Friday, 31 August 2012

Another piece (or two) of the puzzle

At a Swedish family tree website I joined recently, this week they were offering free access to old American population censuses. I took the opportunity to search in the census from 1910 for my grandmother’s two half-siblings Gerda and Gustaf, who emigrated to the States in 1902. (They were both still living there in 1910, but moved back to Sweden a few years later.)

I knew Gerda lived in Chicago and worked as a servant; and in spite of her surname being slightly misinterpreted when transferred from the handwritten records (Ekman read as Elman), I managed to find her (I’m pretty sure) in the household of a physician Otto L Schmidt and family. Otto and his wife (of German descent but both of them born in the US) had three teenage children in 1910, and besides Gerda two more female servants (from Austria), one male servant (from Germany) and a chauffeur whose Colour or Race is given as “mu” (which I take to mean mulatto). The chauffeur’s wife (likwise “mu”) and their two children were also counted as belonging to the Schmidt household.


Gustaf I knew lived in Galeton, Pennsylvania. My first searches on his name gave no result, but after a bit of lateral thinking I managed to find him under the name of “Gust Ekmann” (the first name shortened and an extra n added to the surname). His occupation was “yardman” at the sawmill, and he was boarder to the borough’s tax collector, a Mr Near (and family); together with ten other workers also connected to the sawmill industry.

I’m not sure what a “yardman” did but three of his fellow boarders had the same title. I guess it must have included loading and various outdoors jobs. Two other boarders worked at a kindling factory; no doubt a spin-off business from the sawmill.  And two had the intriguing occupation “fireman/stationary”. At first I thought of firemen as in putting out fires, but it didn’t quite make sense that several people in a rather small community would have had that as sole occupation back in 1910. After snooping around a bit on the internet, I find it more likely that their job was to feed the stationary steam engines at the mill.

There is a lumber museum at Galeton, and I guess the map of their premises gives an idea what it may have looked like back in the days when Gustaf worked there. (Click on the map to visit the museum website.)


I did a similar post at my Greetings from the Past blog (my bi-lingual family history blog) but I decided to put some of my thoughts down here as well. One of the fascinating aspects that is growing on me is that a census like this goes beyond the boundaries of family and shows other social contexts as well.

It makes my head spin to think that behind every one of all those names is a person with a life story of their own. Can’t you just imagine an Upstairs Downstairs kind of story based on that Chicago household; or a pioneer one with timber rafting and competition between sawmills? ;)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Another Day, Another Year


Strange, isn’t it. One morning every year one wakes up to find oneself one year older than the day before.

I had a  good day. One friend took me out to lunch, and others sent postcards or parcels or telephoned or texted or left messages on Facebook. The parcels above were from my friends G & B who came to visit last week; I saved them to open at breakfast today.


It’s nice to be remembered. Thanks.

Birthday quotes:

Thirty was so strange for me. I've really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.
C. S. Lewis

There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know.
Lewis Carroll

You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.
Bob Hope

‘We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,' Pooh answered.
A.A. Milne


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sunday Musings


To walk or to fly, that is the question…

If last weekend I felt that things were moving, now I feel a bit stuck again. Our presumptive buyers (of the House including some of our Stuff) turned out not to be able to offer anywhere near as much as we were hoping for; which means we’re back to… well, not square one, but a few more moves – and months – left before we’ll be ready to put the house up for sale the traditional way (and empty).

No doubt you’ll be hearing more of it…

Meanwhile, this week I’ve been out there again twice, first with an estate agent and then again on my own, by bus, yesterday. I thought I’d look for building drawings from the extension and renovation of the house that my parents did back in ‘92. Didn’t find those, but as usual I found some other stuff instead. Like the drawings of the house they sold in ‘92, and more stamps, and an old pocket watch, and a file full of newspaper cuttings about Sherlock Holmes…

I wish I had access to Sherlock’s brains for figuring out to whom the watch (not working) once belonged, because the monogram on the back does not seem to fit with any initials on the family tree!


Linking this post to Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Macro Monday: Common Brimstone



Inspired by Sandra’s Clouded Sulphur, I decided to post this Common Brimstone for Macro Monday. Photos from “my butterfly park” last week. (The park has another, more boring name officially, but it’s where I go in search of butterflies this time of the year…)

The Swedish name is “citronfjäril” which would translate Lemon Butterfly.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Things Are Moving









Report from Bisy Backson (cf previous post):

Yesterday three guys from the national railway museum came to collect all dad’s railway research stuff from the House. About 70-80 boxes…

This is what the room looks like “empty” – hmmm…


But there IS a difference compared to a year ago.

CIMG1388_study_june 2011

On Tuesday I have an appointment with an estate agent.
On Wednesday friends are coming to stay the night (not in the house, but in my flat).
Still Bisy Backson!

Linking to:

SOOC Sunday

Friday My Town – The Work You Do
(‘cos even if I didn’t pack or carry any boxes myself yesterday, I did over the last year sort through an incredible amount of papers and other stuff, and it’s not over yet)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Bisy Backson


By the look of things, the rest of this week, or even month, is going to be BISY BACKSON time again… Just so you know! (If you don’t remember Backson, click on the link. Or go find a copy of Winnie the Pooh’s Corner, Chapter 5.)





Monday, 13 August 2012

Macro Monday: Thistles





Prickly and soft at the same time…

… for Macro Monday

“Straight out of the camera” shots, no editing.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Saturday Surprise: Mini Meeting


It soon became obvious that the many minis seen in town today must be more than a coincidence!


