Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Journey to the Homeland

Hey Hey, this is my first attempt at a blog so please tell me if you like the content and format.I am going to try to share some of my experiences in my search for my Swedish Heritage. My quest to find my past began 30 years ago now. Most days I cannot believe that I have had this obsession for this length of time.

I thought today I would share some wonderful news with all of the other Swedish Genealogy buffs out there. Today I have had a wonderful breakthrough. Today I have reached the genealogy "Holy Grail". After searching for nearly 25 years for the ships that carried my ancestors to this country. I am now proud to say, of the 43 emigrant ancestors and their relations I have been able to locate all but 4. All of them on ships and confirmed arrived into the ports of America.

This journey has not been an easy one. Swedish names are common and several variations of simple names like Johnson came from Swedish names with much different spellings. Today in fact in search of my great grandmother's neice, I knew she arrived in 1920 (she had Swedish exit papers for that year on October 22, 1920). But after hours of searching and;;;; Miss Martha Alice Andersson was no where to be found. Well almost no where; I decided to take one last swing at it and scan all the Andersson females for 1920 who arrived in the US on Well Martha didn't come up on the index, but after reviewing all the arrivals in NY for the month of October and then November, I found her. There she was, plain as day, Martha Alice Andersson arriving the 8 Nov 1920 aboard the SS Drottingholm with her cousins Axel Helmer and Ingamär Andersson. There she was born Tossberg in the parish of Sunne going to Chicago. I cannot explain why she doesn't appear on the index by either Soundex or by exact search. Nether she or her cousin Axel are, only Axel's sister Ingamär appear there. The lesson here is be persistant. Just because the search didn't find my Martha Alice Andersson I was sure she had to be there, and she was. Remember indexes were created by people, and people, even wonderfully gifted genealogists make mistakes.

Well what started this quest this weekend for the boats began with a wonderful gift from Ola Lundström of the Swedish American Center in Karlstad Sweden. I wrote a brief inquiry to him in reference to the Emigrant Popular 2006 for my great great grandfather Johannes Johannesson Tossman and his wife Maria. (the picture below is of Johannes, their daughter Selma, and his wife Maria). They had emigrated in 1904 from Tossberg, Sunne Parish, Varmland, Sweden. And I was trying to find them on the passenger lists, and again to no avail. The Swedish exit papers had them listed as Johannes Forsman and wife Maria. I tried every version of Tossman, Johannesson, Johnson, Forsman I could image. It took a Swedish archivist 5000 miles away to search and find the couple as Johannes and Maria Fossman. And it goes to show sometimes we all need fresh ideas about how to interpret the names we all have. The poor handwriting on the ships lists could definitely be made out to be the letter F; or a very frilly T.

Keep Looking your Swedes are out there, and so are their ships.

1 comment:

  1. it's really a fascinating history. one can see that you should not give up, most can be found, but you may try different ways all the time! And the names...they could change them by their self also...Well,I am also an genealogist and I like to help others find their brick walls, but of course I have one, or several brick walls myself......trying to ask for them and seek every where...someday I hope to find them...Have a nice time! // Regards, Yvonne