onsdag 24 december 2014

Christmas in Sweden mid 20th Century

I found this American film about how Christmas was celebrated in the mid 20th Century. A lot is still the same but maybe more modern. We usually do not have live candles in our trees any longer and we watch Donald Duck at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Many go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day but just as many do not since we are not very religious.

GOD JUL!!




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måndag 22 december 2014

Allt för Sverige - 2014 Christmas Special

The Allt för Sverige - 2014 Christmas Special is out. Learn how we celebrate Christmas in Sweden.



Dan före dopparedan - December 23, the day before Christmas Eve, this is also when we have uppesittarkväll

Christmas Eve (dopparedan) - Julafton, is when we celebrate Christmas. We have lunch, watch Donald Duck at 3 o'clock, have fika, open the gifts and then in the evening we have supper.

Christmas Day - Juldagen, visit relatives, have lunch, fika or supper together and exchange gifts. Or just hang out infront of the TV digesting all the food and candy.

Boxing Day - Annandag Jul, more or less like Christmas Day.

God Jul!



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Tomten - poem by Viktor Rydberg

Another Christmas tradition is the poem Tomten (Robin Goodfellow) by Viktor Rydberg.

Here it is read in a short film with English subtitles.




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söndag 21 december 2014

Christmas music

From the first of Advent and right up until Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I like to listen to as much Christams music as possible to get in the right mood. Therefore I will here list some of the best Swedish Christmas music.

First up is Peter Jöback, a very talanted Swedish musical artist who has done the Phantom of the Opera both in London and on Broadway. The first video is when he sings the his song "Jag kommer hem till jul" (I will be home for Christmas).


Secondly is O Holy Night but in Swedish. I have seen Peter live and he is an amazing singer and a very huble person.


Second is Carola Häggkvist who has competed in the Eurovision Song Contest several times and won it in 1991. She is considered to be the best singer in Sweden. Here she sings Mary's boychild.


Number three is Triad who in 1987 released the song "Tänd ett ljus" (light a candle). The song is not really about Christmas but it is about hope, that it is dark now but it will be brighter soon, light a candle for the children of earth.


Adolphson & Falk made the song "Mer jul" (more Christmas) in 1884 which is about how the person singing wants more of everything that has to do with Christmas.


Just D is a Swedish hiphop group from the early 90's. The song "Jul igen" (Christmas again) is about all the horrible things that happen that makes sure that you know that it is Christmas again.



These are just some of our favorites. There are several more. Hope you enjoy.


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fredag 19 december 2014

Family Recipe Friday - Radiokaka (Hedgehog slice)

A must have in every Swedish home is the book "Sju sorters kakor" (seven kinds of cookies). The book is named after the tradition of having at least 7 kinds of cookies at social gatherings known as kafferep (coffee rope) where you drink coffee, eat cookies and talk. The tradition comes from the end of the 19th century and in 1945 a book with recipe got its name from it. Since then the book has come out in 83 editions.


One of the recipes reminds me of my childhood Chrismases. Mom used to make a so called Radiokaka, in English known as Hedgehog slice. I did not always like it but I have made it as a grown up for Christmas and I am thinking about doing one this year too. The story of the name of the cake is that in the 1920's, when radio had become popular, it was said that the cake did not make so much noice when eaten so therefore it was perfect to eat while listening to the radio. The cake also looks like the radio of that time with the bars infront of the speakers.

Recipe:
200-250 grams of coconut fat
200 grams dark chocolate
2 eggs
3 deciliters of icing sugar
25 buiscuits (square or round)

Melt the fat and the chocolate, low temperature, in a pot. Whisk the eggs and the icing sugar untill it is really fluffy. Stir slowly and carefully the lukewarm chocolat fat into the egg and icing sugar.

Dress an oblong cake pan, about 1,5 litres, with a baking sheet. Spred a layer of the chocolate paste on the bottom and then a layer of buiscuits, then another layer of chocolate and then buiscuits again. Keep going but end with the chocolate paste. Put the pan in a fridge over night. Cut the cake in thin slices and serve at once. 

This is the Swedish version of the cake but when I googled Hedgehog slice I found other versions with nuts and other fillings.


Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Sources:
http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sju_sorters_kakor_(bok)
http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sju_sorters_kakor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedgehog_slice
http://www.icakuriren.se/mat-dryck/recept/radiokaka/

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tisdag 4 november 2014

Tuesday's Tip - Facebook Groups

There are several groups on Facebook where you can get help with your genealogy. Here are some of them:

Swedish/American People Search - for people in Sweden who are looking for American relatives or the other way around.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/107984552648944/?fref=ts

My ancestors are from ... - groups for people with relatives in sertain provinces.
Gotland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/84822331585/?fref=ts
Halland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/121908984681238/?fref=ts
Östergötland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/479976045404659/?fref=ts
Smålan: https://www.facebook.com/groups/479976045404659/?fref=ts
Södermanland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/141378232718549/?fref=ts
Västergötland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/141378232718549/?fref=ts
Blekinge: https://www.facebook.com/groups/598330630185601/?fref=ts
Skåne: https://www.facebook.com/groups/454687791291908/
Bohuslän: https://www.facebook.com/groups/161847587319694/
Värmland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/388618994592285/
Uppland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/581359428552089/
Medelpad: https://www.facebook.com/groups/439414042821583/

These are just a few of them. Just search on facebook for "My ancestors are from" and the province or county you are looking for.

Another set of groups are the "Kyrkor och Kyrkogårdar i" - "Churches and Graveyards in". Here you can find pictures of churches and headstones. You can also ask for a specific stone and a person who lives close by or knows the graves well can give you more information.
Example: Östergötland - https://www.facebook.com/groups/315131595296678/?fref=ts

There are of course more groups in Swedish but Swedes are generally rather good at English.
Släktforskning (genealogy) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/sforsknig/?fref=ts
Släktforskning - Gravstenar - arkiven berättar (genealogy - headstones - the archives) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/543006329056410/?fref=ts
Adlig Släkthistoria (noble family history) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/225481740969536/?ref=ts&fref=ts
1500-1600 tals släkter på Gotland (1500-1600's families on Gotland) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/749657585093027/?fref=ts




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måndag 27 oktober 2014

Allt för Sverige - season 4, episode 2



Your



Episode 2, season 4 takes place in western parts of the province of Smaland. Many people emigrated from Smaland because of poverty and religion.





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måndag 20 oktober 2014

Allt för Sverige - season 4, episode 1

The first episode is out. It is a good one.







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söndag 19 oktober 2014

Allt för Sverige - The Great Swedish Adventure, season 4


I have just watched the first episode in the forth season of "Allt för Sverige" (in the US known as the Great Swedish Adventure). It is a Swedish reality show where 10 americans get to come to Sweden and compete for the chanse to meet their Swedish relatives. At the same time they get to se different parts of Sweden and learn both about their ancestors and about modern and every day life in Sweden.

The first episode show the contestants taking their first steps on Swedish soil in Malmö, Skåne. They have their first lesson in Swedish, taste some Swedish food, learn about Zlatan and Rosengård, and finally they compete in two teams for the chanse to continue. Next week the loosing team members compete against each other so we do not know who has to go home first until then.

The show is not yet on youtube but I will put a link here as soon as I can. In the meanwhile, you can always take a look at season 1, 2, and 3. You find the links to all the episodes on the Your Swedish Heritage home page: http://linnlinns.wix.com/swedish-heritage#!links/c208k but you can see the first episode, season one, below.



Photo source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Allt_f%C3%B6r_Sverige_(logo).jpg

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fredag 3 oktober 2014

Cinnamon Buns and Breast Cancer Awareness


October 4 is cinnamon bun day in Sweden and since October is breast cancer awareness month many stores have cinamon buns with pink pearl sugar on them.

Cinnamon bun day was first celebrated in 1999, which makes it 15 years old this year. It was the Homebaking council that started the day to celebrate its 40th birthday. Harvest time is also when the big baking season starts in Swedish homes.¨

For recepie and more information on the cinnamon bun go to https://sweden.se/culture/cinnamon-buns/

Sources:
http://www.kanelbullensdag.se/

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torsdag 2 oktober 2014

Gotland's Oldest Votive Ship

I took a break from blogging and am trying to get back to doing it on a regular basis.


The picture shows the oldest votive ship on Gotland. You can find it in the small church in the parish of Västergarn, 30 minutes south of Visby. The ship was given to the church in 1637 by the local harbour bailiff Marcus Schröder.

During that time the island of Gotland was under Danish rule but the church was under the diocese of Linköping in Sweden. Marcus Schröder is believed to have come to Gotland as a skipper, shipping German refugees from Eckenförde. The thirty year war between catholics and protestans was in full bloom in Europe.

