History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2018-09-22

Göta Canal

Introduction

Göta Canal (Swe: Göta Kanal) is a 190 km (118 mil.) long Canal in Götaland Region officially opened in 1832. Out of the total length of the canal, about 87 km (54 mil.) is handmade or blasted while the rest are natural watercourses. The difference in altitude is 92 m (300 ft.). Together with Trollhätte Canal and Göta River the Göta kanal constitutes a 390 km (242 mil.) waterway across Sweden, from the Baltic Sea to the Cattegat. The canal itself, Göta kanal, stretches from Sjötorp on the eastern side of Lake Vänern in Västergötland, via the canal’s highest point Lanthöjden (elevation 91 m) located west of Lake Viken, via Lake Bottensjön to Lake Vättern. The canal continues through lakes Boren and Roxen and finally flows into the Bay of Slätbaken, in Östergötland In total there are 58 locks and 50 bridges on Göta Canal. See also The History of Göta Canal

Lock and Bridge Tenders on the Canal

Each of the locks and bridges on the canal were operated by employed tenders; lock tenders and bridge tenders. In order for a ship to pass through a lock, the lock chambers have to be filled and emptied of water. The chambers are filled and emptied via the lock gates. In order to open a lock gate, the water level on both side of the gate has to be exactly equal. Initially the lock gates were opened and closed with the assistance of long booms. However, by 1847 all locks were equipped with a type of capstans with cogwheels. The bridges across the canal had to be opened when ships passed. The bridges were in those days opened by hand. The lock and bridge tenders were employed by the Canal Company. They were paid in cash but also assigned a tender dwelling (cottage) with an associated small piece of arable land where they could grow potatoes and vegetables. The dwelling was a fringe benefit and when the tender finished his employment with the Canal Company he and his family had to move out of the dwelling. Now, a new tender was to move in. They pay wasn’t high which is why the lock and bridge tenders also had second jobs such as carpenters, quarry workers or even lighthouse keepers etc. The image to the right shows a lock-tender’s dwelling located somewhere between Söderköping and Mem. Photo Hans Högman 2003. However, the locks and bridges had to be operated 24 x 7 which meant that the wives of tenders had to tend the locks in daytime when their husbands were attending their other jobs. The size of the payment as a tender was dependent on if it was a single or double lock or a bridge they were tending. It was common that the job as a tender was inherited by a son of the tender, generation by generation.

Bridge Tender Lars Johansson Berg

Lars Johansson Berg was one of the 50 bridge tenders on the canal. Berg was a bridge tender at Levsäng (Lefsäng), Fredsberg parish, Töreboda kommun, in Västergötland (Skaraborg län (R)).

A Bridge Tender on Göta Canal

Lars Johansson Berg was born on 1806-10-01 in Åsaka parish (Skånings-Åsaka (R)). His wife was Maja Katharina Larsdotter, born on 1811-07-16 in Fredsberg parish. Lars was the bridge tender at Levsäng which was part of Hajtorp rote. Below is the birth entry for Lars from the Skånings-Åsaka birth book of October 1806:
The above map shows the course of Göta Canal from Sjötorp by Lake Vänern in the west to the Bay of Slätbaken in the east. Image Wikipedia.The bridge across the canal at Levsäng is located between Hajstorp and Töresboda. See the above map. Above, the bridge at Levsäng is located in the middle of the map, by the two lines across the canal. Above, this is the same map blown up showing the location of Levsäng. Above, the Levsäng bridge tender cottage is marked by the red arrow. Above, a satellite view of the bridge and the bridge tender cottage at Levsäng.
Above, Source: Skånings-Åsaka (R) C:2 (1754-1834) Image 71 / page 133. Lars parents are Johan Johnsson and his wife Greta Larsdotter. They are listed as farming people ”bondefolk”. Lars Johansson Berg’s wife Maja Katharina Larsdotter’s birth entry in the Fredsberg birth book for July 1811:
Above, Source: Fredsberg (R) C:3 (1783-1814) Image 107 / page 203. Maja’s parents were Lars Nilsson and Maja Andersdotter in Torstorp. Lars Nilsson Löfgren was a bridge tender on Göta Canal, Hajstorp, Fredsberg parish. Fredsberg household examination roll 1831-1842:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:4 (1831-1842) Image 273 / page 536. Lars is in this early household examination roll (1831-1842) only listed with his patronymic name, Johansson. This tells us that he hadn’t adopted the family name Berg at this point in time. This is the earliest household record I have found listing him as a bridge tender employed by the Canal Company. So, Lars has been a bridge tender at least since 1831. In the next household examination roll (1843 – 1852) we can see Lars’s entire family:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:6 (1843-1852) Image140 / page 269. The Lars Johansson Berg Family: In this household record Lars is listed with both his patronymic name (Johansson) as well as with the new family name Berg. Lars and his wife Maja now have 7 children: 1. Lars Johan, born 1833-12-26 in Fredsberg parish. Died 1910-02-27 in Göteborg. 2. Maja Greta, born 1835-08-15 in Fredsberg 3. Alfrid, born 1837-10-08 in Fredsberg. Died 1844-06-09 in Fredsberg. 4. Sofia, born 1840-03-11 in Fredsberg. To the USA. 5. Charlotta, born 1842-09-22 in Fredsberg. Died 1889-11-17 in Jönköping. 6. Alfrid, born 1845-04-26 in Fredsberg 7. Albertina, born on 1849-09-16 in Fredsberg. Died 1856-03-28 in Fredsberg. In the next household examination roll (1852-1870) there is a notation that bridge keeper (brovaktare) Lars Johansson Berg died on 1860-08-08.
Above, source: Källa: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 288 / page 294. Död = Died. This household record holds information that both Lars and his wife Maja are diseased. Maja died on 1857-02-06 in Fredsberg and Lars on 1860-08-08 in Fredsberg. Death records: Fredsberg (R) F:1 (1850-1860) Image 39 / page 34 (Maja entry 16, no listed cause of death. Age 45) Fredsberg (R) F:1 (1850-1860) Image 55 / page 50. (Lars entry 47. Cause of death: “Lungsot” (pulmonary tuberculosis)) Lars was only 53 years and 10 months when he died. The funeral was held on 14 August. When Lars died he had been a bridge tender since circa 1831, in other words for at least 29 years. After the death of both parents, the children scattered to different places: 1. Lars Johan moved to Thorstorp, Fredsberg, in 1861. 2. Maja Greta moved to Stockholm in 1858 3. Sofia moved to Stockholm in 1860. Later she went to the USA. Married Nils Persson (Nicholas Planten / Plantin), shoemaker, b. 1839-11-05 in Kattarp (M). 4. Charlotta moved with her son Johan Fredrik (b. 1861) to Kyrkefalla (R) in 1862. 5. Alfrid moved to Stockholm in 1860.

