Guessing as a part of research

When you are stuck sometimes in your research, and you feel that you have tested everything with the facts that you have, but it doesnt lead you forward, that is so frustrating.

That was the case in my latest find in trying to confirm a soldier that I found in a American National Archive. I have saved this casualty card for a while, as I by those moments did not find any facts that really confirmed that he was born in Sweden, and I gave up many times.

So, last evening, I just guessed about his real name, and it turned out to be the solution, that finally revealed everything. Strange but nice!

The card of the American soldier named Fritz Erickson, Killed in Action October 1st, 1918, fighting for 111th Regiment, 28th AEF Division. It can be read on the card that he previous was reported to have died of wounds received in action November 11, 1918, but was later changed. He was earlier also stated as missing in action.

The card says that his mother is Maria Ivanson from Lilla Ryd, Holje, Sweden. So that gives me a hint that Fritz actually can be born in Sweden. At the backside of the card it says that Maria probably has the Surname of Svenson. That is a lead in some way.

When searching at ancestry I get some results that says that Fritz was born July 14, 1892, in Sweden, in the village of Holjo, and that he was killed November 11th. But we know the date is wrong and changed to October 1st, 1918. There is no village called Holjo, and I am trying other variants like Höljö, Håljo, Holjö etc, but no luck.

I find Lilla Ryd, but there are many small places in Sweden called Lilla Ryd, as it means small cultivated field, or small open Fields so you can imagine … There is no place called Lilla Ryd near anything that could be Holjo.

I am searching for Maria – Lilla Ryd – with Fritz, but no results …

On ancestry it says that he is born in Höljes, Norway, october 1st, 1918, so I think maybe he is not a Swede after all … ?

But I know there is nothing called Lilla Ryd in Norway, Lilla Ryd is a common Swedish expression, and I think that it is like the most common situation, that the parents often stayed at home or nearby, where the kids were born, especially for those soldiers who emigrated alone, or without parents.

So what to do? Maybe Fritz has another name? What could it then be? And here comes my guess. Maybe Fritz is the old Swedish name Fritiof?

Bang on! I search for Fritiof, born July 14th, 1892, and there he is. There is also a Maria Svenson, his mother , and also a father called Erik Svensson. Erickson comes from his fathers name, and Fritiof is Eriks son, Eriksson. And what about Lilla Ryd? It is not Lilla Ryd, it is Ry Lilla …

So finally I can say that it is highly likely that this is the correct individual. In the church book I can also read that Fritiof left Sweden in 1912, for North America, in the age of 20. The conscript age at that time in Sweden was 21, so many, many Swedes left just before, to not risk to be called in for duty in the Swedish army.

Fritiof called himself Fritz E according to the casualty card, but the E is taken away for some reason, and Fritiof also have the name Erik which explains the E, probably from his father.

Fritiof was registered in June 5th, 1917, and left for France with 40th Division in August 11, 1918. Fritiof were later on heavily involved in the Meuse Argonne Offensive with 28th Division, especially between September 26 to October 9, which is the period in which Fritiof payed the ultimate price at the battlefield. Fritiof is buried at Meuse Argonne American cemetery in France. May he rest in Peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *