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Our 3 week trip involved travel from extreme southern Sweden through to extreme northern Norway and was all about people connections and family history. The totally custom trip was planned over about 6 months without the aid of travel agents or packaged tours. Coordination with relatives and friends was by email and Facebook connections. Travel tickets and hotel bookings were arranged by direct Internet search and by using booking sites. Microsoft OneNote was used to organize the planning information and calendar. We packed light so that we could walk a distance with our stuff in and out of public transport in one go. Gary used 2 medium wheeled suitcases plus a good sized backpack and Grace used a small wheeled suitcase, a purse and a totebag (later changed out for a small backpack). We washed clothes twice on the trip. Two smart phones, a digital camera and an IPad Mini were used for communication, photos and reference on the trip. We informed our bank and credit card companies that charges would come from Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The catalyst for the whole trip was to attend a 3 day Anders Anderson reunion in Tromso Norway. Tromso with a population of 67000 people is known as the gateway to the Arctic and has been known as the Paris of the North. The Anders Anderson reunion for Gary was to connect with the homeland and people of Grandmother Halfrida Sebulonsen, who left for East Lake Lillian Minnesota in 1900 at the age of 13. Many Norwegians had emigrated to Lake Lillian from the Tromso area starting in 1862 - 1864. Also for Gary we traveled to Gagnef Sweden and connected with relatives of Grandfather August Erickson. Many Swedes emigrated from the Gagnef area in Dalarna to Lake Lillian starting in 1869.
The trip for Grace was to visit relatives and follow the notes and photos left by her mother Ida and father Alex Swanson when they visited southern Sweden in 1978.
The numbers on the map are in order of our travels from Oslo to Kungsbacka to Malmo and Lidkoping to Borlange and 15 Ostersund to 16 Trondheim and 18 Bodo to Tromso
Travel to and from Oslo was by Iceland Air with plane change at KEF in Iceland. Grace's cousin Kjell Svensson met us at OSL with his BMW and we rode with him to lunch at Grebbestad on the west coast of Sweden .
We continued via Gothenburg to Kungsbacka where he lives. Grace and I checked into a nearby resort, Gottskär where we stayed 2 nights.
Kjell and his wife Lena picked us up the next day July 4, and took us on driving and walking tours of Gothenburg
This building was used as a market with many food vendors.
The evening meal was back at their home in Kungsbacka.
with their daughter Malin and her friend Julius Cederdahl.
Kjell has a very nice home with a pool and an iMow robot that automatically roams and cuts the lawn.
Kjell, Malin and Julius helped us to set our smart phones to work in Sweden. We had trouble connecting to the phone carrier not knowing that it was important to connect to the carrier before connecting to Wi-Fi. Kjell was very helpful and understood our initial need for orientation in a foreign land. He picked us up Saturday morning July 5 from the Gottskär and took us to the Central train station in Gothenburg where we had arranged to pick up a rental car from Hertz and pay a one way drop charge to return it in Borlange Sweden.
So for the next 8 days we drove a very nice diesel Volvo V40. Driving in Sweden is similar to here with the necessary aid of a GPS. It is expensive to rent a GPS for a rental car so we had downloaded and installed the Scandinavian map set in our own GPS before the trip. Driving on freeways and rural areas is fairly easy but a bit stressful in the old cities where frequently narrow brick streets are not well marked, and unfamiliar street and parking signs compete for your attention. This became easier on succeeding days.
Grace and I drove south to Malmo Sweden which is just east of the big bridge from Copenhagen Denmark. We stayed 3 nights at the Elite HoteI which is located in the old city area near restaurants and tourist shopping. We walked to the Lemon Grass restaurant Saturday evening where a recording by American Pop Artist Nora Jones was playing "Come Away With Me".
On Sunday July 6 we drove out north and east to Svalov and began to visit old churches and cemeteries following the notes and photos left by Grace's parents Ida and Alex Swanson of their 1978 visit to family in Sweden. We walked through cemeteries at churches in Tirup,
This is the kyrka where Grace's maternal Grandmother, Betsy Nilsson Persson was baptized.
Inside the Torrlosa kyrka, we had coffee and cookies with a volunteer host and hostess. While discussing our search for connections to family history and showing a page of Grace's family registry they (and we) were very excited to find that the host had gone to school with Arnie Nilsson and knew where he lived.
So off to Arnie's house and no answer to our knock at the door. After a light lunch at a roadside outdoor fast food,
we went back to his door again and he answered. At the door, Grace showed him a picture from 1978 of 3 people. Arnie exclaimed, "my father and my mother" and Grace said "and my father".
Arnie could not speak English so he called his son Mikael Nilsson and Mikael's daughter Julia to come over to meet us and converse in perfect English with us.
Arnie's wife Gudrun later came home from a day at the beach with family
and served us a light supper out on the deck.
We walked over to the Felestad kyrka
and saw graves of Betsy Perssons sister, Carolina, along with her husband and 3 children. And Arnie's parents.
We drove not far over to the beautiful green and gently rolling land of Mikael's Felestad farm
and to see his 150hp John Deere 6150R tractor.
