S04EP01: ‘The Undead’ with Linda Kvist

In this first episode of Series Four, host Andrew Martin meets Swedish professional genealogist Linda Kvist. He’ll be finding out how she got hooked on researching her family tree, what it’s like to research within Sweden in archives and on Arkiv Digital, and how she’s been using DNA testing to test even the family pet. She tells the story of how her partner’s ancestor who died twice, and we’re on the trail of the life of an Estonian wrestler and his wife before 1915.

Life Story – Nils Peter Bengtsson

Linda tells the story of her partner’s ancestor Nils Peter Bengtsson, who was born in 1858 in Sweden, but had moved out to the USA. After his wife died, he prepared to move back to Sweden. He sent his young daughter ahead whilst he finished up his affairs, but just as he stood waiting on the dock to board his ship home, he dropped down dead. This left Nils’ daughter in Sweden in the care of her grandparents. She continued her life, and inherited from her deceased father’s estate….. or at least that’s how the family story goes.

Dying on an American dock in such a public space would no doubt have earned Nils some newspaper coverage, but sadly Linda couldn’t find any. Annoyingly, with the 1890 US Census badly damaged by fire in 1921, this valuable resource left Linda with a gap in her evidence for building up a trail for him.

Left with an old photograph of Nils, a curious passenger list entry, and a death certificate that didn’t quite look right, Linda embarked on a journey to uncover an unusual story… with a strange twist, and an important lesson.

The Brick Wall – Nikolai Edvard Seck and Julia Verno

Linda is looking for her maternal Great Grandparents Nikolai Edvard Seck (1885-1948) and Julia Verno (1887-1956).

Whilst it is known that they were married in Pskov, in eastern Estonia (but now in western Russia) on 9th May 1915, and that they fled to safety in Sweden with their daughter during 1944, their origins are not clear. Julia’s parents are known as August Verno and Anna Lindenberg, but Linda has no other details about them.

It is known that Nikolai was a wrestler, and Linda has some photos of him from the 1920s, but what are the origins of Nikolai and his wife Julia? Can you help?

If you think you can help Linda with a clue or research idea that might help to bring her brick wall crumbling down, then you can drop her an email via the address she gives in the episode, or you can head over to her Facebook Page. Alternately, you can send her a message via our contact form and we’ll pass it on.

In the meantime, whilst Andrew offers Linda some help to solve her brick wall, unfortunately Sándor has made other plans….


Episode Credits
Series Four, Episode One

  • Andrew Martin: Host and Producer
  • Linda Kvist: Guest
  • John Spike: Sándor Petőfi

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