The Known and the Unknown…

Let me start by explaining the Header at the top of this site. Adolf’s brother, Axel, sent Adolf a postcard addressed to the Scandinavian Sailor’s Home, West India Docks, London E. The postcard is actually called: Guess Their Secret. If anyone can find a date on the card, please let us all know.

Axel wrote his and Adolf’s names on the characters in the postcard, but it’s interesting that he chose the older character as himself; Adolf was a year older than Axel. I wonder what the secret was that ‘Axel’ was telling Adolf?

Documents from the Swedish Archives confirm that Grandfather Berg was born Adolf Wilhelm Bergman on the 3 April 1877 in Gothenburg (Göteborg).

Somewhere between leaving Gothenburg and seeking naturalisation in Australia in 1911, Grandfather changed his name to Alfred Berg.

The date stamp from NSW Govt. Railways and Tramways indicates this document was presented by Grandfather in relation to employment. I imagine this is a copy of his birth-certificate that he probably carried with him as proof of identity. The marks covering the writing are from sticky-tape that held the document together.
Alfred Berg

The photo above is taken from a family portrait of the Atkinson family in 1915. More of the family information will be presented on other pages of this site.

According to Grandfather’s Application for Naturalisation, he arrived in Australia (Sydney) in September 1902, having travelled from New Zealand on the steamship, Monowai.

The document suggests that he lived in:

  • Kalgoorlie – 5 years (1902-1907)
  • South Australia – 1 year (1907-1908)
  • Brewarrina – 6 months (1908/1909?)
  • Wellington – remainder of the nine years since arrival in 1902 to 1911 (possibly up to 2 years)

There seems to be no record of Grandfather either as a crew member or passenger on the Monowai from New Zealand to Sydney, in September 1902. Investigation of records either side of September failed to find any Bergman or Berg. Further investigation of the remaining months of the year, and other ships, will be pursued, as will variations to the spelling of Grandfather’s name (Berg/Bergman and variations of these).

A search for Swedish Census records revealed an interesting record that suggests an Adolf Bergman, born 1877, was working in Gothenburg as a Warehouse Assistant in 1910. Another record in 1900 lists him as living in an Orphanage, but the same Census shows that his younger siblings Axel and Signe, were living with their mother. Grandfather would have been thirteen at the time so there seems no logical explanation for the difference in living arrangements. The 1910 document uses the word ‘Conscripted’ as a heading – which fits with the Swedish military enforcement at the time.

The record dated 1910 is concerning and seemingly contradicts what is known of Grandfather’s arrival in Australia. Unless he returned to Sweden for a short time, and then reappeared in Australia, this will be a stumbling block in the family history.

I have created a page on this site to house the documents and photos I have found, and continue to find. From these you can draw your own conclusions, or use them as springboards for further research.

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