The votive ship is a full-rigged ship with square-sails on all three masts. The type of ship is known as a frigate. This one has 48 canons which makes it a naval ship

There are golden inscriptions on the ship in German:
Starboard: Gott Zur Ehr, der Jugend zur Lehr, Der Kirchen zum Zihrrat
God to honour, Youth to learn, the Church as an ornament.

Port: Marckes Schröder dieses Schip verehret hat. 1637
Marckes Schröder has donated this ship. 1637

Marcus Schröder became an important man on Gotland. He was its first lime squire and also a member of parliament. He perished during a voyage between Lübeck and Visby in 1661.

Source: Kyrkfönstret, Klinte pastorats kyrkoblad 2014 Nr 2.


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lördag 30 augusti 2014

2014 Genealogy Convention

This weekend the 2014 genealogy convention took place in Karlstad, the town where the sun always shines. Over 80 different companies and societies were represented, Ancestry, FamilySearch and AD online are just three of them. We bought 4 discs; the Swedish death index 1900-2013, Kronoberg county database 2013, Östergötland county maps to use with Disgen and the intros of the estate inventories for Risinge ting. I am looking forward to many hours exploring these.

Apart from buying discs we also atended a couple of lectures where we learned about new features in Disgen and AD online.

Next years convention will take place in Nyköping. See you there!

tisdag 26 augusti 2014

Tuesday's Tip - Records from Mental Hospitals

There has ben mental hospitals in Sweden as far back as the middle ages. There are several musuems that show how the insane were treated and what life was like at the hospiatls and asylums. (link to list of museums).

Säter


A lot of the people treated at the hospital were women with frail nerves. If a woman was not happy taking care of her home she could from the beginning of the 20th century get electrical shock treatment.

If you find somebody in your family who spent time at one of these hospitals or asylums their journals can be found at the County Council archives. The journals tell the story of why the patients were taken care of, if they had been treated there or some where else earlier and which kind of medication that was given. The law about confidentiality, that everything is kept sekcret for 70 years, does not always apply to journals of this kind. The confidentiality is tried for each case and it depends on who is asking for the journals. But after  70 years they are available for everybody.

The records from the mental hospital Säter, for instance, is kept at Dalarna's County Council archives. Säter is probably one of Sweden's most famous mental institutions and is situated in Skönvik. It was built after a survey in 1902 determined that the counties of Gotland, Jönköping, Kopparberg, Kronoberg and Värmland had a high rate of insanity and amentia. Säter's Hospital opened in 1912 and was at the time one of Sweden's largest and most modern mental hospitals with 37 buildings. 20 of these were for taking care of up to 830 patients. The same year the "permanent" pavilion opened for the most dangerous patients. Several additions were made during the years and in 1975 the old main building from 1912 was torn down and replaced after huge restorations had been made to the rest of the hospital. In 1989 the "permanent" pavilion was closed down.


Tub for cold baths at Säter.
Photos used with permission from the photographer. More of her photos can be found at http://amateaur.se/

Source: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A4ters_sjukhus
"Släkt" a magazine for Swedish genealogists. Year 32, no 5, 2013

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måndag 25 augusti 2014

Mystery Monday - Noak Larson from ?


Two years ago a man contacted me through Ancestry. He had been searching for information about his great grandfather Noa Larsson who had emigrated to the states from Sweden in 1891. I had a Noak Alexandersson born in 1869 in Lidhult, whose father's last name was Larson. Could these two be the same person? Sure looked like it. I did not have time at that moment to look further into the matter and we did not have any more contact about it.

Then, a few weeks ago, I got a new message from Noah's great grandchild, saying that he was coming to Sweden and asking if we could meet. So last Friday he came to Halmstad and I showed him around. We talked about Noah and what we thought were our joint relatives. The day after we planned to go to Lidhult, Odensjö and Femsjö where our ancestors had lived. But something did not add up... and it bothered me.

When I came home that evening I started looking into that side of my family tree and it turned up that I had not looked into it at all. When I met Noah's great grandchild the next day I told him that I had some bad news and some good news. The pad news was that my Noak and his Noah were not the same, mine never left Lidhult. The good new was that I thought that I had found his Noah, and he was born in the to Odensjö neighbouring parish Torpa. First I had thought that to find Noah's origins would be to look for a needle in a hay stack. Turns out that in the late 1860's it was only common in the area around Ljungby in Kronoberg Couty to name your children Noak and in 1868 there was only one Noak born in Sweden whose father was named Lars. Turns out that Noak's mother was born in Femsjö where we had planned to go and her father was born in Lidhult, where our original plans also would take us. But I was still not a hundred percent sure. We visited the village of Lidhult before going to Torpa. We visited the church where Noah probably had been christened and we also found the village where he was born and grew up. After that we visited some of my relatives where we had traditional Swedish fika - coffe, cinnamon buns, spunge cake and seven kinds of cookies. Our trip then took us to the village of Odensjö on the shores of Bolmen, followed by lunch at Tiraholm by the same lake. Our final destination was the village of Femsjö where we learned about Elias Fries who gave latin names to mushrooms, much like Carl Von Linné gave names to other plants.

