Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Forgotten" Posts

Remember back in May, how excited I was because there were going to be four people, all geneologists, from Sweden visiting this country and they were planning to stop by this area so I'd have a chance to meet one of the foursome in particular, the lady who had helped me to research one side of my mother's family tree back in time in Sweden.

I had promised then -after their visit - that as soon as I got the photos taken developed, I would post them and a bit of a story about their visit on my blog.

Well, you know that old adage ""The best laid plans of mice and men..." Yeah, well I got the photos developed and then, just plain forgot that I hadn't done the post about their visit. So, to use yet another of those old adages (Yes, you know by now I am quite fond of "old adages" aren't I?), "Better late than never" - so here's my long-delayed post about the visit of the Swedes.

The group had arrived in New York City on April 28th and from there, had traveled to Rock Island, Illinois, then on to Minneapolis, Minnesota and on May 9th, had made their way to Jamestown, New York. These three places all known to have had a heavy concentration of folks with Swedish ancestry. In each of these cities, they had done seminars where they explained how to go about searching one's roots in Sweden along with showing those who attended these meetings the software "Genline" which has virtually all (or almost all) old Swedish church records by which one can find just about any person who left Sweden for points beyond.

After completing their seminar in Jamestown, the plan was they would then drive down to meet me and a very good friend of mine - my former high school typing teacher -Mrs. Janet Rydberg Larson. They would be in our area from Thursday, May 9th until Sunday morning, May 12th, when they would return to New York for their flight back to Sweden on May 13th.

Janet and I had tried to make some arrangements to entertain the folks during their visit here. I had set it up that a lady from our church and her cousin would have them for dinner at her home Thursday evening. Friday at noon, we planned to have a little luncheon meeting at a local restaurant where anyone interested in learning anything about their Swedish ancestry could attend, meet the group and view the Genline data. Saturday, we had planned to take them down to see the local ghost town of Peale, which the lady I've been communicating with for the past eight years has heard so much about.

The day before they arrived, I received a phone call from a lady up in Kane, PA inquiring about the impending visit. She, it turns out, had also been communicating with Anneli Andersson, the same lady I wrote to, and Anneli had given her my name, my phone number as a contact to find out when and where they would be down in this area.

Julia, the lady from Kane (whose surname unfortunately, I don't recall) said she wanted to meet Anneli and the other three of her traveling companions so I invited her to come down on Friday to join us at the luncheon. However, her daughters were going to bring her here and the one daughter had work that day, so she decided instead they would come here on Thursday and meet Anneli and company when they arrived at the motel here in Kylertown.

The information I had received from Anneli Wednesday said they planned to arrive at Kylertown around 3 p.m. Thursday, so about 2:30, I took my little granddaughter with me and headed up to Kylertown to wait for them to show up. I had no idea what type of vehicle they were driving, nor did I know what any of these people even looked like as no photos had been exchanged.
This is my granddaughter, Maya, sitting on one of the parking barriers in front of the motel at Kylertown, as we waited for the group to arrive from Jamestown.

As it turned out, they had a little later start than anticipated, so they didn't get here until about 4:30 p.m. But, Julia and her two daughters arrived about 3:30 at the motel, along with Janet and the five of us got a little acquainted while we waited. Maya, bless her little heart, managed to entertain herself while we visited outside (in the hot sun too, I might add) by playing her own little game of naming and claiming each parking spot. Each parking spot is marked with the same number on it as the room number and Maya is fascinated by numbers. So she started at one end of the motel parking area by looking at the painted number, naming the number, then jumping on it and finally, by sitting on it. Hey - it kept her happy and occupied so what the heck!

While we waited, the lady from church - Joan Larson Fetter -and her cousin, Mary Kay Larson Gurbal drove up to get an idea on what time the Swedes would be coming to her house for dinner. I introduced Joan and Mary Kaye to the three ladies from Kane -Julia and her two daughters - and Joan very graciously extended an invitation to them to join them all at her home for supper too. This move on Joan's part didn't surprise me at all as she is a very friendly, very generous lady.

Finally, about 4:30, our Swedish visitors arrived. Introductions were made to them of who each of us and vise versa.
Here then are the ladies from Sweden along with the three from Kane and Janet Larson. In the background, is Maya, my granddaughter. (My apologies in that I don't remember the names of Julia (from Kane)'s daughters, nor do I recall the surnames of the two ladies from Sweden or the man in the group (not shown here as he was taking photographs of the occasion too.) From left to right, here are:
Anneli Andersson of Melerud, Sweden, Anna Lina (Sweden, surname unknown), Janet Rydberg Larson of Kylertown, PA; Julia, from Kane and her older daughter, (the other daughter was also taking pictures) and Charlotte, from Sweden.

