Voting has begun for Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs and will continue through December 20th.  There are 8 different categories and you can vote for 5 in each one – and you can vote multiple times.:)The top 40 will be named in the July 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

I have been nominated in the New Blogs category – and so has my good friend Cherie, from Have You Seen My Roots?  There are many nominated blogs that I read regularly, but I’m very excited about going through the list of nominees and finding some new reads too!

So, here is the list of the nominated blogs, split into the 8 various categories:

Relatively Curious About Genealogy
Clue Wagon
Family History Tracing
The We Tree Genealogy Blog
Roots and Rambles
Greta’s Genealogy Bog
Elyse’s Genealogy Blog
Creative Gene
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
You Go Genealogy Girls
The Educated Genealogist
Olive Tree Genealogy

Granite in My Blood
Digital Cemetery Walk
Over Thy Dead Body
Tombstone Territory
Escape to the Silent Cities
The Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal
Gen Wish List
Cemetery Explorers

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog
Renee’s Genealogy Blog
Genealogy’s Star
Moultrie Creek Gazette
Ancestry Insider
Family Oral History Using Digital Tools
GeneaNet Genealogy Blog

Heritage Groups:
The Scottish Emigration Blog
Anglo-Celtic Connections
The Knowles Collection
George Geder Evangelist for African Ancestored Genealogy
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home
Luxegen Genealogy
Wandering and wondering (a’spaidsearachd agus a’meòrachadh)
Tracing the Tribe
Of Trolls And Lemons
Help! The Faerie Folk Hid My Ancestors
Black and Red Journal
Georgia Black Crackers
Donna’s Ireland blog
Scottish GENES
The French Genealogy Blog

Research Advice/How-To:
Personal Past Meditations
Shades of the Departed
Genealogy Tip of the Day
Gena’s Genealogy
Paula’s Genealogical Eclectica
The Family Curator
The Armchair Genealogist
Family History Research Tips
NARAtions: The Blog of the United States National Archives

Local/Regional Research:
Grey County Historical Society
Virginia Historical Society Blog
MoSGA Messenger
Midwestern Microhistory
Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Blog
Utah Genealogical Association Blog
Brooklyn Historical Society Blog
Iawamba History Review
California Genealogical Society and Library Blog
New York History
My Ancestor’s Name
St. Vincent Memories
Williams County, Ohio Genealogy
Sandusky History
Alberta Family Histories Society Blog
New Blogs:
The Faces of my Family
The Scottish Emigration Blog
Adventures in Genealogy Education
Have You Seen My Roots?
The Mashburn Collection
The Turning of Generations
Pursuits of a Desperate Genie
Nolichucky Roots
Journey to the Past
The Family Recorder
Old Stones Undeciphered
Climbing My Family Tree (You’re already here!)
My Tangled Vine
Sassy Jane Genealogy
Roots Traveler
Heritage Zen

My Family History:
Ancestories: The Stories of My Ancestors
Tangled Trees
Begin With Craft
Nutfield Genealogy
Slovak Yankee
Greta’s Genealogy Bog
Little Bytes of Life
What’s Past is Prologue
TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History
West in New England
Reflections From the Fence
Finding Our Ancestors
Mississippi Memories
AtlasFamily.Org Blog
Gene notes
The Accidental Genealogist
Everything’s Relative
The Internet Genealogist
Tonia’s Roots
My Channel Island History
Finding Josephine

Now that you’ve had a chance to check out all of these wonderful blogs, get out there and vote!!

P.S.  If you notice that one of these links isn’t working, please let me know.  It is very possible that I made a mistake somewhere along the way!

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I’m so proud of my “Papa” as we always called him.  He saw so much action by the time he was 20, but it was that way with many men during WWII.  I can’t imagine what a stressful time this must have been for his mother, having four sons all gone to war at the same time.  Thankfully, they all came home!

Here he is on the left, with a friend.  I really wish that I had a picture of all 4 brothers together.  I wonder if they took one after the war.

  • Andrea - December 14, 2010 - 1:59 pm

    I had never seen that article before! I am so proud of him too and it is so amazing what that whole generation of men and women did for this world! Thanks to all that serve!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 14, 2010 - 4:07 pm

    Isn’t it a great article? Dad has it. I want to find out more about his brothers’ service now. :)ReplyCancel

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My husband is descended through his daughter, Elizabeth (Neely) Snyder/Snider.

