Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sune Bergman & Swedish Handwriting translation

     My grandfather Arthur Jonsson and great grandparents Esther and Helge Jonsson had a number of books written by "Sune Bergman" Apparently a Swedish author and someone they knew on a personal level. It seems Sune would send a book to them once it was published, with a handwritten note inside the cover. I have tried to find more about this author but have had no luck. I have also tried to translate the notes a little bit but I'm having a hard time with the handwriting I think.

     If anyone knows ANYTHING about Sune Bergman, the author of these books, or help for the translation on these notes I may have botched, feel free to let me know! I think I may post some of the pictures on Anbytaforum and see if anything comes up.

   The first book of Sune Bergmans that we have:
Äventyret I Gungstolen translated to  Adventures in The Rocking Chair.

and the note inside the cover.....

I've tried google translate and all I can get is something like:
Esther and Helge, Today as of June 11, 1958, This comes to you by plane from the old country.

   Then I have no idea what that Bruksanoisming word is. after that, I type in the words, and the sentence changes around on translation, and then disappears, like the computer can't make anything of it. so I tried typing in one word at a time, deleting, then another word, deleting, then another word.... tedious, but worked out a little better.....
The book is intended to lie on nightstands. Only five pages need to be read at a time - then that- when so well.
Okay, I got the jist of the first part. but not the last. And this doesn't give a clue as to who Sune is to them, except he probably knew them from the old country.

Next book we have is another copy of Adventures In The Rocking Chair but it's a hard copy. Copyrighted the same year as the other; 1957.

 The text inside the cover is short and upon first translation I got:
  Helge & Esther
With normal cervical accession
                   Well then. I'm going to take a wild guess here and assume that's incorrect.....

  After playing around with the words and trying different letters... I got something that makes much more sense:
Helge & Esther
With usual greetings,

 Ahhhhhh. Ok! Much better. But why were two copies given? I don't have a clue. Maybe Sune wanted the paperback one "on the nightstand" meaning it could get roughed around and the hardcover put away for keeping? I honestly don't know.

NEXT.........    Med Näver Och Glödstift  or in English, With Birch Bark And Glow Plugs

Um, what are "glow plugs"? Am I missing something here?  ....Anyways...... on to the inside cover...

 To my dear friends Helge and Esther from Sune in Aug. 1958
   In memory of your second Sweden trip.

Well that's a tad more helpful.... so I can assume Sune is not family, but a dear friend. But now I want to read the book and see why it's given "in memory of" their trip back to Sweden. I am NOT google translating this whole book. I guess I'll just have to learn Swedish! Ha!

Last book, simple hard cover like the second, is titled:
Nog Går Det Bra   which translated to: Enough, Do Not Hesitate 
If I put each word in alone, I get "Enough can the good." Sooo, I'm going to go with the first one.


  Inside under the title it says: ur min rese dagbok, which translated to: from my travel diary

The inscription says....

With the usual greeting (then a word I can't figure out....) desire for Merry Christmas from all of us in (oh this next word gave me trouble....) Hawk morning? Hawk bog?  Is it the name of a town maybe? 

One other interesting tidbit... the last book, it also has published inside a lot of pictures. The pictures are described as this in the beginning of the book:
    Illustrations are printed in the book directly from linoleum plates which has been cut by the author.

     This is interesting because some of them look familiar. Our family has prints that look very similar, but were done, as we understand it, by my great grandfather Helge. 
      Also, this one in particular stands out....
  My grandfather, Arthur,  made a few woodburning pictures when he was back in Sweden visiting. His cabin is done the same way, same angles and looks very similar. I'll try to post a picture of it. Seeming as how this print is describing Norrbotten, and our family was from Norrbotten, I wonder if they were looking at the same thing when they each made their pictures......

Friday, January 27, 2012

Searching in Michigan

   I've done a lot of research in Michigan, the majority of it in Schoolcraft and Eaton counties. My mother was born in Michigan, so both sides of her family reside there.

 I thought I'd take a post to lay out some of my favorite and most useful sites that have really helped me in my Michigan searches.