That evening I continued my research on Noah and together with his great grandchild we managed to confirm my suspitions that his Noah was born in Torpa in 1868. Felt really good to know that his trip to Halland and Småland had not been in vain. And with his ties to Lidhult, Torpa and Femsjö the probabilaty that we are related in some way are really high.

So this is a genealogy mystery that I managed to solve. :)

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onsdag 13 augusti 2014

Work Wednesday - Teachers


Södermanland, cirka 1930

This week means back to work for most of Sweden's teachers. Most teachers have in their employment that they work 35 hours at school and 10 hours at home every week. A normal work week in Sweden has 40 hours. The extra 5 hours for teachers mean they can have days off during Christmas, spring holliday, Easter and most of the 10 weeks' summer holliday.

As in most of Europe the church was responsible for education during the middle ages. During the 1500's the state took over the schools when the catholic faith was abandoned. Not many people wanted to get education though and only a privilaged few actually studied. Schools were founded in different places but there was no over all plan for the education of the Swedish people. Latin, French and German were the languages used in education.

In 1842 the government decided that all children should attend school for four years and that is considered to be the start of the school system that Sweden has today. In the beginning a lot of schools moved around so the teacher could spend some weeks or months in one place and then go to the next village to teach the children there for the same amount of time. At time went by more and more schools became permanent and more and more teachers were needed. More years were added and in 1882 the obligatory school became six years long. Still, not all children attended school because they were often needed at home where they helped out on the farm. In 1905 laws were passed that ment that schools were for everybody, the could not be different schools for different social groups. From 1936 school was 7 years and in the 1950's it became 8 years long. Since 1972 all children must attend school for nine years, between the ages of 7 and 16. Education for teachers are different depending on which ages they teach and also varies in length, from 3,5 years to 5,5. Teachers for younger children have to have knowledge of more subjects but teachers of older students focus on 2-4 subjects. Some subjects, like Swedish and Social Studies, take longer to study in order to become a teacher. From year 7-9 a stundent has 15-16 subjects so there needs to be a lot of different kinds of teachers; Swedish, English, French, Spanish, German, maths, physics, chemistry, biology, technology, religion, history, geography, social studies, P.E. textile/fabrics, wood works,home economics and music.

Before the nine year obligatory school is a pre-school year that is becoming more and more like a tenth year. After the nineth year the students choose what kind of education they want to attend, what kind of occupation they want to have. The so called Gymnasiet is three years and some programs that the students can choose are more occupation oriented and some are more to prepare the students for higher education. Most teachers at Gymnasiet only have two subjects.



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tisdag 12 augusti 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Selma Rosenberg, a sad story



At Vänge cemetary on Gotland is this tombstone placed. The girl, Selma, has written the poem on her stone herself.

What is all the thinking, 
what is it?
What is all the searching 
in the human soul?
It is a child's game 
with sea shells in the sand
and what we find
is a foam by the beach
But deep and enigmatical
flows still
infront of us the sea
that is the truth!

Selma was born on the main land, not far from Stockholm. As a child she developed a heart condition. Her father died after battleing cancer for a year and a half when she was 13. Her mother was then left with 6 children and hardly any money to feed the family. This led to the mother's placement in a mental institution.

She started writing poetry at an early age and was very talented. So talented that she was offered a job, which she turned down. Instead she worked with clothes and embroidering. Her health was poor and her siblings tried to find a way to help her. She longed to visit her friend at Etelhem on Gotland, auntie Kökeritz and recieved an invitation.

June 4, 1901, Selma arrieved in Visby. None of her siblings could afford to go with her so she travelled on her own. She stayd the first night wiht some friends outside the town and the next day she was supposed to take the train down to Etelhem. She did not have the patiance to wait so she started walking. She came as far as Vänge on the evening of the fifth. She writes there in her diary about how tired she is and how ill she feels.

