Passports, borders, and norms in 1847 and 2017

Before our travel through Europe, I ordered a new passport as the one I had would expire within 6 months’ time. But once inside EU, would I actually need a passport on our journey? Would one need to show any photo ID on any train or ferry?

We started our journey in Stockholm and no ID was needed. Then we took the ferry from Trelleborg (Sweden) to Travemünde (Germany) – no passport or ID was requested to pass this border. Now we were in Germany and travelling by train, and no ID was ever requested – just valid train tickets which Kerstin had on her iPhone. Augusta had spent some time with customs in Prague, but we, on our train from Bad Schandau (Germany) to Prague (Czech Republic), only had to show the electronic tickets and got reprimanded that our suitcases were in the way.

The German-Austrian border control in 1847

12 July 1847

“On July 12th we went with the steamship Germania from Schandau and arrived at Obristwy at 12 o’clock in the morning. We immediately took a diligence and arrived at Prague’s customs port at 3 o’clock in the morning. There, for another hour, we had the pleasure of staying while gentlemen police officers busied themselves with our suitcases and passports. Completely bored and exhausted, we then traveled around in search of a hotel where we could get some rest. The first one that we encountered was Hotel de Saxe, where we at 6 o’clock in the morning happily took in.”

Augusta’s description of the border control between the German Confederation and the Austrian Empire is similar to that of another Swedish woman, Sophie von Knorring, who a year earlier had made the same trip. Sophie’s husband was a baron and, according to her letters home, she took advantage of her noble name when crossing the border.

”Finally, at half past 7 in the evening, we arrived in Prague where our first entrance was unpleasant. For half an hour we had to wait in the square for the passport control, and to our chagrin, being scolded.”   …   ”Eventually, a police or whatever they are called, open the door to our carriage and demanded that we step down and go into the customs office to have our luggage inspected. This didn’t take long. It was clever of us to have labelled all our belongings with Baron v. K or our coat of arms, because it protected us from the unpleasant inspections and immediately showed that we were not merchants. So far, no one has opened our trunks or night bags, and we have not given anyone any bribes. They simply say: Yes, Your Lordship certainly has nothing besides what is needed. Then, with a polite nod, they continue with the next travelers and tear up all their Gepäck.”

Traveling from Germany to Sweden via Denmark in 2017

Our return trip by train from Prague to Hamburg was also uneventful – only the one-time scanning of our tickets.

From Hamburg, we had first-class tickets all the way to Stockholm. Kerstin and I found our reserved seats and made our selves comfortable. We still had a few minutes before the train would leave when a couple approached us. The woman scrutinized our attire – our wide, long skirts and our shawls – and in a rude way demanded that we leave, as she and her companion had tickets for the same seats. So far on our trip, we had only met friendly people so we were both taken back by her hostility. We explained that we had indeed tickets to the seats where we were sitting, and questioning what tickets she had. She was adamant that we were sitting in the wrong car. Now another couple got involved and started to compare tickets as well. In the end, she was convinced that she in fact was in the wrong car. We had first-class tickets and she did not. Did we not fit the norm of first-class ticket holders? She was not very apologetic when she left the car.

We were very few people in the first-class compartment. Behind us were three young men in their late 20s. They didn’t look like business travelers, nor like guys going on vacation, and for guys travelling together, they didn’t speak much. One was sleeping with his head on the table in front of him and the other two were shifting seats. Why are we, in this day and age, easily suspicious when others don’t behave according to some norms? Did they behave differently? Not really. Maybe we are just worried about young men in a group?

We had not traveled too far when suddenly the door behind us opened and three other men entered. Everyone in the train car looked up. The first man had a short sleeve, untucked cotton shirt – a shirt suitable for a beach vacation – unusual clothing for travelling in October. He was probably in his early 50s, with thinning hair and glasses. He reminded me of actor Paul Giammati in the movie Sideways. Behind him were two younger, muscular men in black jackets and jeans. They did not smile. Now, why was I getting nervous about them? Yong men in a group, not fitting some norm of travelers?

The three men who had just entered the car surrounded the first three men and started asking questions: Where were they coming from and where were they going? Which luggage belonged to them? I didn’t hear the answers, but the new men had decided that the first men were OK.

Then the short-sleeve man came over to us. He flipped an ID badge like some serious cop in an American movie and said something in German. Was the ID badge real? Or did it say, – I am just an actor? I decided not to joke.

