Thursday, November 27, 2014

Friday's Faces from the Past

Last weekend my local genealogy society celebrated its 30-year birthday.

On my to-do list was making placement cards for the board members since we were to host a table or two each.

So, I wanted to make something more special than just an ordinary card and this is how they turned out:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Treasure chest Thursday

My dad has been busy scanning old photos. Every other day when I talk with my parents there is another album that has been digitized. I love watching the photos on my computer or on my iPad, so easy to zoom in and look at details that is not as easy to notice when looking at the paper copies.

This picture is my great grandfather Nils Anton Berlin and is from 1937.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sympathy Saturday - Lighting candles at cemeteries in Sweden

At the Pet Cemetery in Helsingborg

Today,  November 1st is All Saints Day in Sweden. A lot of Swedes goes to a cemetery lighting candles. This year it is even possible to light a candle through a webpage at certain cemeteries.

It is really a beautiful sight to visit a cemetery this day when its gotten dark, lit candles everywhere and even the local pet cemetery is filled with candles.

Råå kyrkogård, Helsingborg.
Erik och Lilly Kvist

Kropp Cemetery

Kropp Cemetery

Friday, August 29, 2014


This upcoming weekend, last weekend of August, it is time for the biggest Swedish event in family history research, Släktforskardagarna. This year it is held in Karlstad.

I am looking forward for inspiration, news and lots of fun!

Friday, August 8, 2014

New DNA Family Finder matches

Yesterday I got some new matches at FamilyTreeDNA. Most exciting was that I got a match with a person that has a predicted relationship range of 2nd - 4th cousin. This person is also the closet match I got so far (except for my dad) which makes it even more interesting.

Since I got my own test results in November last year, I get about a handful of matches every month. Most of them are distant, 5th cousin or more and yet I haven't been able to find the connection on a single one.

In a way, I am surprised I have got so many matches. When doing traditional genealogy I don't run into many people researching the same family.

It is fun and interesting with the matches, you know for sure you are related but you don't know how. Sometimes the matches are a surprise as well, I have some matches in England that I don't understand. And a couple of matches in the US where I can't see that the match has any obvious connection to Sweden (or Estonia).

For me the DNA-genealogy really brought a new dimension to my research. From looking into records trying to find relatives I now have about 100 relatives where I need to find the records that shows how we are related.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Hanging out with the guests of a royal wedding (perhaps)

Imagine you are a 20 year old female in 1928. You are born in a small place in the south of Sweden called Södra Rörum.

So, your aunt Anna came to visit. She moved to America and Chicago a year before you were born. You decide to go with her when she goes back to Chicago.  When you and your aunt get on the ship Gripsholm you realize there are some quite well-known people going to New York as well.

Creme de la creme of Swedish society of that time, H. R. H Gustaf Adolf and H. R. H Sigvard at the time aged 22 and 21, princes of Sweden. Count Carl Bernadotte as Wisborg, Countess Marianne Bernadotte af Wisborg, Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg. Count Carl and Countess Ebba Bonde, Capitain Rolf Magnus von Heidenstam, Baron Carl-Erik von Platen and Baroness Gunhild von Platen,  Erik Olof von Platen, Count Nils Wachmeister with his wife Countess Märtha among others.

They are all headed to friend Edvard Manville, Pleasantville, New York for his daughter Estelle Manvilles' wedding on December 1, 1928. She married Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg. 1500 people were invited to the wedding and it was the first time a member of an European Royal family got married in America.

Estelle Manville, Wedding 1928. Public Domain photo:

Olga Elisabeth Olsson was born on July 18 in 1908. When she was seven her mother Ellen Elisabeth Svensson died. Olga grew up with her father Johan Olsson, born in 1881, who was a farmer. Six year after his wife died he got married to Ida Larsson. From 1922 to 1930 Ida and Johan have six children.

In 1927 his sister Anna comes to Sweden on a visit. She went to America in 1907 and became a US citizen in 1923. When Anna goes back to America in 1928, Olga goes with her. And that is when they get on the same ship as the bridegroom Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg and some of the guests of the wedding between Folke and Estelle, sailing from Gothenburg on November 16 and arriving in New York on November 26, five days before the wedding.

Swedish princes on the passenger list

Aunt Anna Olson on line 3

20-year old Olga Elisabeth Olsson from Södra Rörum going to Chicago and America in 1928

Olga Elisabeth Olson was a cousin of my grand aunts husband. What happened to Olga after she arrived in America, I don't know. Yet.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Census Sunday - Oregon State Insane Asylum

One exciting thing about doing family history research is that you never know what you will find.

A couple of years ago I was looking for a Janne Nyberg, born on June 9, 1867 in Grevie, Sweden. When he was 21 years old in 1889 he left Sweden and went to America. His destination was San Jose in California.

Well, the last track I have of him is the passenger list, he arrived in New York on April 22 in 1889. Since most of the US census of 1890 is destroyed the next census to look for in the 1900. Much could have happened in 11 years, he could be married and have a family or he could even be dead.

Looking for him I found a John Newberg, born in Sweden, June 1865 which is a two years difference from the Janne I am looking for. Says he came to the US in 1888 which doesn't match my Janne either. But he is born in Sweden and so is his parents.

Even if this person isn't the one I am looking for, he still caught my attention. Because he is an inmate at Oregon State Insane Asylum. Almost 25 pages, with 50 names on each side it listed at this place, some employees of course but most of them are inmates. There are babies listed and 8-9 year old children, teen-agers and people over 90 years old as well. Male and females. They are from Sweden, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Russia, US and a lot of other countries.

John Newberg is found on line 34

So, this happens every now and then.. looking for something/someone finding something unexpected that gets all the attention.. and suddenly three hours passed, just like that.

It seems like Oregon State Insane Asylum later was called Oregon State Hospital. This was the where the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was shot. Today, there is a museum, Museum of Mental Health which I would love visit if I was in the area.

Library of Dust is a book by photographer David Maisel who took pictures of some of the thousands of urns containing ashes of the remains of inmates that were kept in the building since no relatived claimed it...

"Esteemed photographer David Maisel has created a somber and beautiful series of images depicting canisters containing the cremated remains of the unclaimed dead from an Oregon psychiatric hospital. Dating back as far as the nineteenth century, these canisters have undergone chemical reactions, causing extravagant blooms of brilliant white, green, and blue corrosion, revealing unexpected beauty in the most unlikely of places. This stately volume is both a quietly astonishing body of fine art from a preeminent contemporary photographer, and an exceptionally poignant monument to the unknown deceased."

What happened to Janne Nyborg after he came to New York in 1889, I don't know... yet.