The tractor hitch supported the tongue of a very large tandem wheeled grain trailer made in Denmark by Alsidig.
His 100 geese were in a pen outside.
The older barns, used for raising 1000 chickens from 1 week to 3 months, were empty and waiting for next batch. His rape fields were almost ready for harvest.
Rape grows very tall with small black seeds in pods. When harvested the seeds are pressed yielding oil. The chaff is mixed in with feed for the animals and adds lots of nutrients for the feed. Also his central heating system was heated by burning large round straw bales
to heat circulating hot water in pipes to the house, drying silos and other farm buildings. The bales were loaded into an outside furnace by a 100 hp JD with a Trima loader on it.
His modern large shed housed grain drying silos with blowers and hot water heat exchangers. One end of the building was used for the freezers and packaging space needed to directly market his chickens. The chickens are butchered and processed away from the farm; then returned for packaging and pricing.
We drove .92 km west to the farm house of Grace's paternal grandmother, Betty Pearson. It was a large very long one level brick house with quarters on the far end that had been used for the manservant and maid; a separate entrance had been closed and inside wall had been removed. Betty came to St Paul MN in 1891 and married Richard Swanson in 1901 in Amery WI.
We drove around by the Tirup church to get to the Munkagarda farm that was just to the north of the Felestad farm and took photos in the same spots that Alex and Ida had stood in 1978.
We said goodbye there and returned to Malmo as Mikael and Julia drove south through the field road back to the house on the Felestad farm.
On Monday July 7 we drove east and south to Skurup and had lunch at a restaurant in the old railroad station.
To Slimminge and to Ville Kyrkas again to view the old cemeteries of relatives that Ida and Alex had been to 36 years earlier. The Slimminge cemetery is the most beautiful that we have ever seen and has small hedges around each family plot with standing monuments and well maintained flowers by 2 college students hired for the summer.
The walkways were neatly raked pea gravel . Families were assessed for this service or could opt to do it themselves. The best looking plots were generally closer to the church. The older and less well maintained or individual plots were farther from the church. The records office for about 5 churches in the area was at the Ville kyrka
where we inquired of Arneta Johanson, the administrator, to find the plot for Vaktaren (ranger) Nils Olsson 1834-1913 and Hustrun (wife)Katarina 1833 - 1903. This is what it looked like in 1978.
She guided us to the location in the Ville church yard and we could not find a monument. It had been removed and was found leaning along the stone fence with other similarly moved monuments.
There were no descendants in the area to pay for plot upkeep so the plot was being reused. Nils had a daughter Maria Nilsson who married Ole Kronbeck; they had Ida who married Alex Swanson; their youngest child was Grace.
Back in Malmo on Monday evening we walked to the Lille Torg, an open square with statues surrounded by old 6-story buildings with outdoor restaurants.
We ate at Victors Restaurant under tents and umbrellas, and heated with infrared heaters on poles.
Tuesday morning July 8 we walked to see the train station before leaving the Malmo area.
Tuesday afternoon we drove from Malmo about 4 hours north and east to Lidköping Sweden on the south side of Lake Vanern.
We stayed 2 nights at the old Stadtshotellet along the Lidan canal separating the
old city from the new .
Grace's third cousin Britt-Marie Wennerholm lives in Källby, a smaller town just to the east. Her and her husband Arnie along with daughter Louise and Elizabeth Svensson (mother of Kjell) met us in his 1959 Desoto and we went to dinner.
After dinner we went with Elizabeth to her apartment for a short visit and then Grace and I walked back to the Stadtshotellet - just a few blocks away.
The next day, Wednesday July 9, Britt-Marie took us on a driving tour to include Husaby Kyrka;
The farmstead where Anders Johan and Anna Greta (Gren) Svensson, Richard Swanson lived. Great grandfather & grandmother and grandfather of Grace Swanson Gauer;
lunch at the Kinnekullegarden Restaurant; at the top of the blooming mountain farm
and to stroll through the Falkangen craft shops at Hallekis.
Back at Britt-Marie's home we copied old family pictures from her mother Brita's album. Many were not identified, but maybe there will be answers in other resources.
Thursday morning we met Arne, Britt-Marie, Louise and Sophia
at Inga's cafe for coffee
before leaving them and Lidköping behind as we headed for Borlange in Dalarna.
As we headed east, we stopped at Gotene where we visited the Gotene Church. This would have been the church of Grace's great-great grandfather Sven Jonsson's baptism in 1814. Father of Anders Johan Svensson.
It is another of the beautiful churches we visited.
We drove East and North about 5 hours to the city of Borlange in the very beautiful Lan of Dalarna.
At Borlange, we stayed 3 nights at the Borlange Scandic hotel as a base to explore the nearby small town of Gagnef and to visit the Ragnar Nyberg family. The area near Gagnef is of interest to Gary because it is where many Swedes emigrated from to settle in Lake Lillian township, Kandiyohi County, MN starting in 1869.
|Page Links to continue the trip|
|on to Borlange 2|
|travel to Tromso 3|
We are so happy and thankful for the friends and relatives that helped to make this a very memorable trip for us.
Gary and Grace Gauer 2014