On the morning of the sixth her body is found on the estate of Backér. She had laid her scarf out on the ground to rest a bit but never woke up.


Source:
http://www.guteinfo.com/?id=2497

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söndag 10 augusti 2014

The man-of-war Vasa sinks 1628



The war ship Vasa was built in 1626-1628. The king, Gustav II Adolf, had ordered five ships to be built that would be the largest and  most powerful ships of their time. They would be symbols of the military and political strength Sweden had.

But something went wrong with the construction of Vasa. She was too instable to be able to sail in rougher winds and she was wrecked on her maiden voyage. The ship had not more than left the harbour when a gust of wind filled the sails and the ship was forced to the baboard side. The wind passed and the ship sailed straight again but it was not long until a new gust of wind filled the sails and the ship went so far down on its side that it started taking in water through the portholes. Vasa capsized and sank at a depth of 32 meters, 120 meters from the shore.

Attempts to salvage the ship were made in the 1600's but all fail and the ship was forgotten. Its exact location was determined in 1956 and in 1961 the ship was salvaged. Since 1990 it has its own museum in Stockholm and is really worth a visit.

For more information in English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasa_(ship)

Picture: Vasa's stern
Under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Souce: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regalskeppet_Vasa


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fredag 8 augusti 2014

Family Recipe Friday - Wallenbergare (Veal burgers)


Wallenbergare is a traditonal Swedish dish. It is made of ground veal, cream, egg yolks, salt, pepper and bread crumbs. It shold be fried lightly and is often served with boiled or mased potatoes  and green peas.

The dish got its name after the district judge Marcus Wallenberg. There are many story about how the dish got its name but no one knows which one is true. One is that Markus one day in the middle of the 1930's came in to his favorite restaurant Cecil in Stockholm. Hed just gotten home from a trip abroad where he had had a wonderful dish of chopped veal. He asked the chef, Julius Carlsson, to make something like it and so he did. Another story says that Marcus' wife, the daughter of a famous cookbook author, created the dish.

For the recipe in English: http://www.swedishfood.com/swedish-food-recipes-main-courses/91-veal-burgers

Sources:
http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallenbergare
http://kockarna.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/det-fins-manga-historier-bakom-receptet-pa-wallenbergare/

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söndag 3 augusti 2014

The Runestone at Viklau Church, Gotland


On the wall of the entrance to the graveyard at Viklau on Gotland is a funeral slabb with runes. The text reads: "Botvid, the heir of Peter". What makes these runes special is the fact that they are mirrored.




Sources:
http://kmb.raa.se/cocoon/bild/show-image.html?id=16001000328204
Thorgunn Snaedal, antiquarian and runologist.

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lördag 2 augusti 2014

Society Saturday - Gotlandståget

During my trip to Gotland I stayed with a relative who had rented an old, small, railroad station, Tule. It used to only be tha cottage of the level crossing attandant but has resently been upgraded to station. The first railroad on Gotland was built in 1878 when the line Visby-Hemse was built. In 1898 the railroad between Klintehamn and Roma was finished and it is along that line that Thule station is situated. The line was built to make it easier for the farmers to transport their sugar beats to the sugar mill in Roma. The railroads on Gotland were discontinued in the early 1960's and all the rails were taken away.

In 1978 had a small portion of the railroads been restored and could be taken into use. During the beginning of the 21st century further tracks have been put down and this year you could travel by train a distance that takes 10 minutes. More tracks are being added and next year you should be able to travel all the way from Dalhem to Roma. The society that runs the railroad and is working to restore it has recieved money from the EU and you can also fund the project by buying a railroad tie. You will not be able to take it with you but your name will be on a board by one of the stations.

There is one steam locomotive but when the weather is too dry, like it is this summer, they use diesel locomotives instead. There are several wagons from different time periods that you can choose to ride in. The train stops at different stations and the train conductor tells the history of the railroad.

All trips start and end at Hesselby station in Dalhem. There is a café and a railroad station. You can also buy souvenirs.

Tule Station

Diesel locomotive with wagons.


Insiede the youngest of the wagons.

With the renting of the station came the free rent for two trollies so we hopped on the trolleys and peddled 30 minutes up hill to Tule where we had fika (Swedish word for having coffe, tea, something to drink, cookies and/or cake) and then we peddled our way back. For SEK 100 you rent the trolly for 90 minutes. It is not very steep up hill so not even I had problems with peddling.

Trolly in Dalhem.

Dalhem station

The big building is the railroad musuem.


