Pres. and Sister Monson note their Swedish roots

Several times during their visit to Sweden Aug. 19-23, President Thomas S. Monson and his wife, Frances Johnson Monson, mentioned their Swedish relatives.

President Monson's paternal grandfather, Nels Monson, was Swedish, born in Torhamn, in the province of Blekinge in 1867. Sister Monson's parents, Franz E. and Hildur Booth Johnson, were born in Sweden, as were all generations of her ancestors. During an address at a stake conference in Stockholm on Aug. 20, President Monson said that when he married Frances Johnson Oct. 7, 1948, his father's Swedish aunts expressed pleasure in the good judgment he used in having "married a Swedish girl."Sister Monson, in speaking at the conference, said she was happy to be in Sweden, "the land of my parents' birth." She said that on previous visits she had visited her father's farm and house in Darlarna and the Church there with a cousin, Reid Johnson, a former president of the temple in Stockholm and former Sweden Mission president.

"Reid also took us by the house that my mother's father built for his family in Eskilstuna, and it still looks so nice after all these years," she said. "Families take such good care of their houses in Sweden.

"He also took us out to my mother's grandfather's farm outside of Eskilstuna, and we met some of my relatives who still live on that farm. It seems that the property has been handed down from generation to generation.

"My mother always told me about a huge rock that was on the farm that they used to play around when she was a little girl. It was so wonderful for me to see that huge rock that I had heard about all my life.

"My mother's family who presently live there on the farm are not members of the Church. My mother's father was the only one of them who joined the Church, along with my mother. They, of course, later went to Salt Lake City. There, in Eskilstuna, they had a nice house, but in Salt Lake City they had nothing. But it was a time of emigration, when thousands of people of Europe were going to America. And most of the Latter-day Saints were, too."

Sister Monson said she liked walking around the streets of Stockholm and "thinking that my ancestors may have walked there, too."

She said they also had visited the little town in Sweden where President Monson's grandfather was born. She told the congregation that President Monson, a few years ago, came into possession of his grandfather's journal. President Monson's grandfather was a missionary in Sweden.

"His grandfather visited and stayed in my grandfather's house up in Smedjabacken long before we were ever born. Our grandfathers knew one another way back in the 1800s. My grandmother paid her tithing to his grandfather. We think that is a very nice experience to discover."