Welcome to Tessa's blog

Thursday, December 27, 2007


The Christmas holiday was a trying time, and most of it is best forgotten. I didn't feel well, mainly because of a marvelous headache. I had a slight fever also and my brain was fuzzy. It must have been some sort of flu, because nothing I ate agreed with me. It's very difficult to be nice and sociable under these circumstances. Now, I have never had any extensive social skills (I hate small talk and I can't pretend), so I'm not sure anyone really noticed any difference.

The more positive thing about Christmas is of course the presents, and they were plenty. Especially the three kids (my nephew and his two cousins) got lots of it. My nephew ended up with many fascinating toys; three fire trucks, an ambulance and a play mat with roads and houses printed on it. The most unexpected present I got was a donation in my name for a goat to a poor family in Mozambique, Africa. I thought that was a great idea. We definitely have everything we need (and more) so getting a present like that was very nice. Particularly since the money is given to a specific project where the aim is to make the poor people self-supporting. I did get some other presents also, like a frying pan, bars of fine soap, and a necklace.

It was a fairly busy day at work today, at least for me. We have a backlog due to the systems upgrade, and we were only two people working in the stacks.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last week before Christmas

It has been a slow work week. Our database was down for upgrading for four days, so the students could only with much difficulty order books from the stacks. We didn't have a lot to do here, so I convinced a maintenance guy to drive me and eight carts to a remote storage to load some books and bring them back to the main library. These books need new call numbers, and that can only be done at the main library. At the same time we weeded a supply of office materials no one uses anymore. Today the database started working again, and to our surprise it is working quite well. Some previous up-grades are still fresh in our memory, especially the one where the entire thing stopped working after a few hours.

This is the party week at work, or so it seems, at least. Every department has had coffee breakes de luxe, with Christmas cookies and glögg. This Tuesday we were treated to a Christmas lunch, with roasted ham, meatballs, herring, and all the traditional food. My department head has also given us lots of chocolate, candy and fruit. This year's present consisted of two bags of assorted nuts and a modern style nutcracker.

I have received Christmas cards and letters from many of my overseas relatives, and for this I thank you. It is always interesting to know what you are all doing, to learn about new family members and to hear that you try to keep up the Swedish traditions.

I'm travelling to my sister's place on Saturday morning, for a five day stay. I might not be able to write any messages here until late next week.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shopping in Malmö

Yesterday I went on a short shopping trip to Malmö. I ended up at IKEA. I should have known better than to go there so close to Christmas. All the cash registers were open, so it wasn't very bad, but it was still pretty crowded. I have been a little disappointed with the supply of Christmas ornaments this year. It has been difficult to get the more traditional kind. It seems like the fashion today is more towards big and very glittery (and even black), and I don't care for that. I have had better luck at the second hand stores.

I have purchased all the Christmas presents now and that's a big relief. It's the same problem every year. My family members have very short or non-existing wish-lists. They say they don't really need anything. It's the same with me. I go shopping a lot (it's one of my favorite pastimes), so if there is anything I want, I have already bought it.

I have sent out my annual Christmas letter to most of my relatives and friends in other countries now. If anyone feels neglected, contact me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today was the Swedish Lucia Day. Old hymns and carols were sung by a group of singers from the Music College in Malmö. They walked into the main reading room, wearing white dresses, with lit candles in their hair. Very traditional. The program was very good. There is a clip on Youtube from a Lucia celebration somewhere in Sweden, if you have never seen one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk0FyZqNp5Q

It's a week and a half until Christmas, but the real holiday spirit isn't that obvious. This is mainly due to the weather. There is no snow. But we try to do the best of the situation, there are many ligths in the trees downtown, the shops are displaying every Christmas decoration they have, and we have already started to eat the traditional food. We have had ginger snaps (cookies) every day at work this week, for instance.

Yesterday I received a package in the mail. It was three large bags with tea. My sister had entered my name in a competition, and I had won first prize. Now, I don't drink tea, but I can give it to someone that does. My mother, perhaps.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas party

The biggest event of the week was the Christmas party on Friday. All the people working at the libraries at the university were invited, but this year only about 30 of them showed up for it. It was held at a restaurant. There was the traditional seasonal food; sausages, meatballs, Jansson's temptation, roasted ham, several kinds of pickled herring and red beet salad. Very tasty. We had a competition where we got baby pictures of our colleagues, and we were to guess who they were. It was difficult, no one got all the answers right. I managed, by pure luck, to get second prize. The reward was a book (what else?).

Yesterday my mother and her boyfriend came to visit me. They were just going to drop some things off, but ended up staying a large part of the day. They had brought dinner with them. My mother gave me some more Christmas ornaments, so now there is enough tinsel in the tree and a top ornament (a tinsel star). My mother had also picked up the package of candy I had won earlier at a grocery store competition. It was quite a lot of chocolate, three books and gift certificates for a movie. Very nice.

Today was the usual laundry/cooking/cleaning Sunday. Boring, but necessary.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Trip to the mall

It wasn't that rainy last Sunday, so I went to the mall then instead. Since I don't have a car, I had to take the bus. There are only two departures on weekends and they are almost always full. Especially now, when people are doing their Christmas shopping. I managed to find what I have needed for quite some time - new shoes! I bought two pairs of the same kind, but different colors. I have really big feet and it's a problem finding good shoes. The other thing I was looking for was tinsel, but I gave up after a while. There were tinsel of all colors; red, green and even black, but ordinary silver color was nowhere to be found. I will ask my mother if she has any to give to me, since she doesn't have a tree this year. The large number of black Christmas ornaments surprised me a little, I have never seen that before. It seems to be a new fashion.

