History Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2017-04-17

Well-Known Swedish-Americans

Below is a selection of well-known Swedish-Americans.

Alexander Samuelson 1862 - 1934

Swedish-American glass engineer. Born on January 4, 1862, in Kareby parish, Kungälv, Bohuslän, Sweden, died in 1934 in Indiana, USA. Samuelson emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1883. Before the emigration he was employed at Surte Glassworks. Alexander Samuelson was a glass engineer and in 1915 he designed the famous Coca-Cola contour bottle which was introduced in 1916; at least it is his name on the patent. The bottle became the most well-known trademark and package in the world. Samuelson was a senior manager at Chapman Root Bottling Company.

Ann-Magret Olsson 1941 -

Swedish-American actress and singer. Born on April 28, 1941, in Stockholm, the daughter of Anna (née Aronsson) and Gustav Olsson. While very young she moved with her parents to Valsjöbyn, Jämtland province, Sweden. Her father migrated to the United States in 1942 and Ann-Margret and her mother followed in November 1946 where they settled just outside of Chicago in Wilmette, Illinois. Ann-Margret became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1949. She graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. As an actress, she is best known for her roles in Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Carnal Knowledge (1971), and Tommy (1975). She has won five Golden Globe Awards.

Britt Ekland 1942 -

Actress. Born on October 6, 1942, in Stockholm, Sweden as Britt-Marie Eklund, better known as Britt Ekland. She is best known for her role as the Bond girl Mary Goodnight in the movie The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) as well as her marriage to English actor Peter Sellers and her romance with musician Rod Stewart. She is also known for her high-profile social life. She is a resident of Los Angeles, CA. Britt Ekland have three children; Victoria (1965) with Peter Sellers, Nic (1973) with record producer Lou Adler and Thomas Jefferson (1988) with rock musician Slim Jim Phantom.

Candice Patricia Bergen 1946 -

American Actress and former fashion model. Born on May 9, 1946, in Beverly Hills, California. Her paternal grandparents were Swedish-born immigrants who anglicized their surname, which was originally "Berggren". Her father was Edgar Bergen, a ventriloquist, comedian, and actor and her mother was Frances Bergen (née Westerman). Candice Bergen is perhaps most widely known for her starring role on the television situation comedy Murphy Brown (1988 – 1998), for which she won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.

Carl Eric Wickman 1887 - 1954

Founder of the American bus company Greyhound Lines. Born on August 7, 1887, in Våmhus parish (near Mora), Dalarna province, Sweden, as Martis Jerk, died on February 5, 1954, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Martis Jerk emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1905 and settled in Hibbing, Minnesota. Once in America he changed his typical Dalarna name to Carl Eric Wickman. In 1916 he married a Swedish-American woman, Olga Rodin. The couple had two children Robert (Bob) and Peggy (Margaret). By 1934 Wickman had 50 buses in his business.

Carl Sandburg 1878 - 1967

American writer and editor best known for poetry. Born on January 6, 1878, in Galesburg, Illinois, died on July 22, 1967, in Flat Rock, North Carolina. His parents were Clara Mathilda (née Anderson) and August Sandberg, both immigrants from north of Sweden. He adopted the nickname "Charles" or "Charlie" in elementary school, at about the same time, he and his two oldest siblings changed the spelling of their last name to "Sandburg". Much of Carl Sandburg's poetry, such as "Chicago", focused on Chicago, Illinois. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, 1919, 1940, 1951.

Charles Lindbergh 1902 - 1974

American aviator, author, inventor and explorer. Born as Charles Augustus Lindbergh on February 4, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan, died on August 26, 1974, in Maui, Hawaii. He was the third child of Swedish immigrant Charles August Lindbergh (birth name Carl Månsson) (1859–1924), and only child of his second wife, Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh (1876–1954), of Detroit. Lindbergh's father was a U.S. Congressman. His mother was a chemistry teacher in Detroit and later at Little Falls High School from which her son graduated on June 5, 1918. The Lindberghs separated in 1909 when their son was seven. By the time Charles started college as a mechanical engineering student he had also become fascinated with flying. In 1926 he became an U.S. Air Mail pilot. He became well- known on May 20 – 21, 1927, when he made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris, France, with his plane Spirit of St. Louis. The flight took 33.5 hours. Charles Lindberg was married to Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906–2001). The couple were married on May 27, 1929, and had six children. In what came to be referred to as "The Crime of the Century" occured on the evening of March 1, 1932. Their son, 20-month- old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was abducted and murdered by an intruder from his crib in the nursery of his family's rural home in East Amwell, New Jersey near the town of Hopewell. Charles Lindberg is buried in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii.

Christer Fuglesang 1957 -

Swedish physicist and an ESA astronaut. Born on March 18, 1957, in Nacka, Stockholm, Sweden. He is the first Swedish-born astronaut. In May 1992, Fuglesang was selected to join the European Astronaut Corps of the European Space Agency (ESA). In 1996, ESA selected Fuglesang to train as a Mission Specialist for NASA Space Shuttle missions. He joined the Mission Specialist Class at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, in August 1996, and qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist in April 1998. Fuglesang's first spaceflight mission was as a Mission Specialist on STS-116 in December 2006 (Celsius Mission), an assembly and crew- rotation mission to the International Space Station and included three spacewalks. On July 15, 2008 Fuglesang was selected as a mission specialist of the STS-128 that launched August 28–29, 2009 and included two spacewalks. Fuglesang received a Master of Science degree in engineering physics from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), in Stockholm in 1981. He became an associate professor (docent) of particle physics at Stockholm University in 1991. Fuglesang married Elisabeth (Lisa) Fuglesang (née Walldie) in 1983 and the couple have three children.

