Sweden, Ancestors and More: June 27-July 7, 2012
(Background of this page is the sky over Stockholm taken about 11 P.M.)
Wednesday, June 27th, we met my brother and his wife at the Hertz dealership, and got the Volvo we had reserved. It was a diesel, and got wonderful gas mileage. We headed out of Stockholm, south and west to Boras. We stopped at several family sites that were connected to my father's side of the family.
We went to the Vilske Kleva and the Floby "Kyrkas", or churches. I learned that, in Swedish, when a "K" is followed by a "Y", it forms a "Sh" sound, so really it's a "churka". I'm afraid the four of all massacred the language something terribly because of grammatical and spelling differences like this.
Both of these churches were connected with my grandmother Esther's father, Samuel Olson.
We stayed in Boras that night, in the heart of the city, had a nice supper meal, and spent a bit of time in a pub next to the motel.
The next morning led to activities that need a little background. A wonderful fellow named Per-Erik and his wife, Inger, picked us up in their vehicle, and Rod and Joanne followed us in the rental car to a little church in a little hamlet called Roasjo.
The background: Thirty years ago, in 1982, while working on the family tree, I sent a letter off blindly to the Roasjo Church to see if I could learn more about it and its history, as well as the area where my great grandfather, Alfred Anderson, and my great great grandfather Peter Anderson, were born and lived.
A very kind woman named Marit wrote back to me by way of her son-in-law, since she spoke no English. They sent information on the church, and on where the family had lived, and we exchanged several letters. Remember letters? Thirty years later, I sent another letter to her or her family blindly, and included my email address. Several weeks later, I got an email from Per Erik who said Marit and her husband, Yngve, were still alive. She is now 80, he is 86. I asked about seeing the church when we visited, and he said he could arrange it.
But Per-Erik, his wife, and Marit and her husband did so much more!
First, we went to the church. What a treat it was to see it after all these years, and how beautiful it was, and what a treat to finally meet Marit!
From Roasjo, we drove to a farmhouse where Per Erik showed us the large stone slab that had once been used as an entry to the home of our great grandparents, Peter and Maria at there home on a farm called Karrsgarde, which we would see later. It had been moved to a farm and been recycled, in a sense, to a new location, since Karrsgarde was no longer in existence.
From there, we all went to another church called Skephults, also connected to my great great grandparents, Peter and Maria Anderson. The church was open so we could see the beautiful interior. Per-Erik, Inger, Marit, and Yngve came along with us to this church also to help us find it, and tell more about it.
The church was very beautiful, and though the structure of the church itself from from the 19th century, many of the items in it had extreme age, such as the baptismal fount, which dated back to about the 12th or 13th century.
We did walk around the cemetery a bit, but we learned from Per-Erik that most of the older graves, even from the early to mid 1800's, were not there anymore. Unless you were a person of importance, the cemetery plots were used and reused several times, so most of the gravestones were from the late 1800's or 1900's.
This was true of all of the churches we visited. If you plan to find an old grave of an ancestor, you will probably be disappointed.
From the Skephults Kyrka, we headed off to find the site of a home that we didn't even know about! Inger and Per-Erik had done some research, and found the place where our great great grandmother, Maria's parents had lived.
It was long abandoned, and deep in the woods, so with the assistance of a wonderful man who lived in the area, and who had done some of the research, we took his four wheel drive vehicle down a long abandoned road to a farm called Nackersjo. He had an old map that showed the site of the home, and though it had been abandoned many years, the house was still standing.
We were just so impressed that these total strangers had gone to all this work of researching, finding, and showing us this site connected to our past, though it had no connection with any of them.
On the way out, we passed a few mileposts marked the country's roads at one time, giving mileage between the markers of a Swedish mile, which is about 10 kilometers, or six or seven miles total. This one was dated 1771.
After this fascinating trip, we headed to another family farm called Karrsgarde. This was also long abandoned, and out in the wilderness. We again went on roads that had not been used in many many years, and finally ended up in a fenced pasture. Per-Erik explained that there had been two homes in the area, but that the ones in which Peter and Maria had lived was closest to where we were parked, but only a pile of rock and rubble remained.
