Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 the year of DNA

Sweden's closest neighbors; Norway and Finland, both are a couple of years ahead when it comes to the use of DNA for genealogy.
But, 2012 was a rather good year also for Sweden and if we will follow the same pattern that they have done, we will have a huge increase in genealogical DNA testing in 2013.

I have seen estimates that indicates that over 10000 Swedes will order a genealogical DNA test in 2013 and probably 25000 more in 2014.

I hope this will be true! We need more Swedes to join the genealogical evolution and match up with our other neighbors and of course USA.

As the only listed genetic consultant here in Sweden, I will surely do my very best to spread the word and let people know all the benefits with genealogical DNA-testing.

One of my goals for 2013 will be to hold some free seminars about genetic genealogy here in my hometown Trosa. Our population here in Trosa is about 11000 and my goal is that I will influence at least 100 persons here to take a genealogical DNA-test during 2013.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Swedish roots

Swedish rune-stones often contains genealogical info
During many years I have assisted lots of people to find and trace their Swedish roots. Most of this genealogical research have been traditional, using church-records and other written sources.
Today I am also using DNA as a useful and interesting tool. The possibilities with using DNA in genealogy are many and will probably become even more useful in the near future.

When it comes to Swedish roots and traditional research, it is often possible to go back in time about 350 years and then there are no more reliable sources to use. You may be "lucky" and find parts of your ancestry to be from a "famous" or noble family, letting you get some generations even further back in time, but that is rare and becomes very speculative in most cases.

The autosomal DNA-tests like FamilyFinder, is intended to use for close genealogy, about 5 generations or so. But we are many that have discovered that when it comes to Swedish roots, it is not unusual to find DNA matches that are way further back in time.
One explanation for this could be that Sweden is a small country and that we always have had a rather small population. "We are all related more or less with each other"...

Many people with Swedish roots, notice when looking at their ancestry some generations back, we find that some individual ancestors can be found several times and in several positions in the family tree.
It is estimated that in year 1650, Sweden had a total population less than 1 000 000 people.
So the last 350 years our population have grown to almost 9 500 000 and most of us will find some sort of genealogical connection with each other if we go back 7-10 generations.

This means that the foundation or base for our DNA is somewhat limited and that some parts of it have been able to survive recombination and "wash out" for much longer time than it would in more diverted populations.

This will probably make it possible for us to find out more about our ancestry as the database grows with more DNA-profiles every day. And maybe give us an chance to map parts of our Swedish ancestry perhaps 500 year or more back in time.

If you have Swedish roots and have taken a genealogical DNA-test, please consider to participate in the Sweden DNA project

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Allt för Sverige

A couple of days ago the second season of the very popular TV-show titled "Allt för Sverige" started.
The reality-show is called "The great Swedish Adventure" in USA and its about 10 Americans with Swedish heritage that are coming to Sweden and together experience Swedish history and culture along with having to compete for the chance to meet some of their living Swedish relatives and get to know more about their Swedish ancestry.

The show is not showed outside Sweden and that is a pity, since many Americans would probably appreciate the show. Perhaps it will be aired over there someday?

If you want to apply to participate in the show, there are some information about it here;

This seasons participants as seen on SVT website;
Allt för Sverige - season 2
 The show is very popular here in Sweden, even if some think that the competitive part of the show is unfair since every week one of the participants have to leave and go back home in USA. But they do get their ancestral info even if they loose.
I think the show is both interesting and fun to watch and its very exciting to follow their adventure in Sweden.

I have helped many Americans with Swedish ancestry to find out about their Swedish roots and I do recognize the emotional part that is seen on the show also on many of my clients.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Swedish DNA?

At this moment Family Tree DNA are doing an survey regarding ancestral origin of their Family Finder customers.
This is an attempt to expand and get more relevant information in to the Population Finder (admixture) results.

Today most Swedes that have taken the Family Finder autosomal DNA-test will have the result in Population Finder that they are "Orcadians", and perhaps some small amount of French ancestry that can be traced back to possible Walloonian heritage that some Swedes do have.

