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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hectic week

Over the weekend I contacted the woman who had posted a query about the same ancestor as I was searching for information about. She was pretty surprised to hear from me. We have now spent several days exchanging old family photos via e-mail. I had a photo of her great great grandfather that she had never seen. She was thrilled to get it. I was also happy about many of the photos she sent to me. One especially of Arndt and Valborg with her brother, who had emigrated to California and was on a visit to Sweden in 1954. Also photos taken at Arndt and Valborg's wedding party in 1914. We have also, with some effort from both of us, been able to put names on some of the previously unknown people on a few photos. I'm glad I contacted her, she seems to be the one on her side of the family who takes an interest in genealogy.

At work it has been very hectic. It's the first week of the semester and the students are desperate in their hunt for literature. We have been struggling with the workload and have just barely made the deadline the first days of the week. I have been to the storage for the first time since August to retrieve books. I did remember the pin code for the door and the books were placed in the same order as last time. Today was a long day. It started with two meetings from 8.30 until noon, and then I had desk duty. I was rather tired when I got home.

This week I had to go to the dentist in Lund and that was very unpleasant. Very expensive also. One filling had cracked and there turned out to be more problems. My teeth are placed very closely together and the dentist had to use quite a lot of force to get the job done. I normally go to another dentist, but I didn't want to travel all the way to Kristianstad. The new dentist didn't know me and asked several times if I was ok, which I was, despite the abuse. Perhaps you don't want to know the details here, but there was lots of blood and there was no painrelief given (I was offered, but declined). I can say that I have endured worse than this though.

This past weekend I finally removed all the Christmas decorations in my apartment. I have bought some new items on the after-Christmas sales, so it wasn't possible to fit all of it into the boxes. I had to weed some out.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Grandfather's funeral

I worked until noon last Thursday and then walked to the train station. When I got there it was announced that all northbound trains had been cancelled due to an accident. There is always a lot of misinformation in these cases (28 years of daily commuting tells me this). So I stayed and waited without doing anything. After about 30 minutes they had decided to turn a southbound train, so my train was suddenly changed from cancelled to delayed. We finally arrived in Stockholm one hour and forty minutes late. It didn't really matter to me, but I feel sorry for the foreign tourists who were on their way to the far north. Not only was the most important information given in Swedish, it was also incorrect...!

Like every time I stayed with my mother's cousin. Friday morning I went out to take photos of the buildings where my great grandfather Arndt had lived and worked. At noon I had changed my clothes and went by commuter train to a small town west of Stockholm. On the same train I met two of my father's cousins and we talked a lot about family history. My father picked us up at the station and drove to the church. My aunts and cousins were there, along with father's cousin from Denmark and also grandfather's girlfriend and her family. Grandfather's funeral was an event celebrating his long life, with appropriate hymns hinting at his ancestral origin in Dalarna and his connection to Jämtland province (where he had a vacation cottage). Afterwards there was a meal at a conference center. There were a few stories told, mainly about grandfather's special traits and habits.

I spent most of the Saturday doing research at the Royal Library, but also managed to do some bargain shopping at a mall. We had a tasty pizza in the evening. Sunday I visited my other relatives two subway stations away. It's Arndt's nephew and his wife. We had a good time talking about the old days, I think we covered the last 100 years or so. We all have a huge interest in history and a desire to learn new things. Monday morning I helped my mother's relatives do the laundry. It was pretty bad weather, snowy and icy, so I stayed until it was time to go to the train. I returned home, without delays believe it or not, in the evening. It rained in Skåne.

I started working Tuesday and it was not that pleasant. There were lots of books to retrieve and sort to the different locations. I'm not used to such hard work, I haven't done anything like this for several months. Today I also had the first desk duty in three years. I will sit in the manuscript reading room every Thursday afternoon from now on. In all honesty, it was a little boring today because there was only one visitor.

Last week one of my colleagues died of a heart attack, aged 60. He was my boss during the entire book moving project so I knew him rather well. This morning we had a gathering to talk about this, and many of the retired librarians also showed up to pay their respects. We are all very sad, he was a great colleague and a very nice guy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First workday of the year

The New Year's celebration was rather quiet at my place. I watched TV and had boiled eggs and shrimp salad for dinner. I had a very good view of the fireworks from my balcony. Most of the free days I have spent in front of the computer doing research. I have also tried to identify the people on the old photos I received this fall. It required some research also in the families of the in-laws.

When it comes to genealogy, sometimes (but not often) the case solves itself. Just a few days ago I saw on the Swedish Roots website that someone else is also researching the same family (Arndt's wife's ancestors). This woman had the same problem I had, locating the parents of a soldier, born 1792. She posted a query about this and she got help from other researchers who were able to find his parents and birthplace. I was very impressed, because it was extremely difficult. I was also very happy because it meant that I got one more generation on the ancestor chart without much effort. And I will contact the woman who posted the query, since we are related.

The library has been closed for many days during the holiday, and it still is. It's the sprinkler system again. They have been working on the pipes and testing it over Christmas, but they are not finished with it. When I arrived at work this morning everything was covered in grey plastic sheets. My office looked like a moon landscape. All the book cases were also covered in about half the stacks. There were lots of book requests, because the students thought that we would open today. It was hastily decided that visitors were not allowed this week. By 9 A.M. only two staff members had shown up in the stacks. Two more arrived later, but the rest (four people) never made it. They had heard of the closure and took vacation. It was slightly complicated to perform the duties. They had taped the plastic, so it was tricky to get to the printers and computers. We didn't even try retrieving books in the closed off areas. One colleague was very ambitious and went to the storage to shelve books. I took care of the massive amounts of returned books that had been handed in through the drop box.

