A Photograph Revealed: Origins

In A Photograph Revealed, you saw the following picture of Dotty, Edie, and Ev, ready for their three-month road trip.


I also told you that this photo made its way to me via email from all the way in Sweden.

So just how did this photo end up in Sweden and then find its way back to me?

For that you can (and I definitely do) thank a number of people.  First, is Selma Nilsson, and second, is her brother Janne Nilsson.

Selma Nilsson and her brother Janne Nilsson came to America from Sweden in the late 1800s and spent some time in Elgin, Illinois.  Janne met his future wife, Augusta, there and after they married, they returned to Sweden.  Selma stayed in America where she met and married John Stohl.  They would go on to have four children, including Edith and Evelyn Stohl.

Selma kept in contact with her brother, sending photographs to him as time went by.  In 1929, the above photograph is one of the photographs that she sent him.  She wrote a caption on the reverse of the photograph.


Here is the English translation, provided to me in a second email from Sweden.

“This ( photo) was taken by the girls when they came here on Sunday morning the first of September. They have as luggage the dishpan. Dorothy is in the middle and Evelyn is at the steeringwheel.”

So who sent me this photo and is thus the recipient of my biggest thanks?  That would be Janne’s grandson, who recently began to do genealogy on Ancestry.com with the hopes of finding family in America.  Three years ago when I began my research, I created a small family tree with the Stohl family in it.  This led Janne’s grandson to me, as he did an internet search for my name (my Ancestry screen name is not creative and has my name in it-so thank you to Ancestery.com as well), and he found the Three Months By Car blog within the results.  Discovering that it was about his family members, it brought to mind the photograph from September 1, 1929, taken just before Dotty, Edie, and Ev set off on their three-month, tri-country adventure.  He had no idea that reaching out to me would provide me with the first true photograph that I have seen.

In the nearly two weeks since the first email, I have highly enjoyed corresponding with Janne’s grandson and look forward to future emails.  This experience has been a success for both genealogy and Three Months By Car.

This entry was posted in History, Mail, Road Trip and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A Photograph Revealed: Origins

  1. Bud Gates says:

    Wow!!!!! Fantastic….

  2. Diane says:

    Maria, This was so exciting for me to read. I learned so many things about Selma (my great-grandmother) that I didn’t know. Thanks so much for doing this. Love, Auntie Diane

  3. Tom says:

    Great stuff Maria… keep it coming…!

  4. Krista says:

    Maria, I am forwarding your blog to my friend whose last name is Nilsson! It is truly amazing how connections are made.

  5. Reblogged this on Preservation and Place and commented:

    This is the companion and conclusion to the post I reblogged from Three Months By Car on Wednesday. Hope you have enjoyed a peak into my public history project!

  6. Pingback: Six Months Update | Three Months By Car

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