Where are you coming from? he asked.

Kerstin and I looked at each other – dressed in our 1840s outfits, we really did not fit any norms. We were coming from 1847 and visiting 2017. But to others, we could have belonged to some religious sect, or be refugees from a rural area where women our age would also wear wide, full-length skirts and bonnets.

Kerstin answered politely that we had traveled around Germany, and showed them all our luggage.

Everyone in the car had passed the test.

So far, we had not showed any photo ID going through any border or boarding any train or ferry. That was about to change. We were entering Denmark from Germany.

The train pulled onto the ferry between Puttgarden (Germany) and Rødby (Denmark) for a short, but stormy crossing. All passengers had to leave the train and take the steps up to the ferry restaurant. After a quick beer it was time to return to the train.

Before the first stop in Denmark, we had a visit from the Danish passport control. The first ID check on our whole trip! A Swedish man pulled out his driver’s license and was reprimanded that it was not considered a valid travel document, but they let him pass anyway.

In Copenhagen, we changed to a Swedish train and were told to have our passports ready before the first stop in Sweden. Now the Swedish police came on board – two young friendly officers, who were dressed in uniform and didn’t flash any ID badges. They wanted to see our passports but were also interested in our destinations. The three men behind us showed the officer their passports and told her that they were heading to Norway via Stockholm. Have a nice journey, said the nice-looking police woman.

My new passport had only been requested on arrival in Denmark, and in Sweden when arriving from Denmark. The reason for border police and customs inspections have certainly changed and will continue to change. And some day, the passport – a little ID booklet where border police can stamp your arrival and departure – will seem like a very inefficient way of keeping track of travelers.

Sista breven från mamma

Jag sitter och skriver av originalbreven mellan Augusta och hennes mamma. De sista breven. Augusta orkar bara skriva några rader, sedan fyller maken Adolf på med beskrivningar av Augustas sista dagar.

Detta tidningsurklipp skickade Augustas mamma till henne redan 1853.

I början av juli 1855 är Augusta så sjuk av sin Tuberkulos att hon och maken Adolf beslutar sig för att åka till Varberg. Kanske hade de redan tidigare bestämt det, badsäsongens bokningar gjordes nog redan på vårkanten. Men det måste varit ett svårt beslut, att när hon var så sjuk, faktiskt lämna sin mamma och sin ettåriga lilla dotter på Loddby. Förmodligen med vetskapen om att hon aldrig skulle återse dem. I brevväxlingen med sin mamma berättar hon om den mödosamma resan, först med häst och vagn till Söderköping och sedan med ångbåt på Göta Kanal till Göteborg. Till en början var det otroligt hett, därefter började det regna. I Göteborg gick ingen ångbåt vidare till Varberg utan de fick hyra en vagn med sufflett. Och det fortsatte bara att regna hela resan. Augusta var så medtagen av resan, speciellt med den skumpande hästskjutsen de sista dagarna.


 Warberg d: 6 juli 1855

Älskade Madi!

Af dessa få rader vet Madi att jag är vid lif, men jag är så svag och klen att jag omöjligen kan skrifva mer än några få ord. Adolf min välsignade öfverträffliga make har lofvat med några penndrag säga vår kära gamla Madi hur och när vi kommo hit. Adieu gamla välsignade gumma.

Din tillgifna dotter Augusta.

Mamma Anna (Madi):

Loddby d: 11 juli 1855

Mitt Innerligt Älskade Barn
I en ständig oro lefver jag här, då jag ej vet huru det är med dig min lilla stackars martyr. Gud gifve att du funne dig nogot bättre och att det fanns nogonting som kunde smaka dig och styrka dina flyende krafter.


Warberg d: 23 juli 1855

Älskade Madi!

Gud välsigne den doctor Strömqvist! Ty han har räddat mig.

Hälsa Anna och Gerda. Gud bevare barnet. Adieu älskade Madiadi!
Din lydiga dotter Augusta

Tyvärr blev det inte så. Doktor Strömqvist var nog en bra doktor. Han ordinerade stärkande bouillon, men Tuberkulosen kunde inte ens han råda bot för. I brevet beskriver Adolf vidare hur Augusta fått krampanfall och hur doktorn snabbt var på plats för att ordinera frottering av kroppen med kamferliniment.