Son Lars Johan Berg new bridge tender at Levsäng

When Lars Johansson Berg died in 1860 his son Lars Johan Berg took over the position as bridge tender at Levsäng. When Lars Johan was married to Cajsa Bengtsdotter on 7 April 1861 he is listed as bridge tender at Leväng in the marriage record:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) E:2 (1861-1894) Image 5. Lars Johan Berg remains as a bridge tender for about one year.
Above, probably bridge tender Berg’s cottage by Göta kanal at Levsäng. Text on the photo: Cabinet Fotografi (Cabinet Card). The cabinet card was a style of photograph which was widely used for photographic portraiture after 1870. It consisted of a thin photograph mounted on a card. The photo is shown with consent of Carol Kemp, WA, USA. The household record below shows that a new person has taken up position as the Levsäng bridge tender in 1861. The new bridge tender was Pehr Johan Pettersson.
Above, source: Källa: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 288 / page 294. ”61” to the far right is Pehr’s and his wife’s moving-in year, i.e. 1861. The couple married on 1861-03-28 so it it likely that they moved into the bridge tender cottage after the wedding. Pehr is the bridge tender at Levsäng även also in the following household record:
Above, source: Källa: Fredsberg (R) AI:8 (1871-1884) Image 231 / page 226. Pehr Pettersson was the Levsäng bridge tender also in the thereafter following household record (1884 - 1895). Source: Fredsberg (R) AI:10 (1884-1895) Bild 198 / sid 189.

