Saturday, May 5, 2012

Matrilineal Monday: Flour Sack Dresses–Ingrid Anna Gilberg

Ingrid Gillberg

This is my paternal grandmother, Ingrid Anna Gilberg. She was born on November 5, 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Her parents were Carl Albert Gillberg and Hilda Maria Carlsson, both of whom were born in Sweden.  Carl and Hilda immigrated to the United States in 1909 and 1910, respectively.  Ingrid was the sixth of ten children:

  1. Judith Maria  (b. 1898 in Sweden)
  2. Margaret Limpea (b. 1902 in Sweden)
  3. Carl Martin (b. 1904 – d. 1906 in Sweden)
  4. Naomi Hildegard (b. 1907 in Sweden)
  5. Ruth Katherine (b. 1911 in Utah)
  6. Ingrid Anna (b. 1913 in Utah)
  7. Helen Albertina (b. 1915 in Utah)
  8. Ida Martina (b. 1916 in Utah)
  9. Edith Elizabeth (b. 1916 in Utah)
  10. Ruby Hilda (b. 1920 in Utah)


Gilberg Carlsson Family
Gillberg Family

Ingrid shared her personal history vocally back in 1977.  My dad, Jan Iverson, recorded this history.  It is so precious and in it Ingrid tells about her life and even sings Swedish songs.  Here’s a little snippet from Ingrid’s life where she tells about wearing flour sack dresses in her own words:

“And I remember of (sic) mother taking flour sacks that father brought home and making clothing.  She would take these flour sacks and she would dye them.  And she would make dresses out of them.  She would crotchet around them….And she would make quilts out of these flour sacks.  My father was a very good provider and he worked very hard for his family.  But we were, to an extent, poor.  There were times when we didn’t have shoes to go to church.”

Carl’s occupation is listed as a baker in both the 1920 census in Salt Lake City, Utah and the 1930 census in Los Angeles, California.  The family relocated to Los Angeles because during the Great Depression Carl was out of work and couldn’t find employment in Salt Lake City.  Ingrid’s two older sisters were living in Los Angeles, so Carl went there to find employment.  Once Carl saved enough money to support the family, Hilda and the rest of the family came to Los Angeles to join him.

I can't imagine how difficult life must have been for my grandmother and her family during the Great Depression.  I'm sure I sometimes take for granted the relative ease of my life compared with my grandmother's and others' lives during that time in history.  After all, I have never had to wear dresses made from flour sacks or go to church without shoes.

It was while Ingrid was in Los Angeles that she met her future husband, Arthur Harry Iverson.  They were married in Ely, Nevada in 1931, where her parents had moved because of an employment opportunity.  I shared a picture from their wedding day in my post Wedding Wednesday - Arthur Harry Iverson and Ingrid Anna Gilberg.

Ingrid passed away on December 25, 2002 in Vancouver, Washington.

Thanks for reading!



Copyright © Jana Last 2012

18 comments:

  1. Wow you look a lot like your grandmother! Beautiful photo.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Andrea, and for the compliment! I hadn't really thought of that before. :)

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  2. Pretty girl -- and such beautiful curls! Yeah, those Depression era stories are sometimes hard to hear. But they are good reminders to be grateful every day.

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    1. Hi Wendy! Thanks for stopping by! Isn't it great to have these stories of our ancestors so we can know what they went through in their lives? Like you said, they are good reminders to be grateful every day.

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  3. Your eyes definitely look like Ingrid's. I didn't see it until Andrea commented. WOW!

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    1. Hi Cindy! Hmmm, it is interesting. I always thought my eyes looked like my great-grandma Esther's. I guess I'm just a combo-kid. Personally I think our niece (won't name her because of privacy) looks uncannily like Grandma Ingrid, don't you agree? Genes are funny things!

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  4. My grandma has told me stories of flour sack dresses, too. But she enjoyed the creativity that came with turning them into something and it sounds like your relatives felt the same. I, too, love her curls!

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    1. Hi Heather! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've done a little research on google and apparently making clothing out of flour or feed sacks was more common than I thought.

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  5. A lovely story from the engaging title of the Flour Sack Dresses, and the beatiful photograph of Ingrid to the family picture and the fact you had Ingrid's own memories. You conveyed so well what life must have been like in those times.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments Susan! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and for leaving a comment. Thanks again!

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  6. Ingrid Anna, was a very beautiful girl. She must have looked stunning even in a flour sack dress. How hard it must have been for this nice family. My mother was born 1910 and at times when the first world war was raging, they lived in the South of Austria,her mother would send out the children to look for food in the fields. My mother said they found usually tiny potatoes which they roasted and ate. We as children were never allowed to throw out food it was "anathema". My mother always said Old bread is not hard no bread is hard. It was different then if one thinks of the food that is wasted now. It is so very interesting to read your families memories.

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    1. Hi Titania,

      Wow! Thanks for sharing your mom's experiences as a little girl. I think we take so much for granted these days and don't always appreciate the plenty that we are blessed with.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments!

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  7. Don't know how I missed this one - maybe it was when I was out of town and out of touch. I thought I saw a resemblance to you as well. Is that little Ingrid standing on the far right? My grandparents had a very hard time during the Depression too. I haven't written much about it yet. I know it was a very difficult time for so many families.

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    1. Hi Kathy,

      I think Ingrid is the little girl standing next to her dad. I can't imagine how difficult the Depression must have been for people back then. I'm really thankful to have written records sharing the struggles of my ancestors during that time. It gives a glimpse of how they handled a trying time in history.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  8. Jana, now I remember, the mother made the dresses pretty, with dye and crochet, so ingenious we women are!

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    1. Hi Titania,

      Yes, my great-grandmother was so clever. I can't imagine all the work that went into making those flour sacks into pretty dresses.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. A beautiful story, it's so easy to forget how tough it could be back then.

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    1. Hi Sarah,

      Yes, it is so very easy to forget how difficult our ancestors' lives may have been. I'm very thankful my grandmother wrote down her memories for us to have.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I really appreciate your kind comments.

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