My genealogy journey began in about 1998 when I was looking around the Bellevue Library and saw a book about King County Deaths 1891-1907. I really can’t remember why I took it down off the shelf, but perhaps I thought I’d look up someone – maybe my great grandfather Gollofon, as the name is unusual.
He was not to be found, but there was a notation for a “Gertie” Gollofon who died in 1901. There are very few Gollofons in Seattle, so I thought I would find out more about this “Gertie” person. She led me on a merry chase through the University of Washington where I searched old papers, the Family History Library in Kirkland and the Seattle Public Library where I finally found her death record. I’m not sure which piece of information convinced me that “Gertie” was Gerda Caroline Telquist Gollofon, but once that happened other pieces of information began to fall into place.
I had, among my family papers, the Marriage Certificate that was issued to Caroline and Frank Robert Gollofon at the time of their marriage 29 January 1893; as well as where they were married (Seattle) and by whom. Another item I found was a family tree made for me when I was born which included names and origins for my great-grandparents on both sides. As I began to learn more I was surprised to see that while Caroline was born in Sweden, Frank was born in Alsace Lorraine – a place which was French or German depending on the year you checked. Both were immigrants who hadn’t been in the country more than a few years when they married. How had they met?
They had 3 children in a relatively short time: Arthur Francis in May of 1894, Lily Irene in December of 1895 and Mildred Caroline (our grandmother) in April of 1899. I knew little about Art and Irene although I had met them both but have learned a bit more with my research. Art had two sons, Irene was childless and Mildred one son, our father, also Art.Caroline was only 27 when she died of septicemia in 1901 and pre-deceased her parents and most siblings by quite a few years. The children went to live with their aunts, uncles or grandparents until their father’s remarriage in 1907. I don’t believe that any of them lived with him during their growing up years but it’s difficult to tell with the information I’ve gleaned so far.
Due to her time of death, records for Caroline were difficult to find and when found didn’t include any burial information. I hunted for quite a while for the cemetery where she was buried, which directed me through an interesting swath of Seattle history. I found her grave in Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Queen Anne Hill, next to her parents. Frank is also buried there in another plot some distance from the Telquists.
Genealogy has changed quite a lot since 1998 and items of interest are much easier to find than before, sometimes sitting at home on your computer. Every day more resources come on line and I have a lot of fun filling in some of the blanks that have existed for many years. DNA tests and software have supported a lot of folks getting together who would otherwise not known where or how to connect with relatives. An unanticipated connection happened recently between my sister and a woman who is related to us through this Telquist line. Communicating with Cathleen and sharing information made me realize that I had a fair amount more work to do on this family – that seems to ALWAYS be the case.
In doing additional research on the family I came across notes in a church record that look to be for a eulogy to be given by the pastor of the local Lutheran Church for Carl Telquist, Caroline’s father, which gives a bit of history on the family. (some of the following information came from those notes.)
Carl Alfred Telquist or Tellqvist married Anna Lena Anderson in 1869 in Sweden. Their first child of eight was born in 1870. Carl emigrated from Tanum, Bohuslan, Sweden at the age of 39 in 1882 according to the Swedish Household Examination Book. His destination is said to be Amerika. He is listed in all the Swedish records with “soldier” as his occupation, although his job is cited as the much less informative “laborer” in Seattle City Directories.
Just prior to Carl’s emigration his youngest son – also Carl – had died at age ten months. Their youngest daughter, Hannah was born just ten days before the younger Carl’s death. Church records state Carl was traveling with his family when they leave Sweden – but they arrived a year later. I imagine that delaying the families’ departure was necessary if not already planned.
Since the ship’s record shows only Anna and the children and Carl’s eulogy states he traveled to North America a year earlier, I’m assuming that he did arrive before the rest of the family. One hypothesis is that the child was taken sick during their travels and Hanna was born, so Carl went on without them.
After the family arrived in the US in the spring of 1883 they settled in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where their last child, Oscar, was born. Five years arriving in Wisconsin Carl moved to Seattle, followed by his family in June of 1889 just after the Great Fire. I have yet to learn why they moved to Seattle from Eau Claire although we might guess that the growth of many industries and the subsequent employment availability in the Pacific Northwest may have been a factor. Things were likely very chaotic due to the fire and records from that time are difficult to obtain.
Anna and Carl would have been married for 50 years if he had survived until December of 1919. Carl is listed as a laborer at City Water Works in 1892 but little else is known about his occupations throughout his life. In his eulogy the writer reports that he had served in the Swedish Army prior to his emigration. Apparently he also had a firm belief in the cause of the Allies and even before the US became embroiled in WWI, he was passionate about defeating the Germanic powers. It is interesting to think about how he may have felt when his daughter Caroline married a man from Alsace Lorraine.