On Monday evening I discovered that there was a new grocery store in the center of Kävlinge. It's called Netto and is originally a Danish chain. I knew it was going to open, but not exactly what date and I hadn't seen any ads for it. They had pretty cheap groceries.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas decorations

I thought I would go to the mall today, but when I woke up it was raining, so I didn't. Instead I decided to get the Christmas decorations in place. I exchanged the curtains in all the windows, decorated the tree, put ornaments everywhere and cleaned the floor. It was hard work, mainly because the curtains were too long and I had to shorten them. While I had the sewing machine up, I mended a blouse and a pair of jeans also. After having finished everything, I came to the conclusion that I didn't have enough tinsel, no top ornament, and the illumination cord wasn't long enough. But it still looked fabulously. I can say this because there is nothing to compare it to. I have never had a Christmas tree in my apartment before.

Yesterday there were riots in Lund. Well, sort of. Every year on November 30, the neo-nazis commemorate the death of the Swedish warrior king Karl XII. They have permission for the march to a memorial stone, and they were guarded by many police officers. What makes it problematic, is the amount of violent anti-fascists that try to stop them. This year, the incident didn't even make it to the national news, so it wasn't so bad. There were only eight arrests made and some vandalization had taken place. When I was waiting for the train home, I noticed six nazis being chased by four police officers across the tracks.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


My colleagues hadn't managed that well during my abscence this Monday. Two of them had attended a party last Saturday and it must have been some party, because they were not able to work on Monday. The story is much longer, really, but I will not bore you with details. Three full-time workers absent meant problems in the stacks, and exactly how the rest of them managed I still don't know. The number of requests are dropping at the end of the year, but there are still many things to do.

There was no hot water in my apartment this morning. Very annoying. I decided not to take a shower, it was just too cold. It functioned again when I came home this evening.

The comments under the November 22 message were written in Swedish, and they were fairly uninteresting. My sister just asked me if I wanted some of the candy she (or her husband) had won in a competition. My sister and mother are really good at coming up with rhymes and slogans for competitions. There are usually flyers/forms in the grocery store where you write a slogan for a particular brand and you can win lots of prizes. Very often these competitions are arranged by makers of hygienical products, coffee/tea and candy. This time she had won about 3 kilos of candy (sort of marshmallow in the shape of small cars). Just this week I found out that I had won a package with DVD:s and chocolate in a store in Åhus. It's very nice, and I haven't really done anything to get this, it's my mother who writes my name on the forms. Though sometimes she calls me to get answers to quizzes, if the questions are difficult.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sewing circle auction

It has been an interesting weekend. My mother had booked a huge number of activities for my visit, and it was exhausting. On Saturday we started at nine by going to one of the second-hand stores in Åhus. We bought a small desk for John (my nephew). It was problematic to get it into my mother's car, but we managed. We drove (carefully) to my aunt's place and put it in her storage room. Someone will have to bring it to Borås later. From there we went to Kristianstad to look at even more flea market stores, and we bought curtains and some decorative items. Lunch at a café; seafood pie. Very tasty. At about two o'clock we picked up a friend of my mother's and drove back to Åhus to go to the Christmas market. We managed to get some Christmas presents there. Since my sister reads this, I can't tell you what it was!

After two hours at the market, we were tired, and drove back to town. Dropped my mother's friend off, and returned to my aunt's place, this time to actually visit her. We had sandwiches there. At six, we drove a very short distance to the parish hall next to the church. The local church sewing circle had arranged their annual auction and bake sale. It's going to be difficult to explain this, but I will try. Imagine 70 women and 20 men past normal retirement age, eagerly awaiting the raffle tickets and the homebaked loaves of bread and the jam to be sold by an auctioneer pushing 90. He was hard of hearing, and the old ladies got upset when they missed out on the decorative items/basket of apples/candles/knitted mittens. It was the first time in many years I had attended such an event, and the flashbacks were numerous. During the 1980s my grandmother brought me to some, but very few sewing circles exist these days, and even fewer have auctions. On the way home, after having purchased jam and bread and won a candle arrangement, my mother said that it had brought back memories also from her childhood. It's a tradition rarely seen today, a remnant of old times, when the parishioners gathered funds for the local poor children's education and clothes. Nowadays, the money is sent abroad to children who don't have the privilege of living in a wealthy country.

The next day, Sunday, it was very difficult to get out of bed. We were pretty tired. Basically, we only managed to go for lunch at Furuboda and then in the evening my mother cut my hair.

Yesterday, Monday, was also busy. At eleven, I had an appointment with a librarian in Kristianstad. We are going to have a Leroy Anderson exhibit there, so we had a few things to discuss. After lunch, my mother and I went to even more flea market stores (three, to be exact). It's unbelievable how many places like that there are. I found ornaments for my Christmas tree. At five, there was another Leroy Anderson meeting at the city administration building, and then I took the train back home to Kävlinge.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Desk duty again

I have desk duty in the manuscript reading room again. Usually, I get Thursday afternoons. It has been quite busy here with several people doing research and reading. One wanted a detailed map of a parish in northern Sweden, and another was interested in a book on geology from 1706, for instance.

The head of the historical collections told me he has started to plan for the new exhibit opening in February. The topic will be the Roskilde peace treaty of 1658 and the war preceding it. The Danes and the Swedes fought bitter wars in the 17th century. In the negotiations, the Danes lost almost half of its land to Sweden. Skåne, Halland and Blekinge provinces were suddenly to belong to Sweden instead. The people living here weren't happy about this development, to say the least. The Swedish king did everything he could to make the people Swedish. He founded Lund University, installed Swedish pastors in the parishes and distributed hymnal books and bibles in the Swedish language. Somehow, this is what we are going to make an exhibit of. We have a fairly large number of books printed around this time, but it's mostly texts about the peace treaty and odes to the Swedish king. It might be a little boring to look at in an exhibit, so we will have to make it more interesting here, I think.

Tomorrow I will go to visit my mother for the weekend, so the next blog entry will not be written until next week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas tree

Yesterday I went to the archive to do research. I had some minor tasks to solve and managed to find the answers in most cases. The resources are so much easier to search in nowadays than when I started going to the archive 15 years ago. Now there are databases with census records, vital records, passenger lists and much more. Another thing that has become easier is finding living people, since the phone books for many countries are on-line. Researchers also tend to post their family history on the internet, which of course helps a lot in finding relatives. Sending a message today takes minutes. 15 years ago, I very often couldn't even find an address to write to. Things have definitely changed.

