And September is over!!!  I am personally looking forward to jeans and sweaters, but I’m unsure if I’ll ever be able to pull them out here in El Paso.  Are you wearing them yet?  I’m still in flip-flops.:)

I’d like to share some of my favorite finds from this past week…

  • There’s some good advice over at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog: How to Introuduce Yourself to Other Genealogists at a Genealogy Conference. Do you have a “calling card” to share with people you meet?
  • Don’t you wish that there was a little more biographical information engraved on our ancestor’s tombstones?  Lisa, over at Are You My Cousin?  found a complete biography on a gravestone in Charleston, SC.  I love the cemeteries in Charleston….
  • Are you good about tagging your photos?  I have to admit that I’m not – and that’s just as bad as our ancestors not writing on the backs of them, isn’t it?:)  I do name them, but haven’t taken the time to re-tag them after I restarted my database.  I have tens of thousands of pictures and documents and it seems like too daunting of a task to undertake.  Geniaus has inspired me to do something about it though – it really would be so nice to find photos taken in a certain place or with a certain theme to them.
  • Cherie, over at Have You Seen My Roots? always does such a great job at re-touching/repairing her photos.  I take a lot of pictures, and I often use software to enhance or fix them – but I have yet to do this with any of my scanned genealogy photos.  I’m not sure why.  Do I like to look through spills or tears or pictures that are fading away?  No, I don’t.  Do you fix your old pictures?
  • I’ve enjoyed following Liz around on her Journey Through Hallowed Ground over at My Tapley Tree…and its Branches.  Liz and I met at the Atlanta Family History Expo last year and then again at NGS in Charleston.  She is so much fun!:)Here is Part 8 of her series, where she visits Appomattox Court House.  I really love that area of Virginia and am hoping that I can make another research trip there in the next few years.
  • Are jumpsuits going to be in your family history?  The Lineagekeeper refuses to include them. I am too young to have ever worn jumpsuits, but I often wonder what my descendants will think of my hairspray plastered bangs and Madonna-esque outfits from the 1980’s.  Do I even want to know what they’ll say?? As much as I’d like to, I promise not to destroy the evidence. The pictures will live on, as embarrassing as they are.:)
  • I always love a good family mystery, don’t you?  Jenny, over at They Came to Montana, shared one this week : What Was Elvira Up to?
  • Are you tuning in to Geneabloggers Radio tonight?  Myrt is hosting this week and the topic will be Digging Deeper: Dealing with Conflicting Genealogy Evidence.  I think that this one applies to everyone!!  I’ll be chatting on the boards – hope to see you there!
  • I have to share that I was again surprised by a relative contacting me this past week.  I love that my blog is a cousin magnet.:)

And of course, I have to share a few pictures I took this past week.  There were two beautiful butterflies hanging out in my backyard and I had to whip the camera out!! Butterflies always remind me of my Grandma Eleanore, who collected them.

  • Jennei - September 30, 2011 - 2:52 pm

    Thanks for the mention and your photos are gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Liz Tapley - October 16, 2011 - 1:30 pm

    At the risk of admitting how far behind I am on reading my blogs, I will go ahead right now, better late than never, and thank you, Jen, for the shout out. :)

    And again tell you that you take the most beautiful pictures! I am amazed! You rock with that camera, girlie!ReplyCancel

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My great-great grandfather, Lars Larson Bergman, died  on June 23, 1887 in Gavle, Sweden – one short month before his sixth child (my great grandfather) was born.

He was only 39 when he died and he left behind a family that needed him.  I was very curious as to what his cause of death was.

Was it some work-related accident or perhaps an epidemic going through town? Nope.

I don’t speak Swedish, but between the help of some foreign friends and online translating, what I can came up with is this:

omöjligt (possible a different spelling since many of the spellings changed over the years) = impossible

förlamad, förlammat = paralyzed

starka drycker = strong drink

What does this mean when I put it all together?  I’m not exactly sure, but it looks like he became paralyzed from having drank too much.

Anyone have any different thoughts? Better yet, can you speak Swedish and correct me?:)

His death leaves a lot of questions for me.

He was a 39-year old man with 5 children and a pregnant wife.  What caused him to drink this much?

Was he sick?  Out of work?  Depressed? Did he have a nag for a wife?  Was he an alcoholic or was this a one-time episode of binge drinking?

I also wonder how his death changed the lives of those he left behind.  Did his wife have to find work?  His oldest son would have been 15 – did he have to support the family?

I have a lot of research to do on this branch of the family and I’m hoping that as I do that, I will be able to answer some of these questions.  The one thing holding me back right now is time.  I have to search page by page through the registers to find them in the household examinations and unlike many of my other Swedish ancestors, they actually lived in a city – and that means many more pages of searching.

