Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday–A Sad Little Grave Marker for Karen Carlsson

My awesome readers may have noticed that I’ve been kind of quiet here on my blog lately.  Well, there’s a fun reason for that.  My family and I just got home this last Saturday from a fun-filled week’s vacation in Utah.  We had a great time visiting with both immediate and extended family. 

Of course I made sure to include some family history in our trip.  We were able to visit two cemeteries and we got together with a 3rd cousin of mine who has in her possession the photo albums of my maternal 2nd great-grandparents (more about these amazing photo albums in a future post).

One of the cemeteries we visited was the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Salt Lake City Cemetery
Me with three of my sons in the background
Karen Johnsson Carlsson, my paternal 2nd great-grandmother, is buried there.  She was born in Sweden and immigrated to the United States sometime before 1910.  (The 1910 census states her year of immigration as 1891, but that conflicts with my grandmother’s vocal history.  I’d like to resolve this conflict in the near future.)

Karen Johnsson Carlsson

With anticipation we searched for Karen’s grave marker.  I have to say I was somewhat saddened when we finally found it.

Yes, I’m glad that Karen at least has a gravestone.  I just wish Karen’s grave marker was more than just a name on a slab of stone.  I think she deserves to be honored more than that.  So, we are looking into purchasing a more fitting grave marker for her.

This year, 2012, is the centennial anniversary of Karen’s death.  She was born in Gillberga, Sodermanland, Sweden on July 9, 1850.  She passed away on January 29, 1912 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I imagine the reason her grave marker isn’t more elaborate is because Karen’s daughter Hilda (my great-grandmother) and her family were probably still struggling immigrants at the time of Karen’s death.  I assume they couldn’t afford a more fitting gravestone for Karen.  Hilda and her family immigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1909 and 1910, only two to three years before Karen’s death.

The 1910 Census shows that Karen, who went by Carrie at this time, was living with Hilda and her family.

According to this census, Hilda and her husband Carl only spoke Swedish at that time.  Carrie was able to speak English, as it appears she had been living in the United States longer than her daughter’s family.

I’m so glad we were able to visit Karen’s grave, even though I was saddened to find her grave marker to be of a very humble nature.  I’m also glad we are planning on giving Karen a more fitting gravestone some day in the future.

Thanks for reading!


Copyright © Jana Last 2012


  1. Welcome back! I'm still having trouble getting back into the swing of things after a couple of trips this summer that included cemetery visits and new-to-me pictures and stories. Your plan to honor Carrie with a new grave marker is such a nice idea... Funny how we feel these strong connections to ancestors we never knew, but who speak to us today.

    1. Thanks Kathy for stopping by! Yes, it just bothered me to see her grave marker as it is. A row or two over from Carrie's grave we saw a large monument with the inscription on the back stating that it was purchased by the descendants of that person buried there. They must have had the same feelings I had after seeing their ancestor buried there.

  2. But the good news is you can READ the thing!

    1. Very true Wendy, very true! And I'm thankful for that.

    2. I agree with Wendy. Also, there was a marker. I have thought about purchasing some modest stones to replace the stones that either were never placed or have been destroyed for some family members myself. Just don't know if it works into the budget right yet.

      Good luck with your memorial project. We'll be excited to see how it turns out.

    3. Thanks for stopping by Devon! Yes, I am very glad there at least is a marker for Karen. I am hoping that some of us descendants can pool our money to buy a modest marker that at least has her birth and death dates and places included as well.




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