I admit that it's a little early, but I have actually put up the Christmas tree. I had to put some things in the storage in the attic, and when I was there I thought that I could bring down the tree. I haven't decorated it yet. It's the first time ever I have had a tree for Christmas. My previous apartment was too small, so I could only have a miniature juniper there.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bedroom renovation

The renovation of my bedroom has finally been completed. It has been a long wait. The renovations started in February, but nothing has been done about it since early summer. This Sunday my father was here to do the last small details. There were some baseboards left on two sides. I'm very happy to get it finished and it turned out very well. The walls are now painted in peach color, the ceiling is white and the floor is covered with wooden floor boards. It was nice to be able to put the rest of the furniture back - at last!

My father and his girlfriend provided the lunch - we had moose! My father is going hunting several times a year, and this moose he had shot himself.

Like most other Wednesdays I went swimming at the indoor facilities in Lund today. I try to go once a week. Not that I enjoy swimming that much, but I really need some exercise. And they also have a large pool with hot water and a nice sauna. In case anyone wondered, there is actually an outdoor pool that will keep open during the winter. This is due to repairs on the main indoor arena in Malmö.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Archive Day

There hasn't really been anything worth reporting from the past working week. There were the usual meetings and the ordinary work retrieving the ordered books. We still have problems with the book transportation project. Books get sent to the wrong libraries and the database can't keep up with it all.

Today it was Archive Day at the regional archive. There were exhibits, lectures, book sales and tours of their stacks. The library shares a big storage facility with the archive, so I wasn't so interested in seeing their stacks - I have been there a huge number of times for work. Instead I looked through the books for sale and searched some of the genealogy databases on display. There was no regular research today because the reading room was occupied by other activities. I only stayed for a couple of hours, went back to town for lunch and then stopped by at work to do some more research.

It's cold and dark here now. Yesterday it was very stormy weather. The winter season has definitely arrived. It's dark when I leave home in the morning and dark when I get back. I spend a lot of time in the basement (where a large part of the books are) during the day, so I don't get to see much sunlight in the winter.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Slow weekend

Friday was a short working day. Because of the All Saint's Day weekend, we got to go home early. I stayed a little longer though, to see the opening of the new exhibit entitled "curio cupboards" (according to my dictionary). During the time 1550-1750 there was a great interest in the strange, the abnormal and the grotesque, and wealthy people in Europe collected strange objects, very often from far away countries. These collections were open to the general public, and functioned as some sort of museum. The exhibit at the library included mostly books (these collections were often described in a catalogue), but also of some objects borrowed from the zoological faculty.

It has been a slow weekend. I have spent most of the time doing laundry, cooking, cleaning (not much), writing e-mails, solving crossword puzzles and watching TV. I even remembered that I had four candles shaped like pumpkins, so I decorated for Halloween also (a little late, but still). For various reasons I haven't been able to go to the archive for five weeks, and this Saturday was a holiday, so I'm starting to get symptoms of withdrawal. The Swedish Roots-website, where the genealogists post messages and queries to get help in research, has been down for change of server for several weeks now (something went wrong, apparently). I don't have that many research questions right now, but it's still pretty annoying. But next Saturday it's Archive Day, and I will definitely go to the archive then.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The return of the interns

The interns returned to the stacks this week. They have been in the library for several weeks and have seen all the departments. The last part of their internship they could choose what department to be in, and to our surprise both of them chose the stacks. They seemed to like searching for the books ordered by the students, and they did the job well.

We have also had an international visitor in the stacks. It's a retired German librarian who is engaged in the compilation of an old book collection. He has been here several times before and he needs my help quite a lot to retrieve books. It's a challenge to speak to him, because his English isn't so good. We try to communicate in German..... Not my favourite language, I understand it better than I speak it.

My back hasn't been in such a good shape lately, so I got treatment by my chiropractor. I hadn't been there since June, and it's a long time ago. Normally, I get treatment every three months.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Power failure

This Friday there was yet another incident at the library, but it was not serious. All of a sudden, there was a complete power failure. The students got upset because they lost their documents they had been writing on the computers. We couldn't lend any books or accept returns. One of my colleagues, who is bound to a wheelchair, couldn't get out of the house. The loan department staff was locked in when the (electric) security door stopped working (but they figured out how to get out after a while). After about 30 minutes, it was decided to have the building evacuated. When the last visitors were leaving, the power returned. No damages were reported.

Yesterday, my father was supposed to visit me. Unfortunately, he had to cancel it because he had had minor surgery in a finger on Friday and he was not allowed to do anything with his hand for two weeks. Instead I went to a mall in Malmö. I actually didn't buy much, only some groceries and Christmas cards.

The weather here is typical of the Swedish fall season - colder and with beautiful tree colors. I have thrown out the summer flowers from the balcony rack and planted heather there. It will, hopefully, last until the spring (if I remember to water it now and then).

Thursday, October 25, 2007


There are two more headlines added here on the left. It's links to websites with genealogy information. I use these websites a lot in my research. It's possible to search in the Ancestry database without paying, but you can only see a partial result list. I do not subscribe to this, unfortunately, so I have to go to the archive to search in it. I haven't been to the archive for about a month now, and I'm not going on Saturday either, so the research questions are piling up. (A big thank you to Nancy, who are helping me in these moments of need)!

I forgot to write earlier that my mother brought with her an article from a local newspaper in Kristianstad. A couple of weeks ago a journalist called me to ask about the Leroy Anderson Centennial next year. The article turned out to be a full page, and very nicely written. He had even been to the house Leroy's father was born in to interview the current owner. It's great that the media is taking an interest in this project.