Curtis Leroy "Curt" Carlson 1914 - 1999

Swedish-American businessman and founder of several Carlson enterprises. Born on July 9, 1914, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, died on February 19, 1999. His parents were Charles and Leatha Carlson. Charles Carlson was a Swedish-American immigrant who arrived as a child in Minnesota; Leatha Carlson was born in Downing, Wisconsin of a Danish father and Swedish mother. Carlson founded the Gold Bond Stamp Company in 1938. Carlson used "Gold Bond Stamps", a consumer loyalty program based on trading stamps, to provided consumer incentive for grocery stores. Carlson expanded his offerings by purchasing the downtown Minneapolis Radisson Hotel in 1960 and building it into a national chain. He also acquired TGI Fridays, Carlson Leisure Group and hundreds of other hospitality businesses. The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota is named for him. The Gold Bond Stamp Company was renamed Carlson Companies, Inc. in 1973, an American privately held international corporation in the hotel, restaurant, and travel industries. It is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb, The Carlson Towers.

Donald Edmond "Donnie" Wahlberg, Jr 1969 -

American singer, actor and film producer. Born on August 17, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts. Donnie Wahlberg had his breakthrough as a member of the popular boy band New Kids on the Block. He appeared as C. Carwood Lipton in the award-winning World War II miniseries Band of Brothers. He starred in the critically acclaimed police drama series Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck and Bridget Moynahan as detective Danny Reagan. His father, Donald Edmond Wahlberg, Sr., a teamster and an U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, was of Swedish descent.

Edwin ”Buzz” Aldrin 1930 -

Swedish-American engineer and former American astronaut, and the second person to walk on the Moon. Born on January 20, 1930, in Montclair, New Jersey. In 1969 he was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history following mission commander Neil Armstrong. He is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force (USAF) and a USAF Command Pilot / Astronaut. His parents were Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr. (1896–1974), a career military man, and his wife Marion (née Moon; 1903–1968). The Aldrin's have Swedish ancestry in Värmland province, Sweden and a family history as smiths. Buzz Aldrin’s paternal grandfather Karl Johan Aldrin was born in 1866 in Stjärnfors Bruk in Norra Råda parish, Värmland. Karl Johan Aldrin emigrated from Sweden to the United States where he settled as a smith in Worchester, Massachusetts. Buzz’s paternal grandmother was born in Hara in Ekshärad parish, Värmland.

Gloria May Josephine Swanson 1899 - 1983

American actress, singer and producer. Born on March 27, 1899, in Chicago, Illinois, died on April 4, 1983, in New York City. She was one of the most prominent stars during the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon. Her father was Joseph Theodore Swanson, a soldier in the army, from a strict Lutheran Swedish American family with roots in Småland province, Sweden.

Greta Garbo 1905 - 1990

Actress and an international star and icon during Hollywood's silent and classic periods. Born as Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Katarina parish, Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden, died on April 15, 1990, in New York City, USA. Greta Garbo was the third and youngest child of Anna Lovisa (née Karlsson, 1872–1944) and Karl Alfred Gustafsson (1871–1920), a laborer. The Gustafssons lived in a three-bedroom flat at Blekingegatan No. 32, Södermalm, Stockholm. She launched her film career in 1924 in the Swedish film The Saga of Gosta Berling (Gösta Berlings Saga) which brought her to Hollywood in 1925. In 1941, she retired at the age of 35 after appearing in twenty-eight films. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1951. Garbo was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actress and received an honorary one in 1954 for her "luminous and unforgettable screen performances". She also won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for both Anna Karenina (1935) and Camille (1936). In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on their list of greatest female stars of all time. Garbo was cremated in Manhattan, and her ashes were interred in 1999 at Skogskyrkogården Cemetery (The Woodland Cemetery) just south of her native Stockholm.

Ingrid Bergman 1915 - 1982

Actress. Born on August 29, 1915, in Hedvig Eleonora parish in Stockholm, Sweden, died on August 29, 1982, in London, UK. Her parents were Justus Samuel Bergman, and his wife, Frieda Henrietta (née Adler) Bergman. Ingrid Bergman starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute. She is best remembered for her roles as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), a World War II drama co-starring Humphrey Bogart, and as Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946), an Alfred Hitchcock thriller co-starring Cary Grant. The affair and marriage with Roberto Rossellini created a scandal that forced her to remain in Europe until 1956, when she made a successful Hollywood return in Anastasia, for which she won her second Academy Award. Before becoming a star in American films, she had been a leading actress in Swedish films. Bergman's first acting role in the United States came when Hollywood producer David O. Selznick brought her to America in 1939 to star in Intermezzo: A Love Story, an English language remake of her 1936 Swedish film, Intermezzo. Intermezzo became an enormous success and as a result Bergman became a star. She died in 1982 in London where her body was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery, London, and her ashes taken to Sweden. Most of them were scattered in the sea around the islet of Dannholmen off the fishing village of Fjällbacka in Bohuslän, on the west coast of Sweden, where she spent most of the summers from 1958 until her death in 1982. The rest were placed next to her parents' ashes in Norra Begravningsplatsen (Northern Cemetery), Stockholm, Sweden.

Jacob Benjamin "Jake" Gyllenhaal 1980 -

American actor. Born on December 19, 1980, in Los Angeles, California. He is the son of film director Stephen Gyllenhaal and film producer and screenwriter Naomi Foner (née Achs). Jake’s older sister Maggie Gyllenhaal is also an actress. Gyllenhaal's father is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. Jake's last native Swedish ancestor was his great-great-grandfather, Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal. Jake's mother is from a Jewish family from New York City. In 2005 his role as Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain earned him critical acclaim. For his performance he won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for the Academy Award in the same category.

