St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Spring Green

Ah…. Spring is finally here. The sun warms my face. The trees are
starting to sport their new colorful coats, my daylilies are poking
their new leaves out of the ground, and the mailman delivers a green
envelope to my mailbox.

Yes, a green envelope brightens up the day at our house, much like a
warm spring day. It means we have new letters from our Swedish
cousins! The last green envelope held even more surprises for me. My
cousin, Vanja, had contacted somebody in Sweden and asked for some
information on her great grandfather. Now, since I don't speak
Swedish, I don't have any clue as to whom she contacted. No matter as
the paperwork mailed to me has the sources listed. The end result is
new family information for me.

Vanja's great grandfather, Jonas Petter Gustafsson, is the brother of
my great grandmother, Anna Lovisa Osterberg. One may ask why they have
different surnames. In the old country and up until the 20th century,
Swedish children were known by their middle name and their surname
would be the middle name of the father. Boys would take the middle
name of their father with the suffix "son" added, while girls would add
the suffix "dotter". When Anna Lovisa immigrated to the United States
in 1879, she used the surname Osterberg. Osterberg was the surname of
her father, Carl Gustaf Larsson, when he worked in the King's Palace
with the horses.

There's a funny thing about doing research in other countries. Their
customs seem so foreign to us. It was common for the government in
Sweden to assign a new surname to a boy when they reached adulthood.
My guess is it helped identify them as they joined the King's service.
Those who have done a great deal of research in Sweden have also told
me, that upon reaching adulthood, the person could be allowed to choose
a new surname. Boy, oh boy, does that make searching for ancestors

Back to my green envelope and its contents. Inside were several pages
of helpful facts. Helpful, that is, if one can read Swedish. I could
make out a few items like his name and date of birth. Other entries
were a mystery. So I did what every good researcher does during a time
of crisis. I contacted an American cousin of mine who just happens to
live in Sweden and asked her to translate for me.

Now the pages of information warm my heart. In them, I have the places
of birth, dates of moving out of a parish, marriage dates, death dates,
cause of death, etc. In the event any of you are in need of the 1936
Inflyttningsbok for Bo forsamling , pp 57-58, contact me. I've got
them and am willing to share the information contained.

So, bring on the spring. And please Mr. Postman, please keep bringing
me those delightful green envelopes.

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