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In July, Beloved and I took something of a meandering journey through England to Norway to Sweden and back home again. The reason I wanted to pause in Sweden is because I wanted to see the land some of my people came from. I have folks from the area around Gothenburg and folks from an area west of Malmö. On this trip, we stayed in Gothenburg, which turned out to be one of the major exit ports for emigrating to the United States. My people (Andreas Larson, his wife Maja Johansdotter and their children) were among the first to leave Sweden for the United States in 1855. The big waves started in the 1860’s. The first waves left as religious groups seeking some theological elbow room as well as new, fresh land. I don’t know if this was Andreas’ motivation but I do know he, and family, ended up at East Union, Minnesota in 1857 where a church was among the first buildings built.

I also hoped to meet a cousin now living north of Gothenburg who had contacted first my mother and then myself via email over a year ago. We share a common grandparent from the early 18th century and are something like seventh cousins. We exchanged photos and remarked on how we could see our family’s traits in each other’s face. Unfortunately, she fell ill and we were unable to get together. She did send me some very helpful hints on where to go to find the family locations and she is one of the people i hope gets a chance to see these photos. I find it amazing and lucky that i have a chance to be in conversation with one of my cousins like this. I have no contact with anyone in the United States other than my immediate cousins, whom I hope also get a chance to see these photos.  Click on the photo for a larger view.

 

Once we stopped the car, it was very peaceful

Road to Eggsvena

According to Wikipedia, Eggvena’s name first shows up in 1393 as Eggwine. Egg tends to translate as a ridge and wine as a pasture or meadow. There are several pre-historic sites around the area that indicate humans have been in this valley not long after the glaciers melted back. It is mostly farm land and it is quiet. No freeway noise or jet planes. Just birds and bugs doing their thing.

 

 

I am not a history expert, so consider this subject to revision

Rune Stone along the road with pre-latin text. Mostly a property marker around the year 1000 AD

I think the graves are cleared out over time. We didn't find anything older then late 19th century

Eggvena Kirka & cemetery – probably built around 1100 and then modified in the 1700’s

The church was locked, we did not go in.

Eggvena Farming Land – view from the cemetery

Mostly, I think we have people from all around this area.

Fölne Kyrka – about five miles away to the west.  Also where some of our folks lived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name for this church and parish suggests horses and the overall region  was known for breeding very strong horses around the year 1000.

This church was built in the early 1200’s and remodeled in the 1700’s. The walls were built thick so that the church could stand as shelter for the area in times of trouble.

Apparently there was cause for this concern as at least one major battle took place near by.

 

that's old.

The new addition with more rune stones. And by “new” I mean the 1700’s.

did I mention "old?"

Really fantastic furnishings. Also part of the 18th century update

The Holy Spirit floats above the Preacher's head in case anyone is confused about where the sermon is coming from

The Holy Spirit floats above the Preacher’s head in case anyone is confused about where the sermon is coming from

generations upon generations

old old old Baptismal font.

I might have heard a low grinding sound from the graveyard outside - like bones rolling over in coffins....

I dared to enter the pulpit. It felt like home.

this is a map of a number of really old sites. We were walking hip deep in ancestral sites.

this is a map of a number of really old sites. We were walking hip deep in ancestral sites.

There were fresh graves here, so it remains in use.  Andreas was born on a farm near this place.

This is what is left of Södra Härene’s old church.  There were fresh graves here, so it remains in use.
Andreas was born on a farm near this place.

ick, spitting? short walk then

The church before the fire. Its also very old – another 13th century building.

Was the sermon really that bad?

This church was struck by lightening in 1905 and burned down. It was rebuilt across the road and river.

1500 BC!  That's way back

This is a Bronze age (as in 1500 BC) burial crypt about a fifteen minute walk from the ruins.

This farm, which is seen from the Jättakulen mound could be the one Andrea was born on.

This farm, which is seen from the Jättakulen mound could be the one Andrea was born on.

This is a view back toward the church ruins from the Jättakullen mound.

This is a view back toward the church ruins from the Jättakullen mound.

Perhaps they stood at the front of the boat instead.

This would have been close to the last view of the homeland that Andreas and his family saw on their way out to America.  Or maybe they were standing in the front of the boat. 

 

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2 thoughts on “The Old Country

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