Lars Johan Berg

Lars Johan Berg was born on 26 December 1833 to Lars Johansson Berg and Maja Larsdotter. Below is his entry in the Fredsberg birth book for December 1833:
Above, source: : Fredsberg (R) C:5 (1830-1848) Image 23. Lars Johan Berg was the Levsäng bridge tender after his feather’s death in 1860 for about one year. Prior to this, Lars Johan spent a few years at sea in the 1850s and as a guardsman with Göta Life Guards in Stockholm. This Fredsberg household record (1852-1870) holds the following information about him:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 288 / page 294. The text reads: Sjöman hyra betyg 4/3 56. Sjöman means seaman or sailor and “hyra” means that he signed on as a sailor on a ship. Betyg means reference or testimonial regarding his time at sea. Then there is a date 1856-03-04. The above household record also has a notation that Lars Johan moved to Stockholm in 1857. In Stockholm he was enlisted as a guardsman with the Göta Life Guards (Göta Livgarde). Note, the regiment didn’t received this name, Göta Livgarde, until 1894. At this point in time the regiment carried the name the Second Life Guards (Andra livgardet). Below is an extract from the June 7, 1859, general muster roll (GMR) for the Göta Life Guards:
Above, source: Generalmönsterrullor - Göta livgardes föregångare (A, AB) 1241 (1859) Image 1670. Berg was guardsman 67 in Captain Edvard Jegerschjöld’s Company of the Göta Life Guards. According to the GMR; Lars Johan replaced the former guardsman on number 67, Olof Olsson on 30 December 1856. This general muster was held on 7 June 1859 and Berg had, at this time, served for 2 years and 5 months. At the general muster Berg was 25 years and 5 months old. Berg wasn’t personally present at the general muster. A notation in the GMR holds the following information about him:
Above, source: Generalmönsterrullor - Göta livgardes föregångare (A, AB) 1241 (1859) Image 1680. Berg was hospitalized at the time of the general muster in June 1859. His condition was serious and he was no longer fit to be a soldier. There is a medical certificate about Berg’s condition signed by a surgeon, inserted into the general muster roll:
Above, source: Generalmönsterrullor - Göta livgardes föregångare (A, AB) 1241 (1859) Image 1670. Göta livgardes församling (A, AB) AIa:5 (1851-1860) Bild 88 / sid 83 The above medical certificate holds information about Berg’s condition. Berg, guardsman 67 of Captain Edvard Jegerschjöld’s Company, second Life Guards (Andra livgardet) is suffering from Lungsot (pulmonary tuberculosis) and is therefore no longer fit for active military service. The certificate is dated Stockholm 5 June 1859. A bit of an irony, Lars Johan suffered from the same disease that killed his father, lungsot. Lars Johan returned home to Levsäng after he was discharged from the Army. Between 1860 and 1861 he was the bridge tender at Levsäng after his father. Lars Johan was married to Cajsa Bengtsdotter on 7 April 1861 and the family now lives in different places in Fredsberg parish. For a few years he was a tenant farmer (torpare) at Thorstorp, Fredsberg. In 1870 the Lars Johan Berg family moved to Göteborg (Gothenburg). The following extract from Fredsberg household record 1852-1870 is showing a notation that the family was moving to Göteborg in 1870:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 217 / page 223. To the far right of the extract is the moving-out columns. The destination is Göteborg and the year is 70 (1870). The extracts lists Lars Johan Berg and his wife Cajsa Bengtsdotter (f. 1837-04-16) and some of their children: 1. Emma Christina, born 1862 -01-03 in Fredsberg (R). To the USA 1892-09-02 but returned on 1910-09-08 to Sweden. Unmarried. Died 1950-03-30 in Göteborg. 2. Lars Johan, born 1863-10-08 in Fredsberg (R). 3. Julia (Yulia), born 1865-12-26 in Fredsberg (R). Married K.F. Johansson 1889 in Göteborg. Divorced 1898. To Canada. Died circa 1953. 4. Anna Sophia, born 1869-09-12 in Fredsberg (R). Died 1871-07-03 Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). 5. Anna Sophia, born 1874-10-12 in Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). Twin. 6. Oskar Alfred, born 1874-10-12 in Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). Twin. Died 1874-10-21 in Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). 7. Helga Sofia, born 1876-11-23 in Karl Johan parish, Göteborg (O). To the USA on 1891-04-24. Died 1970. 8. Stillborn baby, born 1880-11-02 . In Göteborg the family settles in the Oscar Fredrik parish:
Above, source: Göteborgs Oscar Fredrik (O) AI:7 (1883-1886) Image 151 / page 1391. Lars Johan is in this household record listed as seaman (sjöman). Later the family is found in the Karl Johan parish, Göteborg:
Above, source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIIa:1 (1889-1902) Image 142 / page 138. Their son laborer Lars Johan (b. 1863) has a notation in the household record ”dömd för 1:a resan snatteri 1879” (first conviction petty theft 1879). Source: Göteborgs Oscar Fredrik (O) AI:19 (1886-1893) Image 153 / page 2399. I haven’t found any indication of him being married. There is a notation about him in a parish record from in Göteborg covering years 1900 - 1910; Obef. R. meaning Obefintlighetsregistret which means that he has no known address (i.e. nonexistent). Source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIIa:4 (1900-1910) Image 170 / page 162. I found Lars Johan (b. 1863) in the Obefintlighetsregistret (register of nonexistent people). Source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIII:2 (1889- 1908) Image 10. Lars Johan probably had left Göteborg without a moving-out certificate. Maybe he emigrated from Sweden to North America without his papers in order? The Karl Johan parish record (1900-1910) holds a notation that the father, Lars Johan Berg (b. 1833) died on 1910-02-27. Source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIIa:5 (1900-1910) Image 199 / page 595. This is confirmed in the Karl Johan parish death book for February 1912:
Above, source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) F:5 (1907-1912) Image 109 / page 103. Lars Johan Berg is entry 48. His occupation is listed as “sjöman” (seaman). His wife Kajsa Bengtsdotter Berg died on 1913-08-11 in Karl Johan parish, Göteborg. Source: The Swedish Death Index 1860 – 2016.
The photo shows presumably Lars Johan Berg (1833 - 1912) and his son Lars Johan (b. 1863). The photo is shown with consent of Peter Saal, USA. At the bottom of the photo is the name of the photographer listed , Bäckström, and the location of the photo studio, Töreboda in Västergötland. Töreboda is a town just south of Levsäng. There was a female photographer in Törebode by the name Karin Bäckström, born in 1880. Her studio was on Vasagatan 5 in Töreboda. Her father, Thure Bäckström, born in 1845, established the photo studio in 1886 and Karin took over the business when he retired. Karin ran the studio between 1896 and 1916. She married John Knape in 1917. There is a photo of the house where the studio was at digitalmuseum. See https://digitaltmuseum.se/021017173171/karin-backstrom-f-1880- drev-fotoatelje-pa-vasagatan-5-i-toreboda-hon-tog The photo of Berg and son must have been taken between 1886 and 1916. Lars Johan Berg’s father, i.e. Lars Johansson Berg, died in 1860 so the photo must show the son Lars Johan and a son of his.
The above photos from Göteborg are of members of the Berg family. It is not known who is who. Lars Johan Berg (b. 1833) and his wife Cajsa Bengtsdotter (b. 1837) had three daughters. Maybe they are on these photos? The photo to the extreme left was taken at a studio on Stigbergstorget 7, Göteborg. The name of the studio is Lefins. The photographers full name was August W. Lefin. I haven’t been able to find when he was running his studio but probably at the end of the 1800s. The photo in the center was taken by photographer Carl M Olson (1858-1900). He was another Göteborg photographer and established his studio in 1882. His widow took over the studio in 1900. The photo to the extreme right was taken by photographer N G Hagman. His full name was Nils Gabriel Hagman (1830 – 1879). His son Nils Gustaf Hagman, born in 1865, took over the business in Göteborg when his father died in 1879. The photos are shown with consent of Peter Saal, USA.

The Berg Siblings

Lars Johan Berg and his wife Cajsa Bengtsdotter Berg had 8 children of whom 4 lived into adulthood. Three of the children left Sweden for America at various points in time. Emma Christina went to the US in 1892 but returned to Sweden in 1910. Helga Sofia went to the US in 1891 and Julia went to Canada around 1898. For more information, please go to The Berg siblings

