Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Boston Connection

The Gustaf and Emelia (Jonsson) Frykman Family
Cambridge, MA circa 1925

I don't remember exactly when it happened, but one day my Dad called me to say that his cousin, Betty (Dolan) Dix, had something for me. It was this picture. Of course, no one recognized anyone in the picture and didn't know who it was. My Dad should have known, but he probably didn't look that close. But I knew. What a treasure it was, and it opened up a number of doors for me to find out more about family I knew was in the Boston area, and then also our Swedish roots.
Luckily, I remembered some other pictures Dad had given me years earlier. In one of  them he identified one of  the ladies in this family picture, a cousin he had only met once, maybe twice, maybe three times. The women sitting on the far left is cousin Hedvig (that's right, Hedvig - I just recently learned they called her "Hattie") nee Frykman Johnson.
Here's the connection. The matriarch of this family, the woman on the far right, is Emelia (nee Jonsson) Frykman. She is my 2nd Great Aunt, Dad's Great Aunt. She is the sister of our Great Grandmother (Grampa Dolan's mother), Augusta (nee Jonsson) Ljungberg Dolan. This is part  of our Swedish connection.
The Frykman family came to the USA in 1893, Gustaf, Emelia (Emily), and the two girls they had at that time, Hedvig and Lilly. Lilly is the one seated front and right of center. Thy settled in Boston and lived in Cambridge. The generations of the family pictured above are all dead now. Gustaf died in 1933 and the last surviving child of the Frykman girls (not born yet when this was taken) died in 2009.
There is more I could say about what I learned about the Frykmans, but the "Jottings" is not the place for it. But there are a couple of sidebars worth mentioning - from what I think is the least interesting to the most interesting. When daughter Amy lived in Boston, we were able to locate the Frykman house and visited graves. Since then I have been in email contact with a granddaughter of Lily Frykman.
In 1937 Dad drove Grampa Dolan out to Boston. Gramma Dolan was returning via ship from her one and only return home to England (another story for another time.) I have a picture of Dad with his cousin Clarence Johnson (the boy sitting, left, holding his mother's hand) outside the Frykman house. Dad may have also seen this family when he was in in the Navy in WWII.
Finally, Great Gramma (Ljungberg) Dolan, saw her sister only once after they parted as young ladies in Sweden. The clip below from the Cambridge newspaper tells the story.


  1. Wow. I know that I've heard at least parts of this story before. I can't imagine not seeing my sister for 42 years!!! A few months seems too long for me.

    I also love remembering some of the phone conversations that I had with my Grandpa Dolan when I lived in Boston. One day he gave me very specific directions to a little pub near the Navy Yard. I was supposed to go there and tell the owner that Harry Dolan says hi. Then he laughed that awesome grandpa laugh. He also did a pretty amazing job of giving me a tour of that ship in the Navy Yard by phone. His descriptions were pretty impressive.

  2. I would have enjoyed being on that tour of the ship with Grampa. It would have been interesting.