Jennifer Mulhern Granholm 1959 -

American politician. Born on February 5, 1959, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The family moved to California, USA, when Jennifer was 4 years old. Granholm became Michigan's first female governor on January 1, 2003. She was reelected on November 7, 2006. After leaving office, Granholm took a position at the University of California at Berkeley. Her parents are Shirley Alfreda (née Dowden) and Victor Ivar Granholm. Jennifer’s paternal grandfather, who immigrated to Canada in the 1930’s, came from Robertsfors, Västerbotten province, Sweden, where his father was mayor. The former Minister for Enterprise and Energy and former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Maud Olofsson, lives in Robertsfors, and Olofsson's husband is a relative of Granholm's. In 1986 Jennifer Granholm married Daniel Mulhern, a Michigan native, and took his surname as her middle name. They have three children, Kathryn, Cecelia, and Jack. On October 21, 2010, Granholm was made a Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star, First Class (Nordstjärneorden), by the King of Sweden "for her work in fostering relations between Michigan and Sweden to promote a clean energy economy".

John Ericsson 1803 - 1889

Inventor and mechanical engineer. Born on July 31, 1803, in Långbanshyttan, Färnebo parish (near Filipstad), Värmland province, Sweden, died on March 8, 1889, in New York City, USA, buried in Filipstad, Sweden. His Swedish given name was Johan. In 1821, at the age of 17 he joined the Swedish Army and served in Jämtland Rifle Regiment (Jämtlands fältjägarregemente), as a Second Lieutenant, but was soon promoted to Lieutenant (and in 1827 captain in his absence). Among other things he worked on topographical duties for the Army in Northern Sweden. He is mostly known as the inventor of the ship propeller and as the constructor of the Union armored warship, the USS Monitor, in the American Civil War 1861 - 1865. His most profitable invention was the heat engine which used the fumes from the fire (firewood) instead of steam as a propellant. In 1826 he applied for and was granted leave of absence from the Army and moved to England to better promote his heat engine. However, his prototype was designed to burn firewood and wasn't working well with coal which was the main fuel in England. In a steam train competition, the Rainhill Trials, arranged by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in October 1829 he and John Braithwaite built the engine "Novelty". It proved considerably faster than the other entrants but suffered recurring boiler problems and the competition was won by English engineers George and Robert Stephenson with the Rocket. Ericson improved ship design with two screw-propellers moving in different directions. Ericsson's work attracted the attention Robert F. Stockton, an U.S. Navy officer and in 1839 Ericsson moved to the United States where he lived in New York City until his death. He became an American citizen in 1848. Ericsson managed to get his twin screw propellers approved by the US Navy and they were used on an American steam frigate, the USS Princeton, which was launched in 1843. The frigate took three years to build and was one of the most advanced warships of its time. During the American Civil War Ericcson designed the USS Monitor, an armored ship with a rotating turret housing a pair of large guns. The ship went from plans to launch (March 1862) in approximately 100 days. Monitor's successful battle with the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia on March 9, 1862, at Hampton Roads, made Ericsson a great hero in the North. Ericsson continued his work on maritime and naval technology after the Civil War. In August 1890, following a memorial service at New York, his body was placed on board the cruiser USS Baltimore, which carried him across the Atlantic to his native Sweden for burial at Filipstad, Värmland.

The Emigration from Sweden to the USA (8)

Kris Kristofferson 1936 -

American songwriter, country music singer and actor. Born on June 22, 1936, in Brownsville, Texas. He is known for such hits as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times" and "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down". In 1985, Kristofferson joined fellow country artists Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash in forming the country music supergroup "The Highwaymen". In 2004, Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His parents were Mary Ann (née Ashbrook) and Lars Henry Kristofferson, a U.S. Army Air Corps officer. Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson paternal grandparents emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1905. His paternal grandfather, Lars Christoffersson, was born in 1879, in Nås, Dalarna province, Sweden, and was in the Swedish Army.

Larry Martin Hagman 1931 - 2012

American film and television actor. Born on September 21, 1931, in Fort Worth, Texas, died on November 23, 2012, in Dallas, Texas. He is best known for playing ruthless oil baron J. R. Ewing in the television soap opera Dallas (1978 - 1991, 2012 – 2013). For his performance as J.R. Ewing, Hagman was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1980 and 1981, but did not win. He was also nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, between 1981 and 1985. His father, Benjamin Jackson Hagman, who was of Swedish descent, was an accountant and lawyer. His mother, Mary Martin, was a Broadway actress and musical comedy star. Larry Hagman’s paternal great grandfather was Chas Otto Hagman (Karl Otto Hagman) and he and his wife were Swedish immigrants to the United States. Larry’s paternal grandfather was William Lewis Hagman born circa 1860 in Wisconsin. In 1954, Hagman married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson and they had two children, Heidi Kristina (born 1958) and Preston (born 1962).

Leif Erickson 1911 - 1986

American stage, film and television actor. Born on October 27, 1911, in Alameda, California. Died on January 29, 1986 in Pensacola, Florida. He was born as William Y. Wycliffe Anderson, in Alameda near San Francisco, California. He began his screen career in 1933 as a leading man in westerns. He starred in The High Chaparral, as Big John Cannon, which aired on NBC from 1967 until 1971, a well-known TV-series where he portrayed a rancher determined to establish a cattle empire in the Arizona Territory. Erickson had two children, William "Bill" Leif (born 1946) and Susan Irene (born 1950) with Ann Diamond.

