1914)
  • Esther Nelson, 29 (Born Sweden; naturalized 1913)
  • Viola Nelson, 2 years 2 months

In the same house:
Claes and Elina Nelson
  • Claes Nelson, 53 (Born Sweden; immigrated 1903, naturalized 1912)
  • Elina Nelson, 52 (Born Sweden; immigrated 1889, naturalized 1912) (Claes' second wife)

1930 Census

Nelsons, 1930 census

Eric, Esther and Robert Nelson
  • Home in 1930: Eastchester, Westchester, New York
  • Eric Nelson, 40
  • Esther Nelson, 39
  • Robert Nelson, 8

Claes and Elina Nelson
  • Home in 1930: Brooklyn, Kings, New York
  • Claes Nelson, 69; occupation: machinist - foundry
  • Elina Nelson, 64

Henning and Lottie Nelson
  • Home in 1930: Brooklyn, Kings, New York
  • Henning Nelson 37; occupation: designer - machinery
  • Lottie Nelson, 34

Esther Nelson - Passport Application, 1923


Esther Nelson applied for a passport on May 11, 1923 (see application), in preparation for her and her 2-year-old son Robert to take a trip to Sweden. The passport application includes a photo of her and Robert (above right) although the scanned image is of poor quality. Esther's passport application reads:

  • State of New York, County of Kings N.Y.
  • Name: Esther Debora Nelson
  • Married Brooklyn N.Y. Feb. 3, 1917
  • Accompanied by minor son, Robert Nelson, age 2 years, born Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Born in Gothenburg, Sweden on Feb. 7, 1891
  • Resided in the U.S. since Nov. 14, 1912
  • Husband Eric A. A. Nelson, born in Sweden on Dec. 12, emigrated to the U.S. Oct. 9, 1903, naturalized as a citizen in Brooklyn N.Y. on April 29, 1913
  • Residence: 1074 71st St. Brooklyn N.Y.
  • Occupation: house wife
  • Planning to go abroad to Sweden for the purpose of visiting
  • Intending to leave from the Port of New York on board the S.S. Drottningholm on June 9, 1923
  • Description of applicant: age 32 years, stature 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches, eyes grey, hair brown
  • Attested to by Elina Nelson (Esther's step-mother in-law, Claes' second wife), a naturalized citizen residing at 752 55th St. Brooklyn, N.Y., who has known Esther for 7 years
  • Signed on May 11, 1923

Source: > U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 > Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490) > 1923 > Roll 2259 - Certificates: 286850-287349, 14 May 1923-15 May 1923

Military Drafts: 1917 and 1942

U.S. World War I Draft Registration, 1917

Eric Nelson, WWI draft card

Eric Nelson filled out his military draft registration card for World War I on June 5, 1917. He registered in Kings County, NY. His address was 103 30th St. Brooklyn NY. Date of birth: Dec. 12 1889. He was described as tall, of medium build, blue eyes and brown hair.

Source: > World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 > New York > Brooklyn City > 37 > Draft Card N

U.S. World War II Draft Registration Card, 1942 ("Fourth Registration")

Eric Nelson, 1942 draft card

In 1942, men born between 1877 and 1897 (between 45 and 64 years old) had to sign up for the Fourth Registration for World War II (this is also known as the "old man's registration.")

Eric Alexander Nelson
  • Address: 1280 Pacific St., Brooklyn, Kings, NY
  • Age 52, born 12/12/1889, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Name and address of person who will always know your address: Mrs. E. Nelson, 1280 Pacific St., Brooklyn, NY
  • Employer: International Projector Corp., 90 Gold St., NYC
  • Race white, height 6 ft, weight 190, complexion light, eyes blue, hair brown

Source: > U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 > Citation: Roll: WW2_2370496; Local board: Kings, New York