Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Herman Waldermar BORGKVIST

Herman M BORGKVIST was my friend Ben's step-grandfather. He married Ben's grandmother Sybel DAVENPORT. They lived on a farm outside Kittery, Maine. Ben says Herman "taught him the way of the world with the toe of his boot." Herman didn't talk much, but he was a strict discipinarian. Herman was good at making things and had his own blacksmith shop as a hobby. He made bells in different sizes which he would tune with a tuning fork, boat propellers, and custom engraved swords for West Point graduates. He handmade Ben a pair of wooded skis.

According to his passport application in 1920, Herman was born 7 Jan 1892 in Malmo, Skane, Sweden, the son of N H BORGKVIST of Sweden. He immigrated to the US in 1910, coming on a ship from Rosario, Argentina. Ben says he was a Merchant Marine. Soon after he arrived he must have met a woman from Canada because the 1930 Census says he was first married in 1910. His son Joseph BORGKVIST was born in Boston, MA 27 Apr 1911 and his daughter Eva BORGKVIST was born 21 Feb 1917 in Boston, MA.

On 2 Oct 1913 Herman applied for naturalization in the Western District of New York.

Selected U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1822-1855 and 1906-1966 (Indexed in World Archives Project) On-line database on
Name: Herman Waldermar Borgkvist
Place of Residence: New York
Date of Action: 2 Oct 1913
Collection Title: Index, 1906-1966 Petitions for Naturalization, U.S. District Court, Western Dist. of New York, M1677
NARA Series #: M1677
Roll #: 2
Roll Description: Bakewell, Elizabeth to Borvsiuk, Michael

Then he enlisted in the Marine Corps. According to US Marine Corps Muster Rolls, Herman enlisted as a private on 20 Oct 1913 in Buffalo, NY and was transferred to Norfolk, VA. He was assigned to serve on the USS New Jersey. On 23 Mar 1915 he qualified as Sharpshooter and won a $3.00 prize on the 31st. By April 1917 he was transferred to Port Royal, Beauford County, SC where he worked as "mechanic in charge of the laundry." By Aug 1917 he had been promoted to  Sergeant at the Naval Prison, Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH.

Herman must have left the Marine Corps in 1917 because the next record I find for him is his World War I Draft Card 31 Dec 1917 where he says he has a wife and 2 children and served 4 years in the Marine Corps. He is described as medium tall, stout, brown eyes, brown hair, not bald, and no disabilites.

On 14 Mar 1918 in Portland Maine at the US District court, Herman became a naturalized citizen of the USA.

By the 1920 Census on Jan 16 Herman's first wife had died and he was listed as widowed with his two children. He was working as a "Clipper Caulker" at the Navy Yard in Kittery, ME.

1920 United States Federal Census
Name: Herman W Borgkvist
Home in 1920: Kittery, York, Maine
Age: 28 years
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1892
Birthplace: Sweden
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: Sweden
Mother's Birth Place: Sweden
Marital Status: Widow
Race: White
Sex: Male
Home owned: Own
Year of Immigration: 1910
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Image: 428
Household Members: Name Age
Herman W Borgkeist 28 Swede
Eva Borgkeist 6 MA
Joseph Borgkeist 8 MA

By August Herman had decided to take the children to see his mother and applied for a passport. The passport contains a picture of him and his two children. [First picture, Herman's information ins on the right; second picture Herman is on the left.]

They returned to Boston 16 Feb 1921 from Copenhagen on the ship United States.

Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943
Name: Herman Borgkvist
Arrival Date: 16 Feb 1921
Age: 28 Years
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1893
Gender: Male
Port of Departure: Copenhagen, Denmark
Ship Name: United States
Port of Arrival: Boston, Massachusetts
Microfilm Roll Number: 259
Joseph Borgkvist age 9 b. abt 1912 Boston, MA
Eva Borgkvist age 4 b. abt 1917 Boston, MA
Departure Feb 4, 1928

By the 1930 Census Herman had remarried. He is listed with Pearle M. and the children. Pearl is listed as age 34 and first marriage age 34, so they must have been newly weds when the census  was taken on April 4th.

1930 United States Federal Census
Name: Herman M Borgkvist
Home in 1930: Kittery, York, Maine
Age: 39
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1891
Birthplace: Sweden
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse's Name: Pearle M
Race: White
Occupation: Chauffeur. Retail Coal Co.
Age at first marriage: 18
Parents' birthplace: Sweden
Household Members: Name Age
Herman M Borgkvist 39 Sweden
Pearle M Borgkvist 34 NH
Joseph Borgkvist 18 MA
Eva E Borgkvish 13 MA

I have not found out yet what happened to Pearle.
18 July 1936 Eva married Francis A DOUGLAS in Maine.
2 Jun 1941 Joseph married Virginia M Moulton in Maine

At some point after the 1930 Census Herman met Sybel DAVENPORT. They had two daughters: Annet H and Ebba L BORGKVIST.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you don't mind that I point it out, but I think you've attributed the wrong passport application picture to Herman. I noticed only because I first did the same thing with my husband's gg-grandfather's passport app. :-) The pictures were attached to the back page of the application, so you have to click the right arrow in the viewer to see the next page. I looked up Herman, and the next page includes his signature and a picture of a younger man with two children... try here: (links to