Thursday, May 10, 2007

Roots Connection

Today was really an exciting day for me. I finally - after roughly eight years of e-mailing with this lady - got to meet her. And, what's more, she came to my area in a fairly round-about method too. Plus, she brought three friends with her.

This lady - by name - is Anneli Andersson and she is from Mellerud, Sweden. I've communicated with her for close to eight years now - having been "introduced" to her, in a manner of speaking, by my buddy, Jeff Feldmeier, who lives up in Allen Park, Michigan. Jeff is the friend who organized the impromptu walk two weeks ago this coming Saturday while he was here for a little visit, down to Peale, the ghost town about a little over a mile from my home. I'm finally one up on Jeff now in that I have actually met our correspondent friend, Anneli.

Through Anneli's help as a family tree researcher, she sent me by e-mail, church records from Sweden through which I was able then to trace my grandfather Eld's family back to between 1600 and 1642 or so in Sweden. So meeting her today was quite a thrill for me.

Another very good local friend of mine - who just so happens to have been my high school typing teacher too - and I were on hand this afternoon to meet Anneli and her three cohorts, who have been in this country since April 28th doing family tree research seminars in how to find your ancestors in Sweden. So, before they came here, they had been in Minneapolis, MN; Rock Island, Ill and Jamestown, NY - all three places pretty much notorious for having a very heavy concentration of people whose ancestors came here from Sweden.

Yesterday, a lady who lives in Kane, PA called me as her daughters were going to bring her down here today so she could see and talk to Anneli again too - she'd already met her before when she had taken a trip to Sweden some years back. So those three ladies were also at the local truckstop with my former teacher, Janet Rydberg Larson, to meet the four Swedish travelers and start the process of showing them around this old hills for the next three day!

A member of our church here, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, of Lanse, PA - Joan Larson Fetter and her cousin, Mary Kaye Larson Gurbal had agreed to have the travelers at Joan's house for supper this evening and they also invited the three ladies from Kane to join them. After they finished dining and chit-chatting a while, they called me and I went up to show them how to get back to the truckstop, etc. But before doing that, I took them up to the cemetery for our church, then we stopped at the location where the old Nebo Lutheran Church used to stand (it was struck by lightning 40 years ago this month and burned to the ground in virtually a matter of minutes.) From there, I took them down to my house but pointed out to them where the other Swedish Lutheran Church in Grassflat - Emmanuel Lutheran - had been until about 1952 or 1953 when the members of Emmanuel joined forces with Nebo Lutheran and formed First Lutheran of Grassflat and we all then attended services in the building previously known as Nebo Lutheran Church. After that church burned to the ground, our parish joined up with Gustavus Adolphus of Lanse to form the church we now have which is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lanse.

While we were up at the cemetery, the four visitors branched off and each took a quadrant of the cemetery, walking through, taking photos of various headstones and markers based on names they knew from their research in their particular area from Sweden. I was tagging along with Anneli and it was amazing to watch her as she would spot a name that she recognized as being pertinent to the area of Sweden (Dahlsland) where she is most known for her research. She was like a little kid in a candy store - so excited to see this name or that one -all familiar to her and envisioning that person's family tree in her mind's eye while photographing that person's final resting place. It was quite an interesting experience for me to watch her and how she just "knew" this or that person and their family. Just amazing.

Tomorrow, we will have a luncheon at a small local restaurant - Jim and Charmaine's - with hopefully 20-25 locals who want to meet these people, perhaps learn a bit about their ancestors and those too who aren't of Swedish descent necessarily but who are interested in meeting them to share their knowledge of this little village where I live (Grassflat) and the adjacent villages around here as well as a couple folks who were actually born in the Ghost town of Peale and lived there for a while before it finally gave it's last gasp when the last residents - the "Duddie" Folmar family -moved out of there in 1957 or 1958.

And yes, I did get a few photos today of our "group" and will do that some more tomorrow and Saturday too - especially when I have the group for supper at my house Saturday evening. Just hope I can pull together a meal that turns out A-ok for me. I'm definitely not a gourmet cook and usually can do a fair-to-middling meal but I am not accustomed really to "entertaining" or cooking for other than my family with the exception of "pot luck" dinners at church when I can fix a casserole dish - which is more my speed too -as opposed to a regular meat, potatos, etc., meal which this is going to be. Cross your fingers, shake the rabbits foot and above all, prayer that I don't burn everything, ok?

And also, I will post the photos from this visit at a later date for all of you to see too!

I'm gonna cheat a bit here today and post the Bushisms for a couple days since tomorrow - who knows if I'll even have time enough to make a post, much less read all my "Favorites," check out my e-mail and read the CDT online before I head out to spend some really quality time with someone I've long wanted to meet along with three of her friends - some really special people now part of my life from Sweden!

Thurday, May 10, 2007
"I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein." - Washington, D.C.; May 25, 2004

Friday, May 11, 2007
"I think it's important to bring somebody from outside the system, the judicial system, somebody that hasn't been on the bench and, therefore, there's not a lot of opinions for people to look at." - On the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court; Washington, D.C.; October 4, 2005.

And, for Saturday/Sunday - May 12/13 2007
"Let me put it to you this way, I'm not a revengeful person." -Time Magazine, December 25, 2000.


sognatrice said...

So like fun! Can't wait for photos!

Sylvia said...

Sounds like you are having a nice time with the visitors.

TomCat said...

Sounds like you had an exciting day, Jeni. I've never been into tracing genealogies, but can see that it really must be quite involved!!