Recently I reestablished contact with second cousins on my mother’s side of the family (Bergstrom). I will be meeting with them this coming weekend to share photos and memories about our families. I think my helpful spirits are involved because this idea seemed to come to me out of thin air.

Yesterday, when I dragged out photos and other memorabilia to prepare for the meeting, I found a wealth of information I forgot I had. One of my other cousins, Jim Thomas who is now deceased, sent me information back in the 1980’s when he was on a genealogy kick. He traveled back to Sweden, visited with cousins we have there, and found lots of family records, including one which indicated my family was also related to the Finns who moved to Sweden in the 16th century. I think my helpful spirits are telling me I need to catch up on my past.

My grandfather, Josef Bergstrom, came to America in 1900. He must have returned to Sweden in 1902 because he married my grandmother, Ida, there and both of them traveled to America via ship that same year. Their first daughter was born here in 1903, later followed by four siblings, including my mother, Edith, in 1906. They lived on the south side of Chicago and that’s where Edith met Dan McAllister, my father.

They got married in 1923. I found a scrapbook my mother put together. It had pictures, with carefully written comments by my mother, depicting their honeymoon. They traveled with  married friends, Harry and Charlotte Jensen, the  for the trip because the Jensen’s owned a car and my parents did not. My mother was 20 and my father 22. Kids, that’s what they were. My mother’s written comments are sweet and lovey-dovey.

I also found substantial information, including pictures, of my Swedish relatives who remained in Sweden. I am in the process of summarizing it so I can share it with my cousins.

In former times and cultures, people would memorize the names and importance of their ancestors. Today we rely on computers and databases. I think it’s important for us to look back to our former relatives because we will appreciate them more and be thankful for what they accomplished. In my case, three of my four grandparents came directly from Europe by traveling across the Atlantic ocean, leaving behind family members they would probably never see again, in the hopes of starting a new, bertter life for themselves and their descendants, me included. God bless them!