Stockholm 100 years ago

During the late 19th century people moved from all over Sweden to Stockholm. Their hopes were to get jobs and to be able to support themselves. Reality was tough and many of them faced hard times. At the turn of the century there was overcrowding and poverty in Stockholm. Many families took lodgers to be able to pay the rent. Families with children often received public assistance.

One of those who search his fortune in Stockholm was Karl Johan Johansson. Karl Johan was 28 years old, when he moved to Stockholm in 1891. In Stockholm he married Karolina Olsdotter who was born in Värmland nearby the Norwegian border. He worked at a soap factory. Karl Johan and Karolina got four children: Judit Cecilia (born 1892), Johan Teodor (born 1894), Karl Harry (born 1895 dead 1896) and Karl Harry (born 1903).

Around the year 1900 the family lives in an apartment with one room and a kitchen (picture above). Besides the family (five persons) there are two lodgers living in the apartment. The family received public assistance and at some occasions they also received shoes.

Karl Johan Johansson died in 1907 only 44 years old.

In 1911 Judit Johansson gave birth to a girl. The girl was named Viola Maria Cecilia. Judit was unmarried and only 18 years old at the time.

Judit left her daughter to the Public Orphanage in Stockholm like many other unmarried mothers. They did it because they couldn't support themselves and their children. This doesn't mean that they were bad mothers, they did what they thought was the best for their children in a situation that was totally hopeless. The Orphanage tried to place the children in foster-homes as soon as possible preferably on the countryside. The foster-parents received payment from the Orphanage for the support of the child. When the child was 14 years old the responsibility of the Orphanage came to an end.

Viola was placed in Fresta nearby Stockholm. She died from whooping cough before she was five years old.

last update: Feb. 13, 1999 by Karin Selldin ©