  • Debi Austen - September 29, 2011 - 9:31 am

    I just sent a link to this page to my friend in Sweden – maybe she can help :-)ReplyCancel

  • Charles Hansen - September 29, 2011 - 9:58 am

    Maybe he drank wood alcohol. While it looks and smells like regular alcohol it usually is fatal to drink it.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - September 29, 2011 - 11:27 am

      Thanks Charles – I hadn’t even considered that possibility. I will definitely keep that in mind.ReplyCancel

  • Debi Austen - September 29, 2011 - 11:22 am

    Here’s what my friend and her husband say:

    Mikael and I figure that he was paralyzed and so depressed that he drank until he died. It was a horrible time in Swedish history because of the potato famine. Many people during that time frame (2.5 million Swedes) left Sweden to make a better life for themselves and their families. I think this man became paralyzed before he drank himself to death and drank himself to death because he could not take care of his family. It was a horrible burden on a man during those days to not be able to take care of your family. Plus even today, alcohol is a huge problem in Sweden as is the 4.3 billion kronor they spend on depression. I am very sad about this story, but there are so many that are the same. I would be interested in how paralyzed he was, I guess not to much if he could make a child, but even so, it must have been horrible for him and even worse for this Wife and six kids he left behind.

    I hope this helps. The direct translation is as she says but most likely he drank because of depression until he died.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - September 29, 2011 - 11:33 am

      Thanks so much Debi (and thank your friend for me too!) I hadn’t thought of the possibility of that situation. That’s why I love getting other people’s thoughts. Perhaps he became paralyzed after his wife became pregnant. That would have been very depressing to know that he couldn’t support them or even take care of himself. I could see him drinking himself to death because of that.ReplyCancel

  • Shasta - October 3, 2011 - 2:43 pm

    I just watched Ken Burns documentary on the Prohibition. He said that people drank weak beer all the time, but when the distilleries were made, alcohol became much stronger – whiskey and rum, and alcoholism was much more prevalent.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - October 4, 2011 - 12:18 am

      I’ll have to watch that!!ReplyCancel

  • frida - January 8, 2012 - 5:54 pm

    Drinking was quite an epidemic in Sweden way back when your ancestors lived here. Life was tough and drinking was simply much more common. They didn’t know the physical damage that it causes and so forth. It was socially acceptable to drink much and all the time.
    the first word looks a bit like omåttligt… maybe with old spelling.. which translates to excessive.. which would make more since conscidering the content of the text.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - January 8, 2012 - 9:52 pm

      Thank you for your help – with the translation and the history! Some of these old parish records are very difficult to read for a non-native speaker. How sad that this was quite common.ReplyCancel

  • - January 8, 2012 - 5:59 pm

    I think it says ” omåttligt förtärande af starka drycker”

    “excessive consumption of stong drinks” look at the second word, it has an umlaut over one of the letters…:)ReplyCancel

  • Carl - September 5, 2013 - 4:58 am


    I guess you now understand what the text says, but I can confirm without any doubt that it says (modern Swedish):

    “Omåttligt förtärande av starka drycker”

    Sorry to say, he had to much to drink.

    Best regards

    Carl SammyReplyCancel

  • Carl - September 5, 2013 - 5:01 am

    By the way. Outside Gävle there is a beutiful beach called “Rullsand” and I would not be surprised if Lars visited this place with his children. i did _) this summer.

    Best regardsReplyCancel

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My grandpa, Alphonso James Thornton, Jr. is the guy on the right.  He was 17 in this picture, so it must have been taken in about 1940.  He lived in Westfield, Iowa – and I’m assuming that this was taken either there or in Sioux City.

I wonder why my grandpa is in a suit and tie, while the rest of the guys are dressed more casually.

This photo was actually labeled, but the names are hard for me to read.

Here is my best guess, left to right: Don Salem, Bob Salhajan?, Bud Fahay, Charlie Hart, Al Thornton Jr.

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My daughter Ellie likes to draw, so I’ve commissioned her to start a series of genealogy related comics.

Genealogy is really such a sedentary hobby.  Add blogging to the mix and some of us are spending way too many hours on our rear ends.  Admit it!

We were thinking of some unique ways that genealogists could use their research time as valuable gym time also. So, the first series of comics will be about genea-exercises.:)

And here are her first two characters, Janet and Floyd….doing the Court Record Lift.

  • Michelle Goodrum - September 27, 2011 - 9:01 am

    I love it. yeah Ellie!ReplyCancel

  • Debi Austen - September 27, 2011 - 12:37 pm

    So cute! She is very talented and creative.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Coffin - September 27, 2011 - 4:28 pm

    That’s pretty good! I like it! Thanks for making me laugh, Ellie.ReplyCancel

  • Linda McCauley - October 2, 2011 - 7:07 pm

    It’s no wonder Ellie is so creative. She gets it from her mother. This is too cute.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - October 4, 2011 - 12:19 am

      Thanks Linda. :) I can’t draw AT ALL though.ReplyCancel

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I just love this old car – especially the seat in the back!!

Elgie Woods and Helen Cossaboon were married in 1927, so they had been married about a year in this picture.

I’m not quire sure what is going on – he has a robe of some sort on and the caption says “Heap Big Injun on Me”.:)It looks like they’re having fun!

  • Wendy - September 26, 2011 - 12:32 pm

    I think it says “AND me.” I’d guess Helen thought Elgin looked like an Indian. Helen missed a chance to comment on the “heap big ENGINE” in that heap big car. HA! Fun photo.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - September 26, 2011 - 1:17 pm

      Thanks Wendy – I think you’re right! :)ReplyCancel

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