After a little conversation at the motel and giving them time to get their rooms and their luggage carried in, I then led the group down to Joan's house for supper. After they finished their meal, time permitting, I was to come up and drive them around the village and point out a few items of interest to them. We made a tour through our church cemetery during which time, each of the Swedish researchers selected a quadrant of the cemetery and working very quickly, did a walk through, taking photos of headstones with names they recognized from their own particular region in Sweden. (Each of these researchers works on family tree data from a particular region of Sweden too I must add.) I walked through a portion of the cemetery in what we refer to as the "old section" as most of the graves there are from the earliest days of the town, the church, etc. It amazed me to watch her as she would spy a stone and tell me "Oh, I know him (or her)." Meaning she had done family tree research on that family for descendants of theirs somewhere in America. Pretty neat, really.

And, here's the group in front of Joan Larson Fetter's home.
From left to right: Anneli Andersson, Charlotte, Mary Kaye Larson Gurbal, Joan Larson Fetter, then, Julia's younger daughter, Charlotte, the gentleman of the group whose name is either Lars or Olaf (I know, they are so similar), and Julia. (Remind me if I ever have an opportunity like this again to be sure to take a pen and small notebook with which to record simple little things - like NAMES! Boy, could I just kick myself for having been that darned stupid!)

On Friday, the luncheon went quite nicely. However, Janet -who had really been looking forward so much to that event - was unable to attend as her husband took ill that morning and had to be taken to the emergency room for treatment. She did, however, get back home in time and hosted the four Swedish visitors at her home for supper that evening.

On Saturday, the travelers changed their mind about visiting Peale after they learned there is only one marker left there to denote one soul buried there - "Martha Renfrew, who died there in 1889" - and instead, they decided to branch out a bit on their own and drove about 80-100 miles or so east of here to check out the villages of Arnot, Antrim and Morris Run - all above the Williamsport area and all are little towns where many Swedish settlers came upon arrival in this country. Saturday night of their visit, they had dinner at my home with my family and me.

Here's some photos taken at the luncheon on Friday, May 10th at Jim and Charmaine's Restaurant. Shown here are Annette Jacobson, Gertrude McDowell and Mary Ann Eyerly - all three are members of the same church I belong to and all three, like me, are of Swedish descent. Mary Ann, the lady to the far right, is a first cousin to Joan Larson Fetter, who had hosted the group for supper the night before.

The photo below here is Ray Eyerly and Steve Jacobson, in the background, Kathy Larson and Joan Ahlberg Starcovic in the center and the person on the right, who you only see the top of the head from the eyes up - mainly because I am such an excellent photographer you know (Oh yeah, Right!), I think is probably Anneli.

All in all, the luncheon was very nice. After the meal, the foursome each plopped their laptop computers - all loaded for bear with the Genline software and tons and tons of Swedish records available at the flick of a finger and the wrist. As quickly as those laptops worked, reminded me of how much I love watching "Law and Order" when the detective or someone else has to pull up something or other on a computer and they just touch it and flash, presto magic, there it is on teh screen. Those scenes always remind me how slow my computer is - thanks so much to dial-up and also, how no matter what I search for, it never automatically takes me just to one particular record. I always get a bunch of other files that I have to weed through each one to see what it holds and then, when I find one that looks promising, usually have to read through a bunch more stuff too until I get to the "nitty-gritty" that I was really searching for in the first place. Yes, I'm being sarcastic about the realism of some tv programs there. A little change-up from what I was talking about but if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know by now, that is pretty much the norm, isn't it?

The next - and final -picture from the Swedish visitors trip was taken at the home of Janet Rydberg Larson and her husband, Ray. From left to right are: Anneli Andersson, Olaf (or is it Lars), seated is Ray Larson with his wife, Janet kneeling in front of him, Anna Lina and Charlotte are standing behind and to the right of Ray.


Debo Blue said...

Great job of remembering everything.

Lord, I can barely remember things from two weeks ago!

So, will you be publishing your heritage online or is that too much of a risk with ID fraud being so rampant these days?

Smalltown RN said...

thanks Jeni...that was great...I am sure they had a great time...hope you got lots of info...cheers...