Discovering Family Roots
We had the most wonderful day with our relatives on our last day in Sweden. Roland had planned a bunch of activities for us to do as we ventured to Skara, the town where our common relatives had lived, and some are currently still living there!
The whole day was incredibly fun and so fascinating because it was doing a deep dive into our family’s heritage, not just through conversation, but getting to physically see the place where our ancestors lived, played and worked opened up a whole new appreciation for our history.
We stopped at the house that my great-great grandpa and grandma [Carl and Emma] built. It’s in a tiny little village that was on the way to Skara. At that house, lived all the children of Carl and Emma, which included my great-grandpa Fritz, who then immigrated to the US. It was so amazing to think that THAT was the actual house that they built with their own hands.
I made my way a bit closer to the house to snap a couple of pictures. People still live in that house, and I think I may have spooked them a bit—some random stranger taking pictures of their house? I would be creeped out too…but I did it anyway–all for the sake of the photo.
We then went to the gravesite where Carl and Emma are buried along with some other relatives in the family lineage. You can barely make out the text on the gravestone since it is so old, but when you piece the words together it is pretty unbelievable.
Afterward, we went to an old farm that has been restored in its original condition from the 1800s–straw roofs and all. There are still tools in the sheds and the original midsummer pole.
Roland had packed some food and coffee for us to have a fika on the farm. We ate our delicious sandwiches and cinnamon buns as we sipped coffee and took it all in.
Roland took us on a short hike through the woods to show us some of the original houses that were built there. There wasn’t much left of the houses besides stones that outlined the foundation, but it was crazy to imagine what it would have been like to live in those houses during the frigid winters!
Roland showed us how to determine edible mushrooms versus the poisonous ones as we walked through the woods. There were mushrooms EVERYWHERE throughout the bright green moss that covered the ground where we walked.
He spotted some gigantic edible mushrooms that looked like they were straight out of Mario Kart. I wouldn’t trust myself to pick the right ones, but he knew what he was talking about and picked an armful of mushrooms to bring home for later and make some mushroom soup!
Dennis and I couldn’t believe this day…
There is no way that we could have done any of this by ourselves just as tourists passing through. We had to just stop and look at each other as we were walking through this forest in the middle of nowhere and thought…This is an amazingly perfect day that we will NEVER forget.
And so it continues…