Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Tombstone inventory in Sweden

There is a tombstone inventory going on in Sweden. The inventory database is hosted by the Swedish Genealogy Society (Sveriges släktforskarförbund) and it is free.

To look at it, head to http://www.genealogi.se/gravproj/Gravsoklist.php It is all in Swedish.

Either you can do a search on a name, Förnamn = First name and Efternamn = Surname and you have the choices of

  • börjar med - begins with
  • innehåller - contains
  • innehåller inte - does not contain
  • exakt - exact

You can do a search on a birthdate (Födelsedatum) or death date (Dödsdatum). The format to use is YYYYMMDD. Keep in mind that not always are the whole date written on the stone. You have a couple of choices here as well

  • exakt - exact
  • innehåller - contains
  • innehåller inte - does not contain
  • börjar med - begins with
  • mellan - between
And then you have the smaller than, smaller or equal, larger than and larger or equal signs.

The inventory started many years ago and was collected in another database. There wasn't as many searchcriterias and pictures could not be attached. If you wanted a picture of the stone you had found in the database you had to send for it.

All the old posts from the old database are being typed in (manually) into the new one. Also new posts are being typed in. I am working on Kropp Cemetery (Län: Skåne, Kommun: Helsingborg) where there was an inventory in the early 90s. In the new database I am attaching a photo, if there is any and to most of the entries I have taken a new picture as well, and the record from the old inventory. I am also adding what kind of material the stone is made of, what shape and size.

Right now there are 107 208 tombstones in the database containing 238 961 names. New records are added everyday. The good thing with this database is that at some cemeteries they dont remove the stones even if the right to the grave has exceeded. Perhaps they put them in a special spot or sometimes you will see old stones integrated in the walls surrounding the cemetery. Those stones you probably wont find in any official records but you will find then in the inventory database.

If you know exactly where to search for you can use the Län - County, Kommun - Municipality and then you will see the cemeteries in the list in Begravningsplats.

For example:
I choose Län:  Skåne län, Kommun: Helsingborg and then I can pick any of the cemeteries in the list.

And if you look closely, meanwhile I have written this and since I took the first sceenshot there are now +30 tombstones and +47 new names in the database, so, it is growing.

Hope you can find this database of some use if you have Swedish ancestors.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Motivation Monday - My goals for June

Usually for my genealogy and family history research I have no motivation problems.. it is all the other things that needs to be done.. fixing in the garden, clean up the house, grocery shopping, doing laundry and of course work - nah,  just kidding, I have a bit of a hard time to focus on research if the house is a mess...

But for June I am going to try something different, I am going to put up some goals. I usually take a look at the trees Im researching and then pick something I find interesting. Or if I am bored with my own research I pick a headstone and try to find out as much as possible or try to help someone with questions on some genealogy forum.

So, June, here are my goals:

1) Register the remaining headstones at http://www.genealogi.se/gravproj/Gravsoklist.php for Kropp cemetery. I signed up as a volunteer to do this and I have done a lot but now I feel I need to finish it.
Deadline: June 16 (probably 5 hours of work)

2) Write minimum two blogposts a week. At least one should be about my Verno-side of the family and at least one about my Seck-side. Those are the sides of the family where I don't have a lot of information and I need to focus. My Seck and Verno side are right now (four generations back) in Estonia and Russia.
Deadline: June 30 (probably 20 hours of work, including research)

3) Order a DNA test. I am so curious about the possibility to get a DNA test for genealogy purposes. I understand the basics but as soon as I try to get a deeper understanding I give up. I am thinking that if I get a test done it will be easier to understand if I have the real result, letters and numbers infront of me.
Deadline: June 30 (30 minutes of work)

4) I also need to finally get the muster rolls of Andrew Richardson from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Andrew Richardson was my great granduncle who emigrated from Sweden to the US and for some reason ended up in the Spanish-American war.
Deadline: June 30 (15 minutes of work)

Those things are what needs to be done. Besides that, as much research as I feel like :) :)

Somehow connected to my family.. don't know who, where or when

Monday, May 20, 2013

Maritime Monday - Grandfather Erik Kvist part 1

My grandfather Erik Kvist was the oldest from eight siblings. He was born April 15 1900 in Bjuv. When he was 15 he became a ship's boy in Karlskrona. It was a tough time. The older boys were mean to the younger ones.

I have found an old article from 1889 where a boy sent a letter to the Swedish Crownprince at the time, Oscar Bermadotte,  describing how bad the younger boys were treated. One day the prince shows up at the ship and maybe it got better for a while.