Today's session in the reading room was not so busy, there were only about four people there. But I had things to do anyway. I was writing a text to have on the official website, about a project we are doing in the stacks. It has to do with the flow of books and book orders (logistics in the stacks). There are several challenges working in an old library and an old house. Adapting modern technology to an old collection is not the easiest. Our database system was not developed for closed collections, so the "order" part of it was added later. It's years ago now, and it still doesn't function the way we want it to.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


The book lists added here on the left contain a selection of literature relating to Swedish emigration to the United States. There is also some fiction, the most famous author being Vilhelm Moberg. He wrote an epic about a family emigrating in the 1840s. The titles: The Emigrants, The Settlers, Unto a good land and The last letter home. I recommend them.

My mother and her boyfriend Pelle visited me yesterday. My mother, who likes to go shopping almost as much as I, had bought some very nice pictures for my bedroom wall. She even did the job of hanging them there. Pelle helped me getting some electrical things right. I had some problems with the lamp in the bedroom. My mother and I also engaged ourselves in the making of salmon pie for lunch. My mixer (which I use to make the dough) quit working earlier and we couldn't get it to function now either. I will have to add a new one to my Christmas wish-list.

We also made a fairly short visit to the mall in Löddeköpinge. I needed a new lamp in the living room, because I had accidentally broken it when I was going to change the light bulbs.....

Friday, October 19, 2007

International visitors at the library

The first half of the week there were two young people doing internship in the stacks. We haven't had any newcomers in quite a while and I really had to plan for it. It's kind of difficult to describe a job I do every day without having to think too much about it. They were impressed by the number of books (seven million) and they said they liked retrieving books for the students. Working in the stacks didn't rank high when I started ten years ago, but that has changed a little. In those days people were working full time there, and now no one does. It's too heavy work. Instead, twelve people make it function by working there part-time. (And sometimes it's a miracle that it does function).

Yesterday's desk duty in the manuscript reading room was interesting. There were visitors from the US, England, Denmark and Finland at the same time. The US visitor was asking for material about a Swedish 19th century explorer who went to Africa. The explorer seemed to have been failing at most of his attempts at finding the rivers and other places he was searching for, but he was a successful writer. He had published a large number of books about his travels, and we apparently had all of them. You get to hear the most fascinating things in the reading room. It's definitely a learning experience.

This is for Jeane: thank you for the message!

And now I really have to start cleaning the apartment - my mother is coming to visit tomorrow!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Many meetings

There have been a lot of meetings this past week. Most of them at work. The staff in the stacks don't usually attend that many meetings, but because of the book transportation project we had to. Previously all the students had to go to the specific library that owned the book they wanted. Now the students can order all the books to be transported to one library. There are 28 libraries at the university. The whole thing was started without any information to anyone. Since we are the biggest library, the students came to us for help when things went wrong. The technical problems have been enormous. Total chaos is the best way to describe the situation at the circulation desk. Not even the most experienced librarians knew what to say to the students when they didn't get their books. I'm so glad I don't have desk duty there.

Yesterday I was at the mall. One of the big discount stores is going to close down and everything was 70% off. The prices were low already from the beginning, so it was incredibly cheap. I bought curtains and clocks! I found some clocks that we can have at the Leroy Anderson exhibit, to illustrate Syncopated Clock.

And I can report that the chocolate fudge brownie turned out pretty well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Committee meeting

Monday evening I attended a Leroy Anderson Centennial committee meeting. I went directly from work to Kristianstad by train. Like usual, people were very talkative. We had invited a city librarian (who actually used to work in the stacks at the same library I now work at) and a set designer. They both had interesting ideas, and we hope to make use of them for the exhibits and concert on April 26. We have been lucky to get sponsors for the advertising and for some catering on the concert day. There will be hundreds of musicians rehearsing in the morning, and they expect lunch.

There has been a lot going on at work also. Perhaps a little too much. So far this week I managed to miss a scheduled meeting, a huge book transportation project started without prior information to the students (profound mistake) and (this I'm proud of) I managed to prevent a devastating fire in the library. The last thing was very unpleasant, but I would do the same thing again. Someone had, accidentally, turned on the stove in a kitchen that isn't used much, and this wasn't discovered until the smoke was coming through the closed door to the stacks. I found out later that the fire alarm didn't go off because it reacts only to heat, not smoke. Unfortunately, there was a plastic container standing on the stove, so the smoke was very unhealthy. I didn't know this when I rushed in to see what had happened, but I grabbed hold of the melting container, turned off the stove and tried (and failed) to open the window. It wasn't until afterwards I thought of what could have happened if no one had noticed the smoke - it's an old building with lots of books and paper material. I also have to say that the hours of fire drills and education we have endured at work actually helped me - I remembered to keep my head down towards the floor (smoke stays closer to the ceiling). I sincerely hope the rest of the week will be less eventful.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Interesting Saturday

Yesterday I went to the Malmö Museum for the first time ever. It's housed in the castle/fortress Malmöhus from the 16th century. There are several different kinds of exhibits; an aquarium, two art galleries, prehistoric Skåne, archaeological finds from Malmö, the development of Malmö city from the beginning until around 1900, and one side of the castle with old interiors and royal portraits was open to visitors. Skåne belonged to Denmark from the formation of nation-states around 1100 until 1658. The castle was strategically placed, overlooking the port of entry and it was in use as royal castle during the king's regular visits until the Swedes took charge. After a few years the castle lost its significance, and it was turned into a prison. The museum moved in 1937.

In the prehistoric section I learned that the earliest inhabitants lived in Skåne around 12 000 B.C. They were hunters who followed the reindeers. It was interesting to see the finds from all the recent road constructions, there were pearls, 600-year old foreign coins, rings, pieces of Dutch china, metal brooches, but also a very old wooden clog and fishing equipment (osier basket, according to my dictionary). I wonder what the future archaeologists will think of the things we leave behind now.

