Died last week
According to the dictionary, an obituary is an article in a newspaper about the life of someone who has died recently. It is valuable for genealogists and historians because it may include a short biography stating the name, age, and whether the person died of an illness or accident. It may go on to describe the education, career, accomplishments, challenges overcome, residences, and family information. Listed are close family members who have died previously, followed by the names of survivors shown in the order of parents, spouse, children (males, usually first), and on down the line. Pallbearers, doctors, and persons who were particularly helpful, as well as any memorial wishes, may be shown. The article usually concludes with the date and place of services and burial. This is usually followed by the name of the funeral home.
The above is generally true for most parts of the United States, but the obituary may be much shorter in other countries.
What is written in the obituary generally reflects the writer and his/her relationship with the departed, because obviously, people usually don’t write their own announcements. The size of the article may reflect the financial means and beliefs of the person placing the announcement in the paper, because it is charged by the inch.
Nevertheless, an obituary can be a valuable genealogical and historical tool, because it tells the story of a life in abbreviated form.
Whether or not the person is described as he or she actually lived, the American obituary attempts to show how the departed adhered to the moral standards and values of his/her time and place, his/her human accomplishments and his/her beliefs regarding the remainder of their journey.
Among the obituaries that will follow are those of Americans, Swedes, Germans, and citizens of other countries. They were chosen for various reasons and are not meant to be comprehensive:
1. The obituaries may be a follow-up to people mentioned in my previous books;
2. My including them might be to memorialize people who were helpful to me in research or in life lessons;
3. Their stories are interesting, of genealogical or historical value, and I wish to preserve them for possible future writing.
I knew the widow Palm’s story and the writing by Pastor Elroy Haverlah was good — it made me cry from time to time. What got to me was the depiction of a close family relationship. It is true that the Palm and Nelson families at Palm Valley (Round Rock, Texas) were close, but I was thinking about Anna’s relationship to my own family in Sweden. She was a blood relative. Her father, Johannes Carlsson, born in 1773 in Sweden, was a younger brother of my great-great grandfather, Anders Carlsson known as Anders Björklund when he became a military musician (drummer) like their father, Carl Björklund. That made her a first cousin of Johan and Emma Björklund, both of whom were my great-grandparents. Johan and Emma were orphaned when their
father died of TB when they were toddlers. Their mother, Ingela, had to rear three little children by herself with no help whatsoever from her husband’s family to which Anna and her brothers, Carl and Daniel Hurd, belonged. Ingela and her children survived without going to the poorhouse, but, at this point in my research, there is no indication that Anna’s family even knew about my great-grandparents, but they must have. Johan Björklund, my great-grandfather, came to Texas also and is buried at New Sweden, while Anna and her brothers are buried at Palm Valley separated by only a half-hour’s car trip. My family passed down a large amount of lore, but not a word about this story was ever breathed to me. It intrigues me and will probably become a theme in a story about the Björklunds in Småland.
Scattered Poems by Christian Stannow and translated from Swedish by John Weinstock, former head of the Germanic Languages Department at the University of Texas. Dr. Weinstock’s language sings in its richness.
Next book waiting for me is about our DNA:
Sam Kean’s The Violinist’s Thumb.
It is about Love, War, and Genius, as Written by our Genetic Code.
I will be tackling the topic of a cousin marriage in Sweden as it pertains to my family.
I’m reading Die Neuere Geschichte der Stadt Neu Ruppin (1863) a reprint by Ferdinand Heydemann to gather background for a story about the Jordan family in Prussia, specifically Schoeneberg, a suburb of Berlin. Topics that I will tackle soon are the Huguenots in Berlin and life in the Berlin of Frederick the Great, including the military. Perhaps touching on German troops during the American Revolution.
A project partially finished: Discovery of the death date and place of Otto Schroeder, my husband’s maternal grand-uncle who was the personal chauffeur of the first automobile of Kaiser Wilhelm, the German emperor. I’m still trying to find a German newspaper article about his death. He was found dead on the beach at a resort, Hohwacht in July 1916.
These are resources used but are listed in no particular order:
Swedish Council of America
New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church
Swedish American Genealogist
The Genealogy Center – Allen County Public Library [Indiana]
International Genealogical Index (I.G.I.)
Scandinavia House (NYC)
Museums of Sweden (Visit Sweden)
German Convention Bureau (GCB, English)
Guildhall Library, City of London
City of London Museum
Vasa Order of America
SWEA (Swedish Speaking Women)
Lexin (Dictionary Swedish/English)
Swedish Academy Dictionary
Swedish military registry
Kinship Center, Karlstad
Decorated Farm Houses, Hälsingland (download)
German Adademic Dictionary
Library of Congress
Germans to Australia
Immigration History Center (MN) & Archives
Cyndi’s List, Ellis Island
Prussian Palaces and Gardens
Bertil Fredstrom’s magic shows
Swedish National Archive
Old/unusual Swedish words
Swedish folk lore
Swedish judicial records
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