Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kalmar - Kalmar Castle. The interior.

Kalmar Castle is a gem because its variety and decoration exceed any expectations from its grim and rigid fortress exterior. Behold, a ceiling. 

Then spot a throwback to an earlier time, a small door, that often meant it was a barrier to anyone fully in armor -- those folks just couldn't get through. And if you took off your armor in pursuit, an old nanny just within, protecting a llttle heir, perhaps, could whack off your head. Or, if this is just a door to a small conference chamber, so be it The point is that the castle is full of open-ended surprises.

This even looks moorish, as do many of the abstract designs elsewhere in the castle. We forget the frequent contacts, visits, trading arrangements, between Swedish Vikings, known as the Rus, and the Middle East. The Black Sea.  Coins of varied realms. Even DNA shows up both places showing friendly contacts.  They went there.  They came here.  Imagine.

Moorish-shaped doorway, Kalmar Castle, Sweden

See Swedish Vikings heading down past Novgorod, that they founded; to Kiev; that they founded; to parts Middle East. See ://

Exterior Drawbridge area, Castle Kalmar, Sweden

 Kalmar was for centuries Sweden's fortress to the east, on the Baltic; a bastion against Denmark in particular, whose boundaries in medieval times extended to within a few miles of Kalmar.  Its history dates back to the 9th Century.

The earliest Keep dates before 1250.  Then came multiple gate towers, connected by a curtain wall.

In the 16th Century, the medieval stronghold was rebuilt into a grand palace. The BBC calls it the finest Renaissance Castle in northern Europe.  See  The original keep was demolished later, and a chapel and other facilities substituted. 

The Danish King Christian IV prevailed in a battle against the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus at Kalmar in 1611, a victory that Christian IV hoped would result in Danish control of the Baltic Sea area, but it was not decisive. With a series of later battles and treaties, and a joint concern with German Catholic expansion (Thirty Years' War era), Sweden came back. Handy history reference sites, to be carefully vetted on your own, help keep the castles straight.  For this one, see ://

In the 1700's, the castle was used primarily as a prison, and royal armory.  See the BBC site.  Then there was a royal distillery, with the need for venting the spirits' unneeded ordinary steam. Break through the floors!

Here: More of  Kalmar inside. The vast interior --

A good defense is not offering a way in.  On this door, not even a handle from this side.

Renaissance tiled stoves, for interior heating, Castle Kalmar, Sweden. 

Ducts carried the hot air to other rooms. The Renaissance ceramic tiled stove  One theory is that the Renaissance in cold countries could not have flowered without the invention and proliferation of this kind of central heating. 

Women's prison bed area, Kalmar Castle, Sweden.

 Beds in cubbies:  the better to keep warm, my dear. This is in an area used later as a women's prison -- the beds side by side, mats on planks, with graffiti on the walls.  What did these ladies do to deserve this?  Talk back?  Don't talk back.  Yakkity.....

Cylindrical ceramic stove, heating; Kalmar Castle, Sweden

This circular stove may have been part of the later women's prison area.  Not sure.

Vent, castle still for brewing spirits below, venting up here. Kalmar Castle, Sweden.
Home brew.  Has to vent somewhere.  Up into the castle, where it wrecked lovely walls.  Hic.

Dungeons and holding areas, when part of Kalmar was used as a prison in later years. 

All was not grim, however  We are looking up the king whose mistress had her bedchamber right off the throne assembly room.  Coffee, tea or me?  Don't be silly.  This is history.

Mistress' bedchamber, off the side of the throne room, Kalmar Castle, Sweden

See Kalmar Castle via somebody's video cam at ://

Storage chests, wall veneers, window seat area, Kalmar Castle, Sweden

Colors are bright, with many abstract designs mixed with the natural.

Ceiling, hunting scene, Kalmar Castle, Sweden

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Karlskrona - World Heritage Fort 'n Port. A Baroque City.

Karlskrona is a Baroque city -- founded in 1680 as Sweden's naval base, and including the island of Trosso; after the land was ceded to Sweden as part of the treaty of Roskilde in 1678.

Denmark Sweden Denmark Sweden. Boundaries had shifted around as power and incursions did. But Karlskrona is on mainland Sweden, and Sweden at the time also held Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and part of Northern Germany.  Denmark lost the Roskilde Treaty sweeps, see its terms at ://; and Karl XI set up fortifications, a naval town, to be sure everything was snug.

"The city shall be here," declared Karl XI. And so it was. A planned naval city.