If you have searched around Michigan, and have your own favorites to add to this list, feel free to add to it! I'm always looking for more places to dig up dirt. :)

  • Seeking Michigan: Search for photographs, maps, spoken histories, and documents including death certificates, civil war records, naturalizations and articles. (This site has been instrumental on obtaining information on the Smith family. Death certificates have A LOT of information on them.)
  • Family Search: I know this site is not specific to Michigan, but the majority of actual documents I was able to print out came from here. and there was a lot. Death returns, marriage returns, birth returns, censuses..... This is one of my all around favorites.
  •  Michigan Genealogy Trails: Personally, I didn't find a whole lot of information on my own family here, but it's a site I continue to go back to. It's got a lot of photos and history of Schoolcraft. I have found myself getting lost in reading old Manistique newpapers here.....
  • Fairview Cemetery, Manistique, MI: One of the main cemeteries in Manistique. This contains a list of those buried there, where they are buried, and sometimes a little extra.
  • Lakeview Cemetery, Manistique, MI: This is also a main cemetery in Manistique. There is a pdf file on this site, and it contains those buried there, and also their mother's maiden names, which was VERY helpful.
  •  Michigan GenWeb: This site is divided up by county, and was really helpful when I started getting outside Schoolcraft county to find family before they had eventually settled there.
  • Find A Grave:  This is another site that isn't Michigan specific, but that I used often in locating family.
  • Archives of Michigan: There are a whoooolllle lot of places to go from here. It was a little overwhelming at first.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


                                                               My Great Great Granny
   Ida Harriet Smith - b. 5 Sep 1856 d. 5 Aug 1936

I reached a little confusion a while back when I had a lot of documents on my Mother's Maternal Great grandparents, but for the life of me, I could not come up with a maiden name for my mom's great grandma.
    We knew my grandma's father was A.J Smith. We also knew his father was Adoniram Judson Smith. In fact, I had so much on the Smith's I was back to the 1700's. But I could not figure out what Adoniram Judson's wife Ida's maiden name was. Be it Marriage return records, Death returns, cemetery records.... All I got was Smith. It wasn't until a death record when the thought occurred to me.... Is her maiden name also Smith? In Hiawatha, Michigan? This tiny tiny place? I admit it; Thoughts of first cousins marrying each other immediately popped into my brain. (For the record, I always tend to think the worst.....) but, Eww. I was hoping I was wrong.
   Whew! I was.
 I was able to get in touch with a half 3rd cousin who had an article that had been printed in the local newspaper up there about the Smith's. Ahem, excuse me, the "Extraordinary Smiths." (Hey, I'm not bragging, it's what the article said!)  :)  And it was confirmed then by the descendants... they were absolutely positively from separate Smith lines. Well Thank God!!!    ...and then I was embarrassed it didn't dawn on me earlier that her maiden name was probably Smith. Duh. But I digress....

     So here I am now, with my lovely great great grandmother, Ida Harriet Smith, b. 1856. I have found that her parents are Charles Smith, and Mary Reynolds. Charles' parents are Charles Smith and Laura G.(I assume it's a G, the handwriting was unclear) King. And there I stop. I can find nothing on Laura or Charles so far.

      I've reached out and got a response from ANOTHER distant cousin (The genealogy community is wonderful, have I mentioned that?) who happened to be a professional genealogist and is having a tricky time sorting out Ida's Smith line....uh oh. I'm no where near a professional.... how on earth am I going to get anywhere on this? But this cousin informed me they've had a lot of luck finding these Smith's in Google Books. (and have I mentioned yet how much I love Google Books and the gems of info I've found with it? I have to do a separate blog post on that....) I've tried looking for her Smith's with GB, but came back with nothing. I think I'll try some different combinations of info for the searches and see what I get. At least it's confirmed that it's out there.... I just have to dig it up. Wish me luck!!

The picture of Ida above was given to me for my records by a half 3rd cousin I've found in my Smith searchings. He's been a wonderful help when it came to exchanging information and pictures of the Smith family. Thanks Paul!

68 Days until the 1940 Census!

   I saw this little reminder when I signed into Ancestry. 68 Days until the 1940 Census is released.

       This is something I have been waiting for for quite a while. Basically ever since I realized not all old census records are available. It happened after digging and digging for my Swedish Immigrant great grandparents. They came after the 1920 Census, so they appeared in the 1930 Census. I was ecstatic to finally find some new info. I got frustrated when I began to look for them in a 1940 census. That's because there was no 1940 census. Yet.
        That's when I learned that to be available to the public, a census had to reach it's 72nd birthday. 72nd? Seriously? That 2 after the 7 really messed with me as time passed. 2010 rolled around and I got excited when I remembered the 1940 census. I started searching for it until I remembered that 2. I had two more years to wait. I was getting impatient. And what's up with that 2? Annoying for a person who enjoys stalking the dead.

