Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wendesday - Handsome young man

The handsome young man in this photo taken at Stoner Studio, 222 Court Street, Brooklyn have some connection to Sweden. He might be born in Sweden or perhaps his parents are.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Church Record Sunday - Nicolai Seck, where are you?

These last couple of days I have been looking at Estonian church records. My grandmother was born in Estonia so I have been looking into Estonian genealogy a little but now I decided to really focus for a while.

I have some dates and places but I haven't seen the sources so thats where I started.

And the place for me to start since Im doing it online is at Saaga where you can find a lot of sources, like church records. It doen't cost any money to use it but you need to get an account and log in to see the actual church record pages. It is a great resource. Unfortunatly I don't know Estonian. I have been trying to sign up for a beginners class for at least four years but every time it got canceled since there wasn't enough interest. Well, except this year when suddenly they didn't have a teacher.

Be sure to check out Saaga for your Estonian ancestors

Now Saaga has an English version of the page as well which is of great help and a little cheat sheet with translation of the different record titles.

Helpfull cheat sheet

I started to look at my grandmothers fathers siblings who are born in the second half of 1800. First out was August, born 1869 in Kopu according to my notes. Unlucky me, didn't find any birth records for Kopu earliner than 1892. August died as a young child a couple of months before his third birthday in Poltsamaa. Looking at he death records in Poltsamaa, I found him. And the church records are written in German.

August Seck, my great grand uncle 1869 - 1872

Only fifthteen days after the death of August, my great grand aunt Therese Emile Marie was born.

Birth of my great grand aunt Therese Elmile Marie Seck in 1872, Poltsmaa

The third child, Ida, was born in 1874 and yet in another place, Helme.

Birth of my great grand aunt Ida Seck in 1874, Helme.

Then there are two more children, August Ludwig born 1877 and Johann Karl Edmund born 1879. They are said to be born in Rouge but I cant find them. But thier younger sister Alice Charlotte born 1883 I find in Rouge.

The last child, born in 1886 is my great grandfather, Nicolai Eduard and the birth place is supposed to be Polva, and I cant find him there.

Since there were so many different birthplaces I used Google Earth to pin out the places to get a visual view. I marked the places / actions of which I have a source document with yellow dots. White dots are according to the notes I have but where I myself haven't seen a source document. Doing this you could really see the family moving around in a quite big area of Estonia.

Note: födelse is Swedish for birth, död is Swedish for death
One of the nicest thing I found so far was the birth of my second great grandmother, Mari Tedder, born 1840 which gave me two news names to write into my family tree.

I had seen a notice in one of the records that she was born in a place called Woroküll. I couldnt find it so I went and asked Google about it. Google was nice and showed me a page with German names of Estonian places and Woroküll is Vooru. Suddenly, there she was:

Birth of my second great grandmother, Marri Tedder, 1840, Vooru
Now to the title, Nicolai Seck, where are you? My second great grandfather is said to be born 1842 in Tartu. Friday evening I spent hours browsing birth records of different parishes of Tartu looking for Nicolai. It would be so nice to find him and see the names of his parents. In some of the books there was such a nice handwriting and I was thinking "please let him be in this book where it is really easy to read the handwriting". But nope. Haven't found him yet, but he is there, somewhere, waiting to be found, by me or by someone else.

One last thing I what to share in this post. The birth record of my first cousin twice removed, Hilda Ellinor. She was born in 1906 and by then the Estonian records are in Russian with Cyrillic letters. Still they wrote the name in Latin letters as well, making it much easier to find. And I think this record looks just really beautiful.

Birth of Hilda Ellinor in 1906

 I did take a couple of Russian classes a few years ago. I didnt get to study Cyrillic handwriting (only printed letters like in the headlines of the record) but still I am pretty sure sponsor number 1 in the record above says Eduard Seck, my great grand father.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thriller Thursday - The priest who committed suicide

A couple of years ago I moved to Kropp and moving there ofcourse made me curious of the history of that specific area. Who lived there before me, what did they do and how were thier lives? So, I digged into the different churchrecords and I was browsing the books (found online at ArkivDigital, Ancesty and SVAR) and looking at the deathbook I found an intersting note:

Someone had commited suicide on February 5 in 1892 by hanging himself. There was also written that the suicide was commited when not being sane.