Charlotta Berg Sjöholm

Charlotta Berg was a daughter to Lars Johansson Berg (b.1806-10-01) and Maja Katharina Larsdotter, (b.1811-07-16). Charlotta was born on 1842-09-22 in Fredsberg (R) and died on 1889-11-17 in Kristina parish, Jönköping (F). Below is an extract of Charlotta’s birth entry in the Fredsberg birth book for September 1842:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) C:5 (1830-1848) Image 76. Charlotta was born on 22 September and baptized on 24 September. Charlotta was married to Nils Peter Sjöholm on 1860-09-13. Nils Peter was born on 1833-04-09 in Ivetofta (L). The Sjöholm family moved a lot. They left Fredsberg for Kyrkefalla (R) in 1862. The Sjöholm’s in Falköping 1876 - 1880:
The photo shows Charlotta Berg Sjöholm (1842 - 1889). The photo is shown with consent of Carol Kemp, WA, USA. Charlotta was Carol’s maternal great-grandmother (morfars mor).
Above, source: Falköpings stadsförsamling (R) AI:14 (1876-1880) Image 354 / page 322b. Nils Peter was a master gardener. Their children: 1. Johan Fredrik, born 1861-07-08 in Fredsberg. Died 1935-06-15 in Ramnalid, Borås, Sweden. 2. Regina Josefina Gravilda (Hilda), born 1863-03-19 in Kyrkefalla. To the USA 1884-08-29 3. Julius Wilhelm, born 1865-05-17 in Hjo sfs. To the USA 1888-11-09 ?? 4. Helga Edla Adolfina (Helen), born 1867-06-23 in Falköpings sfs. To the USA 1884-08-29 5. Richard Birger, born 1870-02-07 i Valtorp. Died 1875-03-01 in Falköping of scarlet fever. 6. Irenes Viktor, born 1872-04-05 in Mularp. To the USA 1912-09-24. 7. Karl Oskar, born 1873-05-11 in Mularp. From Stockholm to the USA 1913-08-18. Died 1926-04-05 in Stockholm, Sweden. 8. Charlotta Albertina Paulina (Pauline), born 1875-06-21 in Falköpings sfs. To the USA on 1890-08-02. 9. Richard Birger, born 1878-04-10 in Falköpings sfs. Died 1959-1016 in Ölmstad (F). Married 1899. 10. Nils Theodor, born 1883-04-10 in Jönköpings Kristina. To the USA 1893-05-02. 11. Elva Amanda Hildegard, born 1885-06-13 in Jönköpings Kristina. To the USA 1890-08-02. The name of the 11th child above is Elva which means eleven. Nils Peter followed the children to the USA (at the age of 60) and emigrated from Sweden on 1893-05-02. Nils Peter traveled together with his youngest son Nils Theodor. The above emigration dates are from the Swedish online emigration database, EmiWeb. Other household records where the family is listed: Kyrkefalla (R) AI:10 (1862-1876) Image 87 / page 390 Valtorp (R) AI:5 (1860-1873) Image 126 / page 118 Hjo stadsförsamling (R) AI:7 (1861-1868) Image 30 / page 21 Mularp (R) AI:10 (1872-1880) Image 95 / page 180 Falköpings stadsförsamling (R) AI:14 (1876-1880) Image 354 / page 322b Jönköpings Kristina (F) AI:61 (1881-1889) Image 220 / page 217 Jönköpings Sofia (F) AI:31 (1881-1889) Image 292 / page 288 Jönköpings Kristina (F) AI:61 (1881-1889) Image 220 / page 217 Jönköpings Kristina (F) AI:72 (1890-1897) Image 206 / page 200 Borås (P) AIIa:39 (1911-1929) Image 329 / page 1525 Charlotta Sjöholm died on 1889-11-17 at the age of 47 of a lung disease. Below is an extract from the Kristina parish, Jönköping, death book for November 1889:
Above, Source: Jönköpings Kristina (F) F:4 (1878-1890) Image 234. The funeral was held on November 24. The column to the extreme right is the cause of death column. The Sjöholm family consisted at the time of many young children. This must have been difficult for the remaining members of the family. Therefore, Nils Peter remarried on 1890-12-21 to Charlotta Maria Petersson (b. 1837-01-13). When Nils Peter left Sweden in 1893 for the US, only his son Nils was with him, not his second wife. His second wife never came to the US and died in Sweden on 1899-05-04 in Jönköping. What’s interesting is that he came in through Galveston, Texas. Two of his daughters, Charlotta (Pauline) and Helga (Helen), were living in Coleman, TX, at the time, so probably that is the reason why. Nils Peter was in Oklahoma in the 1900 and 1910 census. In 1915 he lives in Kansas by the name Seaholm. In 1920 Nils Peter, at the age of 87, applied for a US passport and returned to Sweden to live his last years there. In Sweden he was living in Borås where his oldest son Johan Fredrik also lived. However, Nils Peter only stayed in Sweden for one year. He returned to the US on the SAL passenger ship Drottningholm sailing from Göteborg and arrived in New York on 22 November 1921. Then he moves in with his oldest daughter Josefina (Hilda Perry) in Magnum, Oklahoma. Nils Peter died on 1922-02-21 in a house fire at the home of his daughter Hilda Perry in Mangum. Below is an extract from the Swedish American Line (SAL) passenger list for the steam ocean liner Drottningholm, departing Göteborg on 12 November 1921 for New York, USA:
In the above extract we find Nils Sjöholm in the passenger list, ticket number 12083. His age is listed as 87.

The Sjöholm Siblings

Nils Peter Sjöholm and his wife Charlotta Berg Sjöholm had 11 children of whom 10 lived into adulthood. Nils Peter and 8 of the children left Sweden for America at various points in time. Only the oldest son Johan Fredrik and the second Richard Birger (b. 1878) remained in Sweden. Karl Oscar returned to Sweden after a few years and died in Stockholm in 1926. For more information, please go to The Sjöholm siblings

Related Links

About First and Middle Names in Sweden Swedish naming practices in earlier times The Swedish spelling reform of 1906 How To Type Swedish Characters Spelling and Pronunciation of Swedish Names The Emigration from Sweden to the USA Map Swedish Provinces Some facts about Sweden Swedish/English Dictionary, Genealogy Terms The Official Website of Göta Canal The History of Göta Canal

Source References

Swedish church records online, Arkiv Digital The Swedish Online Emigration Database, EmiWeb The information about the Sjöholm immigrants from Sweden has been supplied by Carol Kemp, WA, USA Wikipedia Söderköping och Kanalen, Söderköpings kommun 2007 En vacker historia, Göta kanal - Sveriges största kulturhistoriska byggnadsverk, AB Göta kanalbolag Top of page
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History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2018-09-22

