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KSTP's Bill Lunn Tracks Ancestor's History to Jackson County, MN and Sweden

Updated: 10/14/2013 5:33 PM
Created: 10/13/2013 8:57 PM KSTP.com
By: Leslie Dyste

KSTP's Bill Lunn wanted to learn more about where his family came from. With the help of ancestory.com and historical experts, he tracked his ancestor's history to a tiny plot of land in Jackson County, Minn.

Bill learned his great-great grandfather Nikolas, who also went by Nils, was a farmer in the Christiania Township in Jackson County.  He learned the Lunns farmed on an 80 acre plot of land about a mile north of Bergen.

"For the first time in three generations of my family, it's like a mystery is solved... my grandpa Bill Lunn used to tell me that we were farmers in Minnesota. For decades I've wondered about that, thought about that, I've reflected on that," said Bill.

He learned the Lunns were on the property for at least 10 years. Nils and his wife Johanna owned and farmed the plot of land from 1887 until at least 1897. By 1900 they had moved to Chicago.

Finding the plot of land left Bill with more questions. He wanted to know why and how his great-great grandfather moved from Sweden to Minnesota. 

Bill found answers in Minneapolis at the Turnblad Mansion and the American Swedish Institute. From immigration records Bill learned his last name shouldn't be Lunn. His family's name was originally Jonsson, but it was changed.

Information from ancestory.com revealed that Nils Jonsson was born in Oxie, Sweden near the city of Lund in 1836. His father, Jons Jonsson drowned.

That left Nils Jonsson fatherless when he was just 4-years-old. With two older brothers in Sweden at the time; that put Nils third in line to any family property or farm.

Nils was a fisherman in nearby Helsingborg and in the late 1860's he left for America. The name Lunn likely came from Lund, the city in Sweden where Nils was from.

If you would like to learn more about your family's history, you can start your search with the following sites:

ancestry.com

familysearch.org

Minnesota Historical Society


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