Jennifer Granholm: A Governor Traces Her Swedish Roots

October 25, 2007

Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan had a chance to trace her own roots during her trip to Sweden in the summer of 2007.  “I was born in Canada, but moved to the U.S. with my parents when I was 4 years old. My grandfather came from Robertsfors, a little town north of Umeå. He came over to British Columbia during the 1930s, and his father was the mayor of Robertsfors, where my second cousin still lives on the family farm. I had a brief meeting with one of my relatives in Stockholm. My visit was the first time anybody in my family visited Sweden since my grandfather left. My grandfather died when my father was 3, which meant that all our relations with Sweden were cut off.

“Lennart Johansson, Sweden’s general consul in Michigan, helped me track them down through a medal given to my grandfather by the Swedish king. It wasn’t until I got there that I found out about my family. It also turned out that Sweden’s energy minister Maud Olofsson also has family close to Robertsfors, and that our families go back in the same family tree, so we are related. How do you like that?!

“I learned that I have relatives in Detroit, where I live, because my grandfather’s sisters also emigrated, to Detroit. I had relatives here and I didn’t even know it. This is totally great, and I’ve now met them!”

Read more: Michigan’s Governor To Sweden: Let’s Work Together

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