Saturday, August 1, 2015

Over There

Sometimes it seems you need to go a very long way to come home again. Last month our homeward bound sojourn wound its way through Sweden. Let me explain.

Roland Classon is a second cousin who hails from Helsingborg, Sweden, founded in and continuously settled since 1085. Helsingborg is a few miles across the Oresund Straight from Denmark and 15 miles due north of Copenhagen. Shakespeare's Kronberg Castle (Elsinore), the setting for Hamlet, is just across the strait. Local attractions are well documented in this YouTube video.

Roland is related by virtue of sharing great grandparents -- Carl (1852 - 1922) and Teolinda StÖdberg (1862 - 1950). My grandfather, Johan StÖdberg (John Stuberg, 1890 - 1951) was one of nine children of Carl and Teolinda born between 1886 and 1904. John followed his elder siblings, Charles and Julia, to Chicago, emigrating to the United States in 1911. He was drafted and served in the US Army as a resident alien during World War I. In 1924 he married my maternal grandmother, Elsa Rydin Stuberg, also a Swedish immigrant. Elsa worked as a domestic and retail clerk. John Stuberg was a bricklayer reputed to be a master fireplace craftsman.

Carl and Teolinda Stodberg family tree, courtesy of Roland Classon.

Cousin Roland is in the employ the Helsingbord Daily. Among his journalistic duties for the Helsingburg news outlet is publishing a blog. The topic? Genealogy. Readers of this blog know I research and write at length on family history. But I am a piker by comparison.

Roland started family research in 1989. His residential man cave reflects the pre-internet origins of the enterprise. So Mitt Romney thought he had binders?

Roland Classon at his research desk.
Roland Classon's research wall.

It is no wonder IKEA (its international headquarters are in Helsingborg) went into manufacturing and marketing shelves.

Roland has combed through county, city, district and church records, researching family roots and filling out ancestry trees back into the 1500s. I have called Roland a genealogy fiend. I mean that in the kindest possible way.

This summer Roland is being recognized for his quarter century of work by the Swedish Genealogical Association.

HD journalist praised for years of work
HD journalist praised for years of work
Text: Joakim Björck

HD journalist praised for years of work
Published May 19, 2015 15:14 · Updated on May 19, 2015 16:10
Roland Classon, family editor on HD, assigned the award "Best educator" of Swedish Genealogical Association. He is praised for many years have spread knowledge of genealogy through articles and reports in the newspaper, and in his blog about the genealogy of 
- I feel proud, it is proof that what you do is appreciated. HD is the only newspaper in the country who regularly writes about family history, he says.
Nearly 700 articles, it has become since Roland Classon began to illuminate the subject 15 years ago. And many more will come, he promises.
- Genealogy has never been as popular as now.
The prize is awarded in Nyköping August 29th.

Here is a listing of some of Roland's recent posts.


Roland Classon says this about what it is searching for his roots.You can reach the Roland tel: 042-489 9220 or via email at

Cooperation a must in digital chase

Text: Roland Classon
Anders Nordström
Anders Nordström
Anders Nordström is the Director of the National Archives ANSWERS responsible for the Digital reading room. PHOTO: ROLAND Classon
All that genealogy in Sweden get more and more good tools. There may be additional databases - or a DVD detailing the Swedish population.

Sweden's population in 1910 will be released in August


Text: Roland Classon
Release of Sweden's population in 1910 on DVD. It will be launched at the Genealogy Days in Nyköping on 29-30 August.

1.6 million records in popular database


Text: Roland Classon
There is a constant development of the Demographic Database Southern Sweden (DDSS), which has the Regional Archives in Lund as principal.

National Archives closes and moves research room


Text: Roland Classon

Genealogy Days 2016 held in Umeå


Text: Roland Classon

Genealogy Days - a source of knowledge

Text: Roland Classon
Genealogy Days 2015
Genealogy Fair held in Nyköping in late August. How does it look at Rosvalla arena, where 80 exhibitors are and where everyone talks will be held. Photo: Maria BRATT / Sweden Släktforskarförbund
Anyone who wants to know more about their roots should book themselves into Genealogy Fair. Here you can get all the tips needed to get ahead in the race.

The Association publishes new books


Text: Roland Classon
Great grandmother Teolinda never visited America. She maintained contact and kept up with the families of her three children who emigrated (and ultimately a fourth) through a treasure trove of pictures, including photographs of my parents and my older sister as a baby. On my sister's and daughter's European trip last month, Roland kindly hosted the pair for five days in Helsingborg and shared family photos, none of which I recall previously viewing and most of which we publish below.

Here are studio portraits of my mother as a little girl.

Evelyn Foster, circa 1930.

Evelyn Foster, circa 1930.

My wife is a blond.

Our three kids are blonds. 

They have asked if I and my mother were blonds in our youth. I recalled my hair would streak with blond highlights in the summer, and asserted my mother had been blond, without any real evidence to back that up -- until now.

Here is a later studio portrait of my mother.

Evelyn Foster, circa 1942.

I am guessing this portrait is from her mid-teenage years.

Next is a wedding photo.

Mr. and Mrs. George W. Foster, February 9, 1946.

World War II was finally in the history books. Big hair mom and big hair dad were wed. Double breasted pin striped suits were in vogue. 

A year later my sister was born.

This is mom with Joanne.

And mom and dad with their friend, Jean West.

Bozeman to Seattle, to Sweden, to Seattle and then Back to Bozeman -- 11,000 miles more or less, a long way to go home again.

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