Today I am remembering Frieda Hann Loe, my father’s mother, who was born 126 years ago today.

It was a balmy 48 degrees in Chicago on 30 December 1896, when my grandmother was born at 93 Webster Avenue. Her Austrian father, Gottfried Hann, had just died in October at the age of 35, two months before she was born.

Her Swedish mother, Anna Lovisa Larsdotter Hann, had arrived in America just nine years before. Now Anna faced the new year with two children under the Remembering Frieda Hann Loeage of 3 and a newborn to support. In these dire circumstances, Anna’s sister, Hedda Larsdotter, left the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to come to Chicago to Anna’s aid. Did Anna also call upon her late husband’s half-brother?

Remembering Frieda Hann Loe

Perhaps because of her straitened childhood, my grandmother was one of the most generous and gentle people I’ve ever known. As I research other relatives, a surprising number of them were taken in by my grandmother and nursed until their deaths at her home.

All genealogists have a list of relatives they wish they could talk to again. Until I started the family history, I had no idea my grandmother’s father died before she was born. Why didn’t I know these things until it was too late? I long to know how she dealt with that blow. I wish I could hear about her lifelong profession as a “tailoress.” What was it like to live in Al Capone’s Chicago? And I definitely need her to name all the Swedish relatives in those group photos I have. And I want to tell her how much I admire her for herself, and for her difficult but wonderful life.

My cousins, sibling, and I keep you in our thoughts, Grandma Loe. Today, like most days, we are remembering Frieda Hann Loe.