Monday, June 24, 2013

"Left Forefinger Off"

According to Carl Albert Gillberg's two Declarations of Intention to become a U.S. citizen, he had a distinctive mark.  This was listed as "Left Forefinger Off."  I hadn't really looked for this distinguishing characteristic of Carl's until now.  If you look closely at the two photos below, you can see that the tip of Carl's left forefinger is indeed missing.

Carl and Hilda Gillberg and Family
Carl and Hilda Gillberg
and Family

Carl Albert Gilberg 1962 in La Puente, California
Carl Albert Gillberg
in La Puente, California
1962

So, I wonder how it happened. How did Carl lose the tip of his left forefinger? Or was it that way at birth?

According to a passenger list, Carl was a
Tinsmith in Sweden. Perhaps he had a workplace accident and that's how he lost the tip of his forefinger.  I can definitely understand how this could have happened after reading about tinsmithing. Wikipedia provided interesting information about the tools a tinsmith uses:

"Tinsmithing tools"

"The simple shapes made by the tinsmith required only a few basic tools. In addition to the big shears anchored in a hole in his bench he used hand snips and nippers for cutting. The tin was flattened on an anvil made of a block of steel. Straight and curved anvils (stakes) were used to turn and roll the edges of the tin. Solder was then used to join the pieces together; a soldering iron and fire pot were needed to do this."

Whether or not Carl's Tinsmith profession was the cause of his missing forefinger, I may never know.  But what I do know is that valuable and interesting information contained in two Declarations of Intention caused me to look more carefully at photos I've had for a while now.  And that's a good thing.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last

14 comments:

  1. It is funny how genealogy findings come up and how they makes you go back and re-examine things that you've had around you for your whole life. If that happened in an accident...oh man that must of hurt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrea,

      Yes, I agree with you. If Carl lost his fingertip in an accident it must have hurt terribly!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. What an interesting observation to find on a declaration! Come to think of it, the natural thing, in looking at a photograph, would usually be to look at the face first, so a detail like this might have been overlooked.

    Jana, your mention of two Declarations of Intent piques my interest, as I may have such a possibility in one of my lines. I've questioned others' suggestion that I might have two regarding the same person, but I see from your post here that that can happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jacqi,

      Oh yes, two declarations can definitely happen, as was the case with my great-grandpa Carl. It would appear that he didn't complete the naturalization process within the required seven years of filling out the first declaration, so he had to file another one.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Easy if he was a tin smith he most likely lost it at work getting it chopped off in a guillotine, back in those days they did not have guards. I've seen a lot of people I worked with having the tips of their fingers missing. Engineering could be dangerous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bill,

      Yikes! I guess that was hazardous work indeed.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Ouch! Poor Carl. I do love the way one little piece of information causes to look more closely at something we never noticed before. And then, sometimes, we keep looking and find out even more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kathy,

      Yep! It's closely examining documents and photos, etc. that can prove to be so interesting in our family history, isn't it?

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. I found myself wincing just reading that description of tinsmithing. I agree with the others that the Declarations opened up a whole new world for you as you revisited those old photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wendy,

      I know what you mean about that tinsmithing description - big shears, hand snips and nippers? Yikes!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. Whew! So cutting was part of Carl's job. That calls up a teeth-gritting scenario. But you are right that without examining those precious documents closely we would never guess this fact about Carl -- we would probably explain the photos some other way or not notice them at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mariann,

      Yep! And that's just what I did. I didn't even notice Carl's missing fingertip at all in those photos. Without close examination of those documents, I would have completely missed an interesting fact about Carl's life.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Jana: Just want to let you know that I have mentioned this and your earlier post about Carl in this week's Saturday Serendipity!

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John,

      Wow! Thank you so very much! I'm honored!

      Delete

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