Typically I had left my camera at home, but fortunately I did remember to bring my mobile phone (cellphone).





(A maxi mini?)




Linking to Straight Out of the Camera Sunday.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Who’s Who?

Click on the tree to check out the original web page in larger size

I got caught up in the family tree again this week (my own, not Donald Duck’s!), trying to sort out who is who… Visit recent posts in my blog Greetings from the Past if you’re interested in details. Or just keep on reading here.

I have quite a large collection now of old family photos from dad’s side of the family from the first half of the 1900s (not to mention my own lifetime). Some are multiple copies of the same photos though. The problem is that whether they were put into albums or frames or just kept in various boxes or envelopes, there are very few notes to tell who is who, or when and where. Add to this that family members often share some similar face features, and that my p.grandmother (born 1900) had eight siblings and half-siblings born between 1866 and 1902… A lot of guesswork involved!

A few years ago, before dad’s memory began to seriously fail him, I sat down with him a couple of times and went through one collection of old photos (which had belonged to one of grandma’s sisters, and which was already in my possession). Those I then put in an album together with the information I had. Which has been helpful. But… (you know there was a But coming, didn’t you?)…

… There is only one photo in which I am positive that both my grandmother’s two older brothers, Carl and Gustaf, who lived on the farm in the late 1920s, appear together. The question is: Who is who? I think even dad was not sure (after all, one of them died before dad was even born) or else I got it wrong when I wrote it down.

Recently at the House I found a portrait of one of them from back in his youth, though. And there was no doubt which brother and approximately when it was taken, because it was a studio portrait stamped Port Allegany, Pa; and it was Gustaf who emigrated and lived nine years in America in his youth.

Gustaf-2    Gustaf Ekman USA-001-240px   Carl E ca 1928

Then when I compared that to photos from the late 1920s… it dawned on me that the man I had taken to be Carl (left) must be Gustaf, and the other way round.

So I have to reboot my brain… and rename some digital photos.

What finally convinced me was the photo below, which I can positively date to after Carl’s death (1928) because in the background is the house that my grandparents built in 1930:


My grandmother Sally is the one in the hat. Her mother Selma in the middle. To the right Sally’s younger brother Nils and his wife /fiancée. Sitting on the ground is their sister Hildur, and her husband /fiancé is the man standing to the left of Sally. Carl Gustaf sitting to the left, and now the only thing bothering me is who is that man bottom right, I don’t think he is family at all! My grandfather was behind the camera, I think.

(Sally, Nils and Hildur all got married in 1930. I may have the dates somewhere but never mind. They were either newly wed or soon to be married when this photo was taken.)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

D for Drottningholm (ABC Wednesday)

Drottningholm Palace. Photo: Norberg Design AB/Dick Norberg.

All photos in this post are from either the Swedish Royal Court’s webpage or Wikimedia Commons.

The Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholms slott) is is one of Sweden's Royal Palaces and the private residence of the present royal family since 1981. It is located in Drottningholm (literally Queen’s islet) on the island Lovön in Mälaren on the outskirts of Stockholm.


Parts of the palace and grounds are open to the public.

Drottningholm is the most well-preserved royal castle built in the 1600s in Sweden and representative of all European architecture for the period.

Drottningholms slott, fasad mot väster med barockträdgården och Vattenparterren, augusti 2011.

Throughout the years the palace has changed and the royal personages who lived here have all left their mark on the palace's interiors – influenced by changes in style and fashion trends.

Interior Drottningholm Palace. Photo: The Royal Court/Alexis Daflos.

Hedvig Eleonora's state bedchamber was the heart of the state reception suite in the 1600s and was created by the country's foremost artists and craftsmen.

File:Drottningholms slott bibliotek 2011.jpg

The Queen’s Library (private room) from 1760

File:Drottningholm porslinsrummet 2011.jpg

The China Room from 1897, an exhibition room.

Since the reign of Johan III's in the late 1500s, there has been a palace garden at Drottningholm.

 Photo: The Royal Court

Photo: The Royal Court

File:Drottningholm lejon slottsteatern.JPG

There is also an 18th century Theatre, still in use.
The Theatre auditorium remains unchanged since its completion in 1766.

File:Drottningholms slottsteater 2011b.jpg

File:Drottningholms slottsteater scen 1966.jpg

Almost all of the equipment is original, and the stage is unusual for having a significantly greater depth than width. The operas are often performed by musicians wearing period costume, and the orchestra performs using period or copies of authentic instruments. Most productions demonstrate some of the possible stage effects using the original equipment.

The Chinese Pavilion (Kina slott) is from 1763-69.
The architecture is essentially rococo. It was intended to have an exotic character, containing Chinese elements which were then the highest fashion ▼

In 1991, UNESCO inscribed Drottningholm on the World Heritage list for the following reason: The ensemble of Drottningholm – palace, theatre, Chinese pavilion and gardens – is the best example of a royal residence built in the 18th century in Sweden and is representative of all European architecture of that period, heir to the influences exerted by the Chateau of Versailles on the construction of royal residences in western, central and northern Europe.

All photos in this post are from either the Swedish Royal Court’s webpage or Wikimedia Commons.

I have visited Drottningholm two or three times in the past but it was a long time ago now. I can’t remember if I was ever inside the castle; but I know I that have been inside the theatre (not attending a performance but on a guided tour) and the Chinese Pavillion.

This post is linked to ABC Wednesday

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