Karin Jonsdotter (and variations)

I found a Karin Jonsdotter born 1791 (no month and day recorded), in records for 1804-1806, and wanted to trace where she came from and where she later went, to see if she was a clue to another problem I’m trying to solve. (She was on the same page of a record 1804-1805 as someone connected with that problem.)

So first I checked birth records for the parish she was recorded as being from: Högerud. I found two Karins born that year in Högerud, neither with fathers recorded. Which one could she be?

I painstakingly checked every reference to a Karen Jonsdotter recorded as born or living in Högerud with any 1791 birth dates. I realized very quickly that I also needed to look at Karins with the patronym Jansdotter, as I found at least one instance where someone was recorded as Jansdotter in one book of the household examination records, then Jonsdotter in the next. I put them into my tree — and it looked like I COULD have as many as nine different people! To avoid going a little crazy, I recorded them in my tree as Karin Jonsdotter 1 (the first one I had been looking for) through Karin Jonsdotter 9, with a couple of them as Karin Jansdotter. I hoped that some of these were actually duplicates, though they were found living very different places: Högerud, Stavnäs, Arvika, Brunskog, and Värmskog.

So … long story short, I looked carefully at each one, and recorded them in a Notion database with the source title, the name variation, the birth date variation, and what parents were listed and, for later records, what husband or children.

Then, I went in pursuit of missing records that didn’t come up in an index search for Karin Jansdotter or Karin Jonsdotter.

One of the 1791 Karins in the birth record I could find in the HHE records for that period, born 1791-12-12, so I identified her mother: Malin or Marlin Hansdotter (she is recorded with both names, depending on the book). I found her recorded as Karin Jansdotter, so I traced her. And sure enough, by carefully looking at the incoming and outgoing dates and places, I could combine two of the Karins. She is recorded as simply 1791 in some records, and in others as being born 1791-12-12. It’s not unheard of for the dates of one person to get attached to another, so I still needed to check the progression through the various HHE books. She stayed her whole life in Högerud, except for the brief period she had her first son in Brunskog, and I was able to trace her through 1845 (I haven’t found the HHE record for Brunskog, though, but she is recorded as going there and returning in the Högerud records I do have). She married and had two children by her husband, and had one son before she married (different patronym than her children after she married). She was also consistently recorded as Karin Jansdotter, not Jonsdotter. But she was not Karin 1 who I was looking for. (I had named her Karin Jansdotter 2.)

When I discovered one of the Karins had a birthdate that changed from 1791 to 1790 when she moved, I also checked out any 1790-birth Karins in Högerud. I thought one looked promising when I found her birthdate (1790-04-20), but found she died in 1794. So she was not the right one.

Karin Jansdotter 4 was the designation for the other Karin I had found in the birth records, born 1791-03-07 in Högerud. She was also recorded in birth records without a father, and has no father in the 1792-1796 and 1797-1801 Högerud household record books, but there she is recorded as Karin Jonsdotter. I had labeled one of the household records where I found her as being for Karin Jonsdotter 9, so I was able to merge 9 and 4. But this Karin died in 1797, still in Högerud. So she was not also Karin Jonsdotter 1, and that meant neither of the births recorded of Karins in 1791 were the one I was looking for.

I had various records left labeled with Karin Jonsdotter 1, 3, 5 and 8. (I’m not sure where I merged in 6, I managed not to record that step.) These Karins lived in Högerud, Arvika, Stavnäs, and Värmskog (the Värmskog I knew from a Högerud record noting she had moved there, and another than she had returned from there).

Very careful tracking of all of these, then looking for the outgoing and incoming notes for the gap years, and I was able to determine that these were ALL the same person. She moved around a lot!

Worse: she is recorded in various records with birth dates as: just plain 1791, 1791-09-28, 1791-06-28, 1791-06-24, and 1790-06-24. She is recorded with names Karin Jonsdotter (most common), Kari Jonsdotter, and Carin Jonsdotter. (I have to wonder what dates and name she is recorded as for the 2 years in Värmskog, 1807-1809 — I haven’t been able to find them, so I’m guessing the name and/or date is creative).

After a lot of wandering, she marries about 1815, to a man 11 years older. (That’s the point where she changes her birth date to 1790-06-24 and it stays there for the rest of her records.) They have four children, two of which died young (8 years old and a year old). One I lose track of when he is about 20, and another moves to Denmark when he is 18 years old. Karin’s husband is listed as “döf” on records, and they are often living with others who are “fattig” or poor. Her husband, Erik Nilsson, dies in 1842 when her remaining child at home, that youngest child who later moves to Denmark, is 10. She dies in 1853, about two years after her son moves away. For a couple of years, her sister lives with her and her husband and children. (Another sister is listed as dying at age 32 of “moderpassion,” which often means suicide after a child’s birth.)

One conclusion: Karin 1 was somehow missed in the birth records. I can’t find her in the index or paging through the books. Not with any of the birthdates used in her lifetime, not anywhere in Värmland. Her older three half-siblings are in the Högerud records, and so are her younger two sisters. But not Karin. Neither of the Karins in the birth records for 1791 are her; they have different lives.

Here is an illustration from one of the record books, showing her first when she returns, married to Erik and with a son, and right below that, before she and Erik (both single), moved to different households in another town in Arvika. Note that Erik has the same name and birthdate in both cases, but Karin is listed with as Carin in one and Karin in the other, and the birth date has shifted by a year.

Arvika landsförsamling (S) AI:8 (1811-1816) Image 54 / Page 48

Whew! Just writing it reminded me of what felt like an exhausting mental workout over a couple of days of sorting through records.

Karin 1 is documented adequately now to understand her life — and she turns out not to be a clue to the problem that I was originally trying to solve. If you are a member of Ancestry.com you may be able to see Karin’s profile at this link: Karin Jonsdotter. (I am not sure whether you have to be a paid member to view that page.)