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.
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.
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.