We walked around, took some pictures, and tried to imagine what it would have looked like more than 150 years ago.
Then, as if the day couldn't get much better, our wonderful hosts started pulling out chairs, tables, coffee, tea, and scrumptious treats, and we had a small picnic right there in the pasture! It tasted just wonderful, and it was so thoughtful of them.
In the midst of our refreshments, some young cattle decided they would come and check us out. They were curious, but stayed their distance from us.
What a wonderful treat it had been to spend time with Per-Erik, Inger, Marit, and Yngve. Though Inger, Marit and Yngve did not speak English, they really conveyed a wonderful welcoming to us, and we really cannot thank them enough for giving us one of the best experiences on our trip.
We soon said our goodbyes to everyone, and got back in the car. Per-Erik had given us directions to our next destination, the churches at Frolunda, Skephults, and then Alvsered. Though we found no gravestones, it was interesting to see the small churches, and realize our ancestors had been connected to it.
It was a full day, that is for sure. We went back to Boras, and ate some exotic foods, including squid, at a Greek restaurant, and then visited for a while in the pub next door to the hotel.
Next morning, it was off toward Karlskrona and the hunt for more connections to ancestors. Our first stop was the farm site of Tomeshult, where my mother's grandfather, August Wm. Olson, lived.
His son was also August Wm. Olson, and this was the father of my mother. He died when she was only three, and was a WW I veteran.
Our next stop was another church at Algutsboda and then Vissefjiarda, both churches connected with the August Olson family.
(Note that steeple on left is disconnected from the church.)
August Olson Sr. married Sophie Johnson, and this is the church she attended. That would have been my mother's grandmother on her father's side. Sophie was born in 1864 and came to the U.S. in 1886.
The rest of the day was spent getting to Karlskrona, and checking into the hotel in the rain. The view was right on the harbor, and many small boats were anchored there, making it a very picturesque view.
We walked downtown with Rod and Joanne and ate at a very nice little pizza place.
Next morning, we headed toward Ystad, and more churches connected with our grandparents and great grandparents. We stopped and sampled the local strawberries from a small roadside stand, and they were delicious!
Soon, we arrived at a large farm, or manor that my great great grandfather and my great grandfather, Hans Nelson, worked at. They were laborers here, living on the property but probably never seeing the inside of the main house.
It was beautiful property with many large outbuildings, and we had been given permission by the owner to walk around the property.
From this beautiful property, we headed toward
more churches, Below is the Snarestad
Church where Hans Nelson and Karna Martinson were married on Nov. 23, 1879. This
is also where Boel, mother of Hans would have been baptized in 1821.
Luckily, it was open so that we could look around inside as well as outside.
The interior of the church was beautiful, and Joan and I are standing about where Hans and Karna would have been when they got married.
After leavng the church, we grabbed a bite to eat at a snack place next to a beach on the Baltic Sea, and then headed to our place for the night, a castle! It is called "Caseholms Slott", and it sat out in the country, surrounded by farm land.
It had a long history dating back to the 14th century, and had been added on to several times over the centuries.
We've had few opportunities to stay in a castle, so this was a new experience. My brother, Rod, had found it when he was looking for places to stay in this vicinity. It really was a neat place to stay. The rooms had been remodeled so each had its own modern bathroom, and we told the owner we would like to have the evening meal.
The meal was wonderful! My brother ordered some wonderful wine to go with the meal, and the meal itself was roast duck that had been smoked. It was very tasty, and beautifully presentedThis new experience really made the celebration of our 45th anniversary special. We had celebrated other anniversaries in special ways, but I doubt if we'll ever stay in a castle again to celebrate!
From this castle near Ystad, we headed south to Malmo in search of a few more remaining sites related to our great grandparents.
We went to the Hedeskoga Church, which dated backto the 1100's and was added on to in the 1600's. The church itself was not open, but there were many interesting carvings and inscriptions.
Karna, my great grandmother, was probably baptised here.
END OF PART 2
PART 3 WILL FOLLOW SOON, THERE'S JUST SO MUCH THAT WE SAW AND DID!