So the goal is to find a more suitable population then Orcadian to define a typical Swede. But are there any special Swedish population? Maybe it will be more natural to call it Scandinavian or Nordic or Vikings or something? I dont know, but it will be very interesting to follow what this process will end up in and what our new definition will be named.
Swedes and Norwegian people are pretty much the same will be my guess, and that perhaps also the Danes will get very close. The Finnish population is probably more related to eastern populations, but Sweden and Finland have been connected for a very long time, so this could be influenced of course.

Above is a view from my fathers ( a typical Swede) Population Finder result in FTDNA.
100 % Orcadian and many people have felt this not to be very informative.
Hopefully the detailed information now soon will be more relevant and detailed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Indexing and cross-referencing

MyHeritage recently introduced their new SuperSearch technology and hopefully they will also sometime in the future include newspapers and other sources from Sweden. (and the whole world).

But is that a task that simply is to big to handle?

Here in Sweden, genealogy is not yet such big business as in USA and other parts of the world.
But many Swedes are interested in doing genealogical research. Our church-records are quite good (mostly) and free to use (at the archives).
Now these days most people want to have the sources available in digital media, and the most important sources are scanned and to access them you need to pay for the service. Thats OK with me, many people here battle and argument that also the digital sources should be free, claiming its a constitutional right.

Indexing are an interesting thing. Indexing takes the digital media one step further by enabling searching. And searching a database is of course a major, huge advantage compared to the search in going through the books manually.

But still, the technology of OCR (optical character recognition) and similar software are not yet able to scan/read and produce an output that is useful when it comes to old historical handwritten records. I am not even sure if this is something that is worked upon? But I hope it is.

Anyway, that means that indexing are still made by humans manually, which of course makes it time-consuming and expensive. And since not everyone that actually perform the actual indexing are experts in reading and understanding old handwritten documents, the results may be variable and unreliable in many degrees and ways.

There are alot of projects today involving indexing here in Sweden and I guess that is great. Some are very local and some are covering the whole country.

For example there are CDs available for the 1880, 1890, 1900, 1970, 1980 and 1990 census here in Sweden. These CDs are not reliable as a primary source, but great tools when it comes to locate someone that you lost track of.

There are also indexing projects ongoing for old Swedish newspapers. And there they try to use OCR-software (since printed media are more uniform and readable in general.) That works rather well, but not perfect. See an example from Swedish National Library (KB)

So when we finally have many indexed sources, the most important thing that needs to be established and developed is the possibility to do cross-referencing searches. And that I guess is exactly what MyHeritage´s SuperSearch is all about.
To be able to search for a person and that search will be able to retrieve and present all relevant information from all indexed sources, that will probably be one of the most important future feature in genealogy.

Will this ever happen? I don´t know, but it would be nice.
And if all these CDs could instead become online databases with possibilities to make needed corrections and additional input... Well then we are talking...

The future will be exciting in many ways when it comes to genealogy. DNA-testing is already here and will surely be a natural- and integrated part of traditional research.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Born in the USA

The first Swedes left for north America in early 1600s, they established a colony called "New Sweden" near the Delaware river. Its estimated that about 700-800 Swedes made the trip.
In 1655 this colony was overtaken by the Dutch, but people spoke Swedish there also more than 100 years later.

These early emigrants nobody really knows much about. Probably there are still some lineages with descendants that still are existing?

From the film "The Emigrants"
It was in mid 1800s that some Swedes again left for America. Mostly religious groups that wanted to be able to live a life they could not do here in Sweden, like "Bishop Hill".
After the civil war ended in USA and we here in Sweden struggled with several years of crop failure and bad harvests, many Swedes  started to flee the country and most did go to USA.

I truly recommend you all to see

In 1865 there are about 25 000 Swedes living i USA, and 25 years later there are about 800 000!
In total about 1 300 000 Swedes left for USA this period, but nearly 20 % returned to Sweden again.

In the Swedish church records in the late 1800s and early 1900s, its not unusual to find farmers and other people that are noted to be born in USA;
In the Swedish census 1880 about 600 persons have their birthplace noted in USA or North America.
In 1890 census, the number was about 1500 and in the 1900 census it was about 3800.

Most of these was of course children to the returning emigrants.

But the majority did never return to Sweden again, and its said that in total there are more people living in USA with Swedish ancestry than the actual number of citizens living in Sweden today.
So I guess more than 10 000 000 Americans have Swedish roots!

