established by the signed Nils Baumgardt, 27-28 Feb. 1989 in response to an article in the book released by Östergötland County Museum " Östergötland 1982", printed 1983 on AB Östgöta Correspondenten printing house. The article I refer to is on the pages 25-39, titled "Linlöping letters in New Zealand." Ivo Holmqvist has been responsible for it. He begins with a preface in a few pages. Then follow the literal and complete transcripts of eleven letters, written during the years 1871 - 1877 by a lady with the surname of Nestor. In the first seven letters, written 1871 - 1873, she wrote her first name "Christin" or - in one case - "Christine". In the last four letters, written 1874 - 1877, she called herself "Kjerstin" in one case (1874) and in the other three "Kersti". From the content of the mailings it appears, however, that the letter writer always has been the same.
Ivo Holmqvist has, as far as I could understand from his preface to the article, failed to identify the letter writer. Because of family research that I conducted some years ago, I have, however, been able to identify her with certainty as my grandmother Christina Elisabeth Baumgardt, born Nestor. She was born Oct. 14, 1838 in Naterstad in the parish of Slaka and got married October 30, 1877 to my grandfather, the piano manufacturer Johan Otto Baumgardt in Linköping. At least during the latter part of her life she called herself "Kerstin". I will use that name from now on.
After she from about the age of 15 had employments, first in her home parish, then in Stockholm, she returned to the home region in November 1862 and then became church registered in lot No. 1 and 2 in St Lars district in Linköping. The property was called "The hotel" (later Large hotel), where the hotel business was operated by a Mrs Johanna Lindeberg. In some of the letters Kerstin says, that Mrs Lindeberg was building her own large hotel in Linköping, but that it still was not completed in 1874. Nothing is said about where in Linköping that hotel was. Kerstin seems, however, never have been employed at that hotel. All the eleven letters must have be written while she was employed at the hotel at Stora Torget [Large Square] and had some form of residence on the hotel property. And the person she wrote to was always her nephew Johan Haglund, who was born on January 6. 1854, and who, according Linköping Cathedral parish records, emigrated to Australia on April 14, 1871, aged only 17. The note on the emigration was probably made when Kerstin requested a certificate for him. In a letter to Johan on Oct. 25. In 1871, she writes, that she would get such a certificate. He had apparently asked her about it and he may have been in Australia temporarily at that time. The letters show that he travelled far and wide as a sailor.
In his preface to the article, Ivo Holmqvist has, among other things, written the following: "By chance my wife and I came by a series of letters, which for over 100 years had been saved in New Zealand. They had been sent from Linköping, and the circumstances that they survived are worth a depiction. Moreover, the letters give a vivid picture of Linköping as it looked in the 1870s and can therefore deserve to be printed. - In a bookstore in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, we happened to meet an elderly man, who, when he was told that we were Swedes, told us that his father was Swedish and that he had a bunch of letters that were written to his father a long time ago. Personally, he could not read them, because he did not know Swedish, but he sent us the letters. He had not thrown them away because he, as a former post office clerk, was interested in the stamps on the envelopes. He did not know much more about the father than that he took ship in the early 1870s, and after some years at sea had settled in the North Island of New Zealand, where he married an Irishwoman and died early. The son was then only a few years old. They had tried to trace the origin of the family in Sweden but without success, because there were no people named Hanlon – that was the man’s name - in any parish around Linköping. When we read the letters, we could help him on that. The father’s name used to be Johan Haglund but later changed his name and made it more English. Johan Haglund became John Hanlon. The letters were from a relative in Linköping, his aunt Christina Nestor. Eleven letters written by her were left, and it seemed to be all that had been written. - Christina Nestor’s letters provide an in many parts lively picture of Linköping in a expansive phase."
At the end of the preface Ivo Holmqvist adds the following: "The letters to Johan Haglund gives a vivid picture of the letter writer - not least by her spelling which is erratic but personal - and casts an interesting light on Linköping’s development of industry and railway in the 1870s."
From my notes about my grandmother's relatives, which I have made in connection to family research, it may, because of the content of the letters, be appropriate to here depict the following:
Her parents were grenadier [livgrenadjär], eventually corporal, at the second grenadier regiment, Västanstång’s company, Anders Andersson Nestor, born in the parish of Kristberg in 1796, and his wife Anna Lisa Nilsdotter, born in Skeda parish in 1798. Her father Anders had in 1821 been become grenadier and subsequently been awarded a ‘grenadier’s cottage’ (Soldattorp) in Naterstad in Slaka parish. In doing so he got the name of Nestor, which since old times was associated with the house. With the help of maps, I managed, a few years ago, to find the croft cottage with its outhouses and photographed the buildings, which probably had not changed much since the time when Anders Nestor was farming it.
