Welcome to Tessa's blog

Monday, February 23, 2015

Not a good Friday

There really isn't much to report from here. I spend every day at work to either work or do research. I got a research request from my mother's friend, so I'm busy with that too. It's the usual mix with early deaths among the children and ordinary farm life in a rural setting. There were a few emigrants also, they settled in the Boston area. I'm glad there are pretty good vital records for Massachusetts. Most of these emigrants were women and that's always a challenge to find them after they get married. I did locate them and their families.

I got a temporary book case in my new office now. We are supposed to get new furniture in April, but I couldn't wait that long. I asked the janitor to install my old book case, and he did. I have now unpacked all the office materials.

Last week was not a good one. Several people were absent and it was noticeable. Friday was especially bad. It was a day filled with mistakes, both mine and other's. I had promised a scholar that I would bring a box of books from a special collection to the reading room by 10 AM Friday. Naturally, I forgot it. I had to drive the storage round very early and made a colleague go with me, in order to retrieve those books. It was rather stressful. Later I found out that the scholar hadn't been there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Research weekend

Last week it was work during the weekdays and research over the weekend - in the same place. I'm very privileged to have easy access to all those books and newspapers. This Saturday there were four other colleagues at work too, so I'm not the only one using the facilities for private reasons.

I have located a grandchild of one of Arndt's co-workers (his boss, actually). It was basically the last straw, since there is information lacking about Arndt's work, especially in the 1920s. She answered back and said that she has a lot of material about her grandfather's job, both letters and photos. I didn't think there would be, since her grandfather died rather early, in the 1940s. She would dig into it and I hope that Arndt will be mentioned in this material. It's very far-fetched, but you never know.

This last thing reminded me of the times when I started doing family history research 25 years ago. Back then you wrote a letter (by hand) to someone and it could take weeks or months before an answer came (if it did at all). Now I found this woman's e-mail address in less than 20 seconds and I got a reply the next morning. Correspondence is definitely easier and faster these days.

It's not much of a winter here in the south. It's just above freezing temperature, with occasional rain showers and high winds. Rather boring.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Song contest and emigrant museum

Last week was very hectic. At work I moved my office three floors up, and all my colleagues in the stacks did the same. Many people from the administration also moved to the same floor. We are now over 100 people in the same building and it is already noticeable that our kitchen is not large enough and that the only elevator to our floor is not going to cope with it. Not to mention the complaints we have about the design of our brand new offices. I can't believe that designers don't understand that we need book cases - it's a library! What do they think we do there?! All of us moved the furniture around and we were all scolded by the building department for it. Again, the designer had misunderstood everything. We don't want our desks turned towards a wall and we don't want to have our backs against the door opening. All these problems have meant that I (and many others) have been forced to change the way we work. I have to use another desk on another floor also, because most of the daily activities are concentrated to a lower level. I really hope things will improve, this is not a good working environment as it is now. The minimum requirement I have is a book case...

This weekend I made a short visit to Borås. My mother had entered my name in one of those consumer competitions where you could win tickets to go and see the local Eurovision song contest. I won two tickets and my mother went with me to Göteborg on Saturday evening. This song contest is well known in Europe. It was seven participants and they sang everything from rap- to opera-inspired songs. It was both established artists and newcomers. The event was televised live and it was interesting to see the cameramen work. The whole thing was quite fascinating. This was the first of five contests, the final will be in Stockholm in mid-March. The winner there will compete in the European final in Vienna later in May.

We also managed to do some minor shopping and visit my mother's friends over the weekend. This morning I took the bus to Göteborg. I visited the emigrant museum near the harbor. It has been there for about ten years, but this was my first visit. Website: http://emigranternashus.se/?page_id=191. Since I know quite a lot about European migration, it was moderately interesting to me personally. But I still spent over an hour there, looking at the displays of America trunks, images of ships, passengers and items they had brought on the journey. There were statistics, information about the reasons for leaving, the arrival in the new country and the societies and clubs formed by Swedes, along with stories of successful Swedes. A separate display was about Snusgatan (Snuff street or boulevard) which hinted at the Swedes' habit of using snuff (chewing tobacco). In Chicago it was a nickname for Chicago Avenue, but other cities had the same kind of name for the Swedish areas (Minneapolis and Winnipeg). Another display was about the Titanic. After visiting the museum, I went to lunch and then looked through some stores. Didn't get much, only a bracelet on sale. I took the train home in the afternoon. When I checked my mail, Arndt's nephew had sent the booklet just published about his father, Sten. It was written by a teacher at the same school where Sten taught Swedish and Latin. It was very interesting to read. Soon there will be books about all three siblings; Olga, Sten and Arndt. I'm sure none of them ever thought there would be.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Luck in research

It has been yet another busy week at work. My schedule is more strict than before. I attend the internal desk in the stacks every Tuesday, where I take care of the books that don't have bar codes, distribute the requested books to the different locations and answer incoming e-mails from patrons. That's a lot of work and I have to be there all day. Wednesdays I drive the storage round and Thursdays I have desk duty.

Friday we had a small party for yet another retiring colleague. She was my boss for many years and  will be missed. She told me she had started to do family history research, which is a typical activity for retirees here. I cheered her on, of course.

The newly found relative and I have been exchanging photos for a while now. I was pretty surprised to get two sketches made by Arndt from her. All this has raised more questions and we have both been doing more research. Her great grandmother had four brothers in America, which I found information about a few years ago, so I sent her that. This project is getting bigger and bigger, but it's really interesting.

This weekend I have been at work to do research. I have received cut-out articles from old newspapers about a shipwreck in 1907 (Arndt's brother-in-law was the captain). Arndt's nephew had found them and sent them to me. But it didn't say what newspaper it was or any kind of date. It must be a local newspaper from Halmstad and sometime between 1931 and 1949. I started with 1931 today. It takes an entire day to go through the microfilms for one year, so this will be a long term project if I ever finish it. I didn't find what I was looking for, but something much more interesting - Arndt had written several articles in this newspaper about his visits to Eastern Europe in the 1920s. I have so far found four. No one had any idea about this. It's remarkable that his articles would be in the newspaper for 1931. I was incredibly lucky.