And almost everyone here in Sweden do have many relatives in USA, some of them known, but actually most of us have lost track- and contact with our American relatives.

One of the best ways to actually find living relatives that you don´t know about is to do a genealogical DNA-test! I strongly recommend the Family Finder test from Family Tree DNA.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Use your DNA as bait!

We all have our own DNA, an unique mix that we got from our parents, that they got from their parents and so on...

This kind of DNA is called autosomal DNA and you can use it to try to find other relatives around the world.

Many Americans do have European ancestry and vice versa most Europeans do have American relatives.

In Sweden we are now starting to use DNA to find unknown, living relatives in USA. The way to do this is to use your own DNA as bait and then go fishing in the genetic pool!
And when you got someone "on the hook", a genetic match, you have a really good chance to find out in what way you are related since autosomal DNA dont go very deep. It is most useful for matching someone that have an shared ancestor within 5-6 generations.

This kind of DNA-testing is of course also useful for people that have been adopted or for other reasons dont have much knowledge about their ancestors, but if possible try to also have a traditional ancestral research ready to use when analyzing your results from the DNA-test.

A tip is to test all of your siblings to get a more powerful "bait" when fishing for relatives! You and your siblings most often get some DNA from your parents that you dont share with each other, due to random inheritance and recombination, and that is why you can get matches that your siblings dont match and vice versa. So its not a waste to let all family members take the Family Finder test, but of course its an economical matter since every test do cost money.

As an example, my mother and her brother share about 2740 cM of DNA, which indicates that they have most of their DNA shared with each other (identical twins share about 3380 cM).
Most of their matches are the same, but both my mother and her brother do have several matches that they dont share with each other. In this case, its most likely that my mothers brother got more DNA from his fathers mother and my mother got more from her fathers father.
I know this since I could confirm and assign a match to my mother ( a third cousin once removed) that was linked on her fathers fathers lineage. My uncle however did not have this match at all present in his DNA.

So please join the party, start using your DNA as a bait to find other relatives.  I can assure you that this is fun, interesting and very exciting!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jussi Björling

One of Sweden´s most known and famous persons is Jussi Björling (Bjorling or Bjoerling often used outside Sweden). He was an opera-singer (tenor) with a unique and great voice.

His real name was Johan Jonatan and Jussi just a nickname that he got from his grandmother when he was a child.

Jussi (upper right) with his father and brothers.
Jussi was born 1911 in Dalarna and died 1960 in Stockholm. He was a singer already when he was 4 years old, and as a child he toured and performed all over USA together with his brothers and their father; David Björling. They performed under the name "The Bjoerling Male Quartet".

Later the brothers also became quite known and successful as singers, but Jussi became the real superstar and is still, more than 50 years after his death, considered as one of the best opera-singers in the world.

When I started out with genealogy in 1982 and was 16 years old, I had of course heard of Jussi Björling, even if I actually did not listen much to opera or that kind of music.

I guess the most famous song here in Sweden that we associate to Jussi is "Till havs" (here is a youtube video when he sings this in Swedish television 1953.)

After some years of genealogical research I found out that I actually was related to Jussi Björling. And as most genealogists I find it very exciting when finding a relative that are known since there are usually lots of pictures and documentation available.

My mother and Jussi Björling are 6th cousins and our common ancestor was the shoemaker Johan Parman (1673-1744).and his wife Katarina Waller (1700-1773).

Their daughters Anna and Maria both came to Voxna parish in Hälsingland and from them our lineage looks like this;

Jussí´s line;
Anna Parman (1725-1788) - Lars Norberg (1751-1827) - Margareta Norberg (1784-1864) - Lars Björn (1809-1896) - Lars Johan Björling (1842-1909) - Karl David Björling (1873-1926) - Johan Jonatan "Jussi" Björling (1911-1960)

My mother Agneta´s line;
Maria Parman (1730-1808) - Johannes Larsson (1762-?) - Stina Johansdotter (1803-1887) - Per Trygg (184-1916) - Sara Kristina Trygg (1874-1925) - Edit Svedlund (1915-2005) - Agneta (1948-)

The surname Björling came out of the surname Björn (Bear in Swedish) and as stories tell the name Björn was in this case worn by an extremely strong man and that this physical strength really was passed down his lineage. And Jussi was known also for his great physical strength, winning many matches of arm-wrestling...

