Bertha Benson and Hjalmar Janson Are Cousins

Stowaway Bertha Benson went to live with Hjalmar Janson in Rhode Island. From an article in The Evening Bulletin dated December 29, 1919, Mr. Janson lived in Meshanticut Park and he was a foreman for the Standard Oil Company.

Finding Hjalmar Janson in the 1920 census provided difficult. The census was taken January 5th, before Bertha joined the family. Hjalmar is found listed as Helma Janson, age 35, occupation foreman. In his household is his wife Thelma, age 27, and daughter Edith, age 6. The family is living on Metropolitan Ave.

1920 Census for Hjalmar Janson family

Metropolitan Ave. is very close to Meshanticut Park.

Map of Meshanticut Park Area

The Janson family can be found in the 1930 census. This census provides ages when first married. Hjalmar was 26 and his wife Selma was 20. This makes the year of their marriage to be about 1911.

1930 Census for Hjalmar Janson family

The marriage record for Hjalmar and Selma shows that they were 26 and 20 years old respectively when they were married. Hjalmar parents are Janne and Amelia. Hjalmar and Selma were married May, 25, 1912, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Hjalmar's petition for naturalization lists his full birth date as November 27, 1885 in Westra Karup Sweden. Bertha's father was from Västra Karup in Sweden. Västra translates to Western in English.

Hjalmar Janson Peition for Naturalization

Looking in the Swedish Church books, Hjalmar can be found with his parents, Janne and Amalia, in Karup, Västra Karup, Kristianstad. This record shows that Janne and Amalia were married in 1885. Janne was born in 1856. It also shows that the previous record for Janne can be found on page 451.

Janne Johansson Household Examination Record for late 1880s early 1890s page 449

On page 451 Janne is living with Bertha's father, Jon Peter, and grandmother, Ingrid. Also living with this family is Aron Calin. Aron changes his surname from Bengtsson to Calin, his middle name. Janne's full birthdate is February 24, 1856. He was born in Karup.

Ingrid Johansdotter Household Examination Record for late 1880s early 1890s page 451

Janne's birth record shows he is the illegimate son of Ingrid Johansdotter. There is no father listed on Janne Wilhelm's birth record. It lists the word oäkta which means illegitimate. Janne takes a version of his mother's name as his surname, Johansson.

Janne Wilhelm birth record

Janne and Bertha's father have the same mother. That makes Janne's son, Hjalmar, and Bertha half first cousins.

Hjalmar was thirty years older than Bertha. Hjalmar was born when his father was 29 and Bertha was born when her father was 45.

Another record that proves Hjalmar's relationship to Bertha is found in a 1910 census record. In that record Hjalmar is living with Aron Calin, Bertha's father's brother. Hjalmar is listed as Aron's nephew.

Aron Calin's family in the 1910 census


1910 Unitid States Federal Census, Census Place: Providence Ward 6, Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: T624_1443; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0206; FHL microfilm: 1375456, Aron Calin head.

1920 Unitied States Federal Census, Census Place: Cranston, Providence, Rhode Island; Roll: T625_1674; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 97, Helma Janson head.

1930 United States Federal Census, Census Place: Cranston, Providence, Rhode Island; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0175; FHL microfilm: 2341905, Hjalmar Janson head. Rhode Island, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1802-1945 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016. Massachusetts. Petition number 2021 for Hjalmar Vilatis Janson.

Arkiv Digital, Västra Karup (L) AI:25 (1884-1894) Image 25 / Page 449 (AID: v102072.b25.s449, NAD: SE/LLA/13475), Janne Johansson family.

Arkiv Digital, Västra Karup (L) AI:25 (1884-1894) Image 27 / Page 451 (AID: v102072.b27.s451, NAD: SE/LLA/13475), Ingrid Johansdotter Hippias family.

Arkiv Digital, Västra Karup (L) CI:7 (1836-1861) Image 1660 / Page 321 (AID: v102084a.b1660.s321, NAD: SE/LLA/13475), Janne Wilhelm birth.

"Rhode Island Marriages, 1724-1916", database, FamilySearch ( : 22 January 2020), Hjalmar Vitalis Janson, 1912.

Swedish Families Here To Welcome Benson Children, The Evening Bulletin, Monday, December 29, 1919, Providence, RI, page 5.