Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Travel Tuesday - Sweden Trip

Last week I wrote about a Swedish cousin, Gunnel, who found me on Ancestry and made all of my genealogy research on that branch of the family much more real! 

Once I knew I had relatives in Sweden, I had a great desire to go and meet them. Gunnel had sent me pictures of the part of our family who had stayed in Sweden in the emails she sent during the 2 years after we found each other. My sister, Kris, and I began to plan a trip to Sweden last fall and it seemed to be the perfect retirement celebration for me as I retired this spring from 35 years of teaching. I emailed my cousin, Gunnel, with our plans and learned that she was very excited to meet us also. 

This was the first visit to Sweden for Kris and I and we immediately felt as if we were home. We grew up in a very Swedish-American culture so actually being in Sweden validated so much of our lives and childhoods in ways nothing else could. On our way to Jönköping, we visited the western and southern cities of Gothernburg, Ängelholm (to meet a Facebook friend) and Malmö. Then we were on to Jönköping and our family!

Altogether, we met 14 relatives! Our cousins welcomed us with open arms and we felt very comfortable!  We stayed with our newly found cousin in her home and celebrated Midsommar with them in Jönköping and later in Dalarna. 

One cousin's husband is also a genealogist and he presented me with a large notebook containing his work on the history of the family; complete with color pictures of the inside of some of the homes and family groups! 

They took us south of Jönköping to the towns of 
Vaggeryd and Byarum. We visited Plätt Farm where my great grandpa John August Johnson and his younger brother, Gunnel's grandpa Anders, were born and raised. 

I was overjoyed and very touched with the warm welcome and acceptance! 

I just got home a few days ago and the last month still feels like a dream! I would never have believed this could happen to us, even two years ago!

Take-Away: Never give up on the missing branches in your family and keep a public tree open! They might be looking for you!

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