Postcard of Jarramas

My grandfather was at the ship Jarramas. There is a story about how my greatgrandmother Maria made a little secret pocket in my grandfathers jacket where he could hide his money (the older boys stole the money from the younger ones). So, when they couldnt find any money on him they held him upsidedown and the coins fell out and he got beaten up for hidning his money.

My grandfather Erik Kvist as a shipboy  on Jarramas

From Jarramas 1919 - SVT (no sound)

In 1919 my grandfather was at the armourship called Dristigheten. On February 15, 1919 he ran away and stayed with his uncle August Liljedahl in Denmark. There was a small notice sent out on March 4 1919 to all police stations in Sweden. It has a description of how he looked like: Dark hair, greygreen eyes, pale skin and a big nose. On his right arm he had a rose tattoo and on his left arm he had his name. He also had a scar on one of his fingers.

While he was there his aunt and uncle had a child and my grandfather is listed as one of the sponsors and the child was named Karl Erik Martin Liljedahl.

Eventually Erik was found (or if he did return by himself, I dont know) on February 14 1920. This notice is also sent out to all police stations, that he has returned. The penalty was two more years and an extra year for the year he had been gone.

In 1924 he graduated as a mechanical engineer. There were good opportunites for a military career but my grandfather choosed to work on cargo vessels.          

In 1930 he started to work at the shipping company Transmarin. By that time he had met my grandmother Lilly, they were married, lived in Helsingborg and had three children.

Erik Martinus Kvist with siblings, parents and grandparents

To be continued..

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sibling Saturday - Verno siblings part 1 - Sofie Verno

The Verno siblings are my great-grandaunts (Helena, Valentina, Maria), uncles (Voldomar, Pavel) and my great-grandmother Julia. My grandmother was born in Estonia but the generation before her seems to come from a part that today belongs to Russia. I don't know very much about that part of the family and that makes it so much more interesting. Also, mainly all information is in Estonian and Russian, two languages I don't know and that ofcourse makes it a little (well, much to be honest) harder to find information and takes a lot more time. On the other hand, great pleasure everytime a tiny bit in the puzzle is solved.

Verno siblings, Julie, Voldemar, Helena, Valenrina, Maria, Pavel and Sonja

Sonja Verno was my greatgrandaunt. Sonja (or Sofie as she was known as in the US where she immigrated) was born December 18, 1896 in in Pskov (Псков), today in Russia. The Estonian name is Pihkva. She was the daugther of August Verno and Anna Lindenberg, both of them born in Russia.

Sofie Verno (aka Sonja)
According to a document from 1920s she was an Estonian citizen and she was an actress (näitleja). Perhaps that is how she met her husband who was in the same businesses, Leo Oeberg, an actor. They got married in Tallinn May 1, 1921.

In Estonia Sofie was an actress

At my grandmothers christening in 1922 in Tallinn Sofie and her brother Voldemar were sponsors so even if I don't know much about them they seem to have been close.

Sofie and Leo arrived with USAT General W C Langfitt in New Orleans, April 6 1950. They settled in San Francisco, California where Sofie worked as a dressmaker.

In 1956, a year after her husband Leo died, she became a US citizen. She lived at 400 Pierce Street.

400 Pierce Street in 2011 (Google maps)
Sofie died October 31 in 1961. Most of the information about places and dates I got from two different  documents, her funeral record (found at ancestry.com) and her petition for naturalization (at Familysearch.org). Those records are  is really a great resources, telling place and date of birth and death, parents names and birthplaces, occupation, when, where and how she came to the US and martial status. In the petition you can read that Sofie had eye color grey, brown hair, was 5 feet and 3 inches tall and weighed 136 pounds  (about 160 cm and 75 kg).

Part of funeral record

The funeral record also says the funeral was November 2 1961. She and her husband Leo are both buried at the Serbian Cemetery in San Francisco. The Museum of Russian Culture, San Francisco have among other things a picture of the headstone and I got permission to use their picture in my blog.

Leo and Sofie Oeberg.
Photo is used by permission from Museum of Russian Culture in San Francisco

Sofie and Leo didn't have any children.

Sofie Verno timeline

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - The old Evanoff watch

In our home we have this beautiful grandfather clock. It has been in the family for a long time and I wanted to know more about where it came from and who made it. At the clock-face it is written N Evanoff, Båstad. That is the watchmaker Nils Evanoff who lived in Båstad.