Jussi Björling did not get old, only 49 years, but he most likely experienced more during this time than most of the rest of us ever will do. He had a serious problem with alcohol, but despite that he managed to perform and have a rather long career and made an impact in most countries in the world, and still does!

If you ever visit Sweden and Borlänge, please check out the "Jussi Björling Museum" they have there.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Chasing ghosts...

There are those who think that genealogy is a rather pointless pastime, and that instead of "chasing the past", one should devote energy to our present and future life.

But as a genealogist, I must of course defend genealogy as a concept and I know that for many people it is an important activity that serves many more functions than just to pass time.

As a professional genealogist I do genealogical research for others who do not have the time, desire, stamina or skills to do genealogy on their own, but still are interested in their origin and family history.

We Swedes are otherwise quite intent on that genealogy is a chore you "do yourself", like most Swedes also think about our gardens.

But we have previously done most things "ourselves" and today we do not think it´s weird to have the baker bake the bread for us, buy a ready-made dress, or hire a carpenter to build our new patio. We could of course do these things ourselves, but our priority is simply set to other things, or we don´t have the time, energy or knowledge.

Genealogical research is not even a bit exciting, interesting or fun for everyone, but surprisingly many people are nonetheless interested in knowing more about their ancestry, their roots and their origin.

I often come in contact with people that have "given up" their genealogical research when they realized that the time, stamina or the will to preserver was simply not enough. Just as I know there are lots of bread baking machines, sewing machines, and expensive carpentry equipment and tools collecting dust, hidden away in our homes. They reminds us of broken illusions and cracked ambitions, but we, again, did not have the time, energy or knowledge to pursue them.

The interest in our long-dead relatives are sometimes regarded as bordering on the morbid, and certainly we must not forget to put the most energy on our close- and loved ones who are still alive. But our ancestors - all of them equally important, also deserves to be remembered and live on in our minds and memories.
Without them we would not exist and there are many thousands of years of "work" behind each one of us living today.

So it´s not about "chasing ghosts", but rather to honor life.
And I truly believe that you can do that with genealogy, whether you do it yourself, or hire someone to help.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Princess Estelle

As you all know Swedish Princess Estelle was born in February 23, 2012.

Prince Daniel, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Estelle.

Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Östergötland, born February 23, 2012 as the first child of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel.

Nobility and royalty is not so often related to us "ordinary" people, they tend to marry within their own circles.
But now, when we suddenly got a "man of the people" (Daniel Westling) in the royal family, there are suddenly lots of “common Swedes” who suddenly are related with the future sovereign Estelle.

And since many Americans have Swedish heritage, probably lots of people in USA are now also related with Estelle.

I am actually myself related to Prince Daniel and Princess Estelle. Not closely related but in several ways.
Our closest shared ancestor was Per Johansson Wall (also named Borg during a period of time) and his wife Kerstin Nilsdotter.

Per Wall is noted born 1730 in Ockelbo parish, he died 1806 in Hanebo parish. Kerstin was born 1726 in Arbrå parish and also died 1806 in Hanebo.

Via these ancestors there are two connections, since Daniels great grandmother, Brita Westling (1868-1965), her parents was actually 1st cousins with each other.

Daniels grandfather took the surname Westling from his wife when they got married and that was not common practice these days..

Besides Per Wall (military officer), I and Estelle also have other shared ancestors in the couple Erik Nilsson (1641-1719) and his wife Anna Svensdotter (1643-1713) who lived in Segersta parish.

Probably there are even more shared relations between us that I still have not documented (in Bollnäs).

Prince Daniel and Princess Estelle
My grandmother Edit was 5th cousin with Estelle´s grandfather Olle.

And my mother Agneta is 6th cousin with Prince Daniel.

So me and Princess Estelle are 7th cousins.

But I really don’t know if relationship with someone is to brag about, regardless if its a Prince, future Queen or a world famous Opera singer... But we genealogists do like to find relatives of all kinds.

And if we step further back in time, we end up being related to everyone.

