Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Return To Sweden, Part 20

This 20th installment update submitted by David Anderson documents the completion of his trip and his primary reason for this adventure.  Thank you David for taking us along. 

If you missed the near real time trip updates webpage, go to Trip Highlights .  Editor

25 June, 2014, Wednesday

Mark Twain once wrote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 

I think that Twain’s view of travel in this case is travel for recreational purposes, not one of necessity.  It is not the form of travel undertaken by my ancestors when they left Sweden and came over to a foreign country in which to make a new home.  It could have been hunger and the promise of having land on which to grow food that prompted my grandfather to leave.  It could have been escaping having to continue military service that drove my great-grandfather to leave Sweden.  We don’t totally know.  But travel they did. 

Curiosity is a motivating factor in my travels and it has taken me to far corners, (if there can be corners on a sphere), of the earth.  Curiosity on who my ancestors were is what drove me to start trying to find out who they were, where they lived, how they lived, and what they did.  Curiosity of who the people were in the photos that my Great Uncle Eric had from Sweden has brought some people in to my life who I can call friends.  Curiosity about my Great great Grandparents from a place (incorrectly) spelled “Gonsapengen” led us to relatives who are friends.

On the first trip to Sweden in 1985 we didn’t know our relatives.  We largely relied on tourist brochures to determine what places were of interest to visit.  Several years after that first trip the genealogy bug became a fully fledged bug that fed on my curiosity to find out more.  Local genealogists and historians gave of their time to answer questions and find our unknown relatives.  It was curiosity about my ancestors that led to us to meet people who are our relatives, and ‘almost relatives’.  And it is through all of those people that two Americans who are half Swedish were able to see and do some amazing things on an all too short trip out of our “one little corner of the earth.”  We were allowed to do some amazing things that few regular tourists ever get to do on a trip because our friends and relatives thought we might find something they take for granted of interest, or they thought we might be interested in seeing some place they knew of that ‘isn’t on the map.’  All I can say is Tusen Tack, and that doesn’t fully express the appreciation we feel towards those who opened themselves and their homes for us.

Sweden is more than a country of picturesque scenery of fir and birch forests and fields full of cute little red houses and red barns, it is a country, like all other countries, that is full of people who are after all just like us.  If we find out that people are just like us how can we be full of “prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness”?

I hope I never run out of curiosity.

Most all of the photos from the trip have now been added to flickr.  Some are being edited and captions will eventually be put on many.  In the meantime though you can see what has been posted on flickr at .

David Anderson

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful journey. I enjoyed every day of your trip back to your roots.