The pose is a popular one.  This, from Oslo, Norway, is also Karl Johan, at Karl Johan Street, fittingly.  Karl XI of Karlskrona, Karl Johan.  Which is original?  How many copies were made??

Compare: Karl Johan, Oslo; same pose as Karl XI, Karlskrona, Sweden. Isn't it? Which is original? Stylistic pilfers?
  In the 17th and 18th Centuries, Karlskrona was influential, in military and commercial matters. It was a huge naval shipyard, with master shipbuilder Fredrik Henric af Chapman in residence. See ://

Light 'er up and let 'er swing. Best direction marker pre-electricity to be found.

Where are we?  Berlin 428 km; Warsaw 560 km; Riga 532 km. And Vilnius 638 km.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Surname, Olausson - Prastbacka Farm, Rora Parish, Orust Island, Bohuslan

I.  Tracking generations before someone changed the name is interesting.  The children of Kajsa Johannsdotter and Anders Olausson took the name Osterlund upon arriving here, and even Kajsa Johannsdotter became Kajsa Osterlund.

How to firm up who Kajsa Johannsdotter's parents were. We found, in looking elsewhere, an example of the difficulties in researching names.  Here, there are similar names and family events. Did the family have its heritage in Orust Island? Then how and why did the go to Kinnekulle.

II.The Orust Diary.

Jakob Jonsson July 21, 1795-March 18, 1879, was an owner of Prastbacka farm, Rora Parish, Orust Island, Bohuslan. He wrote a diary covering 1866-1879.  One Anders Gustavsson came across it, a century after Jakob's death, see  background at Anders Gustavsson, Biography. Anders Gustavsson translated and presented it, with maps and pictures, at Death in a 19th Century Peasant Society -- Analyzed by Means of a Peasant's Diaries From a Rural Community on the Western Coast of Dweden

Events related to half-owners moving in and also working the farm, a devastating epidemic, families die off, few survive, who they marry, what happens, are similar to the Kajsa Johannsdotter story.  Is there a connection, or is it coincidence.

Is this Jakob Jonsson, in a nation of thousands of sons of John - Johann - Johannes - Johanns - Jon - Jonson - Jonsson -- connected in any way to Kajsa Johannesdotter, but it also is spelled Johannsdotter, who married (we understand) Anders Peter Olausson, producing multiple children who took the name "Osterlund" upon emigrating, and remained Osterlunds?  A higher status name than the farmer Anders-son or Anders-dotter would have been, but not an uncommon discretionary change.

III.  Kajsa Osterlund's story, told to  Anna Widing, told to Britsie (niece)
"The Osterlund family came from the small village of Kinnekulle, on the eastern side of Lake Vanern, province of Ostergotland.  There is a mountain named Kinnekulle, with tourist information on top, and, I think, a park.  It is said to be very beautiful. We have some old photographs of people, not the place itself.
"Anna Matilda Osterlund Widing was the middle daughter among seven children – two died in infancy – whose father was Anders, I think, Osterlund, and Cajse or Kajse Osterlund.  We use Kajsa here.
The older sons of the seven went to the US, and eventually sent for their mother, Kajsa, and siblings.  They, Anna – later Widing; Selma – later Sjostrom; Otto and Josephine came to Philadelphia.  The older brothers ended up in the Midwest.
"The story is that Kajse’s parents were landowners and had a farm.  The “red plague” as the family called it, maybe typhoid or scarlet fever, swept the village when Kajsa was a young girl.  Her parents and siblings died.  She survived, nursed through it by a young farmhand, Anders (not sure of first name) Osterlund. They married and had nine children, seven surviving.
"When Kajsa was pregnant with the last, Josephine, Anders cut his hand ploughing.  He developed tetanus, and died of lockjaw.  He left his young widow with seven children.  Anna Matilda (later Widing) was sent out to live with another farm family and to work for them.  She developed very strong work habits which stayed with her the rest of her life.  I don’t think she enjoyed that family very much, but she did learn to be very self-reliant.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kajsa Johannsdotter and Anders Peter Olausson: Marriage Produced "Osterlunds". What?

The Origins of "Osterlund" 
Swedish Naming Customs 

Surname Mystery
And additional recreational findings as we find them.


Marry into a Swedish-English family, where people talk little about where they came from; from an Irish gang stemming from the multiple roots that make up Ireland (Scots, English, Scots-Irish, Irish, Norse, Canadian and other transplants) where nobody can keep quiet; and find things very odd.  Nobody questions or talks. Much.

