Thursday, October 13, 2005

Swedish UPRR Workers


I really enjoy your site and return often to read and learn more about some new aspect of this grand undertaking!  My great great great uncle Bengt Johan Johansson, 1837-1915, worked as a railroad builder (Jarnvagsbygget) for the Union Pacific.  I was told many times by my grandfather as a child that he was in the famous May 10, 1869 joining photograph.  I wish I knew what specific job he did or how long he worked for the Union Pacific railroad.  Are there any specific materials you could recommend that discuss Swedish workers?  

Keep up the great work!  

—Joe Mirabella, Jr.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Thanks for sharing your family history.

We just added a higher resolution image of the Russell photograph. Please let us know if you can identify Bengt Johan Johansson in the famous photograph. Perhaps your family has a portrait photograph of him that you could compare.

Unfortunately, we don't have much information about Swedish railroad workers on the UPRR. Some payroll records from the CPRR construction period survive, but none are known for the UPRR.

Peter Peterson Began Work on UPRR in 1864.

Grand Island, Nebraska and other "towns were established by the immigrants that the railroads brought west. Most of these immigrants were from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark."

Gothenburg, Nebraska was "founded by Olaf Bergstrom, a Swedish immigrant who worked for the Union Pacific Railroad."

For a list of primary sources relating to the transcontinental railroad, see our frequently asked questions page.

Perhaps the American Swedish Historical Museum might be able to suggest how to find other information.

10/13/2005 5:10 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Matts Olson emigrated from Sweden in 1865, and went to work on the UPRR. He died in 1914. He would talk about his work on the RR and being at the golden spike ceremony.

10/13/2005 5:17 PM  

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