Leroy Anderson 1908 - 1975

American composer. Born on June 29, 1908, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, died on May 18, 1975, in Woodbury, Connecticut. Many of his pieces which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. John Williams described him as "one of the great American masters of light orchestral music." Anderson was born to Swedish parents. His father was born in Övarp parish, Skåne province, Sweden and his mother in Stockholm, Sweden. Anderson’s mother was a church organist at the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden (Svenska Missionskyrkan), in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Maud Adams 1945 -

Actress. Born on February 12, 1945, in Luleå, Norrbotten province, Sweden. She is best known for her roles as two different Bond girls: in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), and as the title character in Octopussy (1983). Adams was born Maud Solveig Christina Wikström, the daughter of Thyra Wikström, a government tax inspector, and Gustav Wikström, a comptroller. Adams moved to Paris and later to New York City in 1967 to work for Eileen Ford. At this time she was one of the highest paid and most exposed models in the world. Her acting career started when she was asked to appear in the 1970 movie The Boys in the Band, in which she played a photo-shoot model in the opening credits. In the 1970’s, she guest-starred in such American TV series as Hawaii Five-O and Kojak. Adams was catapulted to international fame as the doomed mistress of the villain in The Man with the Golden Gun with Roger Moore and Christopher Lee. She was so well regarded by James Bond film series producer Albert Broccoli that she was asked to return as the title character in Octopussy in 1983, this time as the lead. She was also an extra in A View to a Kill (1985). Adams's first marriage, from 1966–1975 to photographer Roy Adams, ended in divorce. She married her current husband, private mediator and retired judge, Charles Rubin, in 1999.

Otto Fredrik Gideon Sundbäck 1880 - 1954

Swedish-American inventor and industrialist. Gideon Sundbäck (Sundback) was born on April 24, 1880, at Sonarp Estate in Ödestugu parish, Småland province, Sweden, died on June 21, 1954, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. After his studies in Sweden, Sundbäck took up studies at the Polytechnic School in Bingen am Rhein, Germany and graduated as an engineer in 1903. He emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1905. In 1906, Sundbäck was employed by Universal Fastener Company of Hoboken, New Jersey. Subsequently in 1909, Sundbäck was promoted to the position of head designer at Universal Fastener. Sundbäck developed and improved the zip fastener together with his father-in-law Peter Aronson. His first zip patent, "Hookless Fastener No. 1", was issued in 1913. However, it was his second patent, "Hookless No. 2", issued in 1917, which became today's modern zipper. Sundbäck also created the manufacturing machine for the new zipper which contributed to its world success.

Peggy Lee 1920 - 2002

American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer and actress. Born on May 26, 1920, in Jamestown, North Dakota, died on January 21, 2002, in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. Peggy Lee was born as Norma Deloris Egstrom. Her parents were Marvin Olof Egstrom, a station agent for the Midland Continental Railroad, and his wife Selma Amelia (née Anderson) Egstrom. Her father was Swedish American and her mother was Norwegian American. Peggy and her family were Lutherans. In 1942 Peggy Lee had her first No. 1 hit, "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place", followed by 1943's "Why Don't You Do Right?" She was nominated for 12 Grammy Awards, winning Best Contemporary Vocal Performance for her 1969 hit "Is That All There Is?"

Steven Andrew Soderbergh 1963 -

American film producer, screenwriter and director. Born on January 14, 1963, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is best known for directing critically acclaimed commercial Hollywood films like Out of Sight, Erin Brockovich and Traffic, and the remake of Ocean's Eleven. He was born to Mary Ann (née Bernard) and Peter Andrew Soderbergh, who was a university administrator and educator. His paternal grandfather was a Swedish immigrant, from Stockholm.

Uma Thurman 1970 -

American actress and model. Born on April 29, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts. She rose to international prominence in 1994 following her role in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. She won a Golden Globe Award for the miniseries Hysterical Blindness (2002). Her career was revitalized when she played the main role in both Kill Bill films (2003/2004). She was born to Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, a New York-born professor and his wife Birgitte Caroline "Nena" von Schlebrügge, a Swedish model born on January 8, 1941, in Mexico City, Mexico. Nena’s parents were Swedish Birgit Holmqvist (1911–1973) and the German officer Baron Friedrich Karl Johannes von Schlebrügge (1886–1954). Nena grew up in Sweden and became a fashion model in her teens. Uma’s maternal grandmother’s father, Albert Emil Fredrik Holmquist (1872-1947), was the president of a Swedish rubber company in Trelleborg, Skåne province. He was born in Landskrona, Skåne.

Val Edward Kilmer 1959 -

American actor. Born December 31, 1959, in Los Angeles, California. He was born to Gladys (née Ekstadt) and Eugene Kilmer, an aerospace equipment distributor and real estate developer. His mother was of Swedish descent (Ekstadt). In 1993, Kilmer played Doc Holliday in the western Tombstone alongside Kurt Russell, in what is credited as one of Kilmer's finest performances. He also starred in the blockbuster action film Top Gun (1986) and the swords and sorcery fantasy film Willow (1988).

William Hubbs Rehnquist 1924 - 2005

American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States. Born on October 1, 1924, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, died on September 3, 2005, in Arlington, Virginia. Rehnquist served as Chief Justice for nearly 19 years. He was born William Donald Rehnquist but changed his middle name to Hubbs, a family name. He was born to William Benjamin Rehnquist, a sales manager, and Margery Peck Rehnquist. William Rehnquist’s paternal grandparents immigrated from Sweden in 1880. His paternal grandfather, Olof Andersson, adopted the family name Rehnquist. Olof Andersson came from Värmland province, Sweden and his wife Adolfina Ternberg from Nykvarn, Vreta Kloster parish in Östergötland province, Sweden. William Rehnquist married Natalie "Nan" Cornell on August 29, 1953. The couple had three children: James, Janet and Nancy.

