Saturday, June 14, 2014

Return To Sweden, Part 13

This 13th installment update submitted by David Anderson includes Skeppsmalen fishermans chapel, Själevads church and the process for un-kept burial plots.
If you missed the near real time trip updates webpage, go to Trip Highlights .  Editor


June 14, Saturday

Several years ago while working on a genealogical project I had an idea that I thought might be helpful for people who wanted to know what a specific Swedish parish church might look like.  There are several parishes that my ancestors lived in that I haven’t visited and I wanted to know what the church looked like, just out of curiosity.  Since I store my photos on flickr I decided to start a flickr group where people could post photos of Svenska kyrkor.  I also figured that churches are an important part of the Swedish cultural landscape and should be recorded. 
The smallest church, or chapel in this case, that I have visited in the area around Örnsköldsvik is the fisherman’s chapel at Skeppsmalen in the Höga Kusten World Heritage Area, Västernorrland.  A chapel has been there since about 1795, and the current church yard contains memorials to lost fishermen and ship’s pilots. 


The chapel’s key hangs outside the door enabling visitors to enter.  Taking a look at the pews, I am glad I didn’t have to sit in those for extended periods.  They are narrow and look uncomfortable, so I guess there wouldn’t be much of any problem of too much snoring going on during the service.

Själevads kyrka is probably one of the prettiest in the area around Örnsköldsvik.  It is an octagon in shape, which is not common in Swedish churches.  The altarpiece commands your attention when you walk through the church doors.  It is large and dark and depicts the Crucifixion. 

Generally when doing research in Sweden, the grave yard is not generally high on the list of places to search, since old graves are generally infrequently found.  That is because Sweden a grave plot is leased for 25 years.  As long as the lease is paid on time the occupant is left alone for another 25 years.  While walking around Själevads kyrkogården I noticed an older marker and took it’s photo, and then notice the small marker at it’s base which read: “Återlämnad”, or Returned. 

One of my to do projects is to research and see if there are any relatives of Hilda Forssberg out there.  They may appreciate a photograph of her marker, since chances are it won’t be around too much longer.  See what I mean one thing leads to another?

When a person is buried the family can request and pay the cemetery to maintain a grave, or they can do it themselves.  If the cemetery is paid to maintain the grave they will also rake the gravel, place flowers or mow the lawn. If the family doesn’t wish to have the graveyard pay for those services they are responsible to tend the grave.  A sign in the Arnäs church yard indicated that several graves were unsafe and needed to be done to prevent them from toppling.  We saw several signs indicating unsafe monuments.

This is a grain storage house door.  The storage house is built up off the ground so it is difficult for rats and mice to enter and eat the stored grain.  It is also made difficult for people to steal from it since it requires Three people to be present with the Three keys it takes to open it.  One for a padlock and two for the door's locks.

Arnäs kyrka.




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