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Monday, November 30, 2015

Unusual questions

The snow melted very quickly so it's now dark and rainy again. Over the weekend there was a huge storm that caused some damage to houses and roads. The train service still hasn't recovered completely, but they will hopefully get it sorted out by tomorrow.

Last week I worked four days. The most interesting thing was when I retrieved a book for the American TV-series Who do you think you are. They needed a specific book that we have, but I don't know who the celebrity is that they were doing research for. Nevertheless, it was an honor to be able to supply the material.

Last week was also the first time someone has ever asked how many shelf meters our printed catalogs consist of. The question came from the National Archives. I didn't have that figure so I had to walk through the entire library, measuring the catalog boxes. The answer turned out to be about 630 meters.

Wednesday I asked my father to come and take a look at the locking mechanism on my apartment door. It wasn't working properly. I have had problems with it before and now it turned out to be beyond repair. It required two trips to the building supply store and a total of six hours work. I feel kind of sorry for my father here, that much work and all he got in return was dinner.

I'm very sorry to report the passing of my nearest relative in the US, Jeane. She was my mother's second cousin and I located her back in 1995. I visited several times and it was wonderful to make her acquaintance. She was so interested in family history and we had so much to talk about. A genuinely warm and caring person, she will definitely be missed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Amazing musical

Last week was busy with two storage rounds, one workshop and two meetings, but I only worked from Monday until half of Thursday. At noon I went to Stockholm by train, arriving at my mother's cousin's new apartment in the evening. It was in the same block as the other place so it was convenient. Friday my mother also arrived and she and I went out exploring the shops in town both that day and Saturday. There were several nice home decor shops but we only made a few purchases. We also visited my great grandparent's grave and the house where they had lived. Sunday we walked to a local train station to meet my mother's friends who were coming in by train from outside of town. We have known them for ages, they used to live nearby but moved some years ago. We had lunch at a restaurant on top of the train station. I had a very nice meal with fish and mashed potatoes. After this we took the bus to a place called Djurgården. The four of us went to see the musical Kristina from Duvemåla. It's the musical version of Vilhelm Moberg's fictional work about the emigrants from Småland, Karl-Oskar and Kristina, who settled in Minnesota in the 1840s. It covered many aspects of emigration, still valid to this day with surprisingly current themes: reasons for leaving, the journey, the adjustment to a new environment, the prospects and new challenges, and the longing for home - wherever that may be. I cannot put into words how magnificent this performance was. My mother said afterwards that she almost forgot to breathe on some occasions. It was so meaningful, not only to me, as I had thought, but my mother was just amazed. It was actually her suggestion that we should go and see it. A great evening.

Today my mother and I travelled to our respective homes again. It is colder at home than when I left. It has also snowed, which I heard surprised a lot of people who hadn't changed their car tires to spiked ones. There have been quite a few accidents over the weekend here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New project

I have now decided what my new project will be. Back in the mid 1990s I made an inventory of the gravestones at the local cemetery in the parish where I was born. The intention was to send it in to the project co-ordinator at the Genealogical Society, but that never happened. I lent the material to the Historical Society and it took more than a decade before I got it back. By then things had changed and the project wasn't active anymore. A few years ago they got it started again with a better system. You can now make the registration yourself directly on the computer screen. This wasn't possible before. So this weekend I have spent time researching the names on the gravestones. I have also tried to update the material with the burials occurring the last 20 years. My uncle's wife took photos of many of the gravestones and they will be included, but I will probably have to go to the cemetery to get the rest photographed also. It has all the chances of getting to be a long-term project.

Apart from this there really isn't that much to report from here. The week at work wasn't as bad as many other weeks. I was asked to go to a faculty library for consultation regarding old books and that was rather interesting. One of my colleagues asked for help with a genealogy question and that was even more interesting.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


It was a busy week, with three meetings and two storage rounds, among other things. I was interviewed by two colleagues about the quality of our services, from the staff perspective. I had a few things to say, so I hope it was noted. After three work weeks it was necessary to get treatment by the chiropractor again. That's how much my back can stand, apparently.

One very fun thing happened this week at work. There were some specific books missing and a colleague had sent out a general email to the staff, asking for help locating them. He wrote that there would be a reward if anyone found them. Thursday I saw the books on the return shelf and quickly sent an email to everybody, claiming the reward. The answer back was very funny, he offered a box with a conserved roll of bread (given to him from a conservation company). After that, people who saw me in the corridor laughed and commented on it - all my colleagues had read about it. The box with the unedible roll is now in my office. (The last time a reward was offered and I could claim it, I got a Snickers)!

Friday one of my third cousins came to visit at the library. I met her grandfather several times when I did research for the book about Arndt. She has just moved back to Sweden after four years of university studies in England and now chose to continue her studies in Lund. I have never met her before. I showed her the library and then we had lunch. It was very nice to see her.

This weekend has been slow, I can't even remember the last weekend I spent at home. The weather was pretty bad with high winds and rain. I have attended to the large piles of documents on my desk, the floor and the coffee-table. I managed to file some of them but not all. I have been thinking about what my next project should be but haven't decided yet. There are seven items on the list right now.

One of the more odd features this week was my mother's appearance in the audience at a live tv show. For many years there has been a bingo-show on tv, raising money for the local sports clubs all over the country. It's a popular event and my mother had been offered a seat in the audience this evening. I was then forced to watch it, and did spot her somewhere in the middle.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lots of shelving

This week went by incredibly fast. We were very short of staff so we had lots to do. One afternoon I brought a colleague to the storage to do some shelving. It was definitely needed. It's hard work to climb up and down ladders to reach the top shelves. We were very tired but we got a fair amount done.

This weekend it's All saint's/Halloween but I haven't noticed it much. No one has asked for candy here. Since the library is closed I had to find something else to do. Saturday I went to the mall outside Helsingborg. It was packed with people. I had lunch there but didn't buy anything. It's not like I need anything after those shopping trips abroad recently.

This week a refugee housing facility opened across the street from where I live. It houses young people from the Middle East. The large amounts of refugees are an enormous strain on our economy. 9000 people per week are applying for asylum here. This is a small country with limited resources and the situation is already now difficult to manage.

Weatherwise it's a pretty typical Swedish fall, though maybe a little mild. Dark, about ten centigrades and foggy. I have thrown out the summer flowers on the balcony. There is now heather instead. It looks rather nice.