I have noticed an increased interest from customers in USA to find out if they are related to the new princess Estelle, and depending from where in Sweden your ancestors came, the possibility is there!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Genealogy mistakes

Some people say Swedish genealogy is very easy to do, but thats not quite true...

Actually its rather tricky sometimes, mostly because of the fact that we in Sweden rarely used family surnames. So one great challenge is to avoid mixing people up when they all have almost the same names.

From my last post about Swedish surnames and family names. I have got some questions and reactions from people wanting me to share some more examples.

I often notice that americans trying to find their Swedish roots end up wrong sooner or later and one reason is that they may think that people named Andersson, Johansson or Olsson are actually carrying family surnames and that they may think they are related to all other Andersson, Johansson and Olsson...
(actually there are also Swedes making this error...)

I have studied hundreds of public and private familytrees that contains these type of mistakes.

Here is an example of how this sometimes tends to occur;

Lets start with a man named Andrew Olson that is supposed to be borned in the year 1870 in the parish Brösarp in Sweden. As a bonus in this example we know that his name before leaving Sweden was actually Anders Olsson.

We check the birth records for Brösarp 1870 and find that there are actually six Anders born there this year.

May 9: Anders : fathers name; Ola Persson
May 30: Anders : fathers name; Per Persson
June 20: Anders: fathers name; Per Olsson
July 26: Anders: fathers name; John Larsson
Oct 16: Anders: fathers name; Nils Brock
Oct 21: Anders: fathers name; Nils Andersson

Now guess which of the Anders most people pick out as to be "their" Anders Olsson here?

Yeah, most common mistake is to pick Anders born in June 20 because his fathers surname is what we are looking for; Olsson.

The correct Anders is the first one. The fathers name is Ola Persson and his children will have the name Olsson based on the fathers first name Ola.

Anders that was born in june 20 will be named Anders Persson, as his fathers first name is Per.

So thats a typical example how easy things can go wrong from the start.

From about early 1900 we changed and started to use our current surnames as normal family names.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Swedish surnames and family names

Until quite recently, Sweden have not commonly used family surnames.
Instead we have had a patronymic tradition, which means that all children got their fathers first name as their surname, with the suffix -son (for men) or -dotter (for women).

So if a man named Lars Andersson had children, his sons would automatically had their surname as Larsson and his daughters would have Larsdotter as their surname.

It was first in the late 1800 and early 1900 that we stopped using patronymic surnames and changed them into family names.

About the same time women started to take their husbands surname as their own when getting married. Before this all women kept their surname their entire life, married or not.

When the change from patronymic surnames was completed all women that had their patronymic surname (ending with -dotter) to become the male version, ending with -son instead.
So Elisabeth Svensdotter suddenly was changed to Elisabeth Svensson. Quite boring I think.

That is the reason that we in Sweden have so many family names ending with -son (Andersson, Svensson, Larsson, Nilsson, Olsson, Johansson, Persson, Karlsson, Gustafsson, Eriksson, and so on...)

As you probably understand, there was literary hundreds of thousands of people living in Sweden that shared the exact same name during all periods of time.
But there was some of them that adapted a family name instead.

Sometimes just to avoid being mistaken to be someone else (since there often were maybe 10 Lars Larsson living in the same small village...), some started using a non-patronymic surname, sometimes this was passed on to their children, sometimes not.

Most common surnames (besides the patronymic ones) are very often connected to nature and names of places where people lived.
This gives quite many possible combinations, but also many of these surnames was adopted by many unrelated people in many different locations at the same time, making these family names not that unique and not very helpful to determine if people with the same family name were related or not...

Some very common words that are current in many Swedish surnames are to mention a few;

Berg (mountain), Gren, (branch on tree), Blad (leaf on tree), Kvist (twig on tree), Ström (stream in water), Lund (grove of trees), Ny (new), Söder (south), Nord (north), Väst (west), Öst (east), Sand (sand), Fors (rapids water), Sjö (lake)...

And often names of trees or animals are used, many times in combination with the above.
Some examples;

Flowers from a Linden tree
Lind (lime or linden), Ek, (oak), Gran (spruce, fir), Tall (pine), Hassel (hazel), Örn (eagle), Falk (falcon), Björk (birch), Asp (aspen), Äng (meadow), Lönn (maple)...