Source:
http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotlands_j%C3%A4rnv%C3%A4g
http://www.gotlandstaget.se/

Photos: By Lena Svensson

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måndag 28 juli 2014

Military Monday - Swedes in WWI



Today is 100 years since the outbreak of World War 1 and there for my post will be about the Swedes who took part in the war.

Almost 20 000 Swedish born men were called in during World War 1. Not all of them were in the U.S. army. Some were in the Canadian army, where there were two Scandinavian bataljons, and some were in the German army. It all depended on where you happened to be at the time of the outbreak. It is believed that around 600 of the 20 000 died on the battlefields on the western front. Some were of course wounded and returned home with injuries others were not wounded but came home with terrible memories.

Many of the Swedish men in the American army had only been in the states a couple of years. Some had escaped Sweden in order to not have to undergo the obligatory military service. A few moved back to Sweden after the war but they did not like to talk about the war.

Three brothers from Falkenberg happened to be in Germany when the war broke out and ended up in the German army. On of the was captured and sent to prison camp in Siberia. He was released after three years and could then return home.

Taking part in war is not always about honour, duty or ideology. Sometimes you just happen to be in the wrong place. Sweden stayed out of the war and has not been involved in a war for over 200 years, but we have none the less been affected by it. 


Source:
Hallands Nyheter July 28, 2014

Picture:
In the Public Domain
By John Warwick Brooke - This is photograph Q 3990 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-13)

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torsdag 24 juli 2014

Those Places Thursday - Figeholm

Figeholm is a village just north of Oskarshamn in Kalmar county. Today it is dominated by the paper mill and there is a nuclear powerplant close by. The village is otherwise known for its boat club and the beautiful archipelago. Figeholm is a part of the parish of Misterhult


There is a very active local history sociaty that arranges market days and takes care of the public area. They have cleaned up and restored the old canal and turned it in to a wonderful place to have a picknick or go fishing.


In the marin museum (above) is information about  the ships that were built in Figeholm and also lots of material from the boats. Like the seaman's chest below.



I and my daughter spent a night in a friend's cottage before our trip across the baltic to Gotland. We had our breakfast out on the small porch, enjoying the view and the early sun.


Part of the canal.


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onsdag 23 juli 2014

Trip to Oskarshamn and Gotland

I have had very poor access to the Inernet for some days as I went across the country to go to Gotland. First stop was Oskarshamn on the east coast where I met up with a friend from work who has a cottage some kilometers north of Oskarshamn.

Oskarshamn is not a big town and the center has a lot of old charm buildings left. There are some really narrow streets and paths with beautiful old houses.



In the yellow house pictured below is a café. The owners live in a bigger house behind the small house and the garden is where the customers can sit and enjoy their coffe and cakes. Everything is home made and they are open 7 days a week.
After having fika (swedish word for having coffe, tea, cakes, cookies and anything else you would like for an afternoon, or before noon, snack), we went to a factory, Liljeholmen, where they make candles and bought some really cheap candles.

I will continue to write about my trip in the following posts, telling you abouth Figeholm and Gotland.


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onsdag 16 juli 2014

Workday Wednesday - Swedish Iron Industry: Bergsmen


Definition

Bergsman (I have note been able to find the English word for this) was originally a free farmer who along side farming produced pig iron in a smeltery and also mined for iron ore. These bergsmen worked together in so called Bergslag, meaning they each owned shares in the mines and smelteries, and did not have to pay taxes in return for there services in the iron industry. They did however pay taxes on the pig iron they produced, a tenth of the production. Depending on the value of the farm the farmer owned he could be a whole, a half or a quarter bergsman.

[edit]History

The custom of having bergsmen mining for ore on their property started during the middle ages and ended in 1859 when the handeling of ore became free in Sweden. The mining was regulated by law and the letter of privilages showed which rights and obligations the crown gave the people who extracted ore on their property. The value of the farm came to deside how many shares a Bergsman had in the smeltery.
The Bergregal stated that the crown had the rights to all land with ore. This ment that the Bergsman did not really own the land he was farming, but he owned the rights to farm it and also the buildings.
The rules and conditions could vary a lot from bergslag to bergslag but the general rule was that you payed a tenth of what you produced and you did not have to pay other taxes.
Some bergslag continued working together as usual even after their obligations had been taken away in 1859.

