So. Getting this blog actually started took a bit longer than expected.
Well… to be quite honest, it actually took exactly as long as expected.
Nevertheless. Here we go!
Ever since I first heard about Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” – it’s such an excellent idea – I’ve been wanting to give it a try. And what better prompt to start with than “Brick Wall”?
We all have them in our research. They can be a real challenge. Very easy to build, it would seem, and all but impossible to tear down.
But every once in a while, a wall does crumble. In fact, I broke through one just a few weeks ago.
I hadn’t really given those particular bricks much attention. Sooner or later, a wall will inevitably appear and in this case I was quite content with having gotten as far as I had.
I knew that Christina Olsdotter, my great great great great grandmother, was born in 1786, supposedly in the parish of Grythyttan, Sweden.
That’s a good start, usually. But that year, three girls with the same first and last name were born in the parish.
I tried to follow each of the three Christinas and was able to cross one of them off the list early – she married the “wrong” person and couldn’t be the right Christina.
The other two were considerably harder to track. They both moved away to a parish only identified as “Nora” and that’s about where I gave up, before. “Nora” could mean any of at least three different parishes and searching through all the possible records just seemed impossible.
But then again, genealogy is a long term thing. So for some reason after more than ten years, I gave it another look earlier this year.
It took a lot of work. A lot of work.
But in the end, I managed to work backwards from what I already knew, until I finally found the right record to connect her to one of the two remaining Christinas.
The right book has more than 500 pages of (badly) hand written records. And I went through quite a few wrong books before finding it too. But in the end, it was all worth it.
But there she was. And the wall was finally gone.
It turns out, that after leaving home, Christina moved back and forth between different parishes in the south of Sweden at least twelve times, before finally meeting and settling down with my great great great great grandfather.
After connecting all the dots, I quickly found a lot more information about her parents, siblings and other family members so that in a few days I went from this:
I’ve been doing genealogy off an on for the better part of 30 years. So finding just one new direct ancestor is quite unusual. Here I got 18 in just a few days. Amazing what a wall can hide.