Everyone is Related
Simonsson has occupied the “end” of one branch of my family for quite a
while. I had searched the earliest available clerical survey
microfilms (hereafter called HFL for the Swedish term husförhörslängder) for
Ramsberg (T) parish where Staffan was found, without finding a Simon who might
have been his father. I also
searched the birth, marriage, death (BMD) films without results.
I did find
an Erich Simonsson in Ramsberg and proceeded to gather the information on his
family on the odds that he was Staffan’s brother, but no other Simonssons or
dotters. It seemed reasonable that
the Simonsson families came from another parish, but I didn’t hold much hope
of finding the connection.
I maintain a
subscription to DISBYT, an on-line database consisting of the combined GEDCOM
files of a large number of genealogists, primarily Swedish, but with a number of
Americans as well. I’ve submitted
my GEDCOM twice and each time have received a report noting lots of parallel
research by other members. However,
time goes on and more people submit more data, so periodically I check
“ends” of branches against the database.
A check for
“Simonsson” turned up a posting by Gunnar Gran.
Although the information was sketchy, careful comparison showed that his
Staffan looked very much like mine. His
Staffan came from Skinnskatteberg (T) (hereafter Skb) with a father Simon Ryss
and a mother Anna Olofsdotter.
that I had one HFL and one BMD microfilm from Skb, ordered 7/02 for another
search, and they happened to be the correct timeframes, so I began looking for
corroborating data. The Skb HFL did
not have an index of farms, or even page numbers, so it required a linear
search. Sure enough, I soon found Simon, Anna, and Staffan all on one
page early in the HFL. They were
residents of Tackbyn farm.
I now felt
good enough about the connection to invest some significant time in the project.
I began a search of the BMD for the appropriate time frame, looking for
the births and deaths noted in Gunnar’s data.
I found Simon’s death. He
died in 1680 at 90 years old. Then
I found Anna’s death in 1697. It
was a large paragraph of barely decipherable handwritten text, but I could make
out that she was born in 1589 and died in 1697 at 108 years old!
microfilm was in negative format and a printed copy was really light, but it was
the best I could get. I took it
home, enhanced it, enlarged it, and started deciphering the text.
It became obvious that I needed serious help. The spelling of many of the words I was digging out didn’t
make sense in any language. Gunnar
volunteered to help.
period of about a month, Gunnar studied the copy and gradually converted the
ancient Swedish to modern Swedish and let me know the results.
I ran the modern Swedish through a Swedish to English translator, used
dictionaries for words not translated, and finally got the gist of the obituary.
I composed a draft of an English translation attempting to maintain the
general flavor of the original Swedish. With
Gunnar’s commentary, after several iterations we arrived at a mutually
acceptable final cut. This is Anna
“Wife Anna Olofsdotter from Tackbyn, born in Södermanland of honorable
parents, in Julita socken year 1589. Came immediately to baptism and
Christianity. Knew the main tenets of Christianity by heart.
Followed her dear parents who were from Finland to this parish
(Skinnskatteberg). They were among the founders of Tackbyn and she
remained there until her death. When she reached adulthood she married the
late Simon Andersson Ryss. They lived together a long time and had 7
children, 6 sons and 1 daughter of which 2 sons and the daughter are now dead.
She was always religious, honest and well-behaved and had a strong constitution,
so she was seldom sick. In fact it is said no more than the 3 days before
her death and departure which occurred this year when she had lived 108
were iterating on Anna’s obit, I continued searching the BMD for Simon and
Staffan and their patronymics, and for any mention of Tackbyn farm.
I found several births and deaths to children of my Staffan and also his
brothers, a marriage for one of Staffan’s brothers, and lots of references to
an Erich Andersson, a neighbor on Tackbyn.
timeframe and in this parish, the clerks (bless them) recorded witnesses to
Christenings. They even went so far
as to indicate relationships (father’s brother, mother’s sister, etc.).
Use of this information clearly defined the family of Simon and Anna!
Witness data also clearly indicated at least a strong friendship with the
Tackbyn neighbor Erich Andersson.
we’ve identified my Staffan’s father, mother and siblings, as well as where
they came from. We have also noted
the births and sometimes deaths of Staffan’s children prior to the family’s
move to Ramsberg. We should be
satisfied and quit, right? Well, I
guess if we were sane we would, but I’m hooked on genealogy.
kicks, I did a Google search for Tackbyn farm in Skinnskatteberg.
I didn’t find any references to Simon or his patronymics, but I did
find data on Erich Andersson and his wife Elisabet Henriksdotter, the friends
and neighbors of Simon, Anna, and Staffan.
I followed it up without great enthusiasm, since they weren’t
relatives, but something kept me going.
reference found was a family tree with numbered entries for each person.
I easily found Eric and Elisabet with a “Find on this page” of
Tackbyn. I also found Eric’s
father and mother the same way. The
next numbered entry after Eric’s mother was Elisabet’s father Henrik Werre
from a different farm, parish, and county.
I wouldn’t have found him with the “Find” and I might not have
pursued him if he hadn’t been the very next entry.
But I did find him and I did recognize him.
was one of my 9th AND10th great grandfathers.
His son Pål was an 8th great and his son Per was a 9th
great. Pål and Per’s sister
Elisabet was a multiple great aunt of mine living on the same farm with other 7th
and 8th greats of mine!
is this? Well, the Henrik, Pål and
Per bloodlines (Elisabet’s father and brothers) and the Simon, Anna and
Staffan bloodline (Elisabet’s Tackbyn neighbors) didn’t merge on my tree
until my grandfather was born some 175 years later.
days, maybe weeks go by……….
I had one
more branch “end” who originated in Skb to investigate.
According to her death record, she was born in Kallmora, Skb.
I found her birth record and the names of her parents, and confirmed the
finding in the HFL. Her father has so far eluded me and has become a new
“end”. However, her mother
turns out to be from the old, familiar, Tackbyn.
In fact, her mother’s father was Lars Erichsson, son of Erich
So what does
all this mean? Well, Henrik Werre
was the father of Pål, Per, and Elisabet, EACH of whose descendents eventually
merged 175 years later in my grandfather! And
Tackbyn was the home of Simon Ryss, Anna Olofsdotter, Staffan Simonsson, Erich
Andersson, Elisabeth Henriksdotter, and Lars Erichsson.
That’s four of my 8th great grandparents and two 7th