Source References

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Släktforskning Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2017-04-17

Well-Known Swedish-Americans

Below is a selection of well-known Swedish- Americans.

Alexander Samuelson 1862 - 1934

Swedish-American glass engineer. Born on January 4, 1862, in Kareby parish, Kungälv, Bohuslän, Sweden, died in 1934 in Indiana, USA. Samuelson emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1883. Before the emigration he was employed at Surte Glassworks. Alexander Samuelson was a glass engineer and in 1915 he designed the famous Coca-Cola contour bottle  which was introduced in 1916; at least it is his name on the patent. The bottle became the most well- known trademark and package in the world. Samuelson was a senior manager at Chapman Root Bottling Company.

Ann-Magret Olsson 1941 -

Swedish-American actress and singer. Born on April 28, 1941, in Stockholm, the daughter of Anna (née Aronsson) and Gustav Olsson. While very young she moved with her parents to Valsjöbyn, Jämtland province, Sweden. Her father migrated to the United States in 1942 and Ann-Margret and her mother followed in November 1946 where they settled just outside of Chicago in Wilmette, Illinois. Ann-Margret became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1949. She graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. As an actress, she is best known for her roles in Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Carnal Knowledge (1971), and Tommy (1975). She has won five Golden Globe Awards.

Britt Ekland 1942 -

Actress. Born on October 6, 1942, in Stockholm, Sweden as Britt-Marie Eklund, better known as Britt Ekland. She is best known for her role as the Bond girl Mary Goodnight in the movie The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) as well as her marriage to English actor Peter Sellers and her romance with musician Rod Stewart. She is also known for her high-profile social life. She is a resident of Los Angeles, CA. Britt Ekland have three children; Victoria (1965) with Peter Sellers, Nic (1973) with record producer Lou Adler and Thomas Jefferson (1988) with rock musician Slim Jim Phantom.

Candice Patricia Bergen 1946 -

American Actress and former fashion model. Born on May 9, 1946, in Beverly Hills, California. Her paternal grandparents were Swedish-born immigrants who anglicized their surname, which was originally "Berggren". Her father was Edgar Bergen, a ventriloquist, comedian, and actor and her mother was Frances Bergen (née Westerman). Candice Bergen is perhaps most widely known for her starring role on the television situation comedy Murphy Brown (1988 – 1998), for which she won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards.

Carl Eric Wickman 1887 - 1954

Founder of the American bus company Greyhound Lines. Born on August 7, 1887, in Våmhus parish (near Mora), Dalarna province, Sweden, as Martis Jerk, died on February 5, 1954, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Martis Jerk emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1905 and settled in Hibbing, Minnesota. Once in America he changed his typical Dalarna name to Carl Eric Wickman. In 1916 he married a Swedish-American woman, Olga Rodin. The couple had two children Robert (Bob) and Peggy (Margaret). By 1934 Wickman had 50 buses in his business.

Carl Sandburg 1878 - 1967

American writer and editor best known for poetry. Born on January 6, 1878, in Galesburg, Illinois, died on July 22, 1967, in Flat Rock, North Carolina. His parents were Clara Mathilda (née Anderson) and August Sandberg, both immigrants from north of Sweden. He adopted the nickname "Charles" or "Charlie" in elementary school, at about the same time, he and his two oldest siblings changed the spelling of their last name to "Sandburg". Much of Carl Sandburg's poetry, such as "Chicago", focused on Chicago, Illinois. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, 1919, 1940, 1951.

Charles Lindbergh 1902 - 1974

American aviator, author, inventor and explorer. Born as Charles Augustus Lindbergh on February 4, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan, died on August 26, 1974, in Maui, Hawaii. He was the third child of Swedish immigrant Charles August Lindbergh (birth name Carl Månsson) (1859–1924), and only child of his second wife, Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh (1876–1954), of Detroit. Lindbergh's father was a U.S. Congressman. His mother was a chemistry teacher in Detroit and later at Little Falls High School from which her son graduated on June 5, 1918. The Lindberghs separated in 1909 when their son was seven. By the time Charles started college as a mechanical engineering student he had also become fascinated with flying. In 1926 he became an U.S. Air Mail pilot. He became well- known on May 20 – 21, 1927, when he made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris, France, with his plane Spirit of St. Louis. The flight took 33.5 hours. Charles Lindberg was married to Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906–2001). The couple were married on May 27, 1929, and had six children. In what came to be referred to as "The Crime of the Century" occured on the evening of March 1, 1932. Their son, 20-month-old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was abducted and murdered by an intruder from his crib in the nursery of his family's rural home in East Amwell, New Jersey near the town of Hopewell. Charles Lindberg is buried in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii.

Christer Fuglesang 1957 -

Swedish physicist and an ESA astronaut. Born on March 18, 1957, in Nacka, Stockholm, Sweden. He is the first Swedish-born astronaut. In May 1992, Fuglesang was selected to join the European Astronaut Corps of the European Space Agency (ESA). In 1996, ESA selected Fuglesang to train as a Mission Specialist for NASA Space Shuttle missions. He joined the Mission Specialist Class at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, in August 1996, and qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist in April 1998. Fuglesang's first spaceflight mission was as a Mission Specialist on STS-116 in December 2006 (Celsius Mission), an assembly and crew-rotation mission to the International Space Station and included three spacewalks. On July 15, 2008 Fuglesang was selected as a mission specialist of the STS-128 that launched August 28–29, 2009 and included two spacewalks. Fuglesang received a Master of Science degree in engineering physics from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), in Stockholm in 1981. He became an associate professor (docent) of particle physics at Stockholm University in 1991. Fuglesang married Elisabeth (Lisa) Fuglesang (née Walldie) in 1983 and the couple have three children.