In the second of Kerstin’s eleven letters to Johan, dated Oct. 25, 1871, Kerstin says, that her mother, Anna Lisa died July 29, 1871. According to church records the death date was July 28. Kerstin appears to have been mistaken by one day. Her father had died already on Jan. 22. 1866.
Even before the marriage Anders and Anna Lisa had a daughter, Anna Sofia. She was born in Linköping, 17 Sept. 1821. After the move to the soldier’s cottage, and the marriage in conjunction with that, they had seven more children. With regard to the content of the letters a compilation of data on all eight children is made here, as well as on some of their children and grandchildren. The eight children are numbered according to the time when they were born:
1) The previously mentioned Anna Sofia, called Sophi in the letters. She was born Sept. 17. 1821. She married a jailer at the county jail in Linköping and they had a daughter named Ester on May 7, 1864. Sophie and Ester are mentioned in a number of letters. In 1892, Ester married an executive at the pilotage Emil Bohm, who later advanced to become pilot captain. A granddaughter of the Bohm couple is the nowadays well-known opera singer Berith Bohm.
2) The son Albrekt, born Nov. 27. 1823. At adulthood, he assumed the surname of Haglund. His brother Carl, mentioned below, also changed his family name. It is likely that the two brothers felt that the name Nestor was reserved for the holder of the grenadier’s cottage. In 1854, Albert married a girl from Vreta Kloster’s parish, Sofia Hansdotter. Shortly before the marriage, they had had a son, Bror Johan Fredrik. He was born in S:t Lars parish on January 6, 1854 and it is to him the eleven letters were written. The letters show, that it was the name Johan he used as first name. In the autumn of 1854, The whole family moved to Linköping, where the family then was permanently resident. In the parish catechetical records for the years 1861-65, it has been recorded, that Albert was a city surveyor. Albrekt's wife Sofia died already in 1865. In the aforementioned letter to Johan Oct. 25. 1871 Kerstin says, that Johan's father Albert died Oct. 10. 1871. It accurately reflects the church records on the death date. Kerstin adds in the letter: "Now Johan neither you nor I have a father or a mother."
3)The son Per Johan, who was born on May 25, 1826 and died already on June 16, 1837. He is not mentioned in any of the letters.
4-5) Twin daughters Josephina Albertina and Johanna Carolina, born July 30 1832. Josephine Albertina was sickly from birth and lived her whole life in the parental home. She died in 1870 and is not mentioned in any of the letters. Johanna Carolina, however, is mentioned in many letters. From these it shows, that she used the name Carolina as first name. She was married in 1862 to a carpenter, Lars August Andersson. The couple had three children, all boys. The family lived first in Västerlösa parish, in the letters called "Westlösa" but moved to Linköping in 1872, where both spouses were employed by Mrs Johanna Lindeberg. The eldest of the sons, Carl August, was born on May 17, 1864. He is mentioned in a number of letters and is called August. Sometimes he is mentioned together with his cousin Ester (See 1 above). They were the same age. Both are mentioned in positive terms. Also the second-oldest of Carolina's sons, Gunnar, born Aug. 10. 1869, is mentioned in one of the letters.
6) The son Carl Gustaf, born on 4 September, 1835. Already when he, at the age of 15, left home and was employed as a farm hand, he adopted the surname of Sundberg. After having been employed in several places in western Östergötland, among other things as a gardener, he emigrated to North America in 1866. Kerstin mentions him often in her letters to Johan and calls him Carl, which apparently was his first name. She was very worried about Carl, as she did not hear from him, at least not as often as she wished. In the end, however, Carl returned to Sweden and settled in Linköping. But that was not until 1912. He died in 1917. He had probably been a gardener in America. This is noted as his profession in the parish records in Linköping. He seems to have been unmarried all his life and he had not collected any fortune in America.
7) The daughter Christina Elisabeth, who wrote the eleven letters. Details of her have been given above and further details are below in this memorandum.
8) The daughter Lovisa, born April 10, 1841. She became a skilled cook and had very fine employments in Linköping and later in Stockholm. She lived unmarried all her life. She is mentioned in a couple of the letters. When these were written she was living, and had employment, in Stockholm. However, she returned to Linköping in 1911. She then no longer had the strength for her professional work. She died in Linköping in 1928.
The last of the eleven letters is dated June 20 1877. In it Kerstin tells Johan, that she will marry "in the autumn." She adds " you see in the picture with whom, I think you know him, I have now grown tired Here where I now had my home for fifteen years, many both funny and sad moments I have lived through here but now they soon belong to a time bygone. Only God knows what my future may be it looks bright now and happy and I hope for future happiness. " - The enclosed photograph was missing, however, when the letter collection was handed to Ivo Holmqvist.