The art gallery for modern art didn't interest me, but the other gallery displaying art and furniture of the different styles, like jugend, renaissance, Gustavian (named after Swedish King Gustav 3rd), and baroque, was fascinating. All the interiors, except one, had been taken from very wealthy family residences, and that was kind of misleading, because that's not the way most of our ancestors lived. Most of us descend from farmers and crofters, who lived in small wooden houses with very little fancy decorations.

After the museum visit, I went for lunch at an up-scale Italian restaurant. The pizza was very tasty. I also went shopping at Gray's. It's a store where they sell imported American food and candy. They have a fairly large selection of cake mixes, and I bought a package of Betty Crocker's chocolate fudge brownie mix.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jubilee book

I was planning on writing this message from work, during the reading room desk duty, but I didn't have time. There weren't that many visitors, but someone phoned from Uppsala, wanting information about a 16th century book and she was very talkative. There was also a visit from other university libraries, staff from other manuscript departments wanted to see our (fairly new) reading room.

These past two days I have guided a German librarian who is doing her internship at Lund University. She also studied Scandinavian languages in Germany and her command of the Swedish language was very impressive. She learned quickly, and helped us retrieve books from the stacks.

I got my own copy of the book about the library's history published for the 100 year jubilee. It's almost 400 pages and many of my present and former colleagues have written the articles. I was surprised to find my name in it. The article was about the Swedish Dictionary Project (huge project, they are trying to document the history and use of all Swedish words ever), whose staff has and still is using the library's collections very much. The former head of the project expressed his gratitude for the assistance the staff in the stacks had given them, by retrieving a gigantic number of books for them during the past 90 years. It's very nice to know that the work we do in the stacks is appreciated.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Past week

It's Sunday evening and time to summarize the past week. We were all pretty tired after the festivities on Tuesday, and things at work were slower the last half of the week. They started renovating our lunchroom on Wednesday, so now we have to eat in the conference room instead. On Thursday I had desk duty in the manuscript reading room again, but it wasn't as boring as the previous time, because I had a book to read. It was the book the local authors had published and contained their library-related stories.

The architect I couldn't remember the name of was Alfred Hellerström, and he had designed several buildings for the university.

Yesterday I was at the archive. I assume this wasn't surprising to anyone reading this. It's the place where I spend most of my time, apart from home and work. I tried to get more details about the Önnestad emigrants and also find information on the people Anna Anderson's sister Tina (Albertina) mentioned in her travel diary from her trip to Sweden in 1931. Tina went to Sweden with some friends from church. She visited some relatives in Stockholm, none of whom have living descendants today.

Today was laundry day. I also cooked food to bring for lunch at work next week. Falukorv (type of sausage) and cauliflower casserole with mashed potatoes. Very tasty, if I may say so myself.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

100 year jubilee

The building the library is housed in was built in 1907, and we thought we should celebrate this. There have been a lot of preparations and yesterday the festivities took place. Unfortunately, it rained very much. We had tents out in the park in front of the library, where we served refreshments and snacks. It got to be very wet and muddy. There were (some pretty famous) local authors speaking about their personal experiences from the University Library (if Lorraine reads this, she should know that her cousin Tommy Olofsson - a poet - was one of them). One of the authors had met his wife at our library, another talked about the privilege of getting access to the world's knowledge and yet another was impressed by the actual building (a five storey red brick building by a famous architect I can never remember the name of). There had been several books published, one about the history of the library (naturally), one children's book and one containing the author's speeches. The authors were treated to lunch and the staff got dinner after the event was over in the evening.

I don't think people in general understand how much work there is behind an event like this. Part of the staff had worked like mad to get everything ready in time. The books just barely made it out of the printing press - two of them arrived yesterday (the last one only one hour before the festivities started). Narrow margin. The staff fixing the tents and the sound system got completely soaked and ruined their clothes and shoes in the mud. I had it "easy" because I wasn't involved in this part. But most of my staff was, so I had to do almost all of their regular chores. I'm not really complaining, I think it's great that we managed to do this and it meant that the local newspaper paid some attention to us (they rarely do).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Busy weekend

I'm exhausted. My mother spent the weekend here with me in Kävlinge. We have really worked hard. We spent most of Saturday at Ikea and a fabric store in Malmö. I bought a new armchair, a flower rack and some pots and plants. Today we went about 10 km north from here and shopped extensively at the three flea market stores in Marieholm. We found some great bargains. I found a 78 record with Leroy Anderson's Blue Tango! It must be unusual in Sweden. At the first place we filled a large paper bag with stuff and payed 50 SEK - very cheap. My mother was happy to find a lid to her frying pan. I bought some pieces of fabric and buttons in large boxes.

Apart from shopping, we also cleaned the apartment very thoroughly, planted some flowers, washed and replaced curtains, assembled the armchair and flower rack, put the balcony furniture up in the attic for the winter, re-arranged some decorations and sorted our flea market finds. It has been a really busy weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Desk duty

I have desk duty in the manuscript reading room right now. It's pretty boring. There is only one visitor left, and he manages without my assistance. This reading room has a higher level of security, the visitors aren't allowed to bring coats or personal belongings, and they have to register every time they visit. This is where they study the very old and fragile material, like 16th century atlases, original letters from August Strindberg and other Swedish authors, excerpts from the 2000 year old papyrus collection and handwritten books from many centuries ago. This library has huge resources, and it's really a privilege to work here.

I have made some use of my mother's car this week. Yesterday afternoon I left work early and drove to Malmö. I got to see a lot more of the roads there than I was aiming for. It's unbelievable, but I will never learn how the highways in Malmö are connected. I knew the address to the store, and had figured out where it was supposed to be, but I still didn't get it right. My map was only about a year old, but something must have changed recently. After ending up at a big mall, I decided to go shopping there, and then made one more attempt to find the Eko store. The second attempt was successful. Like most other times, I didn't really need anything in particular, but bought some office supplies and candy. After dinner at McDonald's, I returned to Kävlinge (without detours this time).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Busy week

It has been a busy week. Since it was the first working week after the vacation, there was a lot to catch up on. The others in my department (the stacks) had managed well, the projects I had given them were almost finished. We have a huge job in front of us - we are going to move about 38 000 shelf meters of books from four different locations into one large new facility some time late next year (at least we hope so, because it hasn't been built yet). The planning process for this is going to be very long. We started making inventory of the collections early Summer and we are basically done with that now. The next step is to decide in what order the books will be moved.

