Mankell Family History

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The 1873 blizzard in Kandiyohi County. This web page looks at the severe blizzard of January 7-9, 1873 and the 12 people who died in the county (no ancestors in my family). Read about the deaths of the Strand brothers' in Whitefield Township; the Holden and O'Neill brothers' in Roseland Township; Helge Stengrimson and Margret Soland in Arctander Township; William Crump in Roseville Township; Lars Nelson from Whitefield Township.


View the Table of Contents in the newly published book.

Information about Gunder Swenson in the 1873 blizzard. (August 2016 update)

The August 1891 obituary for Margit (Syvertsdatter) Borgen has been added.

The Genealogy Charts (both pedigree/ancestor and descendant charts) have been updated. (August 2016)




HW (Herman Wilhelm) and Elizabeth Mankell (my great-great-grandparents) settled the Mankell homestead in the Norway Lake area of Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, in the 1802. In these web pages we will look back at HW's ancestors and forward to HW and Elizabeth's descendants. Because HW's grandfather and uncles were famous musicians, much has been written about the family. This study of the Mankell family (American pronunciation rhymes with 'ankle') will also include information of other families who joined the Mankells by marriage: Swenson, Hjelle, Christopherson, Jordin and Johnson.

Mankell Homestead, c1967
100 Years Old

As we move from our past to our present you will meet people from a variety of professions: organist, composer, artist, piano-maker, farmer, soldier, novelist, carpenter, insurance salesman, homemaker, politician, historian, minister, teacher. And you will read about the lives of original settlers of Kandiyohi County who lived on the American frontier and were witnesses to the 1862 Dakota War (Sioux Uprising) in Minnesota.

These narrative pages will include photographs, local history, genealogy, stories, and even a scandal in 1814 Denmark. The Mankell history will take the reader to Germany, Denmark and Sweden; the Hjelle, Christopherson and Swenson histories, to Norway; the Jordin family history, to Sweden. These pages are not yet complete (family histories are never completely finished!). Please return to this website because these pages will be updated with new information.

I am deeply grateful to several people who compiled information and documented historic events over the course of many years. Norwegian settler Gabriel Stene, a neighbor of HW and Elizabeth, had the foresight in the 1920s to write articles in the Willmar Weekly Tribune about the pioneer settlers of Kandiyohi County. Bo Lindbergh and Gustav Ivar Mankell live near Stockholm and have shared information about the Mankells in Sweden. Margarete (Mankel) Semus offered gracious hospitality and provided information about Mankel relatives in Niederasphe Germany. Richard Lindahl wrote a 2003 history of the Swenson family; in 1993 Jane Hauser Pejsa wrote a history of her grandparents, Hans and Hulda (Mankell) Melgaard. Rune Wiik gave us a tour of the Holter area of Norway; the Hjelstuen family showed us the Fåvang area of Norway. Many relatives shared their stories and answered questions. Acknowledgments and gratitude would not be complete without mentioning the work of my father, Orlynn Mankell. For many years he maintained and expanded numerous files on the Mankell, Swenson, Christopherson and Hjelle families. One of his joys was to travel to Norway and Germany in 1995 to see where his ancestors had lived and worked and to meet relatives. Dad wasn't alone in his endeavor to preserve family history. My mother, Vivian Jordin Mankell also maintained genealogical information about her Jordin and Johnson roots.

I also want to thank my brother, Kurt Mankell, who has provided many of the photographs and much of the information in these pages.

The following is an outline of the family history presented in these web pages:


  1. Village and Church
  2. Spelling of Mankell name
  3. Wars
  4. Mankel family currently in Niederasphe

JOHAN HERMAN MANKELL (1763-1835): A summary of his life

  1. 50th Birthday Poem in English or auf Deutsch
  2. Born in Niederasphe, Germany
  3. Leaves Niederasphe
    1. Moravian Community
    2. Karl August, Duke of Weimar: Royal Court
  4. Moves to Christiansfeld, Denmark
  5. First marriage (Johanna Keyser) and Children
    1. Carl Abraham (1802-1868)
    2. Wilhelm August (1803-1872)
    3. Louise Amalia (1806-1806)
    4. Friedrich Ferdinand (1807-1807)
    5. Georg Andreas (1809-??)
    6. Gustav Adolph (1812-1880)
    7. Friederica Amalia (1814-1889)
  6. Controversy and Scandal
  7. Moves to Sweden
  8. Second Marriage (Helena Svedman) and Children
    1. Johann August (1825-1868)
    2. Viktor Alfred (1827-1831)
    3. Herman Ludvig Ferdinand (1829-1836)
    4. Sven Gustav George (1832-1860)
    5. Emil Theodore (1834-1899)