Made by watchmaker Nils Evanoff in Båstad
Nils was born in Hjärnarp December 18, 1788. In 1812 he married Elna Nilsdotter, born November 2 1779. In 1827 they moved to Båstad. Nils and his brother Paul was in the Napoleon war. In the battle at Dennewitz Nils horse got shot and his brother Paul lost his arm. 1818 he left the army. According to his obituary he was a self-taught watchmaker and did make good money. Unfortunalty he got ill and was poor when he died. His house was also burned down in the fire in Båstad on June 9 in 1870.

From Blekingeposten June 14 1870, the fire in Båstad

Obituary Nils Evanoff (spelled Ewanoff in this article) from
Wernamo Tidning February 23 in 1877

About the clock. It is very nice decorated. There is a year, 1819 painted on it and two initials: NP and IN. Even if Nils left the army in 1818 and the fact that his first made watches had only one pointer like this one has I have my doubts that 1819 would be the year this clock was made. It would be awesome since the watch still works.

Looks like a crown on top

NP and IN

NP and IN. I have been looking backwards in the family tree and I have found Nils Pehrsson and Inger Nilsdotter and that matches from what branch I think it orgins from as well. It seems like Nils and Inger had quite a big place. Nils was born on August 24, 1821 and Inger April 16, 1819. They were both born in Förslöv. Maybe the clock was an engagement gift (with Ingers birth year painted on it), a wedding gift or some anniversary gift. I have seen a couple of watches made by Nils Evanoff but not with that many paintings and decorations on them and I havent been able to find out how big his productions was.

Beautiful painting with swans

I love it, I think it is beautiful and amazing that it still works, more than 100 years old. It has a peaceful tick-tack sound as well.

The clock

Additional infromation about Evanoff and his watches (in Swedish):

Information about Nils Evanoff from Bjäre Släktring:

Article in Helsingborgs Dagblad about watchmakers in Båstad (in Swedish): http://hd.se/bastad/2013/01/09/klockorna-visar-pa-bastads/

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - Johanna Ahlström

I was looking for a particular Johanna when I found this girl. Her name is Johanna Ahlström and was born May 1 1844 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Her father, Petter Ahlström, was born 1799 in Helsingör, Denmark and her mother, Boel Persdotter was born October 14 in Frillestad, Sweden.

Johanna Ahlström birth May 1 1844
(Helsingborgs stadsförsamling (Maria) CI:7 (1826-1846) page 649

Johanna and her parents and three brothers Nils (b 1842), Johannes (b 1847) and Carl (b 1849) lives in Helsingborg Nr 294. Sometime between 1847 and 1852 the priest write crippled next to Petters name. January 8 in 1853 he dies from typhus, 53 years old. Later that year, September 23, Johannas brother Nils dies, eleven years old from tuberculosis. In 1855, Carl dies, five years old. Cause of death: measles.

Ahlström family: Three deaths between 1853 - 1855
Helsingborgs stadsförsamling (Maria) AI:42 (1852-1855) page 794

The family is now Boel and her two children Johanna and Johannes. In 1858, fourteen years old, Johanna is sentenced to physical punishment to be executed by her mother. Reason: theft.

Note about theft.
Helsingborgs stadsförsamling (Maria) AI:43 (1855-1858) page 89

When Johanna is 20, she gives birth to a daughter, Ida Mathilda, born 1864 out of wedlock. On the row of Johanna the priest now has written "ignorant".

Johanna gives birth to Johan (out of wedlock as well) in November 1866. Johan dies a month later, December 1866 from syphilis.

A year later, November 1867, Johanna is betrothed to Magnus Nilsson Walt and they have a son, Johan Albert. Johan Albert dies only a couple of weeks old.

Johanna and Magnus get married on December 30, 1867.

Johanna and with three of her children, where two of them dies as infants.
Helsingborgs stadsförsamling (Maria) AI:52 (1866-1869) Bild 288 / sid 477

In 1871 they have thier daughter Selma Augusta and in 1872 another daughter, Anna Christina. Anna dies from scarlet fever only a couple of weeks before her fifth birthday.

Johanna dies February 2, 1922 in Helsingborg (Maria) from pneumonia. Magnus dies on December 30, 1923, thier 56th wedding anniversary.

Johanna Ahlström wasn't the Johanna I was looking for. Still, to be sure I had to follow her from her birth and until 1870s and reading the notes about her and her father and how she lost siblings and children I just wanted to share a tiny piece of her life.