Curtis Leroy "Curt" Carlson 1914 - 1999

Swedish-American businessman and founder of several Carlson enterprises. Born on July 9, 1914, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, died on February 19, 1999. His parents were Charles and Leatha Carlson. Charles Carlson was a Swedish-American immigrant who arrived as a child in Minnesota; Leatha Carlson was born in Downing, Wisconsin of a Danish father and Swedish mother. Carlson founded the Gold Bond Stamp Company in 1938. Carlson used "Gold Bond Stamps", a consumer loyalty program based on trading stamps, to provided consumer incentive for grocery stores. Carlson expanded his offerings by purchasing the downtown Minneapolis Radisson Hotel in 1960 and building it into a national chain. He also acquired TGI Fridays, Carlson Leisure Group and hundreds of other hospitality businesses. The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota is named for him. The Gold Bond Stamp Company was renamed Carlson Companies, Inc. in 1973, an American privately held international corporation in the hotel, restaurant, and travel industries. It is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb, The Carlson Towers.

Donald Edmond "Donnie" Wahlberg, Jr 1969

-

American singer, actor and film producer. Born on August 17, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts. Donnie Wahlberg had his breakthrough as a member of the popular boy band New Kids on the Block. He appeared as C. Carwood Lipton in the award-winning World War II miniseries Band of Brothers. He starred in the critically acclaimed police drama series Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck and Bridget Moynahan as detective Danny Reagan. His father, Donald Edmond Wahlberg, Sr., a teamster and an U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, was of Swedish descent.

Edwin ”Buzz” Aldrin 1930 -

Swedish-American engineer and former American astronaut, and the second person to walk on the Moon. Born on January 20, 1930, in Montclair, New Jersey. In 1969 he was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history following mission commander Neil Armstrong. He is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force (USAF) and a USAF Command Pilot / Astronaut. His parents were Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr. (1896–1974), a career military man, and his wife Marion (née Moon; 1903–1968). The Aldrin's have Swedish ancestry in Värmland province, Sweden and a family history as smiths. Buzz Aldrin’s paternal grandfather Karl Johan Aldrin was born in 1866 in Stjärnfors Bruk in Norra Råda parish, Värmland. Karl Johan Aldrin emigrated from Sweden to the United States where he settled as a smith in Worchester, Massachusetts. Buzz’s paternal grandmother was born in Hara in Ekshärad parish, Värmland.

Gloria May Josephine Swanson 1899 - 1983

American actress, singer and producer. Born on March 27, 1899, in Chicago, Illinois, died on April 4, 1983, in New York City. She was one of the most prominent stars during the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon. Her father was Joseph Theodore Swanson, a soldier in the army, from a strict Lutheran Swedish American family with roots in Småland province, Sweden.

Greta Garbo 1905 - 1990

Actress and an international star and icon during Hollywood's silent and classic periods. Born as Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on September 18, 1905, in Katarina parish, Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden, died on April 15, 1990, in New York City, USA. Greta Garbo was the third and youngest child of Anna Lovisa (née Karlsson, 1872–1944) and Karl Alfred Gustafsson (1871–1920), a laborer. The Gustafssons lived in a three-bedroom flat at Blekingegatan No. 32, Södermalm, Stockholm. She launched her film career in 1924 in the Swedish film The Saga of Gosta Berling (Gösta Berlings Saga) which brought her to Hollywood in 1925. In 1941, she retired at the age of 35 after appearing in twenty-eight films. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1951. Garbo was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actress and received an honorary one in 1954 for her "luminous and unforgettable screen performances". She also won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for both Anna Karenina (1935) and Camille (1936). In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Garbo fifth on their list of greatest female stars of all time. Garbo was cremated in Manhattan, and her ashes were interred in 1999 at Skogskyrkogården Cemetery (The Woodland Cemetery) just south of her native Stockholm.

Ingrid Bergman 1915 - 1982

Actress. Born on August 29, 1915, in Hedvig Eleonora parish in Stockholm, Sweden, died on August 29, 1982, in London, UK. Her parents were Justus Samuel Bergman, and his wife, Frieda Henrietta (née Adler) Bergman. Ingrid Bergman starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute. She is best remembered for her roles as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), a World War II drama co-starring Humphrey Bogart, and as Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946), an Alfred Hitchcock thriller co-starring Cary Grant. The affair and marriage with Roberto Rossellini created a scandal that forced her to remain in Europe until 1956, when she made a successful Hollywood return in Anastasia, for which she won her second Academy Award. Before becoming a star in American films, she had been a leading actress in Swedish films. Bergman's first acting role in the United States came when Hollywood producer David O. Selznick brought her to America in 1939 to star in Intermezzo: A Love Story, an English language remake of her 1936 Swedish film, Intermezzo. Intermezzo became an enormous success and as a result Bergman became a star. She died in 1982 in London where her body was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery, London, and her ashes taken to Sweden. Most of them were scattered in the sea around the islet of Dannholmen off the fishing village of Fjällbacka in Bohuslän, on the west coast of Sweden, where she spent most of the summers from 1958 until her death in 1982. The rest were placed next to her parents' ashes in Norra Begravningsplatsen (Northern Cemetery), Stockholm, Sweden.

Jacob Benjamin "Jake" Gyllenhaal 1980 -

American actor. Born on December 19, 1980, in Los Angeles, California. He is the son of film director Stephen Gyllenhaal and film producer and screenwriter Naomi Foner (née Achs). Jake’s older sister Maggie Gyllenhaal is also an actress. Gyllenhaal's father is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. Jake's last native Swedish ancestor was his great-great-grandfather, Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal. Jake's mother is from a Jewish family from New York City. In 2005 his role as Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain earned him critical acclaim. For his performance he won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for the Academy Award in the same category.

