The above painting was done by John Hardginski (a third cousin once removed of mine), and was commissioned as a representation of the Näsman family homestead in Tynderö, Sweden. It was created from a photograph of the meadow where the Näsman farm house once stood, a separate photograph of Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), the Nasman family flower, and a Swedish finch-like bird called the gulsparv.


Before I got hooked by the genealogy bug, I didn't know much more about Sweden than that all of my grandparents came from there. Well, there were the Nasman family traditions, lutefisk at Christmas, thefamily special Swedish recipes that my Mom was so good at (Swedish Rye Bread, Sylta, Korv) and my Dad's sill (pickled herring) and family parties with my Dad's Swedish accordion music.

My parents had a lot of Swedish American friends and had been active in the Vasa Lodge. And, whenever anyone from Sweden visited Kane, my parents were sure to invite them to the house for a visit. But I left Kane right after graduating from high school and you know how much interest most high school kids have in studying their ancestors.

I never thought much about doing any serious genealogy research because of what I thought I knew about the old Swedish customs for naming children. For example, if Sven Gabrielsson had a son named Gustav, he would be known as Gustav Svensson. A daughter might be Anna Svensdotter. If Gustav had a son named Karl, he would be Karl Gustavsson, and a daughter named Annie would be Annie Karlsdotter, and so on.

This system was continued until the early 1900's. There were exceptions. Members of the nobility, clergy, or high ranking military officers maintained a consistent family surname. But, it appeared to me that this system would make it impossible to trace ancestors in Sweden. This, I discovered was completely wrong.

One day I was fooling around on the computer doing what is called a "vanity search" on the internet World Wide Web. Since the name Nasman is not too common, I decided to see what references the computer would come up with if I searched on nasman.

There were about 200 references in the mid 1990's. (By the way, a search in 2021 yielded around 700,000 hits. I could not have had a successful search if I had waited until the Internet exploded.) Several hits were personal. For example, the course syllabus for several Engineering Graphics classes appeared because they are using books that I had written. Someone in Sweden posted the results of a sporting event, so the fact that a Gunther Näsman took 12th place in an Orienteering competition popped up in the search.

A fellow named Mats Naslund in Sweden, who counts genealogy as one of his hobbies, had posted on hismats web page a listing of all of his ancestors. Buried in this list was one individual named Näsman. I sent a brief email note to Mats mentioning that all of my grandparents were from Sweden, and asking if Mats thought there might be some connection between the Näsman on his list and my ancestors. Mats responded by explaining the church record keeping system in Sweden. He also offered to do a search for me if I could supply the church and birth date of a grandparent.

I supplied my grandfather Peter Nasman's birth date and the fact that he was from Tynderö (near Sundsvall). Mats did a search, and soon supplied me with a large amount of information about my ancestors. Although Mats now lives in Stockholm, he is originally from Harnösand, which is only about 40 kilometers from Sundsvall. After several rounds of email messages, and more searching by Mats, it was determined that Mats and I are something like 12th cousins.


Also, it was discovered that Peter Nasman's mother was descended from Bishop Johannes Rudbeckius, the person who, back in the 1600's, made genealogy study in Sweden easy today by requiring that every church maintain the birth, marriage, and death records for the state. I was hooked! If you like to playflag detective, and enjoy putting puzzles together, doing genealogy can become very addictive. I continued searching the internet for more information about my ancestors. I discovered a number of distant cousins who shared my interest, both in Sweden and in the USA. I also developed a strong interest in studying Sweden, its people, and its history. All of this (combined with Diana's long-time interest in international travel), led up to my first big trip to Sweden in the Summer of 1997.


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