Tomorrow I will make another trip to Stockholm. My grandfather's funeral will take place on Friday.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!

Sometimes computer systems make me want to say things I can't write here. My web browser was automatically updated and all of a sudden I couldn't post any blogs. The new version wasn't compatible with the blogger system, and as far as it looks it will not be. In order to write this I had to install another web browser.

The Christmas holiday was very nice. It even snowed on Christmas Day and it looked really beautiful outside. It was pretty cold though. This year we had decided only to give the young kids gifts, but somehow I ended up with a few things anyway: ten pairs of socks, a kitchen towel, some tree decorations and a santa my mother had made herself. The kids got tablets so they could play games and they were very busy with this. The other main thing about Christmas is the food. It was great with lots of pickled herring, meatballs, sausages, red beet salad, cheeses, Jansson's Temptation, homemade crispbread and much else.

We also made it to the after-Christmas sales and the two second hand stores that were open. At the second hand stores my mother spotted some bargains for me - a jacket and a brand new pair of jeans, both very cheaply.

I got a pretty bad cold during the holiday. I didn't get it from my sister's kids, which you might think, but from their grandparents. Not much to do about it, just endure. I was supposed to work yesterday and today, but had to call in sick. My boss said there was almost nothing to do at the library, so it was not a problem. I feel a lot better now, but I'm tired.

On a sad note, my grandfather passed away on December 23rd. His health had been failing recently and he was in hospital after contracting pneumonia. It was amazing that he made it to 100 and I'm glad he was well enough to celebrate his birthday in May. It was a milestone in the history of our family.

This will be the last blog post for 2014, so I'm wishing everybody a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

Last week was the last proper workweek before Christmas. We were treated to lots of cookies and candy in the spirit of the season. Thursday we got Christmas lunch. I spent most of the week sorting returned books and attending meetings. We are three people working here these two days and we have very few requests. About 50 in total today. We have many books to shelve, however. During my absence there was a minor book moving project started. About 1200 shelfmeters needed to be relocated within the building. A moving company was hired (the same company handled the big book move) and two guys have been busy for a few weeks. It will be finished today (and that's the main reason why I have to work today - I'm their supervisor).

Last Friday evening they tested the renovated sprinkler system and it went again pretty badly. The first message we got said that only a few books had been damaged by the water, but we later learned that it was about 200 books in the older collection. They are now in a freeze storage. If it continues like this, we will hardly have any books left on the shelves. The librarians are very concerned about the situation.

Thank you for the Christmas letters and greetings I have received, both in print and electronically! I have sent out my annual letter by e-mail. If anyone feels neglected, let me know. Tomorrow morning I will go by train to Borås, because my sister will host the celebration this year. Merry Christmas to everybody!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Back to work

The last few days before I started work again this Monday were hectic. I tried to do as much research as possible before I would have to go to work to actually work. It doesn't feel that much different, although getting out of bed early is not pleasant. I have taken it easy, we have had some meetings to discuss the future and I have deleted a few hundred e-mail messages. It's fairly slow at the library at this time of year, we mostly have returned books to deal with now.

Last week we had the Christmas party, arranged by the social club. I didn't do much this time, only one meeting prior to it and then decorating the room. We had catering, so it wasn't such hard work for us. It was quite fun and people seemed to enjoy themselves. This year's theme was water and a guy who had dressed himself in a shower curtain won first prize. Others dressed up as a sailor, crab, fisherman and seal. Santa visited also, of course.

Friday the trains were cancelled and the library was closed in the afternoon due to a storm, so I stayed at home and decorated my apartment for Christmas. I brought down the fake tree from the attic and put loads of ornaments on it. It looks pretty good, actually. There is also a star in the window, additional decorations everywhere and I even exchanged the table runners.

The Christmas gift from work is a copper colored thermos. The company who failed to install the sprinkler system correctly has also bribed us with two barrels (over 40 kilos) of candy.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Old letters and photos

I have spent much of my time reading through all the letters my great grandfather wrote to his brother. It's not a complete set, but there are letters from the 1930's to the 1950's. He mentioned, among many other things, that he had written an article about Alsace in a specific newspaper "a couple of years ago". Very disturbing not to get the details, but I actually found it. He had also written down some of his memoirs, mostly relating to his job as a sales director at Swedish Match. He travelled extensively in Europe from 1920 to 1955, and he had friends all over the world. He actually went to the US on business in 1951 and for the first time had a Coca-cola to drink - he liked it. This soft drink didn't make it to Sweden until 1953. It's wonderful to get this much material, but somewhat overwhelming. It requires a lot of research because he mentioned many things; factories, companies, people and places that I know very little about.

I can't explain in words how interesting this project is. This is really my thing - doing research, finding facts and searching for clues in books, newspapers and archive material. If I could have this as a job it would be great. Sadly, there is no money in this kind of work. It's very time consuming.

This past Saturday my father and his girlfriend came to visit. We went to Ikea in Helsingborg. We started out with lunch and then walked through this enormous store. I bought a cabinet to have in the hall. You have to assemble the furniture yourself and my father helped me. I haven't filled it yet, but it's only a matter of time. My father gave me one more box with old photos, so I have been busy scanning them also.

Winter is here. It's fairly cold, just above freezing temperature, dark, cloudy and windy. No snow yet in the south.