Clark County IN Will Book E, pages 43-45
Know all men by these presents that I Alexander D. Neely of the County of Clark and State of Indiana, being in good health, and in my usual state of mind do hereby make this my last will and testament.
First I hereby appoint James Neely my son my Executor. I hereby will to my daughter Elizabeth Snyder, the sum of Two Hundres dollars, in money in be paid to her out of my estate, by my said Executor. I also hereby will to my daughter Lucinda Lewman, Two Hundred dollars in money to be paid by my said Executor out of my estate. I do hereby will my daughter Sarah Stierheim, the sum of Two Hundred dollars, to be paid by said Executor out of my estate. I also will to my daughter Mary Johnson, the sum of Two Hundred dollars to be paid by the said Executor out of my estate. I also will to my son James Neely, the sum of Two Hundred dollars, out of the estate. I do also will my grandson John Williams, the sum of Fifty dollars provided he comes forward and proves his heirship, and it is my will further that my wife Sarah Neely is to be well taken care of and provided for during her natural life and it is my Will that James my Executor, shall see she is provided for properly and in a proper manner.
It is also my will that all my funeral expenses be paid by said Executor and whatever balance of money may be over the amount I have herein specified and willed and order I wish and will that my Executor James Neely to have descresionary power over and to disburse it in a proper manner amongst the members of my family as it would seem right and just,–as withness my hand and seal this 26 day of Octiber 1861.
Alexander D. Neely
Subscribed by the testator in our presence and by us subscribed as withnessed in his presence and at his request Oct. 26, 1861.
C.P. Ferguson
J.D. Rodgers

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Peter Melhus was my 2nd Great Grandfather.

Body of Former Resident Who Died at Rochester, Minn. is Buried Here

The body of Peder A. Melhus, formerly a Franklin resident who died at Rochester, Minn., on Thursday of last week, was received here on Monday this week for interment in Franklin Lutheran cemetery.  Funeral services were held at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, May 8, at St. Luke’s church in Franklin, Rev. Henry Rydland, pastor of the church, conducting the last rites for the dead.  The church had been beautifully prepared for the funeral, members of the Ladies Aid society and old friends of the Melhus family having brought plants and flowers for the occasion.  The funeral was directed by C E Freeman.
Peder A. Melhus was born in Indreoen, Norway, April 8, 1838.  He received baptism in his home parish and was later confirmed there in the Christian faith.  Later he had the sad misfortune of following his first wife to the grave only a comparatively short time after their marriage.  To their union was born a son, Peder Andrew, who at present resides at Dunsith, N.D.  In 1874 he was united in marriage with Anna Margrethe Quam.  They immigrated to America in 1888 and located at Franklin, Renville county, Minnesota, where they resided until his wife passed away on August 28, 1916.  The death of his faithful life companion bore heavily upon him and in 1917 he left Franklin, selling the old home, to live with his daughters in Minneapolis.  After considerable illness, he died at Rochester, Minn., on May 4, 1922, while there seeking medical aid.
To the second marriage five children were born and all remain to mourn the loss of a kind and faithful father.  Mrs. Robert McAloney, Mrs. T. F. Sanchez, and A. M. Melhus of Minneapolis.  J.C. Melhus of Drady, N.D. and P.M. Melhus of Minot, N.D.
Peder A. Melhus was a member of the former Trinity church of Franklin and as such was honored and respected for his good confession both in word and deed.  The sympathy of this community is freely extended to the mourning children and relatives.
The children attending the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. T.F. Sanchez, Mrs. Robert McAloney, and A.M. Melhus of Minneapolis, and P.M. Melhus of Minot, N.D.  Pall bearers were: J.H. Elstad, A.O. Lund, John Jacobson, Oscar Johnson, Ed H. Anderson and Hans Jensen.

  • Patty Duncan - August 11, 2011 - 10:37 pm

    I came across this while doing research on my mothers side of my family. Rev Henry Rydland was my grandfather.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - August 12, 2011 - 7:57 am

      Very cool! I’m glad that you were able to “see him at work” so to speak. :)ReplyCancel

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I know that St. Lucia Day isn’t until the 13th, but I thought that by posting this early, maybe some of you could enjoy it this year!

Ever since seeing this picture of my grandma – Eleanore Sonia Bergman (she is the 4th girl from the left), I have been intrigued by St. Lucia Day.  I had actually never heard of it before and I initially wondered what on earth this was a picture of.  It didn’t take much web-searching before I found what I was looking for. Gotta love Google.  St. Lucia Day is a very popular occasion in Sweden, although not an actual holiday.

Eleanore’s parents were from Sweden, and they lived in the very Scandinavian neighborhood of Ballard in Seattle, WA. I am assuming that this picture was taken in the Ballard area. I never knew my grandmother to be religious, but perhaps she went to church growing up – or maybe this was done at a community center.  She was born in 1922, so I’m assuming that this picture was taken around 1940.  It’s hard for me to tell how old she is here, but they all look to be teenagers to me.

