Two nights ago I had a dream which was so good that I woke up energized and with renewed hope. Since I'm writing this on a genealogy blog, can you guess what my dream was about?
If you said it was about my Swedish ancestor's estate inventory record - you're right! And you're a terrific guesser!
Years ago when I was looking for my Asa Brown family, I had a recurring dream. In the dream I had located the family's bible, and I had the feeling that the bible had the genealogical answers I had been looking for about the family. While holding the bible in my hands and bringing it closer to my eyes to read the content, the information on the family page became blurry. The more I looked, the blurrier it became. I woke up frustrated because I felt the key to unlocking the family's puzzle was right before me. Well, kind of. Yet, the dream gave me the hope to continue looking for the elusive bible. Long story long, I located the 19th century billfold of Asa's son, David. Inside, and folded into quarters were the four "Family Record" pages from the actual Bible. It had all the exact birth, marriage, and death dates and places for three generations of the family!
Fast forward to this week. After my recording session with Kathy Meade for her webinar, Introduction to the Swedish Estate Inventory Records (published in the webinar library just today) I knew that the estate records were just what I needed to make progress on my 18th century Eric Matsson family.
While the Swedish records are more complete than any others I've ever used, there was a small gap in the parish records where this family lived, and the usually reliable church records weren't available. I learned from Kathy that an estate inventory was required for all persons who died, and in the record's preamble, it would usually list the names and whereabouts of all of the survivors. In the webinar she also showed that the estate records were usually indexed. The ones I needed weren't. And so began the page-by-page process of looking for Eric Matsson's estate records.
779 pages later I still hadn't found Eric's estate records and I started getting a little depressed about it. Everything was in Swedish, and the records were more than 200 years old, so I could have easily overlooked Eric's papers. I started to think that maybe I should just move on to someone else for now.
And then I had the dream.
In the dream I was browsing these same estate records. All, of course, were in Swedish. And then I turned the page and something odd started happening. All of the letters began to morph into words I recognized. The entire record was now in English. And guess what? It was Eric's family! I tried so hard to memorize what it said so that when I woke up I would remember everything. Well, you can guess how that went.
Determined and now with renewed hope to find Eric, yet inexperienced with this part of Swedish research, I asked Kathy if she had any ideas. She pointed me to an online database of the Swedish National Archives which had an index of some of the estate records. I quickly located two entries for the place where Eric was from - one for Eric and one for his wife, Greta, who died three years earlier. The entries showed that the records were part of a registration district that was different from the one I was searching. Examining the record in ArkivDigital, it is clear that I've located the right family. I'm looking forward to what I will learn if I can figure out how to translate it all.
I know nothing of the science of dreaming. I don't often remember them. So for whatever reason I've had dreams about the records of my ancestors, I'm thankful for them. While they've never directly solved my genealogy problems, they've given me hope to keep pressing on. It's interesting though how these have happened after I've had feelings of switching my efforts to another part of my pedigree. There might be something about those Kindred Voices after all.