”Men just under det vi hållo på att äta, mama, så stelnar hon plötsligt och förlorar i ett ögonblick allt medvetande. Knifven släpptes i golvet, gaffeln förblef hårdt quar i handen, hufvudet drogs bakut och  en stel kramp höll under ett par minuter kroppen orörlig. Omedelbart derefter armar och ben skakade af våldsamma konvulsiva ryckningar.”

28 juli avled Augusta och vi vet ännu inte om det var av själva Tuberkulosen eller om kramperna orsakades av en tidigare felaktig behandling av sin doktor i Stockholm. De brev som beskriver dessa misstankar är försvunna, men de nämns i efterkommande brev.

Och sorgligt nog fick inte mamma Anna beskedet förrän flera dagar senare. Så när Augusta redan varit död i tre dagar skriver hon ovetandes till Adolf.

Loddby 31 juli 1855

Min älskade Adolf!

… Skulle hon komma sig, är det säkert nödvändigt att akta henne för kall luft, bäst att i sitt fönster inandas sjöluften. Det är visst nyttigt att hvarje afton tvätta henne med ljumt rött vin.Finns ingen möjlighet att åt henne få något verksamt motgift. Med fasa motser jag nästa post. Gud hjälp oss bära så mycken sorg. Lefver den älskade varelsen så gif henne från mig en puss och min välsignelse!


Augusta ligger begravd på Östra kyrkogården i Varberg. Där ligger även doktor Strömqvist!



Allt strålar samman i Norrköping

Ibland talar man om kantarellögon, att sedan man fått upp ögonen och sett en kantarell, plötsligt ser en hel mängd. Vi har stött på många kantareller senaste tiden!


Sara och jag har tidigare skrivit om Augustas svåger och välgörare, Gustaf Lejdenfrost. Han var textilfabrikör i Norrköping under ett par årtionden i mitten på 1800-talet. Det finns inte mycket skrivet om honom och hans verksamhet. I Statistik öfver Sverige, grundad på offentliga handlingar från 1842, finns Gustaf nämnd.


”Klädestillverkningen bedrefs 1842 vid 124 fabriker med 698 väfstolar och 4,009 arbetare, till ett värde av 4,482,948 R:dr. Norrköping fortfar att vara Rikets förnämsta stad för denna slags tillverkning: der har vid 83 fabriker med 463 väfstolar och 2,681 arbetare blifvit tillverkade 501,634 alnar kläde och 49,632 aln. andre sfega ylleväfnader, uppskattade till 3,392,036 Rrdr. Bolaget Söderberg och Arosenius, J. J. Schubert, Chr. Lenning, C J. Bergvall och G. Lejdenfrost äro de betydligaste.”

Sedan verkar Gustaf Lejdenfrost ha lämnat själva industrin och istället ägnat sig åt ullimport. I ovanstående lilla text återfinner vi ytterligare ett bekant namn. Johan Jacob Schubert var gift med Augustas kusin. Men detta var inga nyheter för oss.


I veckan som gick hade vi kontakt med en släkting i samband med vår mammas bortgång. Hon berättar då att hon också kommer från en textilfabrikörssläkt i Norrköping, inte alls släkt med Augusta, men plötsligt verkar alla ha kopplingar till Norrköpings textila historia.


Och förra fredagen tog Sara och jag en tur i våra ylleklänningar på Djurgården för att se Blockhusudden och Rosendal. Det blev en mindre Augustautflykt, sådana som vi nu kommer att ägna oss åt framöver. Dels är det väldigt roligt att tala med folk vi möter och dels är det bra att få tillbaka känslan av att vandra i långa kjolar, för att komma i rätt stämning när vi nu skriver på våra berättelser. I eftermiddagssolen stannade en liten dam framför oss och frågade: Finns det fler av er?

Efter lite klargörande om vilka vi var och vem hon var, visade det sig att hon, Maj Wechselmann, spelar in en film om Moa Martinssons liv och behöver statister till…   …ja precis, scener i Norrköping där Moa Martinsson levde och arbetade i textilindustrin.

Norrköping har numera blivit vårt kantarellställe. Textilhistoria har blivit mycket intressantare när vi får ta del av  historierna om människorna i textiltillverkningen under 1800-talet, både de som ägde och drev industrierna och de många människorna som arbetade där.