Göta Canal

Introduction

Göta Canal (Swe: Göta Kanal) is a 190 km (118 mil.) long Canal in Götaland Region officially opened in 1832. Out of the total length of the canal, about 87 km (54 mil.) is handmade or blasted while the rest are natural watercourses. The difference in altitude is 92 m (300 ft.). Together with Trollhätte Canal and Göta River the Göta kanal constitutes a 390 km (242 mil.) waterway across Sweden, from the Baltic Sea to the Cattegat. The canal itself, Göta kanal, stretches from Sjötorp on the eastern side of Lake Vänern in Västergötland, via the canal’s highest point Lanthöjden (elevation 91 m) located west of Lake Viken, via Lake Bottensjön to Lake Vättern. The canal continues through lakes Boren and Roxen and finally flows into the Bay of Slätbaken, in Östergötland In total there are 58 locks and 50 bridges on Göta Canal. See also The History of Göta Canal

Lock and Bridge Tenders on the Canal

Each of the locks and bridges on the canal were operated by employed tenders; lock tenders and bridge tenders. In order for a ship to pass through a lock, the lock chambers have to be filled and emptied of water. The chambers are filled and emptied via the lock gates. In order to open a lock gate, the water level on both side of the gate has to be exactly equal. Initially the lock gates were opened and closed with the assistance of long booms. However, by 1847 all locks were equipped with a type of capstans with cogwheels. The bridges across the canal had to be opened when ships passed. The bridges were in those days opened by hand. The lock and bridge tenders were employed by the Canal Company. They were paid in cash but also assigned a tender dwelling (cottage) with an associated small piece of arable land where they could grow potatoes and vegetables. The dwelling was a fringe benefit and when the tender finished his employment with the Canal Company he and his family had to move out of the dwelling. Now, a new tender was to move in. They pay wasn’t high which is why the lock and bridge tenders also had second jobs such as carpenters, quarry workers or even lighthouse keepers etc. The image to the right shows a lock-tender’s dwelling located somewhere between Söderköping and Mem. Photo Hans Högman 2003. However, the locks and bridges had to be operated 24 x 7 which meant that the wives of tenders had to tend the locks in daytime when their husbands were attending their other jobs. The size of the payment as a tender was dependent on if it was a single or double lock or a bridge they were tending. It was common that the job as a tender was inherited by a son of the tender, generation by generation.

Bridge Tender Lars Johansson

Berg

Lars Johansson Berg was one of the 50 bridge tenders on the canal. Berg was a bridge tender at Levsäng (Lefsäng), Fredsberg parish, Töreboda kommun, in Västergötland (Skaraborg län (R)).

A Bridge Tender

on Göta Canal

Lars Johansson Berg was born on 1806-10-01 in Åsaka parish (Skånings-Åsaka (R)). His wife was Maja Katharina Larsdotter, born on 1811-07-16 in Fredsberg parish. Lars was the bridge tender at Levsäng which was part of Hajtorp rote. Below is the birth entry for Lars from the Skånings- Åsaka birth book of October 1806:
The above map shows the course of Göta Canal from Sjötorp by Lake Vänern in the west to the Bay of Slätbaken in the east. Image Wikipedia.The bridge across the canal at Levsäng is located between Hajstorp and Töresboda. See the above map. Above, the bridge at Levsäng is located in the middle of the map, by the two lines across the canal. Above, this is the same map blown up showing the location of Levsäng. Above, the Levsäng bridge tender cottage is marked by the red arrow. Above, a satellite view of the bridge and the bridge tender cottage at Levsäng.
Above, Source: Skånings-Åsaka (R) C:2 (1754-1834) Image 71 / page 133. Lars parents are Johan Johnsson and his wife Greta Larsdotter. They are listed as farming people ”bondefolk”. Lars Johansson Berg’s wife Maja Katharina Larsdotter’s birth entry in the Fredsberg birth book for July 1811:
Above, Source: Fredsberg (R) C:3 (1783-1814) Image 107 / page 203. Maja’s parents were Lars Nilsson and Maja Andersdotter in Torstorp. Lars Nilsson Löfgren was a bridge tender on Göta Canal, Hajstorp, Fredsberg parish. Fredsberg household examination roll 1831-1842:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:4 (1831-1842) Image 273 / page 536. Lars is in this early household examination roll (1831- 1842) only listed with his patronymic name, Johansson. This tells us that he hadn’t adopted the family name Berg at this point in time. This is the earliest household record I have found listing him as a bridge tender employed by the Canal Company. So, Lars has been a bridge tender at least since 1831. In the next household examination roll (1843 – 1852) we can see Lars’s entire family:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:6 (1843-1852) Image140 / page 269. The Lars Johansson Berg Family: In this household record Lars is listed with both his patronymic name (Johansson) as well as with the new family name Berg. Lars and his wife Maja now have 7 children: 1. Lars Johan, born 1833-12-26 in Fredsberg parish. Died 1910-02-27 in Göteborg. 2. Maja Greta, born 1835-08-15 in Fredsberg 3. Alfrid, born 1837-10-08 in Fredsberg. Died 1844- 06-09 in Fredsberg. 4. Sofia, born 1840-03-11 in Fredsberg. To the USA. 5. Charlotta, born 1842-09-22 in Fredsberg. Died 1889-11-17 in Jönköping. 6. Alfrid, born 1845-04-26 in Fredsberg 7. Albertina, born on 1849-09-16 in Fredsberg. Died 1856-03-28 in Fredsberg. In the next household examination roll (1852-1870) there is a notation that bridge keeper (brovaktare) Lars Johansson Berg died on 1860-08-08.
Above, source: Källa: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 288 / page 294. Död = Died. This household record holds information that both Lars and his wife Maja are diseased. Maja died on 1857-02-06 in Fredsberg and Lars on 1860-08-08 in Fredsberg. Death records: Fredsberg (R) F:1 (1850-1860) Image 39 / page 34 (Maja entry 16, no listed cause of death. Age 45) Fredsberg (R) F:1 (1850-1860) Image 55 / page 50. (Lars entry 47. Cause of death: “Lungsot” (pulmonary tuberculosis)) Lars was only 53 years and 10 months when he died. The funeral was held on 14 August. When Lars died he had been a bridge tender since circa 1831, in other words for at least 29 years. After the death of both parents, the children scattered to different places: 1. Lars Johan moved to Thorstorp, Fredsberg, in 1861. 2. Maja Greta moved to Stockholm in 1858 3. Sofia moved to Stockholm in 1860. Later she went to the USA. Married Nils Persson (Nicholas Planten / Plantin), shoemaker, b. 1839-11-05 in Kattarp (M). 4. Charlotta moved with her son Johan Fredrik (b. 1861) to Kyrkefalla (R) in 1862. 5. Alfrid moved to Stockholm in 1860.