Jennifer Mulhern Granholm 1959 -

American politician. Born on February 5, 1959, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The family moved to California, USA, when Jennifer was 4 years old. Granholm became Michigan's first female governor on January 1, 2003. She was reelected on November 7, 2006. After leaving office, Granholm took a position at the University of California at Berkeley. Her parents are Shirley Alfreda (née Dowden) and Victor Ivar Granholm. Jennifer’s paternal grandfather, who immigrated to Canada in the 1930’s, came from Robertsfors, Västerbotten province, Sweden, where his father was mayor. The former Minister for Enterprise and Energy and former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Maud Olofsson, lives in Robertsfors, and Olofsson's husband is a relative of Granholm's. In 1986 Jennifer Granholm married Daniel Mulhern, a Michigan native, and took his surname as her middle name. They have three children, Kathryn, Cecelia, and Jack. On October 21, 2010, Granholm was made a Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star, First Class (Nordstjärneorden), by the King of Sweden "for her work in fostering relations between Michigan and Sweden to promote a clean energy economy".

John Ericsson 1803 - 1889

Inventor and mechanical engineer. Born on July 31, 1803, in Långbanshyttan, Färnebo parish (near Filipstad), Värmland province, Sweden, died on March 8, 1889, in New York City, USA, buried in Filipstad, Sweden. His Swedish given name was Johan. In 1821, at the age of 17 he joined the Swedish Army and served in Jämtland Rifle Regiment (Jämtlands fältjägarregemente), as a Second Lieutenant, but was soon promoted to Lieutenant (and in 1827 captain in his absence). Among other things he worked on topographical duties for the Army in Northern Sweden. He is mostly known as the inventor of the ship propeller and as the constructor of the Union armored warship, the USS Monitor, in the American Civil War 1861 - 1865. His most profitable invention was the heat engine which used the fumes from the fire (firewood) instead of steam as a propellant. In 1826 he applied for and was granted leave of absence from the Army and moved to England to better promote his heat engine. However, his prototype was designed to burn firewood and wasn't working well with coal which was the main fuel in England. In a steam train competition, the Rainhill Trials, arranged by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in October 1829 he and John Braithwaite built the engine "Novelty". It proved considerably faster than the other entrants but suffered recurring boiler problems and the competition was won by English engineers George and Robert Stephenson with the Rocket. Ericson improved ship design with two screw- propellers moving in different directions. Ericsson's work attracted the attention Robert F. Stockton, an U.S. Navy officer and in 1839 Ericsson moved to the United States where he lived in New York City until his death. He became an American citizen in 1848. Ericsson managed to get his twin screw propellers approved by the US Navy and they were used on an American steam frigate, the USS Princeton, which was launched in 1843. The frigate took three years to build and was one of the most advanced warships of its time. During the American Civil War Ericcson designed the USS Monitor, an armored ship with a rotating turret housing a pair of large guns. The ship went from plans to launch (March 1862) in approximately 100 days. Monitor's successful battle with the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia on March 9, 1862, at Hampton Roads, made Ericsson a great hero in the North. Ericsson continued his work on maritime and naval technology after the Civil War. In August 1890, following a memorial service at New York, his body was placed on board the cruiser USS Baltimore, which carried him across the Atlantic to his native Sweden for burial at Filipstad, Värmland.

The Emigration from

Sweden to the USA (8)

Kris Kristofferson 1936 -

American songwriter, country music singer and actor. Born on June 22, 1936, in Brownsville, Texas. He is known for such hits as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times" and "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down". In 1985, Kristofferson joined fellow country artists Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash in forming the country music supergroup "The Highwaymen". In 2004, Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His parents were Mary Ann (née Ashbrook) and Lars Henry Kristofferson, a U.S. Army Air Corps officer. Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson paternal grandparents emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1905. His paternal grandfather, Lars Christoffersson, was born in 1879, in Nås, Dalarna province, Sweden, and was in the Swedish Army.

Larry Martin Hagman 1931 - 2012

American film and television actor. Born on September 21, 1931, in Fort Worth, Texas, died on November 23, 2012, in Dallas, Texas. He is best known for playing ruthless oil baron J. R. Ewing in the television soap opera Dallas (1978 - 1991, 2012 – 2013). For his performance as J.R. Ewing, Hagman was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1980 and 1981, but did not win. He was also nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, between 1981 and 1985. His father, Benjamin Jackson Hagman, who was of Swedish descent, was an accountant and lawyer. His mother, Mary Martin, was a Broadway actress and musical comedy star. Larry Hagman’s paternal great grandfather was Chas Otto Hagman (Karl Otto Hagman) and he and his wife were Swedish immigrants to the United States. Larry’s paternal grandfather was William Lewis Hagman born circa 1860 in Wisconsin. In 1954, Hagman married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson and they had two children, Heidi Kristina (born 1958) and Preston (born 1962).

Leif Erickson 1911 - 1986

American stage, film and television actor. Born on October 27, 1911, in Alameda, California. Died on January 29, 1986 in Pensacola, Florida. He was born as William Y. Wycliffe Anderson, in Alameda near San Francisco, California. He began his screen career in 1933 as a leading man in westerns. He starred in The High Chaparral, as Big John Cannon, which aired on NBC from 1967 until 1971, a well-known TV-series where he portrayed a rancher determined to establish a cattle empire in the Arizona Territory. Erickson had two children, William "Bill" Leif (born 1946) and Susan Irene (born 1950) with Ann Diamond.

