Who were the Andersons and Nelsons shown in these films? Both have Swedish roots and settled in the East Bay, and both have connections to all over the world. The families formally connected when Andrew “Andy” Anderson married Alda Evelyn Nelson in 1937.
Below I’ve listed the “key players”—people who appear in the films (or in Herman’s case, shot most of the films) or connect the others. I’ve assembled a more complete family tree on ancestry.com as best I can, but if you have corrections or other facts to add, let me know. And definitely let me know if you can identify people in any of the film clips.
Axel Herman Nelson (September 11, 1880 — ?) was born in the Norrköpings Hedvig parish, in the Östergötland province south of Stockholm. He arrived in the U.S. sometime between 1895 and 1898.
Hilma Theresa Peterson (Nelson) (c.1887 — ?) was born in Sweden and arrived in the U.S. about 1898. (NB: some records spell her name Helma.)
Axel and Hilma married about 1903, and in the 1910 census were listed at 1715 – 9th Street in Berkeley with 5 year old Alda and 6 month old Hilbert. Axel’s profession was listed as longshoreman.
· Alda Evelyn Nelson (Anderson) (May 15, 1904 — August 16, 1987) was born in Alameda County (probably Berkeley.)
· Herman Revere Nelson (October 3, 1908 — September 22, 1973) was born in Berkeley. NB: The 1910 census suggests his given name was Hilbert, but early census data wasn’t perfect. He’s listed as Herman in other records.
Anders (Andrew) Anderson (March 9, 1862 — ) was born in Fjärås in Halland county, south of Gothenburg in Sweden. Family history has it that he was one of many children (not uncommon in Sweden in those days) and left home and found work as a cabin boy on a ship. Records vary, but sometime between 1876 and 1887 he arrived in the U.S.
Emma Williams (Anderson) (May 1864 — August 31, 1933) was born in Sweden. She arrived in the U.S. in 1886 or 1887.
Andrew and Emma married December 12, 1889, in San Francisco. They lived in West Oakland on Adeline Street. Andrew worked as a deckhand on the ferryboats that ran between Oakland and San Francisco, most notably the Piedmont. Andrew and Emma had 3 sons.
· Albert Edward Anderson (October 29, 1890 — July 13, 1979) was born in Oakland.
· Anna C. Nelson (Anderson) (February 19, 1896 — 1965) was born in Oakland, Iowa, about 30 miles east of Omaha, Nebraska. Her parents had both been born in Denmark.
Albert and Anna married sometime in the 1920s, and it was the 2nd marriage for both of them.
· Carl Emil Anderson (March 18, 1893 — July 18, 1870) was born in Oakland. He worked as a machinist for the Sacramento Northern Railway,
· Paula Gertrude Ahrens (Anderson) (December 15, 1895 — April 21, 1978) was born in Strasburg (currently part of France, but then part of Germany). She arrived in the U.S. in either 1912 or 1915.
Carl and Paula married, and had 1 daughter and 2 sons. They moved a number of times, but around the time most of the films were shot they lived on 60th Street in Oakland, near Bushrod Park.
·· Charlotte “Toddy” Anderson (born November 27, 1917) was born in Alameda County. She attended UC Berkeley, graduating in 1939.
·· James “Jim” Edward Anderson (July 20, 1923 — May 12, 2002) was born in Alameda County.
·· Eugene “Skip” Carl Anderson (born July 7, 1934) was born in Albany, just north of Berkeley.
· Andrew “Andy” Anderson (1900 — July 21, 1961) was born in California.
Finally connecting the two families, Andy and Alda married August 9, 1937.