Friday evening I travelled home to my mother's place in Yngsjö. My sister, her husband and 2-year old son John had arrived there Thursday. My mother cooked a very tasty dinner (like she always does), this time it was chanterelle pie. She had picked the chanterelles herself. Saturday Anette and Oscar went to a wedding in the western part of Skåne. Anette was going to be the photographer. My mother and I took care of John. We went for lunch at Furuboda (great buffet), but John, who usually has a big appetite, surprised us by falling asleep in the chair before eating the food. So we had to stay there for a while, waiting for him to wake up again. In the afternoon we went to the railway museum in Kristianstad. There was an extensive display, not only of trains, but also of old military vehicles, police cars, old tractors and buses. John was very fascinated by all this. We went for rides in an old train and a bus from 1952. It was bumpy, but interesting. Later, we continued to Vinslöv to visit a friend of my mother's, Majlis. We had evening meal there. We also received a plum tree to give to Anette.

Today (Sunday) we travelled to Kävlinge. We had been in my apartment for only about ten minutes when Anette and Oscar arrived too. We had lunch here, and then the others left for Borås. My mother left her car here for me to use, and since they went already at 3 p. m., I decided to go to the mall. Not that I needed anything special, but still. I went grocery shopping at the cheap store called Willy's. Since I don't have a car of my own, it's difficult to buy canned goods and other heavy things like bags of flour and sugar. So now I really filled up the cupboards.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First day at work

Yesterday was the first working day after a four week vacation. It wasn't a total shock, since I had been visiting the library a few times lately. But I had to really think before I punched in the code on the security door to the old collection. I spent most of the day trying to wade through the large amount of emails, talking to my colleagues about all the projects we are involved in and the upcoming jubilee (the building housing the library was built in 1907). I also spent quite some time trying to locate the person responsible for the building we keep a part of our stacks in, on the other side of town. The guy who retrieves books from those stacks called me and said that there was water running down the inside wall in the basement. A water pipe had burst. It turned out not to be as bad as it sounded at first, and the janitor got there very quickly once I had located him. Luckily, our books didn't get damaged.

Lately, I have noticed that my email isn't working that fabulously. Several messages I have sent have bounced. Some messages I never get answers to. If you have problems reaching me, it might be good to know that comcast-addresses are rejected completely by the university mail servers (@ub.lu.se). Hotmail-addresses very often get stuck in the filter also. If you have any of these mail providers, a message will (hopefully) reach me if you instead send it to: tess88roots@yahoo.se or tess88roots@gmail.com. I have had problems with these too, so no guarantees are given.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Last days of the vacation

Friday I went by train to Copenhagen. Not to do anything special, just visit a big city. I had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, a very tasty baconburger. The dessert was pretty tasty too; hot fudge brownie sundae. After that I went on a short train ride to a huge mall called Field's. I didn't shop that much actually, only some clothes at H&M.

Saturday I went to the regional archive in Lund. All the information I had gathered in Växjö needed further checking. It will take a long time to go through all of it. I stopped by at work also, to look at some books where Önnestad emigrants were supposed to be mentioned. One of the later emigrants, Ivar Jepson, who left Önnestad in 1925, became an inventor in Chicago. He invented kitchen appliances (one was called Sunbeam Mixmaster). It's interesting to learn what happened to the ones who emigrated. Of course, most of them never made it to the history books in their new country.

Today is Sunday and the last day before work starts again. I can't really say that I'm looking forward to it. It has been a vacation filled with activities, research and travelling. My to-do list is still very long (four pages), and I would have needed several weeks longer vacation.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

House of Emigrants

I had to get out of bed at 5.15 today. Not pleasant. It was a long train ride to Växjö, where the House of Emigrants is situated. It's an emigration research centre with huge resources; Swedish-American church records, newspapers, books, passenger lists and also an exhibit. It's a place where I could have spent weeks doing research. I started at the archive. After searching their databases the entire morning, 134 of the 140 pages of my notebook were filled. My hand hurts slightly..... For lunch I met some of my relatives (my second cousin and his wife) that I recently discovered live in Växjö. We got in touch through the internet, where they had posted a query regarding my grandfather and his siblings. It was very nice to see them and exchange family history. We sat for almost two hours in the restaurant, talking about our common ancestors.

I had only a couple of hours left before the archive closed, but I managed to look through a part of the book collection and get some photo copies. I also rushed past the exhibit, taking pictures of it. I was very surprised to see a small part of it dealing with Leroy Anderson!!! I was so stressed that I didn't have time to read the entire text, but I might be able to get that later. One of he major finds today were the names of the ships the Anderson family emigrated on: from Malmö to England's east coast they travelled on the Gozo, and from Liverpool to New York they travelled on the Alaska. Both ships owned by the Guion Line. Arrival date was April 17, 1882.

It has been a very interesting day, but now I really should get some sleep.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mostly research

Time for an update. August 30 I was on an excursion with my colleagues. We went on a bus trip to Ystad. There is an old regiment which has been converted into movie studios. They have produced several Swedish films there, mostly detective stories. It was interesting to see that everything really is fake. The police station consisted of some desks with movable walls and there were only decorations in the places that would show on camera. We got to see an exhibit on how movies are made, all the way from manuscript to distribution. In the evening we were treated to dinner at a restaurant with very tasty food.

