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Monday, March 27, 2017

Swedish Ancestors

Now that I've finished mostly with my major tree pruning, I want to move onto my next area of focus: my Swedish ancestors.

At RootsTech in February, I attended some sessions on Swedish genealogy and using the ArkivDigital website for searching Swedish records.  And now I am armed with a bit more information, I feel comfortable starting to gather records from Swedish sources.

I've also started using Evernote to try to organize my research, keep research logs, and basically just keep me on track.

So, my first steps are to organize the information I have for my Swedish ancestors into Evernote so I have it all in one place and I can start my lists of research questions.  Once I have that organized and questions ready to go, then I'll sign up on ArkivDigital to start gathering records there.

For some of my family members, I already know where in Sweden they came from, Sätila in Västra Götaland or Vetlanda in Jönköping, Sweden.  Others I am not certain, I just know from census records that they were from Sweden so that is going to take a bit more digging so I can figure out where to look in the Swedish records.

Here are my ancestors who I've identified as coming from Sätila in Västra Götaland (direct line ancestors in red text):

Anders Andersson Grann
Born: 20FEB1832 - Died: 26NOV1906
Born & Died in Sweden - did not immigrate

Married to:
Anna Johansdottir
Born: 09SEP1845 - Died: ?
May have immigrated?

Children of Anders Andersson Grann & Anna Johansdottir:
Alfred Grann
Born: ~1861 - Died: ?
May have immigrated?

Anders Grann
Born: ~1884 - Died: ?
May have immigrated?

Anna Maria Grann
Born: 27MAY1882 - Died: 01APR1966
Born in Sweden - Died in Jamestown, NY

Otto Ludvig Grann
Born: 13DEC1887 - Died: ?

Carl Oscar Grann
Born: 30NOV1875 - Died: 28FEB1953
Born in Sweden - Died in Jamestown, NY

Married to:
Mathilda Charlotte Svenson (Swanson?)
Born: 02AUG1874 - Died: 03JUN1938
Born in Sweden - Died in Jamestown, NY

Children of Carl Oscar Grann & Mathilda Charlotte Svenson:
Ivar (Evar)(Sven) Grann
Born: 03JUL1897 - Died: 28FEB1947
Born in Sweden - Died in Cleveland, OH

Carl Hjalmer Grann
Born: 19MAY1899 - Died: 07JUL1972
Born in Sweden - Died in Jamestown, NY

Axel Elof Grann
Born: 13MAR1901 - Died: 04MAR1972
Born & Died in New York (family immigrated before he was born)

Others I am fairly certain came from Vetlanda in Jönköping, Sweden.  These ancestors are:

Sven Peterson Rask
Born:15SEP1831 - Died: 10OCT1918
Born Vetlanda, Sweden - Died in Warren County, PA

Gustava Carolina Stark
26NOV1827 - 20OCT1905
Born Vetlanda, Sweden - Died in Warren County, PA

Children of Sven Peterson Rask & Gustava Carolina Stark:
Mathilda Christina Rask
Born: 03APR1859 - Died: 15FEB1939
Born Vetlanda, Sweden - Died in Warren County, PA

Carl Augustus Rask
Born: 10DEC1860 - Died: Before 1939
Born Vetlanda, Sweden - Died in Warren County, PA

John Sven Rask
Born: 22OCT1862 - Died: 02OCT1948
Born Vetlanda, Sweden - Died in Los Angeles, CA

Maria Sophia Rask
Born: 22FEB1867 - Died: 13MAR1945

Born Vetlanda, Sweden - Died in Warren County, PA

Anna Lovisa Rask
Born: 19MAR1865 - Died: 28APR1939
Born Vetlanda, Sweden - Died in Warren County, PA

Married to:
Charles L Ecklund
Born: 25SEP1858 - Died: 26JUN1918
Born in Sweden (unknown county) - Died in Warren County, PA

Parents of Charles L. Ecklund:  Nels S. Ecklund & Almask from Sweden (unknown county)

So, I have a couple areas that I know to look at and a few family lines so this should probably keep me busy for a little while.