Son Lars Johan Berg new bridge tender at

Levsäng

When Lars Johansson Berg died in 1860 his son Lars Johan Berg took over the position as bridge tender at Levsäng. When Lars Johan was married to Cajsa Bengtsdotter on 7 April 1861 he is listed as bridge tender at Leväng in the marriage record:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) E:2 (1861-1894) Image 5. Lars Johan Berg remains as a bridge tender for about one year.
Above, probably bridge tender Berg’s cottage by Göta kanal at Levsäng. Text on the photo: Cabinet Fotografi (Cabinet Card). The cabinet card was a style of photograph which was widely used for photographic portraiture after 1870. It consisted of a thin photograph mounted on a card. The photo is shown with consent of Carol Kemp, WA, USA. The household record below shows that a new person has taken up position as the Levsäng bridge tender in 1861. The new bridge tender was Pehr Johan Pettersson.
Above, source: Källa: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 288 / page 294. ”61” to the far right is Pehr’s and his wife’s moving-in year, i.e. 1861. The couple married on 1861-03-28 so it it likely that they moved into the bridge tender cottage after the wedding. Pehr is the bridge tender at Levsäng även also in the following household record:
Above, source: Källa: Fredsberg (R) AI:8 (1871-1884) Image 231 / page 226. Pehr Pettersson was the Levsäng bridge tender also in the thereafter following household record (1884 - 1895). Source: Fredsberg (R) AI:10 (1884-1895) Bild 198 / sid 189.