August 31 I spent most of the day at the archive again, and then went home to my mother's place in the evening. Like every year, I wonder how the summer ends so quickly? September 1 it was book fair in Kristianstad. Not that I really needed any books, but I still shopped. This time I bought some books by the Swedish author Gustaf Hellström, whose ancestors lived in Norra Strö. I'm thinking of including him in the exhibit at the historical society next summer, so I have to do some research first. We met some friends in the city and continued on to Kulltorpet, a meeting place for handicapped people. They had arranged a motorcycle day there. It's owners of very fancy motorcycles who come over and let people go on short rides in the area. Very much appreciated by all ages, though I stayed on the ground. We spent the rest of the day in Hanaskog, visiting our friends Nils-Åke and Ann-Kristin.

Sunday was resting day, but Monday was a big working day, at least for me. I started by going to the cemetery in Kristianstad, taking a picture of Gustaf Hellström's gravestone. Next I went to Färlöv to do research at the parish office. The next emigrant list I'm working on is for Önnestad, and there were some 20 years of moving records still to go through. During this work I realized that the pastor who had written the names and dates in this particular book had no idea that anyone 100 years later would actually like to read it - the handwriting was hardly legible. After finishing the list with a Nils Persson who left for America in December 1933, but returned again three months later, I went for lunch at the golf club. I thought the parish office in Kristianstad would be open also, but I was wrong. Instead I spent the afternoon shopping. In the evening I attended a Leroy Anderson Centennial meeting at the city hall. We hadn't met since early June and we were all very talkative. The secretary had to leave and lock the room, so we had to end it by seven. But just like most other times the rest of us continued the meeting standing in the street outside the building..... That's how engaged we are in this.

Tuesday I travelled back to Kävlinge, after making a stop at work to do some research. My colleagues in the stacks were not that surprised to see me. They have come to know my habits pretty well by now. I'm probably the one who spends most hours at work during the vacation. There are so many interesting books..... And then I still have a lot of genealogy files in my computer at work, it's much more difficult to access the licensed databases from home and at work there is a color printer I make frequent use of.

Today I have spent many hours in front of my own computer, writing emails and searching for information.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Research and shopping

The headline includes two of my favorite pastimes. Sunday I recovered after the visit in Halmstad. Monday I tried to get the piles on the floor to decrease in number by filing some papers. Success was limited. Tuesday was a shopping day. I went by train to Helsingborg, and took a city bus to a mall called Väla. It's a big place, and there are several nice clothing stores and then there is also an Ikea-store. I didn't really need anything, but even so I managed to come home with quite a few items, clothes mostly. I couldn't resist a jar of cloudberry jam at Ikea either.

Today I went to the main regional archive in Lund. That's where they keep the estate inventories and church records for the 1900s (though not all of it has been handed in from the parish offices yet). I spent most of the day there, trying to find living family members of some unknown relatives I mentioned in an earlier message. My great grandmother's first cousin lived just outside Kristianstad, and no one seems to have known about it. I found out that his children are now deceased also, so I will probably not pursue it. While I was there anyway, I started listing the emigrants from Fjälkestad also. I have already made complete lists of the emigrants from Norra Strö, Färlöv, Kviinge and Gryt parishes. Önnestad will be complete soon. The only one I can't send via email is Färlöv (too large file), but if anyone wants the others, let me know. On my way back, I stopped by at work. My colleagues seem to be managing well during my abscence. It's still fairly quiet, the students haven't started their classes yet.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Interesting Saturday

I usually don't get out of bed at 6 a. m. on Saturdays, but today I did. The annual genealogy conference/fair hosted by the Swedish Society for Genealogists was held in Halmstad, and to get there in time I had to catch an early train. In fact, it was the very first northbound train today. Needless to say, it was very interesting to see the displays of books and databases for sale, the different on-line subscriptions to church records, the local historical societies showing their new publications and so on. I brought the "impossible" research questions, hoping that someone in some database would find an answer. I wasn't really successful, but got some new leads on where to look further. I also bought a few books (it's hard to resist) and the latest version of the Swedish passenger lists on CD. The library was open, and I went there to check the local collection. My great grandparents on my father's side used to live in Halmstad. The wife, Johanna, sold cheese in the market place and her husband, Carl Johan Kristiansson, sailed the seven seas. I looked for them in the books on Halmstad, but didn't find anything. It will require some more archive research here, I think. But it was a very nice library, brand new. Summing up, the day has been quite interesting and I'm glad I managed to get out of bed so early.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


A week at my mother's place meant some time to relax, but mostly we worked. At least that's how it feels. It started already the same day I arrived there, on the 17th. My mother and her boyfriend Pelle promised to help out at Play Day at Furuboda. It's an education and rehabilitation center for handicapped people. Once a year they arrange sports and games for handicapped children, and about 2000 people attend. They need large amounts of volunteers for this. I was there Friday to do something else, though. They get donations of books every year, and they needed someone to weed the collection. I sorted out about 10-12 boxes to be discarded. Saturday was the big Play Day, and I was busy handing out free ice-cream to all the kids. Part of the day I arranged the waiting list for the ones who wanted to go river rafting (not as violent as it sounds, the river here is very tranquil). After standing up for eight hours my back was sore, but the enormous response we got from parents and kids made it worth while. It is so rewarding to help out there.

Sunday my mother had to rest, but I attended an event at the local historical society at Norra Strö. They have just built a much-needed addition to the old school house they occupy. They didn't have a decent bathroom before, only an outhouse! And the large amounts of archival material needed a safe place. The new addition was properly inaugurated, and then a local celebrity gave a performance of parts of Vilhelm Moberg's works. I have compiled lists of all the emigrants from Norra Strö and some surrounding parishes, and I was selling it there for the benefit of the historical society. If any of the readers of this blog would like to have a copy (it's written in Swedish), I can send it as an attachment to an email. Let me know.

This week was a little slower, my mother and I spent time solving crossword puzzles. She even insisted on sending some in for drawing of prizes. She did that once before and won a gift certificate worth 50 SEK (7 USD). We also picked blackberries. There was quite a lot of it just 75 metres from the house. It's not the easiest berries to pick, because they defend themselves with spikes. The mosquitoes were very interested in our activities also. My legs and arms look spotted and scratched. But blackberries are very tasty, so we endure it.