If any of these folks above are also your ancestors, I would love to hear from you.  I am interested in chatting with cousins who also like genealogy.  :)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Tree Pruning

It's Family Tree pruning time!

It's a task I've been putting off for FAR too long.  I've known for a while that my Ancestry tree has a LOT of unconfirmed branches.  Since I've learned more over the past few years I've discovered I need to prune that unconfirmed information out and add it back in again if I can confirm with sources.

This is mostly the result of being "young and silly" when I first joined Ancestry and you get so excited with the little green leaves and other member's trees that you go a little...crazy.
And that craziness has led me to where I currently am.

So, I didn't want to completely lose all of the work I have done so I made a GEDCOM copy of the tree I had and saved that as a private tree (I don't want others copying off that tree since it's not confirmed - it's more my giant tree of hints now).  And I'm seriously pruning back my public Ancestry tree to those things I have some sort of sources for.

It's been a big pain in the rear (because I had a TON of branches that I couldn't confirm a link to) but doing this will give me a much cleaner base to run off of and I can use the private tree to help me with hints to hopefully find the source documentation to make the tree grow again.  :)

So, a few tips for new genealogists just starting out:

  • Think before adding to your tree (I know this seems basic - but sometimes we get a little too excited and we need to slow down and really think if we just need to make note of a source to investigate further or confirm some other way to make sure they are a relation before adding to the tree)
  • Remember that the little green leaves (or the hint features of your chosen family tree software/website) are HINTS.  They might have nothing to do with your ancestor.  Use them as a jumping off point for further research.
  • Download a copy of the documents to your computer at home (don't just have the online link) because if you drop your subscription you might not be able to view that original document again until you subscribe again and that can be frustrating.  Plus, crazy things happen and the website might go down or out of business and you want to have copies of these documents.
  • Other member trees - my personal belief now is to NOT add to your tree from other member's trees.  I will use them on occasion as hints to use if I am looking for sources for my ancestors but adding to my tree from other trees made my tree into the mess it became (duplications, unconfirmed info, misspellings, and just plain wrong info).
Good luck and enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2017

RootsTech 2017!

Goal #1 for 2017 - Stay out of the hospital (they're starting to recognize me there, that's not good)
Goal #2 for 2017 - more family history research & blogging about it

I had the opportunity this year to attend RootsTech in Salt Lake City, which was such an awesome experience!

I won a free pass to RootsTech which got me off my butt and travelling to SLC.  Thank you Shannon at the Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian blog!

I had such a great time, was so inspired, and learned so much it's unbelievable that happened all in one place.

There were great general sessions including an incredibly moving speech from LeVar Burton.  Seriously, by the end of the speech everyone was crying.  Everyone.  It was beautiful and moving!

I attended a session on starting Scandinavian genealogy and did a hands on workshop with ArkivDigital.  I feel much more comfortable with diving into some of my Swedish ancestry now (I actually looked up my first household record for one of my ancestors).

There were so many great sessions I attended but I'm also really glad I attended the "100 Days to Better Family History" session so I could take all of the energy from the conference and make an organized plan.

RootsTech Selfie!

RootsTech Exhibition Hall

So, now I'm all motivated and one of my top goals is to regularly blog about what I'm doing with my family history research!  Stay tuned!

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Weekly Blog Posts!

While driving to work this morning listening to a new podcast, I had an thought for an interesting blog serial I could focus on.

I know I have totally not been posting like I had wanted this year.  Honestly 2016 has not been a particularly fantastic year for me, I won’t bore you with all the details but let’s say the hospital staff know me a bit too well.  So, I haven’t focused on posting or on doing ancestry research this year.

