Thursday, January 26, 2012

Genetic cousins.

Not so long ago, I entered the world of DNA and this is one of the most exciting thing I have done during my 30 years in genealogy!

I have been looking for this several years, but I have not felt that it would be of any real use in my genealogical research to know about my deep ancestry that you can get from taking the Y-DNA or mtDNA tests that have been available for some years now.
Of course it is interesting to find out what haplogroup you belongs to and be able to match against others, but in short it turns out that we all are related to each other if we get way back in time.

As a genealogist I have the drive to know HOW we are related and since the timeframe that are possible to verify and do actual genealogical research is limited to the last 500 years it was not that interesting for me to get information that I match someone that share a common ancestor in say, 50 000 years ago...

But now things have drastically changed with the autosomal DNA tests that have arrived!

With an autosomal DNA-test its possible to find whats called "genetic cousins" and that means the matches you get, share an common ancestor in the range between present time and back for about 300 years, or 5-8 generations! So its absolutely within the timeframe that is possible to verify with traditional genealogical research!

Some people even call this a genealogical revolution and I tend to agree! This is really amazing and very exciting!

If this had been available when my grandparents had been alive, I had done whatever possible to have their DNA tested with an autosomal DNA-test. Because every generation some of the inherited and traceable DNA get lost...

I have already tested my fathers DNA and now I am just about to get the test done for my mother also. I use Family Tree DNA that are totally dedicated to genealogical DNA testing. Their autosomal DNA test is called Family Finder.

So my search for my genetic cousins have started and I have already got some very interesting matches that we started to figure out how we are related, and thats genealogy!

Some people are thinking that taking a DNA-test would "spoil the fun" from doing traditional research, but they are strongly mistaken since working with DNA in your genealogy is NOT presenting you with a complete family tree. It only gives you a new dimension to your genealogy and without traditional genealogical research its quite useless.

As a professional genealogist, I have also included DNA in my "toolbox" and I am following the technical progress with great interest.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bearhunting in Hälsingland...

I have researched a lot on my grandmother's ancestry in Hälsingland and there are many interesting lifestories and exciting moments to get out from the church books.

Some of these ancestors are originally from Finland and in the late 1600's, they arrived to clear and occupy unsettled land in Hanebo (X) parish.

I noticed that some places, speciallyTönsen and Raman seems to be populated mostly of people of Finnish origin.

But in these days,Finland of course was just another part of Sweden.

My grandmother's grandmother's great-grandmother's name was Cecilia Henriksdotter (1703-1784) and she had a nephew named Olof Andersson and he was born December 7, 1744 actually in the place Raman.

A week after that Olof celebrated his 34th birthday, he and some others went out in the forests of Hälsingland to hunt for bear...

How common it was to hunt bear, I really do not know, but I guess there was a little more bear in the woods at the time.

Anyway, this story does not end so well for Olof ... Apparently something goes wrong in the hunt, and he died December 20, 1778, after being severely injured during that hunt.

Here's how the somewhat odd death notice looked like in the death records;
The text reads;

Biten och illa sargad i hufvudet af en Björn, som han i följe med andra ämnade skjuta, hwarefter han lefde, allsomst 4 dygn.”

Translated it would be;
Bitten and badly wounded in his head by a Bear, that he had, in company with others, the intention to shoot. He lived for four days after the accident happened before he finally died.

I'm not an expert on bears, but I guess that time of year, the bears should be doing their winter-sleep and perhaps this hunt actually really was poaching?

What happened to the bear the story does not tell.

Best not to wake the bear that sleeps...”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When the technology causes trouble...

We have become quite dependent on technology to be able to do genealogy effectively today. Firstly, it depends on that our computers are working properly, and that the broadband connections is working and is fast enough.

Secondly, we become also dependent that the suppliers of the sources, the church-book material, are functioning properly. And it is unfortunately not unusual that either of these fails, which leads to that the genealogical research will suffer.

This kind of hassle is a pain even for the amateur researcher who may have a few hours off and will try to keep up with the genealogy for a moment and notice that you can not access the service provider.
To me, who has genealogy as a profession, it is obviously very annoying when I am unable to work. Because even if I do have all the providers of the Swedish church book material (Genline, SVAR and AD), they are not identical.

Was it better in the past? I can remember how it was to do genealogy for 30 years ago when I had to visit the archives, standing in line, order up books (only a few at a time) and then wait until the archives staff arrived and delivered the book to the researchdesk.
It was not dependent on the technology... Writing was done with a pencil in the notebook I had brought.
On the other hand, I remember that sometimes it was archival staff who were sick and we genealogists had to sit back and wait considerably longer time than usual in order to let the decimated staff deliver. This is perhaps equivalent today when we have network problems or the computer is malfunctioning?..

Today I still visit the archives on occasional times. I don’t really do that because I miss being there, waiting for the staff to bring up the books I ordered or waiting in line to get a place to sit, no its of course because there are still lots of books that are not digitalized (yet) and that quite often I need to check things that are still considered private (70-year secrecy-rules).
But I must admit that in a strange way I do like to wear these goofy gloves and also there is the smell of "old books" that you get for free when visiting an archive...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Swedish genealogy

My first post...

Welcome to my genealogy blog!

My intention is to write about genealogy as a hobby and a science in general, but most of all it will be about my own thoughts and experiences in genealogy and my own findings in my family history and ancestry.

I have been into genealogy for 30 years now and since 2010 I am also working as a professional genealogist in my own company named Trosa Anverk.
I am a specialist in Swedish genealogy and even if my customers often are from USA or other countries, they do have a Swedish heritage.

Did you know that almost a quarter (1/4) of the whole Swedish population emigrated  to USA in the late 1800 and beginning of 1900? This means that today there are actually more people with Swedish heritage living in USA than there is in Sweden itself! Amazing!

I do not write or publish anything that are related to my customers, so personal details and stories will only be from my own family tree or something I stumbled upon in general.

Do you have Swedish roots?
 I hope that maybe someone will get inspiration or find something that I write here to be of interest. Besides traditionall genealogy I am also very involved in DNA genealogy.
I am really  a very sporadic blogger, not writing that often as I would like to do, but try to post something now and then.

As you all probably already have noticed, English is not my first language... But I do hope that at least you can understand what I am trying to say here.

I also have a blog in Swedish with similar context as this one. I have been blogging there for a year now and I like it. I hope that this blog in English also will be found and appreciated by many readers all over the world and is of course grateful for any help with sharing or linking to this blog.

Genealogy is very popular here in Sweden. Many people do it and today its quite possible to do almost everything from home with your computer and an Internet connection.

As this is my first post I would like to mention that you may also find me on other social media as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. But I have dedicated Google+ as my English platform besides this blog.