Saturday, April 13, 2013

Well its been too long since I have written here and a lot has happened.  Last September I traveled to the Homeland with my Aunt and cousin.  The experience was amazing, but one should always be cautioned when traveling with non-genealogists, they will cramp your style a bit.

Those of you with spouses who do not do genealogy certainly feel this pain. To have to drive past
an archive, or a cemetery or a church where you ancestors walked, is difficult for me.  To tour the castle in the same building as the regional Archives at Vadstena was more than difficult.  To have been able to enter those doors for just a few hours, and hold the probate records of my Wetterström ancestors.  I have vowed to return to Sweden either alone or with another genealogist friend who has relatives in the same area.

 The trip was not a complete a genealogical wasteland though. I did arrange a tour of the iron smelting plant where my great grandfather Enoch Mattson worked as a young man.  We were able to see the living quarters that he would have used and how manual the work would have been.  The Österbyburk forge is open for tours along with the manor house and a workers apartment.  Time stood still as we wandered the halls. Our guide was wonderful older man who helped me understand the life Enoch choose to leave.  Work at the forge was hard and difficult.  The rooms are still black with the furnace's soot.  They made a high grade iron some of the purest in the world at this forge. Following our trip through the forge and manner we drove to the town of Östhammar where I had made arrangements with the local historical group to tour the churches of Film, Börstil and Östhammer.  Jön was to be our guide, he spoke both Swedish and English and he had a surprise in store for me. When Jön opened the door to the tourist bureau, he introduced me to my great grandfather Enoch's great nephews: Yngve and Torsten. 

In addition to meeting Yngve and Torsten, we met up with a fellow genealogist, Lotta that shares this family line.  We had a lovely afternoon touring the house where Enock and Yngve and Torstens grandmothers lived as children. Yngve took us to the grave of his parents, and Torsten showed us where his mother was buried and his grandparents Sarah and Matts Forsberg were buried, but there was no stone to mark the grave.  It was an amazing day. It is why we do genealogy isn't it?  To feel part of a bigger family that is ourselves.  To belong to a community beyond what we know, in someways makes me feel attached to the place where your ancestors came from.

A thought to leave with, genealogist should always share. We do not own the facts and when you share the information or the knowlege you have worked so hard to obtain, then the knowledge grows and it has life.  If we keep the information and the knowledge to ourself and we never share it, it will wither and die like an unloved plant.  Knowledge and information shouldn't have an expiration date.  And in my experience when you share what you know other's will share and it will expand what you know even further.

Happy Ancestor hunting.


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