[edit]Daily Life

During the summer the bergsmen and their families extracted ore from bogs, lakes and red earth. From 1600 and onwards under ground mining took over. In the fall they took care of the harvesting and threshing before it was time to start working with the charcoal kilns. The winters were used for taking down trees and transport goods and materials. The snow made the job easier. To produce pig iron the smelteries needed the spring rivers. The bars were marked with the personal stamp of the bergsman and the number of the smeltery. Spring was also the time for sowing.
The pig iron was sold to the ironworks at markets during the year. There they could also sell hammered iron ware that they had produced on their own.

[edit]Inheritance


The farm of a Bergsman could, according to the letter of privilages, be inherited by the children of a Bergsman and therefor they often took over the farm and became Bergsmen themselves.
Sources:
Wikipedia on Bergsman
Wikipedia on Bergslag
Wikipedia on Bergsprivilegium


Picture:
Nordiska Museumet through Digitalt Museum
 Bergsmän, Falu koppargruva. Teckning av Hans Ranié, 1680-tal
License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 SE

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tisdag 15 juli 2014

Tuesday's Tip - Family ads online

There are several places on-line where you can find obituaries/death notices for people who died in Sweden. One of them is Familjesidan.


Familjesidan started in 2007 so there is only material from that year onwards. There seems to be other limitations too because when I searched for my grandmother's obituary, who died in 2008, I could not find it. I think it is because the undertaker did probably not join the page until 2010. The obituaries can be saved or printed.

Local newspapers have also started to put their family ads such as obituaries on-line. To be able to access them, however, you need an account and a subscription to the paper. An online subscription costs around 120 SEK each month (around $18) but often you can get the first month for free. Hallandsposten has digitalizes all their newspapers from 1913 onwards while Hallands Nyheter (two newspapers in the county of Halland) has only material from 2003. Some material may be free, such as new family ads (pictures of children, birthdays, married, dead,).

My grandfather's obituary from the local newspaper.

The Royal Library as digitalized newspapers from the 18th century and onwards. It has limits and is fairly new but still worth a try. Under Titel you can see which newspapers that can be searched.

Webbisar is a service the Regions offer where a new born baby can have its picture online with information about name, weight, length, and parents. My daughter was only a day old when her picture was taken. Here is a link to Region Halland that has babies born in Halmstad and Varberg. http://www.regionhalland.se/vard-halsa/webbisar/

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måndag 14 juli 2014

HRH Crown Princess Victoria's 37th Birthday


HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was born July 14, 1977. Today she turns 37. For Sweden it is a national flag day and canons will be fired from Skeppsholmen in Stockholm to celebrate the princess. But she is as usual spending it at the family's summer home Soliden Castle on the island of Öland in the Baltic. There people celebrate her infront of the castle by giving her flowers, cards and singing Happy Birthday. The king calls out four cheers for his daughter and trumpets are heard.

In the evening a consert is held not far from the castle. Famous artists entertain and prices are handed out to athletes who have done something extra during the year. Most of the royal family atend every year and the only time Victoria herself could not atend was when she was on her honeymoon. Everything is shown on national television.

If you want you can leave your own personal greating to the princess on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kungahuset?fref=ts

Picture:
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
By Bengt Nyman
Under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Source: http://www.kungahuset.se/

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lördag 12 juli 2014

The Book of Me - Childhood Reading

The Book of Me, Written By You is a project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Rest blog. It is a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians to write down their memories about family and themselves. Prompt 46: Childhood Reading.

I used to read a lot as a child and a teenager. One of my favourites that has also been made into a film (in 1956 and 1986) is the story about the orphan Kulla-Gulla. It is like a Swedish version of Anne of Green Gables but has a much darker beginning since Kulla-Gulla ends up living with a poor crofter and his family for a time.

The story takes place during the beginning of the 20th century, from the time that Kulla-Gulla is seven and an orphan who is sold to the crofter that wants the least money for taking care of her, untill she is in her twenties and is about to get married. The story shows what it was like for a lot of poor people in Sweden only a hundred years ago. 

There are all in all twelve books plus the one in the picture which takes place when Kulla-Gulla is living at the orphanage, and a picture book for even younger children. Kulla-Gulla is called Goldie and Anna in English and there are several of the books to be found on Amazon, for example Goldie at the Orphanage and Goldie at the Farm which are for younger children. Anna at Bloom Farm is the first in the series for older children/teens. I also found the books at www.abebooks.com.

torsdag 10 juli 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday


My grandmother's younges sister was named Linnéa which is the Swedish word for the twinflower and the flower of the province of Småland. She had a coffe and tablewear set with matching drinking glasses with the twinflower on them. She had ordered them from a company where you can either get a whole set at once or get some parts each month. When she passed away in 2000 my grandmother got all three sets and when she passed in 2008 I got all of them. They remind me of my great aunt who was a wonderful little lady. I do not use them ofthen though because I cannot wash them in the dishwasher due to the golden edge.