Lars Johan Berg

Lars Johan Berg was born on 26 December 1833 to Lars Johansson Berg and Maja Larsdotter. Below is his entry in the Fredsberg birth book for December 1833:
Above, source: : Fredsberg (R) C:5 (1830-1848) Image 23. Lars Johan Berg was the Levsäng bridge tender after his feather’s death in 1860 for about one year. Prior to this, Lars Johan spent a few years at sea in the 1850s and as a guardsman with Göta Life Guards in Stockholm. This Fredsberg household record (1852-1870) holds the following information about him:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 288 / page 294. The text reads: Sjöman hyra betyg 4/3 56. Sjöman means seaman or sailor and “hyra” means that he signed on as a sailor on a ship. Betyg means reference or testimonial regarding his time at sea. Then there is a date 1856-03-04. The above household record also has a notation that Lars Johan moved to Stockholm in 1857. In Stockholm he was enlisted as a guardsman with the Göta Life Guards (Göta Livgarde). Note, the regiment didn’t received this name, Göta Livgarde, until 1894. At this point in time the regiment carried the name the Second Life Guards (Andra livgardet). Below is an extract from the June 7, 1859, general muster roll (GMR) for the Göta Life Guards:
Above, source: Generalmönsterrullor - Göta livgardes föregångare (A, AB) 1241 (1859) Image 1670. Berg was guardsman 67 in Captain Edvard Jegerschjöld’s Company of the Göta Life Guards. According to the GMR; Lars Johan replaced the former guardsman on number 67, Olof Olsson on 30 December 1856. This general muster was held on 7 June 1859 and Berg had, at this time, served for 2 years and 5 months. At the general muster Berg was 25 years and 5 months old. Berg wasn’t personally present at the general muster. A notation in the GMR holds the following information about him:
Above, source: Generalmönsterrullor - Göta livgardes föregångare (A, AB) 1241 (1859) Image 1680. Berg was hospitalized at the time of the general muster in June 1859. His condition was serious and he was no longer fit to be a soldier. There is a medical certificate about Berg’s condition signed by a surgeon, inserted into the general muster roll:
Above, source: Generalmönsterrullor - Göta livgardes föregångare (A, AB) 1241 (1859) Image 1670. Göta livgardes församling (A, AB) AIa:5 (1851-1860) Bild 88 / sid 83 The above medical certificate holds information about Berg’s condition. Berg, guardsman 67 of Captain Edvard Jegerschjöld’s Company, second Life Guards (Andra livgardet) is suffering from Lungsot (pulmonary tuberculosis) and is therefore no longer fit for active military service. The certificate is dated Stockholm 5 June 1859. A bit of an irony, Lars Johan suffered from the same disease that killed his father, lungsot. Lars Johan returned home to Levsäng after he was discharged from the Army. Between 1860 and 1861 he was the bridge tender at Levsäng after his father. Lars Johan was married to Cajsa Bengtsdotter on 7 April 1861 and the family now lives in different places in Fredsberg parish. For a few years he was a tenant farmer (torpare) at Thorstorp, Fredsberg. In 1870 the Lars Johan Berg family moved to Göteborg (Gothenburg). The following extract from Fredsberg household record 1852-1870 is showing a notation that the family was moving to Göteborg in 1870:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) AI:7 (1852-1870) Image 217 / page 223. To the far right of the extract is the moving-out columns. The destination is Göteborg and the year is 70 (1870). The extracts lists Lars Johan Berg and his wife Cajsa Bengtsdotter (f. 1837-04-16) and some of their children: 1. Emma Christina, born 1862 -01-03 in Fredsberg (R). To the USA 1892-09-02 but returned on 1910- 09-08 to Sweden. Unmarried. Died 1950-03-30 in Göteborg. 2. Lars Johan, born 1863-10-08 in Fredsberg (R). 3. Julia (Yulia), born 1865-12-26 in Fredsberg (R). Married K.F. Johansson 1889 in Göteborg. Divorced 1898. To Canada. Died circa 1953. 4. Anna Sophia, born 1869-09-12 in Fredsberg (R). Died 1871-07-03 Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). 5. Anna Sophia, born 1874-10-12 in Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). Twin. 6. Oskar Alfred, born 1874-10-12 in Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). Twin. Died 1874-10-21 in Göteborgs Karl Johan (O). 7. Helga Sofia, born 1876-11-23 in Karl Johan parish, Göteborg (O). To the USA on 1891-04-24. Died 1970. 8. Stillborn baby, born 1880-11-02 . In Göteborg the family settles in the Oscar Fredrik parish:
Above, source: Göteborgs Oscar Fredrik (O) AI:7 (1883-1886) Image 151 / page 1391. Lars Johan is in this household record listed as seaman (sjöman). Later the family is found in the Karl Johan parish, Göteborg:
Above, source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIIa:1 (1889- 1902) Image 142 / page 138. Their son laborer Lars Johan (b. 1863) has a notation in the household record ”dömd för 1:a resan snatteri 1879” (first conviction petty theft 1879). Source: Göteborgs Oscar Fredrik (O) AI:19 (1886-1893) Image 153 / page 2399. I haven’t found any indication of him being married. There is a notation about him in a parish record from in Göteborg covering years 1900 - 1910; Obef. R. meaning Obefintlighetsregistret which means that he has no known address (i.e. nonexistent). Source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIIa:4 (1900-1910) Image 170 / page 162. I found Lars Johan (b. 1863) in the Obefintlighetsregistret (register of nonexistent people). Source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIII:2 (1889-1908) Image 10. Lars Johan probably had left Göteborg without a moving-out certificate. Maybe he emigrated from Sweden to North America without his papers in order? The Karl Johan parish record (1900-1910) holds a notation that the father, Lars Johan Berg (b. 1833) died on 1910-02-27. Source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) AIIa:5 (1900-1910) Image 199 / page 595. This is confirmed in the Karl Johan parish death book for February 1912:
Above, source: Göteborgs Karl Johan (O) F:5 (1907- 1912) Image 109 / page 103. Lars Johan Berg is entry 48. His occupation is listed as “sjöman” (seaman). His wife Kajsa Bengtsdotter Berg died on 1913-08-11 in Karl Johan parish, Göteborg. Source: The Swedish Death Index 1860 – 2016.
The photo shows presumably Lars Johan Berg (1833 - 1912) and his son Lars Johan (b. 1863). The photo is shown with consent of Peter Saal, USA. At the bottom of the photo is the name of the photographer listed , Bäckström, and the location of the photo studio, Töreboda in Västergötland. Töreboda is a town just south of Levsäng. There was a female photographer in Törebode by the name Karin Bäckström, born in 1880. Her studio was on Vasagatan 5 in Töreboda. Her father, Thure Bäckström, born in 1845, established the photo studio in 1886 and Karin took over the business when he retired. Karin ran the studio between 1896 and 1916. She married John Knape in 1917. There is a photo of the house where the studio was at digitalmuseum. See https://digitaltmuseum.se/021017173171/karin- backstrom-f-1880-drev-fotoatelje-pa-vasagatan-5-i- toreboda-hon-tog The photo of Berg and son must have been taken between 1886 and 1916. Lars Johan Berg’s father, i.e. Lars Johansson Berg, died in 1860 so the photo must show the son Lars Johan and a son of his.
The above photos from Göteborg are of members of the Berg family. It is not known who is who. Lars Johan Berg (b. 1833) and his wife Cajsa Bengtsdotter (b. 1837) had three daughters. Maybe they are on these photos? The photo to the extreme left was taken at a studio on Stigbergstorget 7, Göteborg. The name of the studio is Lefins. The photographers full name was August W. Lefin. I haven’t been able to find when he was running his studio but probably at the end of the 1800s. The photo in the center was taken by photographer Carl M Olson (1858-1900). He was another Göteborg photographer and established his studio in 1882. His widow took over the studio in 1900. The photo to the extreme right was taken by photographer N G Hagman. His full name was Nils Gabriel Hagman (1830 – 1879). His son Nils Gustaf Hagman, born in 1865, took over the business in Göteborg when his father died in 1879. The photos are shown with consent of Peter Saal, USA.

The Berg Siblings

Lars Johan Berg and his wife Cajsa Bengtsdotter Berg had 8 children of whom 4 lived into adulthood. Three of the children left Sweden for America at various points in time. Emma Christina went to the US in 1892 but returned to Sweden in 1910. Helga Sofia went to the US in 1891 and Julia went to Canada around 1898. For more information, please go to The Berg siblings