Some of you might have heard of my mother's interest in slogan competitions. There are often flyers in the grocery store where you are asked to send in your best slogan/rhyme for that particular product, and there are usually great prizes to win. Sometimes they want your best recipe containing that product. My mother and sister are really good at coming up with slogans, and they sometimes win prizes. This week my mother picked up a fairly large rubber boat at the local grocery store. I wonder if she will have any use for it, though.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Archive research

For the first time in many months I spent an entire day at the regional archive. I had accumulated a fair amount of research questions that I needed to solve. Has anyone else noticed that finding the answers to genealogy questions tend to generate a lot more questions all the time? There are always some loose ends left. For instance, it amazes me that my grandmother didn't know that her great aunt had a son before she died in 1910. Now I found out that the son died in 1957 and he lived in a suburb of Kristianstad. Not at all far from Norra Strö.

Tomorrow I will go and visit my mother again. There will be a lot of activities this weekend. I actually haven't decided when to return to my apartment, but no later than Friday next week. There is no computer at my mother's place, so it will take a while before I can update this site.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My memory isn't that good, apparently. The last time I saw my sister Anette and her family was at my birthday party on April 5. I can't believe I missed that.

Anyway, now I met them at my mother's place. We all went on a trip to the Danish island Bornholm on Saturday, August 11. It was a long travel day, but we had a very good time. We went by car to Åhus, took a free bus to the ferry at Simrishamn, crossed the water in about one hour, and directly upon arrival embarked on a tourist coach. We got to see small villages, a viewpoint overlooking a forest, a very old castle in ruins and a round church. When we got back to the harbour four hours later, there was a display of the Bornholm rescue services. My nephew John (aged 2) thought it was very exciting to sit in the driver's seat of a fire engine and to operate the fire hose (he loves anything that has to do with water)!

Sunday and Monday we were tired and had to take it a little slower..... We did drive to Åhus to get a large ice-cream, though. Tuesday was a long travel day also. We went to Ales stenar (Ale's stones/rocks), which is Sweden's Stonehenge. It's a formation of large rocks, and it looks like a ship. It's 67 meters long and has 59 rocks. The meaning of these rocks is debated, some say it's a solar calendar. We also went to Ystad, one of the major cities in southern Skåne. It's very picturesque, with old buildings and walking streets in the center of it. After this, I went home to Kävlinge again.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vacation - finally!

It's Friday afternoon and in just an hour I will be on vacation! Finally! It has been a long summer for me. This week the weather changed and it's sunny and warm (and humid). Hope it will be tolerable the next four weeks. This evening I will meet my sister Anette and her family, they are at my mother's place in Yngsjö. If I remember correctly, I haven't seen my sister since Christmas! They live in Borås, which is east of Göteborg. It would take about three-four hours by train, but I spent most of the spring renovating my apartment, so I didn't really have time to go and visit them. My bedroom needed a serious face-lift and my parents helped me painting the ceiling, walls and window-frames, and put in new floor boards. I slept on the couch in the TV-room for five months. I didn't really mind, since the bedroom turned out so well.

For those of you who are going to the Nelson Family Reunion in Milaca this weekend, I just want to say that I wish I could have been there too. I had a fabulous time there in 2005! Greetings to all of you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Another poem

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them?
Or don't you really know?
Some mighty strange discoveries are made
In climbing family trees,
And some of them, you know
Might not particularly please

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row
There might be some of them
You wouldn't care to know.
But here is another question
That requires a different view.
If you could meet your ancestors,
What would they think of you?

By Mable Baker

The beginning

After some explorations regarding the technical challenges of writing a blog-message, I think I can begin! Right now, I have desk duty in the manuscript reading room, but there are no visitors. It's usually crowded during the summer, and we don't know why they are abandoning us this year. We get visitors from all over the world in the summertime, but it's definitely different now. We are thinking of blaming the weather, like much else. It has been a terrible summer weatherwise. It rained for months. It stopped last weekend, but it was too late for many people. Many of my colleagues returned to work this Monday. I, however, start my vacation on August 13. As usual, I have lots planned. Already on Saturday I will do a trip to Bornholm, which is an island off the coast of Skåne, but it belongs to Denmark. There are rock carvings (rune stones), old castles and small fishing villages. Later, I will attend the Swedish Genealogical Society's annual conference. It's in Halmstad this year.
Undoubtedly, I will spend a lot of time at the regional archive in Lund also. It's not open on Saturdays during the summer, so the last time I was there was in May. I have suffered from symptoms of withdrawal for quite some time... There are so many ancestors to trace and so many relatives to find! Right now I'm doing research in Leroy Anderson's ancestry. For those of you who still don't know, Leroy Anderson was an American composer of light classical music. His father was born in the same village as I, Övarp in Norra Strö parish. We are distantly related. Next year will be the centennial year (Leroy was born 1908 and died 1975), with lots of events both in the US and in Europe. For more info: www.leroy-anderson.com
All for now. Thank you Nancy for the comment!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A poem

Your tombstone stand among the rest,
Neglected and alone,
The name and date are chisled out,
On polished marble stone.

It reaches out to all who care,
It is too late to mourn,
You did not know that I exist,
You died and I was born.

Yet each of us are cells of you,
In flesh and blood and bone,
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse,
Entirely not our own.

Dear Ancestor, the place you filled,
One hundred years ago,
Spreads out among the ones you left,
Who would have loved you so.

I wonder as you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew,
That someday I would find the spot,
And come to visit you.

(Author unknown)


Since many other people have started blogs, I thought I would try it too. Mainly, I was thinking of all my relatives in the English-speaking world, who get to hear from me at very irregular intervals. Sometimes never. It's kind of sad, but there simply are too many of you to keep up the correspondence. This way, you would get to know what's going on in my corner of the world more often. At least that's what I will aim for.