I’ve begun to sort through boxes of old family photos and pieces of history.

I’m learning where I came from.
family history unfolds

I’m finding those who came before me and made my life possible.

My people.

My family tree.

The ones I’m linked to.

table of contents

I knew my grandmothers, but my grandfathers died before I was born.

Anyone before them I know little about.

It’s my understanding I come from a line of farmers, carpenters, good cooks and musicians.

There is one doctor in the group.

No royalty or famous names that I know of so far…but who knows what I’ll learn as I dig into this project.

And, I don’t mind if everyone was just a regular person because to me, well no one is regular.

Everyone’s life is interesting.

farm account book, 1940

My kinfolk came from Sweden to America during the great immigration wave in the early 1900s and settled in Minnesota.

I was always told that I was 100% Swedish, with maybe a tiny itty bitty French, so last winter when I had my DNA and my mother’s DNA checked, we were surprised…very surprised!

We are only a little over half Swedish with the rest of our roots being French, German, Finnish, and traces of British, Irish and Iberian.

Our way way back ancestors came from northwestern Africa which I find very exciting.

I’ve started to look through pictures, obituaries, newspaper clippings, diaries, Bibles, farm account notebooks, letters, postcards and scrapbooks.

family tree

So here I sit under the tall family tree and I look up at the sprawling branches.

They reach beyond what I can see but I’m going to climb and explore every limb.

There are countless photos to look through and organize.

Some date back 100 years ago.

Many from the 1960s when I was a kid, include old-timers who I have faded memories of.
out takes


vintage eye glasses

In my grandma’s birthday book my birth was recorded in her handwriting.

I love the poem on top of the page.

antique birthday book

I found my other grandma’s funeral plans on a few pieces of paper and her thoughts spilled over to the outside on the envelope.

“Bye till we meet in our home above”.

until we meet again

Below, my dear dad’s photo album from his time serving in the US Coast Guard during WW2.

He’d told me many stories about his East Coast adventure.

Coast Guard 1944

My mom kept a diary most of her life.

Give me a date and I can tell you if the sun was shining, what house chores were done and what was baked for afternoon coffee.

mom's journals

Some obituaries were not cut out of the newspapers but the entire paper was saved.

What a gold mine for looking at a slice of history!

My great grandma Anne’s obituary made the front page.

She and great grandpa were active and well known in their area.

He worked for the county and she was a musician playing her accordion for ‘doings’.

Her flower gardens were so lovely that folks would drive by special to see them.

She was the first local lady to bob her hair, and she dressed up when she delivered eggs to town.

Yep, she was French.

vintage newspaper

Among the letters and journals I found a bag with a rolled up wedding dress belonging to my grandma.

She made it from a Vogue pattern.

wedding dress

I’ll share more family history on my Renew and Remember Facebook page as I come across things I think you’ll like.

Take this journey with me and I hope you’ll be inspired to learn about your own roots.


Left in a box all ragged and torn,

Forgotten, aged, deserted and worn.

Fragments from yesterday discarded away,

Quietly waiting for a glimpse of today.

When the lost was found between old dew and rust,

New breath blew away any cruel dust.

Long gone faces for a moment can breathe,

What time left behind now seems very real.

Cherub eyes, weathered faces and wedding glory,

Each one has a name and each one has a story.

Arms intertwined and birthday queens,

Glances into the past are now just a dream.

Those moments of yesterday are captured in time,

Left now for history to unravel, unwind.

Not one should retire to entombment unclaimed,

But each is most deserving of the finest gold frame.

grandpa's Bible

I would love to hear from you! Email me: beverly@renewandremember.com

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