So by combining these we can generate almost all common surnames that is in top 100 here in Sweden...
My own surname Lindberg is a perfect example that is one of the most common surnames here.

Some people also got special names if they were soldiers. These soldier names was most of the times only used by the soldier himself and not passed on to his children, but sometimes they became family names also.
Most of these military names were either directly connected to the place the soldier served under or some classical ones like for example;

Trygg (confident, safe), Hård (hard), Stark (strong), Grym (cruel), Dunder (thunder), Stolt (proud)...

Also noblemen, priests, merchants and some craftsmen like smiths often used a family name as a surname.

The only family names that was protected was the one reserved for the noblemen. No one else outside the family could use a registered surname used by a noble family.

But besides that, no rules, so many people used the same surnames without being related at all.

But since early 1900 there is strict regulations and procedures when someone want to change or create a new surname.
Today the name must be unique or if it exists you must have a connection to this surname not so long ago in ones family.

In my family the Lindberg surname was first used by my great great grandfather, and he took it the year 1874 when he was 16 years of age. Before that his surname was Lindman, but that name came from the soldiers that served in Lindö In Vallentuna parish. (all soldiers there always was named Lindman).
So he could not use Lindman since he was not the soldier and he had to change.
Why he decided for Lindberg is not sure. But maybe he wanted to keep some of Lidman and since he lived at a farm that was named Berga, he maybe was influenced by that?

The boring part is that Lindberg is so very common here in Sweden, so sometimes I wish he would have had a little more fantasy when he made the change.

But of course I am very proud of my family name anyway!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Genetic cousins.

Not so long ago, I entered the world of DNA and this is one of the most exciting thing I have done during my 30 years in genealogy!

I have been looking for this several years, but I have not felt that it would be of any real use in my genealogical research to know about my deep ancestry that you can get from taking the Y-DNA or mtDNA tests that have been available for some years now.
Of course it is interesting to find out what haplogroup you belongs to and be able to match against others, but in short it turns out that we all are related to each other if we get way back in time.

As a genealogist I have the drive to know HOW we are related and since the timeframe that are possible to verify and do actual genealogical research is limited to the last 500 years it was not that interesting for me to get information that I match someone that share a common ancestor in say, 50 000 years ago...

But now things have drastically changed with the autosomal DNA tests that have arrived!

With an autosomal DNA-test its possible to find whats called "genetic cousins" and that means the matches you get, share an common ancestor in the range between present time and back for about 300 years, or 5-8 generations! So its absolutely within the timeframe that is possible to verify with traditional genealogical research!

Some people even call this a genealogical revolution and I tend to agree! This is really amazing and very exciting!

If this had been available when my grandparents had been alive, I had done whatever possible to have their DNA tested with an autosomal DNA-test. Because every generation some of the inherited and traceable DNA get lost...

I have already tested my fathers DNA and now I am just about to get the test done for my mother also. I use Family Tree DNA that are totally dedicated to genealogical DNA testing. Their autosomal DNA test is called Family Finder.

So my search for my genetic cousins have started and I have already got some very interesting matches that we started to figure out how we are related, and thats genealogy!

Some people are thinking that taking a DNA-test would "spoil the fun" from doing traditional research, but they are strongly mistaken since working with DNA in your genealogy is NOT presenting you with a complete family tree. It only gives you a new dimension to your genealogy and without traditional genealogical research its quite useless.

As a professional genealogist, I have also included DNA in my "toolbox" and I am following the technical progress with great interest.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bearhunting in Hälsingland...

I have researched a lot on my grandmother's ancestry in Hälsingland and there are many interesting lifestories and exciting moments to get out from the church books.

Some of these ancestors are originally from Finland and in the late 1600's, they arrived to clear and occupy unsettled land in Hanebo (X) parish.

I noticed that some places, speciallyTönsen and Raman seems to be populated mostly of people of Finnish origin.

But in these days,Finland of course was just another part of Sweden.

My grandmother's grandmother's great-grandmother's name was Cecilia Henriksdotter (1703-1784) and she had a nephew named Olof Andersson and he was born December 7, 1744 actually in the place Raman.