When my grandmother Kerstin Oct. 30. 1877 married my grandfather Johan Otto, she had indeed lived on the hotel property for fifteen years. She had arrived there in November 1862. Johan Otto and Kerstin had their first home on lot No. 59 in S:t Kors district in Linköping. The site was in the southwest corner of the intersection of Djurgårdsgatan and Nygatan. There were both a residential and another building, in which Johan Otto had a piano factory along with an associate, from 1891 alone. In 1901, the family moved to lot No 26 in S:t Kors district with street address Apotekaregatan 8. Johan Otto bought the property already in 1882 and when the family moved there he had just had a new and larger piano factory completed there.
Johan Otto and Kerstin had three sons in their marriage. One of them died at an early age. The other two were my father, Nils Otto, who was born on August 29 1878 and who, during the time I remember, used to be called Nisse, and Jonas, born October 25 1880. Nisse and Jonas took over their father's business, J. O. Baumgardt’s Piano Factory, as associates. Both were married. And now there are grandchildren as well as great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of the letter writer Kerstin.
Ivo Holmqvist writes in the preface to his article, that Kerstin’s spelling is erratic. And that is true. Many other objections on the stylistics could also be made. But one must bear in mind, that Kerstin was born in 1838 and the schooling of common children was very poor during her childhood, if there was any such education at all. Her parents may have taught her to read. In the Slaka parish catechetical records for the years 1826-31 it has been recorded about them: "Both spouses can read from book." It was obviously something so unusual, that it must be noted. Already in 1853, that is at the age of fifteen, Kerstin moved from home, according to the custom in those days, to support herself through her own work.
If you look at the content of the letters, however, one has to recognize her many merits, first of all her almost touching care for her nephew John, which is revealed in the letters, and who, like her, had lost both his father and his mother. She lectures and encourages him and transmits many greetings to him from as well from relatives as from other friends in Linköping and also in Västerlösa, where Johan had maternal relatives. She often worries that Johan or her brother Carl may have been affected by some accident, when she has not heard of them within the time she expected. From Carl, she had not received any signs of life since Johan left Sweden and she asks Johan in a letter, if he had any contact with Carl. Of the letters it is shown, that Johan for some time lived in Boston in the United States and that he had been in Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro. In one of the letters she wrote to John " It sounds in your letter as if you do not like America if that is the case then go from there and find yourself something else it is best to try while you are young. " She also hopes that John will come home to Linköping, at least for a temporary visit.
Kerstin is also keen to keep Johan informed about what is happening in his own country and particularly in Linköping. She says in the letters that a railway is being built between Linköping and Norrköping, and later the railway is completed in October 1872 and that it brought such an increase in the number of travellers, there had become a shortage of hotel rooms in Linköping. She also says, that Stångebro is completed, the bustling construction is underway in Linköping and that the city has advanced enormously in the industrial regard. In a letter on July 8, 1874 she says, that there is plenty of work for all craftsmen, and they get paid well. But she also points out, that everything has become much more expensive than before. In the last letter of the eleven, written on June 20, 1877, she says that "now they have begun to build in all the edges of town. Linköping starts to become pretty."
It is clear from the letters, she is a studious reader of newspapers. She tells Johan about King Carl XV's last days of life and about his beautiful obituary testimonies and in a subsequent letter that preparations are being made in Linköping to receive the new king Oscar, apparently on his tour of the country. She also writes about the very extensive emigration to America. And in a letter to Johan in December 1872 she asks if he thinks she would like it in America. She dismissed her emigration plans, however, probably in part because she read in some newspaper, that many emigrants returned to Sweden after they had difficulties in the new country. And Johan had also written something, which suggested that he did not like America.
But Kerstin also writes jokingly sometimes, and it is clear that she did not lack a sense humour. And she had an open mind to the beauty of nature. In a letter May 10, 1872, she writes, she always very much enjoys spring and summer. Then she thinks, she wakes up to new life, and she adds, she thinks that she "would have more reason to praise the Creator of all things Grand and Beautiful in God's wonderful nature." In a letter to Johan she mentions an earlier letter, which she wrote to him and that never reached him. In the lost letter, which she wrote shortly before midsummer 1873, she had put in some lilies-of-the-valley that he "would see and remember Scandinavia’s loveliest spring flowers. “
One can agree with Ivo Holm Qvists words, when he says that the letters give a vivid picture of the letter writer. We can even say that the letters give an idea of her general attitude to life and that it was mostly positive. And that is perhaps what is the most interesting for the relatives of her, who have the opportunity to take some of the letters, or at least to this memorandum.
February 28, 1989