Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Wessmans in Sweden, Part 3 of 5

In all the records I’ve seen, our ancestors were tenant farmers or farm laborers.

Life was more primitive than we're used to. Women were likely to die in childbirth or at young ages of other causes. A normal life expectancy for women in our family in Sweden was 40 years. Edla Brun, the mother of Amanda Hall Wessman died at age 23 after giving birth to her second daughter. Edla’s husband Anders Hall remarried, as did most widowers, and had nine more children. The infant mortality rate was high. Many families lost at least one child to death.

The major events in life centered around the parish church. Some time after birth, a child would be christened with several witnesses attending the ceremony. The Swedes had a tradition that a woman would not attend church services for some time after a baby was born, and then the pastor would accept the woman back into church fellowship. Marriage also took place in the parish church and burials were done in the graveyards around the church. In addition, the Lutheran church kept censuses and kept records of when a person moved from one parish to another. These records are, of course, only as accurate as the parish officials kept them and have sometimes been lost to fire.

I did some research on the “Wessman” side of the family and not the “Hall” side of the family for a college research course. Tomorrow I will include links to the genealogy and provide a map of Göteborgs-och-Bohuslan.

Assignment (if you dare!):
Read the Family History Center’s Research Outline for Sweden. (You can download and print a copy.)

1. Photo of the church in Tanum where Amanda Hall Wessman was christened from 

2. Photo of Svarteborg church where members of the Hall family were married and christened from 

3. Photo of the church in Romelanda where Johan Wessman's parents were married and he was christened from

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