  1. Carl Abraham Mankell, Organist
  2. Gustav Mankell, Organist
  3. Mankells and playright August Strindberg
  4. Wilhelm August Mankell in Gothenburg
  5. Other Descendants of Johan Herman Mankell, including:


  1. Homestead, 1864
  2. Children and descendants
    1. Jenny (1858-1948) m. Andrew Gordhamer
    2. Mary (1860-1887) m. Johnny Young
    3. Anna (1862-1917 m. Nels Quam
    4. Amanda (1864-1947) m. Julius Landquist
    5. Hulda (1866-1931) m. Hans Melgaard
    6. Oscar (1868-1936) m. Minnie Swenson
    7. Sophia (1871-1894) m John Quam
    8. Otto H. (1872-1939)
    9. Esther (1874-1916) m. Gustave Erixon


  1. Sven and Margit Borgen in Arctander Township.
    Includes Dakota War of 1862 information.
  2. Bergit and Thomas Osmundson
  3. Gunder and Gemine Swenson
  4. includes Gemine's parents: Halvor Olsen Negaard and Martha Tharaldson Negaard
  5. Obituaries of Gunder and Gemine Swenson
  6. Sven Borgen/Gunder Swenson Homestead Documents
  7. Children of Oscar and Minnie (Swenson) Mankell
    1. Herman (1896-1985) m. Cora Christopherson
    2. Edna (1898-1987) m. Alvin Halvorson
    3. Alice (1903-1991) m. George Alvig


  1. Christopherson Family in Arctander Township
  2. Hjelle Family in Arctander Township
  3. Christopherson Homestead Documents
  4. Children of August and Bastina (Hjelle) Christopherson in Arctander Township
    1. Otto (1890-1971), married Ella Negaard
    2. Anphia (1892-1974), married Elmer Myhre
    3. Julius (1894-1953)
    4. Edward (Eddie) (1897-1984), married Olive
    5. Ellen (1899-1972), married Herman Landquist
    6. Millie (1901-1994), married Eugene Bergan
    7. Cornelia (Cora) (1903-1963), married Herman Mankell;

  5. Children of Herman and Cora Mankell
    1. Orlynn (1928-1999) m. Vivian Jordin (1931-1994)
    2. Marjorie (1929-2016) m. Bill Larimer
    3. Sherman
    4. Mary Ann (1937-2004) m./d. James Petteway (1926-1984)
    5. Douglas m. DeAnn Olson
    6. Dale (1945-1946)
    7. Marlys (1947-2001) m. Gerald Schilz (1926-2002)


  1. Jordin Family from Meeker County and Irving Township, Kandiyohi Co. MN
  2. Mortenson Family from Meeker County and Irving Township, Kandiyohi Co. MN
  3. Johnson, Sakariason and Olsen Families from Irving Township
  4. Orlynn's articles about Kandiyohi County history


  1. Genealogy Charts
  2. Maps marking ancestral homes in Europe.
  3. Family Farms in Norway marking the homes of the immigrants
  4. Family Recipes
  5. Family Stories
  6. Mankell Homestead Documents and Photos
  7. Sven Borgen/Gunder Swenson Homestead
  8. Christopherson Homestead
  9. Jericho (Norway Lake) in Arctander Township
  10. Local historian Gabriel Stene
  11. Lake Florida Mission Church
  12. District 25 School and Lake Andrew Township
  13. Plat Maps of Lake Andrew Township and surrounding areas: 1874, 1886, and 1905. Also current maps of Minnesota and Kandiyohi county.
  14. Using the Federal Census
  15. Bibliography
  16. Links to other web sites

Search Carolyn Mankell Sowinski's cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search:

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First page of the story: Niederasphe, Germany


Unless otherwise noted, these web pages are written by
Carolyn Mankell Sowinski
Germantown, Maryland

Webmaster: Carolyn Mankell Sowinski
Last updated: August 13, 2016
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