My Swedish roots have been calling me.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m so interested in following these lines a bit more.  Swedish records are wonderful and I know that there is so much information just waiting for me to find it – all in the church records.

I’ve devoted my free time this week to searching this line. It’s nice to have a little focus instead of randomly skipping from line to line.  I definitely need more focus. I tend to be a scatterbrained genealogist.

Here are some (very random) observations and thoughts that have crossed my mind while researching my Swedes:

  • When I was a kid, I don’t remember my Grandma Eleanore every doing anything “Swedish”.  Her parents were both born and married in Sweden.  They had 2 children before immigrating to Seattle and another 2 afterward.  My grandma was the youngest and I suppose that she simply was an American.  Her older sister seemed to have held onto her Swedish roots more, but she spoke Swedish as a first language, and married another Swedish immigrant.  I wonder what my grandma’s childhood was like – did her parents speak Swedish or English to her?
  • I just realized that both of my great-grandparents (my Swedish immigrants) were fatherless.  Lars Julius Bergman’s father died one month before he was born.  His wife, Eugenia Klarstrom’s father died when she was 2 years old. I wonder if this had something to do with them deciding to leave Sweden.
  • The number of children born out of wedlock in Sweden in the late 1800’s was much higher than I would have thought.  I have a number of ancestors whose parents weren’t married when they were born. I never would have guessed that this was so common.
  • It’s really hard reading documents written hundreds of years ago in another language, with sometimes different script and abbreviations.  Trying to figure out place names has been a challenge too.  The Family Search site has been helpful in that it lists out the place names of the different parishes.  I never would have figured out most of them without this tool.
  • I’ve had an easy enough time finding my ancestors who lived in small rural communities.  It’s not so easy to search page by page through a big city though.  I suppose I’ll just have to put a movie on and start looking through the entire city of Gavle for them.
  • The Swedes were not original with their names.  It seems like there are just a handful of names which are used over and over and over again: Lars, Anders, Nils, Olof, Johan, Per, Karl, Erik, Sven, Kjerstin/Christina, Catherina, Maria, Karin, Brita etc.  It makes finding MY Lars and Per and Nils and Kjerstin a lot harder.
  • Add to that the fact that they didn’t have last names, and it gets even more difficult.  It is helpful though since it gives you their father’s name.  It’s just a lot of the same names over and over which is sometimes hard to sift through.
  • I’m thankful that at least a couple of my ancestors adopted a surname early on (before 1800) – Klarstrom and Bennberg.  It has made them a bit easier to find amongst all of the -sons and -dotters.
  • I think it’s really cool that I have ancestors that came through Ellis Island.  Most of my other lines came to America much earlier than my Swedish ancestors (who came in 1913-1914).
  • I really want to go to Sweden someday.
  • I’m wishing that America had such wonderful parish records as Sweden has.  Household examinations, births, deaths, moving ins and outs, burials, baptisms, etc.  It’s WONDERFUL not having to skip 10-20 years to find them in the census.  The household examinations are continuous – every year!!!
  • I realize that I’m very lucky that I knew what parishes my family came from, because it saved me a lot of research time.
  • Searching through the parish records has reminded me of the fact that I really need to use a research log – so I can mark down which records I’ve already searched.  It’s so uncool to search the same records again (and again and again in some cases).

Do YOU have Swedish Roots?

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James Patrick Thornton was my 3rd great-grandfather.  He was born in Ireland and died in Hubbard, Dakota, Nebraska.

This obituary was from the North Nebraska Eagle, dated 28 July 1887.

Last Thursday night Hubbard precinct lost one of her best citizens, Mr. James Thornton.  He had been to Jackson and after returning home complained to his wife of not feeling very well.  For some years he had been unable to do a day’s work having hurt his back.  Soon after entering the house he retired never to awaken again.  His funeral took place Saturday followed by a large concourse of friends.

This was apparently also from the North Nebraska Eagle, although I”m not sure if it was from the same edition (I don’t have the original, just a transcription):

Jamas Thornton
A pioneer, a patriot, a neighbor
Has done his part, complet’d the labor

An aged parent, an honored chief
Lies dead, and fills the house with grief.

Friends and mourners gathered
And many a fervent prayer rendered.

That the soul which left the shell
May henceforth with its Maker dwell.

Reader, stop!  and shed a tear
For him who went before, who is your pioneer

July 20, 1887, L.E.

  • Elizabeth Woods - February 5, 2012 - 9:44 pm

    What a touching poetic tribute. He must have been well loved in his community. Elizabeth W.ReplyCancel

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Another week bites the dust – and come to think of it another month!

Phew. Walking, walking and more walking.  Oh and schoolwork with the kids.  Not much genealogy done this week or this month for that matter.  I walked 174 miles during January and managed to lose about 13 pounds along the way.  While I love to walk, it’s incredibly time consuming!!  I did a 20 mile hilly walk last Saturday  and it took my entire morning.  I will definitely slow down after my marathon on March and hopefully I will have some more free time to devote to genealogy again.:)

This week’s favorite finds:

Not only did I not do much genealogy this past week, but I didn’t take many pictures either.  Here are the only ones I had sitting on my camera – of my daughter, Tori.

  • Cynthia Shenette - February 5, 2012 - 6:21 am

    Jen – Thanks so much for the shout out! I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Wow, I’m impressed with your walking program! I also loved the photos of your daughter. Just beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - February 5, 2012 - 9:12 pm

    Tori is beautiful – she has the most amazing eyes – but her poor, chapped cheeks.ReplyCancel

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This is the diploma of my husband’s grandmother, Ola Louise Davidson Weeks.  It looks like it’s been through quite a bit!

I’m not sure what year she graduated in, but she was born in 1915, so probably in the early 30’s.  She went to Tonganoxie High School in Tonganoxie, Leavenworth, KS.


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This is the only picture I have of my grandmother’s brother – Gueldon Leroy Edwards (1921-1946). It’s actually a bad copy of a picture, I apologize for the quality.

Gueldon or “Bub” as he was known died at the young age of 25.  The doctor used forceps when he was born and this harmed him somehow – but I’m not sure of the details.  I believe he died after an operation.

I will have to ask my family members some more information about him – and see if they have any more pictures.

His nickname was “Bub” and my dad called my brother this when he was a kid.

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