Lilligren / Liljengren

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The last name "Lilligren" is an Americanized spelling of an old Swedish surname - Liljengren. 

Before Nils Petter Bengtsson left his home near Tönnersjö in Halland Sweden in 1873, he changed his last name to Liljengren.  This name comes from two Swedish words:  "lilje" which is the lily flower and "gren" which means branch. 

Nils (also called "Nels") had nine children in the U.S., and five of them changed the spelling to "Lilligren" because they were tired of people mispronouncing their beautiful Swedish last name.  So they chose a spelling that sounded the way it was intended to be pronounced.

Nels Peter Liljengren's life had a tragic ending in 1903.  He perished from drinking wood alcohol, all alone in a hotel room in Minneapolis, after having been kicked out of his home five months earlier.  My grandfather was his youngest son, and was only three years old at the time.

What led to Nels Peter's demise?  Unfortunately, very little was handed down to his descendants because so many were very young when he died.  But thanks to technologies that allow us to scan newspapers to sharing family tree information online, his story can finally be told.  And I will title it:  "Nels Peter: An Immigrant's Untold Story."

Please check back later for more!


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