But, back to my idea!  So, this morning I was listening to a new (to me) podcast called Medieval Death TripIt sounds more ominous than it is.  It is a literary focused podcast examining various excerpts from medieval primary sources along with commentary.  I was listening to the prologue this morning where the author of that podcast (author, host – what is the correct term for that?) said he was inspired by the book, Wisconsin DeathTrip.  That book is a non-fiction work published in 1973 that is based on a collection of late 19th century articles, photographs, narrations from Wisconsin – most of them kind of “news of the weird” but as a collection highlight the lives, thoughts, fears, etc. of the people living at that time.  I haven’t read this book, but I think I’m going to because that sounds fascinating.

So, after being inspired by a podcast inspired by a book, I thought of a weekly blog serial taking the ideas of using print media from the various locations and times of my ancestors to flesh out their lives. 

I LOVE looking at old newspapers!  While a great place to find a wealth of information in your genealogical research, it also is a unique glimpse into the lives of the people in that region and time.  Often our research takes us to the time before internet and computers, before Skype and email, and usually before TV or telephones or radio.  Local newspapers were the lifeblood of information.  It’s how you learned what was going on in your community, your state, your country and the world.  Not only are their articles about the main events happening, but also you find very mundane articles about who is having dinner with who. 

So, my plan is to have a weekly post called Old News - New Stories highlighting an article, excerpt, advertisement, photograph, etc. from a publication which is local to one of my ancestors during their time.  So, hopefully you will find it interesting and perhaps inspire some of your own research into the lives and times to help bring your ancestors to life (figuratively speaking).

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Colorful Ancestry

I figured I'd join the genealogy bandwagon and do my color chart based on states/countries that my ancestors came from for the last 5 generations.

It is a pretty neat way to visualize this information and see where those patterns are and how families have moved.

I also have my big question marks because my paternal great-grandfather was adopted.  We are pretty sure he was born in OH, but I should probably put a question mark there as well.

Five Generation Chart - Birth States

I also then created a chart based on Counties to see how much things changed.  I actually expected more change than I saw, which surprised me.  I know if I expanded out a few generations that would certainly change.  But this chart is a bit more detailed.

Five Generations - Birth Counties

Where I do see quite a bit of changes is when I changed the chart to show the counties where folks died.

Five Generations - Death Counties

So, these color charts are fun but also give you a quick visual aide with some useful information at a glance.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Hannah Bryan (1770 - 1841)

Since I voted today in a Primary election, I figured I'd start my Tombstone Tuesday posts with this one because it was one that lead me to my Presidential relation, President Lincoln.

New grave marker for Hannah Bryan
Obviously, this grave marker isn't from 1841.  I'm not certain when this one was installed but according to Find A Grave their original stones were trodden on by cows and so their ancestors replaced them.
Photo of original headstone for Hannah McDaniel
Hannah is the daughter of Benjamin Bryan and Lydia Lincoln (Lydia was the sister of Abraham Lincoln - the grandfather of the President of the same name).  So, through Hannah, President Lincoln is my 2nd cousin 6x removed.  Which I find pretty cool.

But, besides that fact, I find that the life of Henry and Hannah very interesting.  One of my goals this year is to trace more of their life.  They were both born in Virginia and Henry fought during the Revolutionary War (it's also the anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse - which Henry participated in and his company stayed behind to help with the wounded).
They were married after the war and lived for a while in an area of Virginia which is now West Virginia before moving up to Ohio around 1810.  The Gallia County Genealogical Society lists Henry as one of the First Families since they were living there before 1821.

I actually got to visit this family cemetery a few years ago when we were travelling to a friends wedding up in Michigan.  We just happened to pass through Gallia county and the name rang a bell and so we stopped back through on the way back home which was really kind of cool (I didn't realize it at the time but my great-uncle still lives in Galliopolis).

We also quickly stopped by the library and found a folder/book full of genealogical research someone had done on this family that we were able to scan - I'm still going through all of that information!  Make sure to stop by libraries in the areas where your ancestors have lived because you never know what might be squirreled away in archives or in their genealogical sections.

McDaniel's Crossroads - Walnut Township, Ohio