       It turns out, the 72-year rule is not law, but a rule posed by Roy V. Peel, Census Bureau Director, in a letter to Wayne C. Grover, Archivist, on August 26, 1952. (See info here). I read the letter Mr. Peel sent, and it never gives any reason for the arbitrary number 72.
        BUT.... In 1952, life expectancy for any given person was 68.6 years. So with that in mind, if you tack on 4 years, based on life expectancy, everyone who had given their personal information would most likely be dead, and there'd be no danger or threat to privacy in releasing the information.

        Makes sense. I guess.

   So anyways, there's your bit of babble for today. 68 days!  68 days until I find out where my Jonsson grandparents were, what they were doing, and more personal information! I said..... I stalk dead people.......It's fun.

Helge Sigurd Jonsson & Esther Eugenia Stenman

I also cannot fail to mention the hope I have in finding my great grandfather AJ Smith in this census. It will be his last, as he died 5 years later. He left his first wife and married my great grandmother, Joanne Olsen. But I can't find any marriage records for them, and I can't locate him in the 1930 Census. So I am really looking forward to finding him in the 1940 census. It's been easy to locate him when he's married to his first wife. But married to my great grandma? Not so much. He's proved to be pretty elusive after the depression. 

*Once the government hands off the papers, will be working around the clock to scan and enter the data. the way I read it, they would keep everyone updated on where they were in the process through the night/day until it's all in. So get ready! It's almost here!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Surprise! Response from distant Billings cousin

     One thing I love about the genealogy community is the sense of "community". Everyone is always willing to give another researcher a hand. A perpetual pay it forward kind of  group of people. I heart them. <3

     I plan on making a "Family History" wall in our living room. Portraits of people and occasionally places. I've been spending time picking photos, searching for others, and fixing them up in Lightroom so I can get them printed. I had none of print quality from the Billings line. (My mother's biological paternal line).
     So I was on the hunt. I went back to the OP of the digital pictures I had found of some Billings grandparents. I didn't want to be a pest, but I explained my need for portraits, and asked if she possibly had the original size scans she could email me. There's a lot of people on who really "aren't on" anymore. I figured this would be no different, but it was worth a shot! I clicked send and figured that would be the last of it. Some time passed. Nothing new. Forgot about it.

    Sometime after I was looking for a different email in my inbox, so I typed "genealogy" in the inbox search to try and locate it. Low and behold, there was the reply to my Billings' picture request. I saw the little paperclip icon.....there were attachments.... then the excitement just boiled over. My husband had to, like any good husband of course, come see what was wrong with me, and why I was bouncing and making all these strange noises. Possibly he feared his beloved wife had become an epileptic. Maybe I spilled my coffee on the computer and had electrocuted myself? No. None of the above. I had just gotten a huge picture load of dead relatives. And I was very...VERY.... excited.

    This wonderful woman had sent me the original scans of the pictures I had seen. And not only that, but she attached others that I had never seen before and some genealogy of her family to add to my tree.... How grateful I was!!! Panic set in when I thought of how I had missed that email, and only found it among the hundreds because it happened to have the word "genealogy" somewhere in it. I was searching for something else. I had no idea it had arrived... a while ago.....and I made a resolution to clean out my inbox and check my email more often.....

    Some of the pictures she included in that email were awesome. My favorite happened to be.....

A picture of the Billing brothers, sons of Henri Billings (b.17Mar1839/d.1Jun1908), goofing off. 

  It's the little details I love in pictures like this. Things like the pipe, the hat sitting casually on the head, or the sleeves of the dress shirt rolled up... I'm a sucker for old pictures.
   At first I assumed the two were dancing. Then I thought, what peculiar thing are they staging here with two boys dancing, one timing it with his pocket watch and the other two exchanging money? hmmm. 
Ok, So they probably weren't dancing. 
I'm not sure from the picture who's who, but based on the look of their ages, one of them is probably  my great great grandfather, Arthur Billings,  (b.14Mar1867/d.31Dec1926).

