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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Visit to Växjö

The visit in Växjö was very nice. My mother and I visited some Mattisson-relatives this past weekend. They took us on the grand tour of the area. We saw old houses and forts, the university (very modern), a water tower, the Church of Dome, a small flea market, two second hand stores and we also went driving in the area near the lake. It was a beautiful view with small marinas with sailing boats, nice lakefront houses and deep "troll" forest. We talked a lot about our relatives and ancestors, of course. One other thing was discussed very much. Her father (not related to me) had passed away recently and they had cleared out the old home. They had then discovered a box with quite a few photos from America. She knew of three siblings of her great grandfather having emigrated, but had never tried to find any information on them. The photos were all nameless and taken in large cities (New York, Chicago, Minneapolis - all with many Swedes). The surname of the emigrants was Persson. Very difficult starting point for finding them in America. However - a research day and a half later I had found info on most of them, even some living. Interesting case with many challenges. And it was true, they actually lived in those cities.

Yesterday I had to go to Kristianstad because I had a dentist appointment. Knowing what the train service can be like here, I went early and had time for some shopping also. I don't have any problems with my teeth generally, so I only go to the dentist about every three years or so. No cavities this time either, luckily.

Today has been a very busy day. My father and his girlfriend came visiting. I had a long list of chores for my handy father to attend to. I wanted more insulation in the bedroom window (it was cold there this past winter), one more hanger in the hall, a rack in the kitchen, and some things mended. We also went to Ikea outside Malmö and I got a new hall mirror there. Also a chest of drawers in another store. It was a big job to assemble it, but it looks very nice and it solved a storage problem.

My father had two very interesting books with him. The local historical society has finally, after years of work, published the complete list of all the houses and farms in Norra Strö parish. There are photos and information about the inhabitants over the years. It also lists the ruins. It will be useful, without a doubt. The other book is about the Herrlin family (on my father's side). One of the descendants has written it, and included family information, photos and stories. Even a photo of my grandmother was in it, but not much on our part of the family. The author hadn't found anyone to ask, apparently. I might contact her later.

Today is my last vacation day, and I can't say I'm looking forward to getting back to work. But I got a lot of things done during my time off.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Difficult research

There has been even more shopping done. I have actually been to one more Ikea store. They just re-opened one outside Helsingborg after extending it quite a lot. I only got a cardboard box set, and then I did the other purchases at the mall next door. There is a store there for women considerably older than I, and it's very expensive clothes. Sometimes they have a sales rack, and I have been lucky several times. Now there was a pair of dressy pants for 50 SEK (about 6 USD). Incredibly cheap, especially since the original price was 999 SEK (143 USD).

There has also been more research done. I have been to the archive three times this week. My hand hurts from all the writing. Sometime in the (distant) future this work will be the base of another emigrant list, for Hjärsås parish. It's a great challenge to do this, because many of the church records have been destroyed by fire. The first household record is from 1861 and the first birth book is from 1869. I can tell from the passenger lists that there were more than 120 emigrants before 1861, but getting birthdates, birthplaces and checking for emigrants from the same families will be impossible.

Since I have been at home at least a few evenings, I have been cooking a little. The cauliflower soup was a success, but the tuna dish was not.

Tomorrow morning I will travel to Småland. I have relatives in Växjö that my mother and I will visit for the weekend. She will travel from Borås, and if everything goes according to plan, we will get there at about noon, by two different trains.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Active vacation

For having a vacation, I have been very active. I have gone through every drawer and every closet in the apartment, throwing out and re-organizing items. I have been to both the mall and Ikea to get boxes for storage. Ikea had some really practical large cardboard boxes that are so flat that they fit under the book cases. They are perfect to have maps and oversize genealogy documents in. There was also a large fabric box that looks very nice on top of the wardrobe in my bedroom. I got some plastic boxes and candles also. It was a heavy load to carry on the train, but I made it. It's easier to get to Ikea now, they moved to a mall area outside Malmö that I can get to by train. The new catalog has just been published, so the place was packed with people.

This Monday I made a trip to Helsingör (Elsinore). I haven't been in the center of that town for ages. I took the train to Helsingborg and then walked on to the ferry to get across (takes 20 minutes). Helsingör depends heavily on Swedes buying alcohol there (it's cheaper than here). I wasn't interested in that, I went to the clothes and second hand stores instead. I got a pair of jeans cheaply. It was a nice visit, the town is old and the shopping is a little different from home.

Friday I spent at the archive. There is a new database published, Swedish deaths 1901-2009. It's not complete because it was a volunteer project, but most of the people I was looking for were in it. Let me know (via e-mail) if you have any search requests for this database. There are also several databases with Swedish burials that can be used as a secondary source. In addition, the 1880 Swedish census is now searchable by name.

After the archive I walked to the library, which is on the other side of town. My colleagues took the chance to complain about their work situation. I sighed. I do understand them, it had been crazy with people getting sick and others being forced to take leave for personal reasons. Next week they will be two people doing six people's jobs. I wished them good luck with that.

This past week a new TV series started, Who do you think you are. They have earlier shown this program, where Swedish celebrities have searched for their ancestors. This time it's the American version. In the first part Lisa Kudrow travelled in the footsteps of her Jewish ancestors. Definitely worth watching, very interesting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Visit to Borås

I managed, on the second attempt, to go to my mother's place last week. We packed her car full with her belongings and drove to Borås on the Thursday. We made a stop on the way at Ullared, Sweden's largest outlet store. It's an interesting place that was featured in a reality show on tv, both last year and this. They sell clothes, electronics, toys, and lots of other things. The store can house 5500 visitors at the same time, on two floors. There are 62 cash registers. It's gigantic. My mother found some clothes, but I only got some small things. When we got to Borås, we unloaded the car and my mother moved back into her apartment. It's too small for me to stay in also, so I walked down to my sister's place, about 800 meters away.

My visit in Borås, which lasted exactly one week, was both relaxing and nice. There are outlet stores also in Borås, and I made some purchases, of course. A nightgown, a pair of shoes, some underwear and a few tops at extremely low prices. One outlet store had everything half price off, because they were going to move. My mother helps out at a charity shop, and I did too on the Saturday and Wednesday opening hours. We sold fabric, yarn, thread and lots of other things associated with sewing and handcrafts. It was quite fun to sort the buttons, measure the fabric and to hear what people would do with the items they bought. One person needed 40 meters of fabric for a wedding. I'm glad I didn't have to measure that length.

Sunday we made an excursion to an idyllic place by a lake, Hofsnäs. There was a trunk fleamarket there, and my sister and mother did some bargain shopping. We had a picnic lunch right by the lake. Very nice place.

The visit also included baby-sitting, grocery shopping, browsing of several second hand stores, cooking pizza the difficult way, creating numerous spaceships from Lego at my nephew's request and crossword puzzle solving. I have had a nice time, even the weather was great during my stay. I returned home Thursday evening by three trains (all of them on time - unbelievable). It has rained ever since.

I have been rather active indoors. I decided to throw out even more things from my bedroom. This time I discarded some towels. The curtains and tablecloths in the drawers needed to be reorganized and I threw some of those out too. I need more boxes to have in the closets, so I'm thinking of making a trip to Ikea one of these days.

Today I went to Lund, mostly to use the computer at work for my own purposes (I have access to some genealogy databases from it). There were some disturbing messages on the intranet, one including an obituary of a former employee. I could figure out from the other entries that my colleagues are having a tough time without me.