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onsdag 9 juli 2014

Flea markets

Swedes love flea markets. Especially during the summer when they seem to be everywhere. Many are run by charity foundations and sport clubs. We saw it as a great way to get furniture for our friggebod. The table and five chairs had a note on them saying they cost 450SEK but one of the volenteers saw us looking at it and said we could have them for 300. A bargain we could not say no to. We still need a chest if drawers and some paintings or something like that to put on the walls.

måndag 7 juli 2014

Varberg Fortress

The rock that the fortress is built on has been used for guarding the inhabitants since prehistoric times. It was not untill the 13th century that a stronghold was built here when Jacob Nielsen, the owner of northern Halland, was accused of murdering the king. The northern parts of the castle is from that time.


 The wars between the Danish and the Swedes caused Varberg to change kingdoms eight times during the 14th century but the Danes won in the end and it remained Danish for almost another three hundred years. The defense of the castle had to improve and a fortress started to take shape in 1588.


The improvements contintued and about 1000 farmers worked each day, during 30 years. In 1618 it was one of the most modern defence buildings in Europe. It never had to be used as such however because in 1645 a peace treaty was signed between Denmarc and Sweden where Sweden got Halland.
The prison.
 The fortress was a military station untill 1830 when Karlsborg became a more important military base. The fortress had always housed prisoner but from 1548-1881 it was the home of around 400-500 interns at all time. In 1856 a real prison was built (see picture). The prisoners worked as stonemasons during their time in prison.


 During the 20th century the fortress became a museum but it also houses a bed and breakfast, a restaurant and buildings with apartments. The museum is the home of the famous Bockstensman (a bog man) and the button that supposedly killed king Karl XII in 1718.
One of the reenactors at the museum.

The outdoor café.
My personal connection to the fortress is my great great great [...] grandfather Mogens Mormand who was the commander on the fortress when it finally became Swedish. I do not know much about him but I plan to find out as much as I can.

My partner also has a personal connection. His great great grandfather was an intern after killing his wife with arsenic in hopes of marrying her sister. He was a prisoner in 1881 when it ceased to be a prison and was moved to Långholmen in Stockholm. I think he was finally let out as an old man. You can hear about him and also other prisoners in a short movie on the museum's web page, it is called Behind Closed Doors: http://www.hkm.varberg.se/english/

Sources:
http://veddige.nu/blogg/wp-content/uploads/VISKA_2006-3web.pdf
http://www.hkm.varberg.se/varbergs-fastning/

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söndag 6 juli 2014

Galtabäck - a Viking Ship



In 1928 the remains of a viking ship was found between the harbour of Galtabäck (just south of Varberg) and Gamla Köpstad (old merchant's town). The area is called Lerjan and during the middle ages it was a protected harbour. One more ship was found in the same area.
 In 2004 a team started building a copy of the original Galtabäck ship. It took them three years before they could go on their maiden voyage. This weekend marked the ten year annevarsary of when they started building the ship. To celebrate the anneversary Galtabäck and three other ships entered Varberg Harbour last Friday.
The celebrations ended when all the ships left the harbour at four o'clock this afternoon. They were magnificent! The Galtabäck sail from April to November and can be found in the harbour of Varberg every other wednesday if the weather permits and if it is not there it is probably at the harbour in Galtabäck where there also is a museum where you can see the original.

Vidfamne up front and Sigrid Storråda in the back.

Two of the other ships were also Viking ships. Vidfamne is an interpretation of Äskekärrskeppet that was found in 1933 in Göta Älv. The original sailed during the 900's.
Vidfamne,

Sigrid Storråda is the second ship. The name is taken from the woman Sigrid who is said to have been a very beautiful, rich and powerful woman who lived in Västergötland (a province in the southwest of Sweden) during the 10th century. She was married to two of the most powerful Viking kings; Erik Segersäll and Sven Tveskägg. She was also the mother of Olof Skötkonung, our first christian king, and Knut the Great.

Sigfrid Storråda
The last big ship was Arwen, a copy of a French fishing boat.
A French Fishing Boat


Links to visit:
http://www.vidfamne.se/ The Viking Ship Society

Sources:
Pamhlets from the ships.

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