         The family of Henri Billings has a colorful history involving many different places, both in the U.S., and in Canada. The email I received speaks of how Henry and his 8 children left Canada, and moved to Manistique, Schoolcraft, MI during the logging boom that took place there in 1887.  He settled in Manistique for a while, where his children were encouraged to become skilled in different trades. My great great grandfather, Arthur became a painter. Henry E a carpenter, Antoine a printer. And Henry Billings Sr himself along with his two sons Onesime and George became bakers. Two of his children were married and stayed in Manistique; Emma in 1889 and Arthur in 1890. Both siblings remained there the remainder of their lives.
         Their father Henry, though, left Manistique with Marguerite, and their children Onesime, Felix, Antoine and Henry, and went back to Granby in Canada around 1894. George did not accompany the family on this move, and chose to remain in Manistique with his brother Arthur.
          At 57 years of age, Henry bought a two story home in Rue Principale. He moved his family into the second story and used the first story to open his own bakery, H Billings Bread & Pastry Co. His sons took part in the family business often making deliveries in the Billings delivery cart. The trade of Baking remained in the Billings family for several generations.

 Above: H. Billings Bread Pastry Co.

I'm so grateful to the researchers that have come down these lines before me, and their willingness to share their research and treasures. There are a few family lines I have that have very little to no information to follow. It's a very hard road, and sometimes takes years to get a tiny tid bit fact that can open a few more doors and move you on to the next little bit. And sometimes that little bit opens the door to a whole wealth of information. but often the former rings truer. So my level of gratitude towards those wonderful family researchers that paved the way first, clearing out all the brush and debris, runs very very high. Thank You!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chuggin' on down the svenska line...

Hej! Min hjärna gör ont från att söka svenska dokument hela dagen!

    I've been spending my time today scouring the messages and conversing with some very nice Swedes on Anbytaforum. A forum for the online magazine RÖTTER. 
     I signed up a year ago, about the time I made a few inquiries on my Jonsson and Stenman lines on  After not receiving any hits in the ancestry forum for a while, and the overwhelming feeling I got trying to search in a Swedish forum, (and, ok, to be honest, I had some awesome finds on some different lines and kind of left my Swedish lines in the dust).... I just forgot about it.  
     Fast forward a year later, and here I am thinking, well, I'm gonna try to google my great grandfather Helge, and see if anything pops up. BING. Oooh, hey look, something came up! Oh wait, that's just my post from a year ago. : /  Meh. I click on my own link anyway. Oooh, hey look, a couple replies! Alright!  I received the following information in response to my Ancestry Query:

It's been awhile since your post so you may have already found this, but:

Helge Sigurd Jonsson b. 13 Dec 1897 in Töre, Nederkalix, Norrbotten, Sweden to Gustaf Jonsson and Emma Ingeborg Lather (?Sather)

The HH 1891 to 1899
Gustaf Jonsson b 28 Jan 1858
Emma Ingeborg Lather/Sather b 19 Mar 1866
(married 7 Feb 1886)
Hulda Dortea b 29 Aug 1887
John Viktor b 23 Jun 1890
Emma Linnea b 15 Oct 1893
Helge Sigurd b 13 Dec 1897
Ingeborg Maria b 4 May 1900

Ester Eugenia Stenman b 25 Feb 1901 in Storön, Nederkalix to Nils Olaf Stenman and Anna Helena Johansson

The HH 1891-1899
Nils Olaf Stenman b 23 Oct 1861
Anna Helena Johansson b 21 Dec 1869
(married 10 Nov 1888)

Niels Albert b 1 Jun 1890
Hildma Helena b 4Jun 1892
Nanny Marie b 23 Oct 1894
Oskar Emanuel b 4 Feb 1897
Hulda Vilhelmina b 2 Apr 1899

And then this from another member:

Helge's father Gustaf Jonsson came from Markaryd parish in southern Sweden. He moved to Nederkalix in 1885.

Gustaf Jonsson b. 28 Jan 1858 is my great-greatgrandfather's cousin. As far as I know, almost everyone on Gustaf's father's side was born in Markaryd. Some have moved to other places later in life, but we still have many relatives in Markaryd.

YAAYYYYYYY, Happy dance! 
      So needless to say, this chipped out a little hole in the brickwall I had come to in my Grandfather's Jonsson line... and yes, of course, sparked an obsessive giddy searching spree.

