Thursday, April 19, 2018

My First Murder Victim - Peter Didricsson

To clarify: First murder victim I've discovered in my family tree. 😉
I'm pretty sure none of my Swedish
ancestors had a fireplace like this one at
the American Swedish Institute.

Peter Didricsson > Elin Petersdotter > Johan Nilsson > Eva Jonasdotter/Nilsson > Edward Lundeen > Marion Lundeen

This past winter I went through a bit of “Swedish phase.” I’m not sure what triggered it, but I’m half-Swedish (with both my parents being the same), so it was bound to happen. I bought a Swedish cookbook, made Swedish recipes, and had a Swedish day with my sister as we visited the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, had Fika and ended with a trip to IKEA. I also took full advantage of a free weekend offered by ArkivDigital, a website with amazing Swedish records. If you aren’t familiar with the old church records from Swedish, they are quite amazing when it comes to genealogy resources (at least for the locations I’ve researched).

Once you find the right family, it can be quite easy to trace family members back thanks to a system of cross-references across different volumes and record types.

Although I don’t know Swedish, with some online helps, I was able to quite confidently trace my way from person to person, generation to generation.

Now we come to Peter Didricsson.
This, on the other hand, is a bit closer
to my Swedish homeland.

Peter is my 5-times great grandfather. He was born on 16 March, 1776 in TingsĂ„s, Kronoberg, Sweden. He moved to RĂ€veboda, Urshult (parish), Kronoberg (county), Sweden around 1804, about the same time he married Ingjerd MĂ„nsdotter, a widow with a young daughter. Peter and Ingjerd had 5 children. 

Peter worked first as a tenant farmer and later owned a farm in Rossvik StoregĂ„rd and Buskahult TykagĂ„rd, both in Urshult parish. Then in 1821, Peter and his family moved to HösjömĂ„la where he was once again renting a farm. It was while looking at a 1821 entry in a household examination (books used by the church to keep track of the people and a major genealogical resource), that I noticed a notation for Peter that read mördad. I pulled up my handy cheat sheet of Swedish words and literally gasped to see it meant “murdered.”

Of course I only wanted to learn more. It didn’t take me too long to find a record of his death on 13 November, 1821. Unfortunately, it was written in an old Gothic style of writing, making a translation (even with the help of Google) impossible for me. Fortunately, I have found a group of very helpful fans of Swedish genealogy on Facebook who know a lot more about these records than I do. Within an hour of posting my inquiry, I was given a translation of the short death entry:
Peter Didricsson in HösjömÄla, in the evening, beaten to death at Hultalycke farm. Buried 22/11.
Nov. 13, Death record of Peter. Source:, Urshult (B) C:3 1763-1827 Image 354/Page 695

(It was also suggested to me that since he was murdered, it might be possible to find court documents. I will have to do some more digging and see what I can find. Stay tuned!)

Peter was 45 years old when he was killed, leaving behind his wife and children ranging ages 3-16. Life appears to have continued to be hard for the twice-widowed Ingjerd who later appears as utfattig (beggarly, impoverish). She died on 24 March, 1843.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Marion's First School

Marion's First School

My grandmother, Marion (Lundeen) Walters was a grade school teacher. Much of her teaching career was as a first-grade teacher in Annandale, MN. Early in her career, however, she taught in a one-room school house at Camp Lake School near her home in Albion, Wright Co., MN.

During her first year in 1949, the pastor of the Albion Evangelical Free Church, Rev. Joy Cummings, came to the school with his movie camera to film Marion and her students.

My grandma died before I was born, so this video is very special. What fun to be able to see a little of her playfulness and "the look" I've heard so much about.

A few years ago, my mom had the film digitized. (There is no audio). Enjoy!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cousins, cousins and more cousins

One of the things I enjoy about family history research is connecting with various cousins from all across the county (and beyond), from different branches of my family tree, connecting through a number of different places.

I’ve “met” family from California, Texas, New York, even emails from Afghanistan. I’ve made connections with people through Ancestry family trees, Ancestry DNA matches, Find A Grave photo requests, comments on my blog, other blogs, message board posts, obituaries and more.

Most communications are by email with a few letters, but I’ve had a chance to meet some people in the flesh too. When I was in college, my mom and I traveled to Pennsylvania and met up with a cousin who showed us different family sights. In more recent years I’ve had coffee a few times with a 4th cousin, twice removed (or half 3rd cousin, twice removed, depending on how you want to look at things). We first met and emailed through Ancestry a number of years ago and then reconnected when I moved to “her” town.

My first look at Elizabeth (McPherson) Phares.
Thanks Cousin Gail!
One of my recent DNA matches has a fun coincidence in that we are twice related - he’s a 3rd cousin to my dad and a 3rd cousin to my mom!

And of course the shared information is fantastic! One cousin helped solve a family name mystery, another shared information on family letter from the 1600s she had discovered, and just this month I was sent some photos and I saw my 3rd great-grandmother for the first time.

And the story continues – this week, I’ve having lunch with a couple more cousins I’ve recently connected with. Here’s to meeting more family and sharing more stories!