Charlotta Berg Sjöholm

Charlotta Berg was a daughter to Lars Johansson Berg (b.1806-10-01) and Maja Katharina Larsdotter, (b.1811- 07-16). Charlotta was born on 1842-09-22 in Fredsberg (R) and died on 1889-11-17 in Kristina parish, Jönköping (F). Below is an extract of Charlotta’s birth entry in the Fredsberg birth book for September 1842:
Above, source: Fredsberg (R) C:5 (1830-1848) Image 76. Charlotta was born on 22 September and baptized on 24 September. Charlotta was married to Nils Peter Sjöholm on 1860- 09-13. Nils Peter was born on 1833-04-09 in Ivetofta (L). The Sjöholm family moved a lot. They left Fredsberg for Kyrkefalla (R) in 1862. The Sjöholm’s in Falköping 1876 - 1880:
Above, source: Falköpings stadsförsamling (R) AI:14 (1876-1880) Image 354 / page 322b. Nils Peter was a master gardener. Their children: 1. Johan Fredrik, born 1861-07-08 in Fredsberg. Died 1935-06-15 in Ramnalid, Borås, Sweden. 2. Regina Josefina Gravilda (Hilda), born 1863-03-19 in Kyrkefalla. To the USA 1884-08-29 3. Julius Wilhelm, born 1865-05-17 in Hjo sfs. To the USA 1888-11-09 ?? 4. Helga Edla Adolfina (Helen), born 1867-06-23 in Falköpings sfs. To the USA 1884-08-29 5. Richard Birger, born 1870-02-07 i Valtorp. Died 1875-03-01 in Falköping of scarlet fever. 6. Irenes Viktor, born 1872-04-05 in Mularp. To the USA 1912-09-24. 7. Karl Oskar, born 1873-05-11 in Mularp. From Stockholm to the USA 1913-08-18. Died 1926-04- 05 in Stockholm, Sweden. 8. Charlotta Albertina Paulina (Pauline), born 1875- 06-21 in Falköpings sfs. To the USA on 1890-08-02. 9. Richard Birger, born 1878-04-10 in Falköpings sfs. Died 1959-1016 in Ölmstad (F). Married 1899. 10. Nils Theodor, born 1883-04-10 in Jönköpings Kristina. To the USA 1893-05-02. 11. Elva Amanda Hildegard, born 1885-06-13 in Jönköpings Kristina. To the USA 1890-08-02. The name of the 11th child above is Elva which means eleven. Nils Peter followed the children to the USA (at the age of 60) and emigrated from Sweden on 1893-05-02. Nils Peter traveled together with his youngest son Nils Theodor. The above emigration dates are from the Swedish online emigration database, EmiWeb. Other household records where the family is listed: Kyrkefalla (R) AI:10 (1862-1876) Image 87 / page 390 Valtorp (R) AI:5 (1860-1873) Image 126 / page 118 Hjo stadsförsamling (R) AI:7 (1861-1868) Image 30 / page 21 Mularp (R) AI:10 (1872-1880) Image 95 / page 180 Falköpings stadsförsamling (R) AI:14 (1876-1880) Image 354 / page 322b Jönköpings Kristina (F) AI:61 (1881-1889) Image 220 / page 217 Jönköpings Sofia (F) AI:31 (1881-1889) Image 292 / page 288 Jönköpings Kristina (F) AI:61 (1881-1889) Image 220 / page 217 Jönköpings Kristina (F) AI:72 (1890-1897) Image 206 / page 200 Borås (P) AIIa:39 (1911-1929) Image 329 / page 1525 Charlotta Sjöholm died on 1889-11-17 at the age of 47 of a lung disease. Below is an extract from the Kristina parish, Jönköping, death book for November 1889:
The photo shows Charlotta Berg Sjöholm (1842 - 1889). The photo is shown with consent of Carol Kemp, WA, USA. Charlotta was Carol’s maternal great- grandmother (morfars mor).
Above, Source: Jönköpings Kristina (F) F:4 (1878-1890) Image 234. The funeral was held on November 24. The column to the extreme right is the cause of death column. The Sjöholm family consisted at the time of many young children. This must have been difficult for the remaining members of the family. Therefore, Nils Peter remarried on 1890-12-21 to Charlotta Maria Petersson (b. 1837-01-13). When Nils Peter left Sweden in 1893 for the US, only his son Nils was with him, not his second wife. His second wife never came to the US and died in Sweden on 1899-05-04 in Jönköping. What’s interesting is that he came in through Galveston, Texas. Two of his daughters, Charlotta (Pauline) and Helga (Helen), were living in Coleman, TX, at the time, so probably that is the reason why. Nils Peter was in Oklahoma in the 1900 and 1910 census. In 1915 he lives in Kansas by the name Seaholm. In 1920 Nils Peter, at the age of 87, applied for a US passport and returned to Sweden to live his last years there. In Sweden he was living in Borås where his oldest son Johan Fredrik also lived. However, Nils Peter only stayed in Sweden for one year. He returned to the US on the SAL passenger ship Drottningholm sailing from Göteborg and arrived in New York on 22 November 1921. Then he moves in with his oldest daughter Josefina (Hilda Perry) in Magnum, Oklahoma. Nils Peter died on 1922-02-21 in a house fire at the home of his daughter Hilda Perry in Mangum. Below is an extract from the Swedish American Line (SAL) passenger list for the steam ocean liner Drottningholm, departing Göteborg on 12 November 1921 for New York, USA:
In the above extract we find Nils Sjöholm in the passenger list, ticket number 12083. His age is listed as 87.

The Sjöholm Siblings

Nils Peter Sjöholm and his wife Charlotta Berg Sjöholm had 11 children of whom 10 lived into adulthood. Nils Peter and 8 of the children left Sweden for America at various points in time. Only the oldest son Johan Fredrik and the second Richard Birger (b. 1878) remained in Sweden. Karl Oscar returned to Sweden after a few years and died in Stockholm in 1926. For more information, please go to The Sjöholm siblings

Related Links

About First and Middle Names in Sweden Swedish naming practices in earlier times The Swedish spelling reform of 1906 How To Type Swedish Characters Spelling and Pronunciation of Swedish Names The Emigration from Sweden to the USA Map Swedish Provinces Some facts about Sweden Swedish/English Dictionary, Genealogy Terms The Official Website of Göta Canal The History of Göta Canal

Source References

Swedish church records online, Arkiv Digital The Swedish Online Emigration Database, EmiWeb The information about the Sjöholm immigrants from Sweden has been supplied by Carol Kemp, WA, USA Wikipedia Söderköping och Kanalen, Söderköpings kommun 2007 En vacker historia, Göta kanal - Sveriges största kulturhistoriska byggnadsverk, AB Göta kanalbolag Top of page