    This spree led me back to the Anbytaforum. And this time, I wasn't going to let the Swedish language barrier stop me. Go Go Google Translator! Alright, after the first day, it did start to get to me again. But then I found their English discussion section, and all hope was renewed! :) 

     I received swift and knowledgeable responses from some resident Svenskar. Oh God Bless their hearts! And I learned a few very important details when it came to my Swedish Mysteries. 
     One being, things change in Sweden. A lot. Towns, parishes, counties. And not just that. The SURNAMES.... Oh heavens to betsy, the SURNAMES! There was a period of time until about the 1850's that they used a patronymical system. Then, some people did, and some people abandoned it, and just stuck with one single last name. Some soldiers were given new surnames. Some took on names of others in their town but were not related. Before 1900, women never took their husband's last name. Talk about a surprise to me! But, of course, before 1900, sometimes they did. aye aye aye. It seems there was no real conformity to surnames in the 19th century in Sweden. This scares me.
     But the best part about it were the helpful people on that forum who took time to explain all these things to an ignorant Swedish-American. And not only that, but also searched their records, and got me back another generation or two into my Swedish side. I was referred to the Nederkalix forum there (which is...don't Swedish.) and that people there will want to take a peek at all of this, since both my great grandparents, who had emigrated completely separately, but from the same Parish, ended up finding each other in the United States and marrying. So I made my attempts at posting in the Swedish language portion of the forum. Here's to hoping copious amounts of information come to follow! :)

   If you are a Swedish descendant, I highly recommend Anbytaforum. It has an extreme wealth of information and friendly people there to give you a hand. It's free to join, and with Google Translator on your side, you're golden. I'm bummed I didn't tap into it a year ago when I signed up. Well, that'll learn me.

Nederkalix, Sweden - Taken by my great grandfather Helge Jonsson

Welcome to my blog!

Oh I sighed long and hard before I began this blog. I swore I would never have an "online diary", and a lot of the blogs I had come across, the person had some skill they were willing to share with the Internet world, or they were just complaining about everything they don't like, and just used their blog as a way to project their negativity out into the atmosphere, or start Internet arguments. Other's had created blogs to keep their relatives that live across the country in the loop on their growing families. And some have profound and insightful thoughts they blog to give inspiration to others.
  Well, I am not profound, and have no skill to share with all you wonderful people out there.  I really don't feel the need to spill my guts anonymously or get you riled up with a 60 paragraph post on why I hate Obama.  So it was pretty cut and dry.


 Ah, what a hypocrite I am. :D
I toyed around with an idea in my head about having a blog for genealogy. So I can document the process as I go along. It's Original! It's Ingenious! And it wouldn't REALLY be a "Blog" kind of blog! Perfect!
  Yeah. Not so much. 

  Ingenious, sure... for the person who originally thought of the idea. (Turned out it wasn't me. Sad face.) But that was a good thing. It gave me motivation to know I wasn't the only one out there with the idea of blogging genealogy. That maybe it really would be useful.  I was able to snoop around on the hundreds of other genealogy blogs and be inspired. It was great!

    But the main reason I wanted to do this was for family. Close and distant. Whether in miles or lineage. That's what really got me to start this. I know not all the family shares my obsession with genealogy, but I think everyone can admit there's something neat about finding where and who you came from. Not just their names, but who they were and the impacts their lives may have had.

  It started at Nearly 10 years ago. I found my great grandmother's ship manifest. It was over. I was hooked. In the time since, it's been an off and on affair until a year and a half ago. I really began in earnest to document our history. I've learned a lot since then and met a lot of wonderful and kind people in my searches. Distant cousins who find as much joy as you do in exchanging pictures, death certificates, newspaper articles, and stories.  I began to search lines I really never thought much about, and out of that came some of the most exciting discoveries in our familes' histories. My mother invested in an Ancestry account for me so I could keep researching her line. And what an amazing line that has been! Finding those genealogical gems, as I call them, are what feed the genealogy addiction.
    I have much more to learn, but this is a learn on your feet as you go kind of thing.

  All of that brought me to this, my stories of stalking dead people. And for your information, stalking is completely legal if the person is dead.

   I hope you look around and come back often. Leave a note and let me know you were here! I'd love to hear from you - family, friend or stranger. :)