Family History Research
Rosenquist Family Trees ---------- Download family tree files for Joseph's parents and other ancestors.
Rosenquist Early History ---------- Parish records from Sweden answer some questions about how the name originated in our family.
Rosenquist Immigration ------------ Four documents for Joseph and his parents
The Family in Illinois --------------- Some history about Joseph, his parents and brothers

Rosenquist Family Trees

John Rosenquist was Joseph's father.

Elna Nilsdotter was Joseph's mother

Carl Rosenquist was Joseph's grandfather.

Hanna Persdotter was Joseph's grandmother.

Måns Törnquist was Joseph's great-great grandfather.

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Rosenquist Early History
Joseph's grandfather was Carl Rosenquist. He was born in 1798 in the province of Småland. His children and grandchildren did not use the name Rosenquist in Sweden, but adopted it when they emigrated to America. We have heard that the name came from a Swedish farm. After studying numerous documents from online sources, I have concluded that Carl most likely adopted the name as a young man.  He did own a farm later in life.  It is possible that it was known as the Rosenquist farm.  His children and grandchildren probably decided to use the name because they preferred it over the common patronymic names such as "Carlson" and "Johnson".  I learned something about Carl's ancestry and early life from from online records for the parish Göteryd where Carl was born.  Additional details about his life were found in other records.  What follows is a summary of my findings.

Göteryd parish is in the southwestern corner of the Swedish province of Småland.  A town called Älmhult is the most visible area landmark on today's Swedish maps.  It was there that Carl Rosenquist was born on December 10, 1798 to parents Jonas Törnquist and Christina Svensdotter.  Carl had four sisters and one brother at the time of his birth.  Exactly how far back Carl's family history goes in Göteryd is not known, but parish records do list his grandparents, Måns Törnquist (born June 3, 1727) and Britta Jönsdotter (born Dec. 13, 1723).  Carl's father, Jonas, was born to Måns and Britta on August 19, 1764.  Records show that they had two daughters as well.

Carl's mother, Christina, died on May 2, 1805.  She was only 42.  Two of her eight children were younger than Carl; the youngest was two.

Carl's father remarried on Dec. 28, 1806.  His second wife was Stina Jönsdotter, born in 1776.  Their daughter Britta Stina was born on June 7, 1807.  A son, Elias, came along in 1809.

Carl was fourteen when he left home to live on his own.  He moved south to Nävlinge (Skåne province) on Sept. 6, 1813.   He stayed there and in nearby Vinslöv for several years, living with local residents and working as a farmhand.  At least part of that time he stayed with the family of a man named Nilsson.  It appears that, during those years, he was known only as Carl Jonasson.  In 1820, he moved to Kristianstad and worked for a Smeden, or, blacksmith.  It was in Kristianstad where he became a Smeden himself and began his life's work. It was also there that he adopted his formal surname.  Exactly how he chose the name is not known.  It was not an uncommon name in Sweden.  One record indicates that Carl had a neighbor in Nävlinge with that name.  There also seems to have been a history of Smedens in Kristianstad who had the name.  Whatever the reason, from the time Carl left Kristianstad in 1825, he was known as Carl Rosenquist.

Carl moved east to Blekinge province on May 2, 1825.  His new home was in Jämshög parish.  The same page which lists Carl's arrival contains another interesting record;  a young lady named Hanna Persdotter arrived in October of the same year.  She was also from Kristianstad.  Carl's name appears along with hers on that record, so it appears that she and Carl were engaged or possibly already married.  In any case, later records from Jämshög list them together as husband and wife.  They had three sons and a daughter while they were living there.

In about 1832, Carl and Hanna moved back to Skåne province, this time to Nosaby, just north of Kristianstad.  Three more children were born there, including their youngest, Jöns,  who was born on March 23, 1840.  The family moved to Norra Åkarp parish in 1850, where they lived in a small farming community called Hemmeströ. (To find the area on today's maps, look for the town of Bjärnum, a few kilometers north of Hässleholm.)  Carl died there on July 30, 1869.  His grandson Joseph Rosenquist was born to Jöns and his wife Elna Nilsdotter in September of that same year.  Hanna died five years later on May 16, 1874.

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Rosenquist Immigration
A Swedish exit document and a New York passenger list have been located for Joseph Rosenquist.  He made the trip to America in the spring of 1887.  He was only 17 years old at the time.
Joseph's Departure From Sweden
Joseph's Arrival in America
Two similar documents for John Rosenquist, his wife Elna, and their two youngest sons, August and Godfrey, have also been located.  The presence of August on the list confirms the Swedish immigration record showing him as part of the family that emigrated from Sweden in September of 1888.
John and Elna's Departure
John and Elna's Arrival

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The Family in Illinois
Lincoln Joseph Rosenquist began his American life in the state of Illinois.  But he wasn't the only one in the family to do so.  His uncle, two brothers, and later his own father came to Illinois.  They all had families there before 1900,  and today the Rosenquist roots run deep in the Land of Lincoln.

Nils Rosenquist (the uncle)
Nils Rosenquist, born in Sweden on July 23, 1833, was the older brother of Joseph's father John.  No immigration record for Nils has been found, but a church record indicates that he arrived in 1866. His marriage to Johanna Maria Johanssdotter probably took place on Oct. 17, 1867, according to Illinois records. The church record lists Johanna's immigration in 1857. Nils' and Johanna's oldest child, Emma Emelia, was born in 1863 or 1864, probably in Illinois. Most likely she was Johanna's child by a previous marriage.

