My grandpa's cousin Shelly found a lot of letters that Hilma had written that she ended up with. My grandpa had given me 3 letters that Hilma wrote to him but Shelly had an additional 18 of them. It's nice to have her handwriting and you can tell how she spoke by the way she spelled different words. She very obviously had a thick Swedish accent but did know English. One letter in particular struck me as potentially helpful to my research, but it took me several years to figure it out.
I have to preface the letter by posting a communion book record that I posted in my last blog, and that I posted in the blog I referenced from 2016.
The 1st record I found was the Oregon Death Index, which has her middle name Johanna truncated and no birth day but a potential match showed in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and there it was, a perfect match on the birthdate.
I then found her in the census records and discovered that although Elna married, she never had any children. It was still nice to see who it was Hilma was referring to in her letter.
I then did the "Member Connect" (ancestry's matching of uploaded family trees) to see if anyone had Elna in their tree and several people did. Upon looking a bit I found that Stina's daughters Judith and Alma also came to America and I was able to trace those families (and have reached out to a descendant already). I got one of the daughter's obituaries and it also listed a sister Ida so there is one child not yet born yet when the communion record was written.
I found the Petitions for Naturalization that Alma and Judith filed, both listed their maiden name as Gustafson (their father's patronymic) but that they sailed under the name Kiviniemi, which was Hilma's maiden name.
Hopefully this leads to more connections and more information. For now I'm happy that reading over the records and the letters led to the connection in the first place.
Off to vacation - everyone enjoy their 4th of July!