SweAme Registered User David A. Anderson from Portland, Oregon, has began a journey which takes him back again to Sweden. David's experiences are documented via this "Return To Sweden" series of Blog Posts. Stay tuned as we will document his activities in as real time as we can. You can view his trip plans at David A. Anderson
This first installment of David Anderson’s Return To Sweden explains the reason (or cause) for his desire to visit Sweden again. It also mentions with words and pictures some items from his first visit with his parents in 1985. Editor.
Genealogy is a disease with no cure. The main symptom is an insatiable desire to find out who your ancestors are and where they came from. At times it overwhelms you when you just need to find out some bit of information you didn’t previously know about someone from your past. A genealogist is a painter, a sleuth and detective. You have on a table before you pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that need to be put back together to create a puzzle. The problem is many pieces are missing.
Before I got the genealogy bug I didn’t fully appreciate the joys my Mother experienced at finding new long gone relatives at the closest Family History Library, some 20 miles away from home. That was in the days when someone had to wait at least a week for a microfilm to be ordered and sent to the local Family History Library. Mom laboriously hand wrote family group sheets for herself and her three children. I don’t think any of us fully appreciated the labor of love involved, not only for her children, but for the ancestors who were also responsible. Those were the days!
Mom’s research centered mostly around her side of the family, since her roots include ancestors who lived, and died, the horrible events of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and the Mayflower. She asked Dad’s relatives about their families and what they knew about the Swedish immigrants. One even went so far as to draw a chart of her family who had origins in a place called “Gonsapengen”. We couldn’t find it on the map anywhere.
Even on our first trip Sweden in 1985 I didn’t have the genealogy bug. But, I knew Mom wanted to visit two regional archives in Vadstena and Uppsala. Somehow we had found out that Gonsapengen was actually Jönköping, where my farmor’s side of the family came from. Mom found out that farfar came from Hedemora; that his brothers and parents came over as well, and that was pretty much it. We also knew that Uncle Eric, my farfarbror, came over but didn’t get married, but that he had a girl friend in Sweden possibly named Pellas Anna. Uncle Eric settled and stayed in Kansas. His collection of old photos were inherited by my Aunt Edna and on her passing were passed on to Mom and Dad, and ultimately me. But, as they say I digress. Genealogy is like that. For genealogists there are many many digressions!
Anyway, in 1985 I still didn’t have the bug. When we visited Uppsala I went off to find the Carl Linnaeus house while Mom and Dad met with some American kid who was spending the summer in the archives. Well as fate would have it, I didn’t find Carl’s house, so I went back to the archives in search of Mom and Dad to see how that was going. I didn’t comprehend how a researcher could find someone in one book, pull out another record book and almost immediately find them. It was all very very strange, and only mildly interesting, to me. I didn’t know that I had been infected with the bug yet, but it was there, dormant, waiting to be wakened.
David and father, George Anderson in Falun , Sweden at the Mine Museum.
David’s mother Dorothy Anderson emerging from one of the Öland Windmills.