Kropp FI:2 page 42

I know during a period of time, if you committed suicide you were not being put to rest in the cemetery and/or there would be a quiet funeral (no church bells). But if you wasn't sane when commiting suicide you could have your grave in the cemetery and so on. I guess that is why that little note was written in the deathbook and I see it often when the cause of death is suicide.

Now this wasn't just anyone who had commited suicide. It happend to be the priest himself, Reinhold Malte Viktor Matthisen. I took a trip to the library who has the newspapers on microfilm to see what I could find. I found articles in both Helsingborgs Dagblad and Öresundposten. First they thought he had died from a stoke due to that he had been not all well lately, but still his death came as a surprise. He had been the priest in Kropp since 1887.

Helsingborgs Dagblad February 6 1892 
Then a couple of days later, they wrote he died from committing suicide. I like reading old articles and I almost do it on a daily basis. There is a huge difference on what those articles contained compared to nowadays. If there was an accident you can often read exactly what kind if injuries and if someone like in this case, committed suicide, it was printed out. Also, in this case with Malte, it is almost like gossip. There were serveral articles in just a couple of days.

Helsingborgs Dagblad February 8 1892

It seems to had been just a normal day. Malte had been in Helsingborg for some errands during the day. Later that night he hung himself.

Malte was born in 1838 Visby, on the beautiful island Gotland outside the east coast of Sweden. His father was the mayor, S I Matthisen and his mother was Oliva Taga Sofia von Lieven.

Visby stadsförsamling C 10

Before Malte came to Kropp, he was in Härnösand. It seems like he had good salary in Härnösand. He had a good economic situation and he and his family lived a good life. Then they came to Kropp and probably got into economic problems. Finally, he didnt see anyway out and killed himself, all this according to the newspaper articles.

Visby, Härnösand and Kropp

In a priestmeeting in 1871 he held the memoryspeech over priests that had past away. He also published "Ny matrikel öfver Hernösands stift" in 1882. The article below describes him as not very "priestlike" but that he was quite popular in the parish.

From Öresundsposten February 6 1892

Malte had a big family. He and his wife Hedda Charlotta Hjerne (b October 18, 1838) got married on November 21 in 1862. They had seven children.

  • Ester Hedda Olivia, born July 27, 1866
  • Ruth Taga Lucia, born November 11, 1867
  • Malte Gabriel, born May 13, 1870
  • Harald Jeaek, born June 1, 1876
  • Svante Johan, born December 21, 1876
  • Dagmar Gustava Teresia, born August 16, 1879
  • Hedvig Elenora, born June 30, 1883

Obituary Helsingborgs Dagblad February 6 1892

It is a sad story, but it doesnt end. Later that year, on Christmas Day, the mother Hedda dies. Cause of death is written as "vattusot" which in modern day would be some kind of oedema.

Kropp FI:2 page 47

Tombstone: Malte and Hedda at Kropp Cemetery

Church in Kropp

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wendesday - Birthday and tradtional cake

This is an unidentified woman at an unidentified place. Guessing it would be her birthday party I think everyone would agree to. Also that the place is somewhere in Sweden, since it seems to be  Swedish flags in the decoration hanging in the ceiling. I also think it is in the south of Sweden (Skåne).

The special cake on the table is a typical cake from the Skåne-area called spettekaka. You make it from egg, sugar and potato flour. And then icing. It has quite special taste, it is sweet and it melts in your mouth just like meringue. Traditionally you make it on a stick that rotates and then you pour the cake batter on the stick. You often see that cake on birthdays and weddings and I love it!

Spettekaka or spiddekaga in Skåneaccent

This Youtubeclip shows how its done.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Funny - The geese on the cemetery

This is a clip from a newspaper, my guess is somewhere between 1950 and 1960. In the picture is the church and cemetery in Kropp. You can also see geese wondering around the tombstone.

Geese on the Kropp cemetery

In the text you can read that even that the goose is popular in the Skåne area (south of Sweden) it is not very proper to have them walk around on the restingplace for the dead. The eat on the flowers mess up the flowerbeds.

So, who do those geese belong to... well, the reverend......