A week after that Olof celebrated his 34th birthday, he and some others went out in the forests of Hälsingland to hunt for bear...

How common it was to hunt bear, I really do not know, but I guess there was a little more bear in the woods at the time.

Anyway, this story does not end so well for Olof ... Apparently something goes wrong in the hunt, and he died December 20, 1778, after being severely injured during that hunt.

Here's how the somewhat odd death notice looked like in the death records;
The text reads;

Biten och illa sargad i hufvudet af en Björn, som han i följe med andra ämnade skjuta, hwarefter han lefde, allsomst 4 dygn.”

Translated it would be;
Bitten and badly wounded in his head by a Bear, that he had, in company with others, the intention to shoot. He lived for four days after the accident happened before he finally died.

I'm not an expert on bears, but I guess that time of year, the bears should be doing their winter-sleep and perhaps this hunt actually really was poaching?

What happened to the bear the story does not tell.

Best not to wake the bear that sleeps...”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When the technology causes trouble...

We have become quite dependent on technology to be able to do genealogy effectively today. Firstly, it depends on that our computers are working properly, and that the broadband connections is working and is fast enough.

Secondly, we become also dependent that the suppliers of the sources, the church-book material, are functioning properly. And it is unfortunately not unusual that either of these fails, which leads to that the genealogical research will suffer.

This kind of hassle is a pain even for the amateur researcher who may have a few hours off and will try to keep up with the genealogy for a moment and notice that you can not access the service provider.
To me, who has genealogy as a profession, it is obviously very annoying when I am unable to work. Because even if I do have all the providers of the Swedish church book material (Genline, SVAR and AD), they are not identical.

Was it better in the past? I can remember how it was to do genealogy for 30 years ago when I had to visit the archives, standing in line, order up books (only a few at a time) and then wait until the archives staff arrived and delivered the book to the researchdesk.
It was not dependent on the technology... Writing was done with a pencil in the notebook I had brought.
On the other hand, I remember that sometimes it was archival staff who were sick and we genealogists had to sit back and wait considerably longer time than usual in order to let the decimated staff deliver. This is perhaps equivalent today when we have network problems or the computer is malfunctioning?..

Today I still visit the archives on occasional times. I don’t really do that because I miss being there, waiting for the staff to bring up the books I ordered or waiting in line to get a place to sit, no its of course because there are still lots of books that are not digitalized (yet) and that quite often I need to check things that are still considered private (70-year secrecy-rules).
But I must admit that in a strange way I do like to wear these goofy gloves and also there is the smell of "old books" that you get for free when visiting an archive...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Swedish genealogy

My first post...

Welcome to my genealogy blog!

My intention is to write about genealogy as a hobby and a science in general, but most of all it will be about my own thoughts and experiences in genealogy and my own findings in my family history and ancestry.

I have been into genealogy for 30 years now and since 2010 I am also working as a professional genealogist in my own company named Trosa Anverk.
I am a specialist in Swedish genealogy and even if my customers often are from USA or other countries, they do have a Swedish heritage.

Did you know that almost a quarter (1/4) of the whole Swedish population emigrated  to USA in the late 1800 and beginning of 1900? This means that today there are actually more people with Swedish heritage living in USA than there is in Sweden itself! Amazing!

I do not write or publish anything that are related to my customers, so personal details and stories will only be from my own family tree or something I stumbled upon in general.

Do you have Swedish roots?
 I hope that maybe someone will get inspiration or find something that I write here to be of interest. Besides traditionall genealogy I am also very involved in DNA genealogy.
I am really  a very sporadic blogger, not writing that often as I would like to do, but try to post something now and then.

As you all probably already have noticed, English is not my first language... But I do hope that at least you can understand what I am trying to say here.

I also have a blog in Swedish with similar context as this one. I have been blogging there for a year now and I like it. I hope that this blog in English also will be found and appreciated by many readers all over the world and is of course grateful for any help with sharing or linking to this blog.

Genealogy is very popular here in Sweden. Many people do it and today its quite possible to do almost everything from home with your computer and an Internet connection.

As this is my first post I would like to mention that you may also find me on other social media as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. But I have dedicated Google+ as my English platform besides this blog.