The picture is very typical of what I’ve seen online.  Girls in white dresses with wreaths on their heads and candles in their hands.  One girl chosen as St. Lucia with the candles on her head.  The only thing that I notice is “missing” are the red sashes that are typically worn around their waists.

The thing I find odd about the photo is the guys in the background with the funny hats.  They look like cooks or something. Were they selling hot dogs on the street and just came in for the picture?

After some more searching online, I found many videos of St. Lucia Day.  I think that just about everything has been You Tubed.:)

I noticed that the boys in the videos are wearing what looks like wizard hats.  Tall, pointy, with stars on them.  I guess that the guys in the above picture were simply wearing a version of that.

The song that they sing is absolutely beautiful.  I had heard it before, but hadn’t realized that it was sung on this particular day.

Isn’t it a beautiful tradition?  There is just something so calming about the music and the candles on one of the longest nights of the year.

Sorry I included so many videos, but I just couldn’t choose.  I will definitely be adding this song to my Christmas playlist.:)

Here is some information on St. Lucia Day in Sweden (from

Around Christmas time in Sweden, one of the biggest celebrations is St. Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day) on December 13th. The celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden.

St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304AD. The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things. Lucy means ‘light’ so this is a very appropriate name.

December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the old Julian calendar and a pagan festival of lights in Sweden was turned into St. Lucia’s Day.

St. Lucia’s Day is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head. (Normally electric candles are used for safety!) The crown is made of Lingonberry branches which are evergreen and symbolise new life in winter. Schools normally have their own St. Lucias and some town and villages also choose a girl to play St. Lucia in a procession where carols are sung.

A national Lucia is also chosen. Lucias also visit hospitals and old people’s homes singing a song about St Lucia and handing out ‘Pepparkakor’, ginger snap biscuits.

Small children sometimes like dressing up as Lucia (with the help of their parents!). Also boys might dress up as ‘Stjärngossar’ (star boys) and girls might be ‘tärnor’ (like Lucia but without the candles).

A popular food eaten at St. Lucia’s day are ‘Lussekatts’, St Lucia’s day buns flavoured with saffron and dotted with raisins which are eaten for breakfast.

I would really like the opportunity to attend a St. Lucia Day ceremony. I wonder if any of the local Lutheran churches celebrate it.  I would much rather watch it in Sweden though.:)  Have any of you ever seen this ceremony before?

  • Thomas MacEntee - December 11, 2010 - 8:03 am

    Loved reading about St. Lucia – my neighborhood here in Chicago – Andersonville – was founded by Swedes after the Great Fire of 1871. We still celebrate St. Lucia Day with a procession down Clark Street. Here is more info:

  • margaret - December 11, 2010 - 8:30 am

    Enjoyed your very interesting post and learned something new this morning. You are right about the beautiful calming music too. I would love to attend a St. Lucia Celebration!

    Merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 11, 2010 - 8:37 am

    Thomas – I checked out your link and it looks like a wonderful celebration! I will have to do some more searching around, but I don’t think that we have a large enough Swedish population here in Savannah to warrant an event of that size.

    Thanks Margaret! I’m glad to you learned something!ReplyCancel

  • Shaz - December 11, 2010 - 8:37 am

    At North Park College in Chicago there was an annual assembly on St. Lucia Day with one of the girls chosen to be Lucia. North Park is a Swedish Covenant college and a ‘dorm’ girl was always the lucky one. I was a ‘townie’ and commuted. I wasn’t Swedish, or Covenant, it was just a convenient, local and good place to get an education! I think they are still celebrating all these years later as I recall seeing photos in their quarterly magazine.ReplyCancel

  • Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski - December 11, 2010 - 12:49 pm

    I enjoyed learning more about St. Lucia Day. The videos were also wonderful – you are blessed to have a photograph of your grandmother. Thank you again for sharingReplyCancel

  • Nancy - December 13, 2010 - 12:07 am

    I can see why you had trouble choosing just one video for the post. I like that you added the 4th one with its different song. The photo with your grandmother is over-the-top fabulous! I think she looks younger than 16, though. I would guess her age at between 12 and 14. No date on the photo, huh? Thanks for all the great information and the videos.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 14, 2010 - 1:30 pm

    Now that I look at it again, I see that you are right. She has to be more in the 12-14 yr old range. No date. :(ReplyCancel

  • Shari Edwards - January 12, 2011 - 10:42 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I grew up with many Swedish traditions including this one, here in Kansas. I am half Swedish and had Swedish grandparents. They lived an hour away from us in a very “Swedish” area of Kansas so I have many memories of that culture playing a big part in our holiday celebrations. The boys with the hats are called Star Boys.ReplyCancel

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