Family History

Family Trees
My goal in genealogy is to take each line of my family back to its orgins in Europe, and, with any luck, to take it back from there.  This website marks the progress, or lack of progress, for each line.  The web solves the problem of making these resources available to family members.
My family's background is unusual in the sense that every ancestor who came to America, whether from Norway, Sweden or Germany, moved to Chicago.  I live in the Chicago area still, as do many members of the family.  The earliest arrival date was about 1853, and the latest in the 1890s.  Apart from the country of origin, the particulars about where each immigrant was born generally were forgotten.  I have some foreign language skills, and I see my own mission as that of taking the family back to the other side of the Atlantic and pinning down the births of each immigrant.  Once their birth is found, my experience is that it is a relatively easy task to take the family back as far as possible.  For some of the Norwegian lines, that means the 1400s.
The quality of the resources that I offer varies.  I have found the time to work on family history only intermittently since the early 1990s.  My proudest contribution is the book about Ole Anda and his ancestors in Norway.  The book about the Johnson family is Sweden also is very complete.  The Heeder family book, traces the origins of that family in Germany, but I have not had an opportunity to illustrate it or to complement it with a book about the husband's Reitmeier family.  My first effort was a book about Samuel Larson from Bjerkreim, Norway (where he was known as Svale Ståleson); that book is undergoing a major revision, but a more recent book, telling about our family's reunion with relatives in Norway is available on the Lawson page.
I am gratified that requests for copies continue to come in, but it has been very hard to fill those requests.  Each book is an impossibly outdated, undigitized format.  The ancestry charts do not automatically slide over into new versions on my computer.  Most of my texts were written by a long-discarded Apple IIGS.  Illustrations were assembled by pasting cut-outs onto sheets of paper, making copies of each page and inserting them manually into the books.  Nevertheless, the information is solid, and I have wanted to get the books into the hands of as many relatives as possible.
The combination of the Worldwide Web and the Adobe Acrobat pdf format solves my distribution problem.  I am now able to scan the pages of each book as is and make the book available on line for viewing, downloading and printing.  I have been able to preserve color illustrations, but by and large, the books are in black and white.  I can post new materials whenever they become available.
The production values range from adequate to poor.  The typeface is that of my old Apple; many of the notes and captions are in my own handwriting because there was no alternative.  I ask your indulgence with the quality of the books, but bear in mind, that it is the best that I have at the moment.  Needless to say, transitioning my existing work product to a more modern format is a daunting task.  When new versions are available, I will post them.
Who would be interested in these books?  In the narrative portions, I tried to include material that would be understandable to a sixth-grader who has a project on family roots.  There also is technical material, including the ancestry charts that are at the heart of any project, but young and old should find material that may be of interest.
Apart from the books themselves are other materials.  See the Kloster page for a wealth of materials about that family.  There are letters in among family members during the period leading up to their departure for America -- a real treasure trove.  All are in Norwegian, but family members will be thrilled just seeing the names of their ancestors on those letters as they weighed their decision.  (Once again, I hope an expect to translate these letters, but everything takes time.)  Writing a Kloster book is my next priority; I have plenty of material.
For the immigrants that remain a mystery, I post whatever information is available.  If anyone has any clues about how to track them down to their birthplaces, please let me know.
Visit this site again and see if I have made any progress!

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