Och de yllekläninngarna vi syr och bär får också en annan mening än att bara vara tidstypiska.








Saras blogg: Would the maid have used #MeToo?

Would the maid have used #MeToo?

On October 16 this year, my Facebook feed started to fill up with #MeToo – friends acknowledging that they had at some time been sexually harassed or assaulted. A simple hashtag and suddenly the whole world was talking about how men mistreat women. It made me think of Augusta and her time period. I can’t imagine that she and her friends, who all belonged to […]

Would the maid have used #MeToo?

William Hogarth (English, 1697 - 1764) Before, 1730 - 1731, Oil on canvas 40 × 33.7 cm (15 3/4 × 13 1/4 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
William Hogarth (English, 1697 – 1764) Before, 1730 – 1731, Oil on canvas 40 × 33.7 cm (15 3/4 × 13 1/4 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

On October 16 this year, my Facebook feed started to fill up with #MeToo – friends acknowledging that they had at some time been sexually harassed or assaulted. A simple hashtag and suddenly the whole world was talking about how men mistreat women.

It made me think of Augusta and her time period. I can’t imagine that she and her friends, who all belonged to a privileged class, would have been harassed. The men in her social sphere were chivalrous and a few made their feelings known by proposing marriage. The closest to harassment that she experienced was not physical in nature: some men let her know that they were displeased with her voicing her opinion.

But of course sexual harassment and assault existed, just as today, where men had power over women – for example, being the employer. And often, if the harassment became known, the woman was blamed.


I just thought of the maid at Loddby. Was she really as evil as Augusta had described? And who was she?

I had to drop what I was doing in order to find out who this girl was. But first some background from the diary. Why did I think of her?

Loddby, 29 August 1851

”May God forgive both August and the malicious, hateful Eva all the unhappy moments they give us. He is a weak, of alcohol destroyed creature and, therefore, he follows the directions of a bad, vindictive maid’s gossip when his senses are obscured.”

Loddby, 1 November 1851

”Eva, the wretched creature, Loddby’s evil spirit, is finally gone. God be forever praised! And I hope that it now will be a little calmer at home. She was, at the last moment, as mean and rude and deserved a good flogging if anyone had wanted to dirty their hands. She now moves to Mrs Rosendahl and will surely become a common street girl.

The new cook has arrived and looks fairly plain, but I have a panicky fear that there will be new courting, new scenes, new sorrows and more of that nature, which will never end until our Lord delivers us from the source of all evil, and that will likely not happen soon. Thus, patience, life’s most useful characteristic, don’t leave me as you have done so far.”

August is Augusta’s older brother. He does not work, has tuberculosis, and drinks. Eva, the maid, is described as someone with power over August and someone with bad morals (… will surely become a common street girl). Isn’t it more likely that August, being privileged, had power over the house maid?

Anyway, who was she? Maids are just referred to by their first name. How would I find out who, besides the family, lived at Loddby at this time?

The Swedish Household Examination Register

Sweden has had some very unique laws. One was the Swedish Church Law of 1686 which stipulated that the parish vicar was obliged to conduct household examinations, making sure the parishioners knew the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism. The results, in addition to some other information regarding each household, was then recorded in a parish register. A consequence of this law was eradication of illiteracy as all children were taught to read in parish schools. A curious detail too, is the recording of smallpox vaccinations which were initiated in 1804. It became the vicar’s role to keep track of vaccinations.

The household examination register in Kvillinge Parish, to which Loddby belonged, would definitely have the records for all who lived at Loddby manor.

And it did! And it was available online.

 Household Examination Record for Loddby 1841-1844
Household Examination Record for Loddby 1841-1844


The time period I looked at was 1841-1844. The persons living at Loddby manor in 1844 were:

Gustaf Lejdenfrost (Augusta’s brother-in-law and owner of Loddby), born 1799
Anna Söderholm (Augusta’s mother), born 1788
August Söderholm (Augusta’s brother), born 1817
Augusta Söderholm, born 1827
Stina Malla Kullerstrand (maid), born 1815
Eva Sara Sandberg (maid), born 1818

I had found Eva!

In 1851, she was 33 years old and August was 34. Would she have used #MeToo about the drunk man who she had to serve on daily, or was she, as Augusta suggested, taking advantage of August. We will never know.

I guess my next task is to find out more about Eva’s life. There are more digitized records online …