In addition to Emma, the couple had three more children: Nellie Alida on February 27, 1871, Thelma Josefina on April 8, 1873, and Theodore in about 1879. Nellie married Swan Henry Forsberg in 1898. Thelma married John Arthur Evans in 1905.  Theodore moved to Vancouver, WA and married Pearl Amanda Huston in 1906.  His living descendants have contributed to this information.

Nils Rosenquist died in Moline on October 13, 1899.  Johanna died on April 3, 1911.  They were buried in Moline's Riverside Cemetery, public lot no. 709 SW.
Nils Rosenquist (the brother)
Joseph also had a brother named Nils.  He was the oldest of Joseph's brothers, and was born on October 13, 1862.  He was the first of the brothers to leave Sweden for America - in 1882.  Nothing is known about Nils after his immigration.  It seems likely that he would have moved to Illinois and changed his name from Jönsson to Rosenquist, as his uncle and younger brothers did, but no information about him has come to light.

In 1967, Archie Rosenquist wrote this line about the immigration of his father Joseph: "He made the trip all alone and came to Moline, Illinois. Two of his brothers, Olof and Charlie, had come a few years before and were farming near Moline."  It may have been very natural to speak of the two brothers in the same breath.  They were married the same year and both farmed in Bureau County most of their lives.  Olof's first children were born exactly two days after Charlie's first child.

farm Charlie Rosenquist
The second of the Rosenquist brothers was born on August 22, 1864.  He was known as Carl Jönsson in Sweden.  When he immigrated in 1883, Carl changed his last name to Rosenquist.  His first name was changed from Carl to the English equivalent, Charles.  Archie's use of the name "Charlie" indicates that the family was using that common nickname in referring to Charles.

In about 1897, Charlie married Hulda Christine Swanson.  They made their home in Bureau County, Illinois, about 50 miles east of Moline.  The couple had three children, all born in Bureau County:  Clarence, born on November 2, 1897, Edith Helen, born on February 6, 1902, and Lawrence Anton, born on July 12, 1906.  Charlie Rosenquist died in Bureau County on December 28, 1935. 

oregon Olof Rosenquist
The third brother, Olof, was born in Sweden on March 17, 1867. He moved to Moline, Illinois in 1884.  In 1891, Olof found work in California rolling steel for the battleship Oregon, but was back in Moline by 1895. 

On February 17, 1897, Olof married Hilda Elizabeth Borg in Bureau County.  He became a naturalized citizen on April 3rd of the same year.   Their first two children were fraternal twins:  Walter Ernest and Walborg Esther were born on November 4, 1897.  Their third child, Oscar William, was born in 1898 and died the same year.  Mabel Mildred was born on November 4, 1903.  All of the children were born in Bureau County.  Olof Rosenquist died of bronchial asthma in Bureau County on October 7, 1945.

Joseph Rosenquist
Joseph Rosenquist was born in Sweden on September 10, 1869.  He spent several of his early years living with his uncle Bengt and Aunt Bengta.  His grandmother Hanna, widowed the same year Joseph was born, also lived with them.  Joseph stayed with Bengt and Bengta at least through 1875, when he completed his education.

In 1877, when Joseph emigrated to America, it is likely that his brother Charlie (and possibly Olof), were already farming in Bureau County, Illinois.  That was Joseph's destination.  He went to school and worked as a farmhand for some time, but later became an ironmolder, probably in Moline.  Joseph met Emma Sophia Bodeen at the church they both attended near Moline.  They were married on September 12, 1894 at the home of her parents, John and Caroline, in Cable, Mercer County.  By August 16, 1895, when their first child, Luella, was born, they were living in St. Charles, Illinois, near Chicago.  Two more children were born in St. Charles:  Esther on July 17, 1897, and Frithjof on October 25, 1898.  The young family moved to Clay County, Minnesota in 1899.

John Rosenquist
Joseph's father John and mother Elna came to America in September of 1888.  They brought their two youngest sons, August and Godfrey.  August was 16 years old and Godfrey was nine.  Elna died a little over two years later.  She was buried on January 3, 1891, in public lot 1009 of Moline's Riverside cemetery. August died about two years after that,  possibly from the effects of diabetes.  He was also buried in Riverside cemetery, public lot 1011, on Nov. 9, 1892. 

Sometime in 1894, when John was 54 years old, he married 26-year-old Ingeborg Olson, who had immigrated from Sweden alone, arriving in New York on July 10 of the previous year.  Their first child, Herbert, was born in February of 1895.  Their second, Lillie Alvira, was born in Moline on June 13, 1896.

In 1899, Joseph, Emma, and their family moved to Clay county, Minnesota.  As Archie Rosenquist records in his autobiography, John also moved with his family:

"My Dad had heard a lot about the wonderful farmland in the Red River Valley in Minnesota, so in 1899 they moved there and settled on a farm a few miles north of Downer. Most of the land in the Red River Valley had been homesteaded around 1880 when the Great Northern Railroad came through.   So it was practically new country.  Grandma Rosenquist died after coming to this country and Grandpa Rosenquist married Enga Olson.  We always called her Aunt Enga.  They moved to Minnesota also and lived one mile west of our place.  They had three children, Herbert, Lillie and Alice. "

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Pat Rosenquist, whose diligent research helped make this article possible.