Leroy Anderson 1908 - 1975

American composer. Born on June 29, 1908, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, died on May 18, 1975, in Woodbury, Connecticut. Many of his pieces which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. John Williams described him as "one of the great American masters of light orchestral music." Anderson was born to Swedish parents. His father was born in Övarp parish, Skåne province, Sweden and his mother in Stockholm, Sweden. Anderson’s mother was a church organist at the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden (Svenska Missionskyrkan), in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Maud Adams 1945 -

Actress. Born on February 12, 1945, in Luleå, Norrbotten province, Sweden. She is best known for her roles as two different Bond girls: in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), and as the title character in Octopussy (1983). Adams was born Maud Solveig Christina Wikström, the daughter of Thyra Wikström, a government tax inspector, and Gustav Wikström, a comptroller. Adams moved to Paris and later to New York City in 1967 to work for Eileen Ford. At this time she was one of the highest paid and most exposed models in the world. Her acting career started when she was asked to appear in the 1970 movie The Boys in the Band, in which she played a photo-shoot model in the opening credits. In the 1970’s, she guest- starred in such American TV series as Hawaii Five-O and Kojak. Adams was catapulted to international fame as the doomed mistress of the villain in The Man with the Golden Gun with Roger Moore and Christopher Lee. She was so well regarded by James Bond film series producer Albert Broccoli that she was asked to return as the title character in Octopussy in 1983, this time as the lead. She was also an extra in A View to a Kill (1985). Adams's first marriage, from 1966–1975 to photographer Roy Adams, ended in divorce. She married her current husband, private mediator and retired judge, Charles Rubin, in 1999.

Otto Fredrik Gideon Sundbäck 1880 - 1954

Swedish-American inventor and industrialist. Gideon Sundbäck (Sundback) was born on April 24, 1880, at Sonarp Estate in Ödestugu parish, Småland province, Sweden, died on June 21, 1954, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. After his studies in Sweden, Sundbäck took up studies at the Polytechnic School in Bingen am Rhein, Germany and graduated as an engineer in 1903. He emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1905. In 1906, Sundbäck was employed by Universal Fastener Company of Hoboken, New Jersey. Subsequently in 1909, Sundbäck was promoted to the position of head designer at Universal Fastener. Sundbäck developed and improved the zip fastener together with his father-in-law Peter Aronson. His first zip patent, "Hookless Fastener No. 1", was issued in 1913. However, it was his second patent, "Hookless No. 2", issued in 1917, which became today's modern zipper. Sundbäck also created the manufacturing machine for the new zipper which contributed to its world success.

Peggy Lee 1920 - 2002

American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer and actress. Born on May 26, 1920, in Jamestown, North Dakota, died on January 21, 2002, in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. Peggy Lee was born as Norma Deloris Egstrom. Her parents were Marvin Olof Egstrom, a station agent for the Midland Continental Railroad, and his wife Selma Amelia (née Anderson) Egstrom. Her father was Swedish American and her mother was Norwegian American. Peggy and her family were Lutherans. In 1942 Peggy Lee had her first No. 1 hit, "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place", followed by 1943's "Why Don't You Do Right?" She was nominated for 12 Grammy Awards, winning Best Contemporary Vocal Performance for her 1969 hit "Is That All There Is?"

Steven Andrew Soderbergh 1963 -

American film producer, screenwriter and director. Born on January 14, 1963, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is best known for directing critically acclaimed commercial Hollywood films like Out of Sight, Erin Brockovich and Traffic, and the remake of Ocean's Eleven. He was born to Mary Ann (née Bernard) and Peter Andrew Soderbergh, who was a university administrator and educator. His paternal grandfather was a Swedish immigrant, from Stockholm.

Uma Thurman 1970 -

American actress and model. Born on April 29, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts. She rose to international prominence in 1994 following her role in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. She won a Golden Globe Award for the miniseries Hysterical Blindness (2002). Her career was revitalized when she played the main role in both Kill Bill films (2003/2004). She was born to Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman, a New York-born professor and his wife Birgitte Caroline "Nena" von Schlebrügge, a Swedish model born on January 8, 1941, in Mexico City, Mexico. Nena’s parents were Swedish Birgit Holmqvist (1911–1973) and the German officer Baron Friedrich Karl Johannes von Schlebrügge (1886–1954). Nena grew up in Sweden and became a fashion model in her teens. Uma’s maternal grandmother’s father, Albert Emil Fredrik Holmquist (1872-1947), was the president of a Swedish rubber company in Trelleborg, Skåne province. He was born in Landskrona, Skåne.

Val Edward Kilmer 1959 -

American actor. Born December 31, 1959, in Los Angeles, California. He was born to Gladys (née Ekstadt) and Eugene Kilmer, an aerospace equipment distributor and real estate developer. His mother was of Swedish descent (Ekstadt). In 1993, Kilmer played Doc Holliday in the western Tombstone alongside Kurt Russell, in what is credited as one of Kilmer's finest performances. He also starred in the blockbuster action film Top Gun (1986) and the swords and sorcery fantasy film Willow (1988).

William Hubbs Rehnquist 1924 - 2005

American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States. Born on October 1, 1924, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, died on September 3, 2005, in Arlington, Virginia. Rehnquist served as Chief Justice for nearly 19 years. He was born William Donald Rehnquist but changed his middle name to Hubbs, a family name. He was born to William Benjamin Rehnquist, a sales manager, and Margery Peck Rehnquist. William Rehnquist’s paternal grandparents immigrated from Sweden in 1880. His paternal grandfather, Olof Andersson, adopted the family name Rehnquist. Olof Andersson came from Värmland province, Sweden and his wife Adolfina Ternberg from Nykvarn, Vreta Kloster parish in Östergötland province, Sweden. William Rehnquist married Natalie "Nan" Cornell on August 29, 1953. The couple had three children: James, Janet and Nancy.

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