Welte Family History Research

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For over 40 years, I have been researching my family history. Now that I'm retired, I can devote more time and effort into more research, compilation, and organization of that work! Over the past 12 years, I have been very fortunate in teaching genealogy classes, along with my computer experience, at Blackhawk Technical College. I've also created a business - "Field of Genes" - a "Ride-N-Seek" experience to help other families find their own ancestors.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 Walter Alfred Esterberg

My great uncle, Walter Alfred Esterberg, was born on 27 Oct 1890, in Huron, South Dakota. His parents, born in Sweden, immigrated in the middle to late 1800s and settled in what was known as Dakota Territory. He was the second and last child, born four years after his sister Teckla.

He never married or had children, but he enjoyed his four nieces and one nephew. In South Dakota, he lived with his mother, Anna, after his dad died in 1913. After she died in 1933, Walter inherited the farm.

He really loved to travel which consisted of a series of train trips. During one train trip, his brother-in-law, George Swanson, helped with the farm which had cows, chickens, geese, and pigs. Another of his train trips was to the World’s Fair in 1933, where he had a gold pin fashioned with my mother’s name, Beryl, and gave it to her.

Walter wrote a letter in 1941, where he talked about the weather and his farm responsibilities, but he was having a difficult time with pain in his stomach, and he wrote that he was going to get it checked out. Months later, his sister, Teckla, my maternal grandmother, had to help take care of him because he was too ill. After only three months, he died in a Huron hospital on 10 June 1941, from carcinoma (cancer) of the stomach. Three days later he was laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery, located on the east side of Huron, with graveside Odd Fellows services.

Picture shows Walter Esterberg, with his nieces, Maxine and Georgia Swanson - about 1913, on the farm outside Huron, South Dakota.


GrandmaChris said...

I also have Swedish ancestry--everyone of my mother's ancestors came from Northern Sweden.

I'm responding to the details of your relative's death. My grandfather Peter Sundling died of
stomach cancer in 1902 when my mother was 9 months old. He went down from Manistee, Michigan to Chicago where exploratory surgery was done and then he was stitched up and sent home to die because the cancer was inoperable. Somewhere I read once that Scandinavians and Mexicans were more likely to have stomach cancer than other groups--in the past.

Are you going to be doing more Swedes?

Chris Nicholson

dgfamilyhistorian said...

What I found out was that the ancestor I was researching, Walter, who died of stomach cancer in 1941, had a sister (my grandmother), but she died of cerebral thrombosis due to arteriosclerosis (strokes). However, their parents, John Esterberg, born in 1844, died in 1913 of prostate cancer, and Anna Nilsson Esterberg, also born in Sweden, died of carcinoma of the stomach in 1933. There was Alfred, John Esterberg’s brother, who died in 1936 of cancer in Sioux City, IA, but I don’t know what kind of cancer. That is basically what I have, and I had noted at the time that it was interesting that there was so much cancer on that side of the family. Other Swedish ancestors died of varying causes like old age, but I don’t have all of the information regarding their causes of death due to older records, not known or listed, etc.