How to put together Swedish roots -- recreational only -- where nobody seems to have looked even half-heartedly into it. People have files of photos and scraps, but all is a jumble. So the methodology is to find contrary and peculiar information from other people trying to do the same thing; then throw up hands and come back another day. Here, we took some of the info to the places mentioned in the Jumble in Sweden, Boxholm, and then around Kinnekula, but this mystery remains, among others:  Swedish naming customs. They don't pan out here. *


I.  The Mystery of Kajsa Johannsdotter 1834-1922. And her marriage to Anders Peter Olausson 1836-1878. That marriage produced children somehow with the last name of Osterlund. Go, Sherlock.  According to our understanding, the surname of the children would be Andersson for the boys (Anders' son) and Andersdotter for the girls (Anders' daughter).  What is wrong with the name Anderson or Andersson?  Even Ellis Island, if they came in that way, would get that straight. They came over in bits and pieces also.  Did the first one over simply change the family name?

There is a town of Lund - a city, north of Malmo, Skane district - see :// - but "east Lund" as "oster lund" might be, seems to have no connection. And the custom is parentage, not geography for roots.

So: Is this the answer instead:  somewhere between Kalmar and Vaxjo?

A.  Kajsa Johannsdotter and Anders Peter Olausson
  • Kajsa would be my husband's great-grandmother. Check. 
  • She came from Sweden to live with his grandparents, Anna Osterlund Widing and her husband Philip Widing in Philadelphia. Check.
  • Kajsa's husband was Anders Peter Olausson 1836-1878.  Check. 
  • They had how many children? Go here, ://; and find the names of 
    • John August Osterlund, 1859-1917, the one who is listed at
    • Sophie Osterlund, 
    • Frank Osterlund, 
    • Lenus Osterlund,
    • Anna M. Widing (BINGO -- the married name of Anna M. Osterlund), 
    • Selma Elizabet Osterlund, 
    • Carolina Osterlund, 
    • Otto William Osterlund, and 
    • Josephine Osterlund.
12345678-- 9 children. With those names.  Check.

But how did they get the surname "Osterlund" from a marriage of a Johannsdotter and an Olausson.  That marriage should have produced children with the last name taken from the first name of the father, Anders, or "Anderson". The custom is to give sons the suffix to the father's first name; and daughters the suffix to the father's first name as well. Andersson or Andersdotter. How many s's?  Not sure.

 B.  The Osterlund name was carried on.

See John August Osterlund's line.  He married Fredeicka Helena Heise 1865-1932, see  ://
  • John August Osterlund and Fredeicka had how many children?  Same site, find names 
    • Otto W. Osterlund, 
    • Frank Andrew Osterlund, 
    • Laura O. Osterlund, 
    • John Lewis Osterlund, 
    • Florence Osterlund, 
    • Ester J. Charlton (is that a married name?), and 
    • Loyal Y. Osterlund
 123456- 7 children.

Still don't know where the name Osterlund came from. Who was Osterlund? It means eastern grove. Eastern land. Ha. Was there a mystery lover from east Sweden? So Kajsa, after 9 children with that one, whoever, said to Anders Petr (where was he all that time?) let's call them all Osterlund? Good joke, and the stern firm picture we have of Kajsa would not brook any monkey business.

Kajsa Johannsdotter's great-great-grandson Dan Widing welcomes Osterlund. Swedish roadside.

Otto W, and Frank. Named after their uncles, ok. Reinforces same line here.

C.  My husband's line is from Anna M. (Osterlund) Widing and we can take it from there.

But we still want to know where this Osterlund monicker came from.  John August's descendants:  call me. There must be an answer. And if you want to know about this branch, here we are. Why are you running?


*  We think we have found out. 

Looking back at this issue of naming in families, and this is an update January 31, 2011, the New York Times may have our answer to why names don't fit the traditional:  See  The article notes that for the last 100 years or so, people just got tired of the same names, everybody's ending with -son or -dotter -- leading to multiple s's for ssome. So they chose another.  It may be from the family tree, or just something nice -- thus we seem to have what would have been Anderssons, becoming Osterlund when they arrived in the United States, perhaps even in Sweden.  Thank you, New York Times/
We enjoyed our hunt here, so will keep it just for that. Here is the older post, Osterlund intact, just in case our situation is not just an arbitrary renaming at all.

A relative Britsie Murray, believes that Kajsa Johannsdotter remarried after the death of Anders Petr Olausson's death, and she and the children took the name of the new husband, Osterlund, but we have no paper trail of that yet.

Anna Matilda Osterlund Widing:  Various death notices, including as to the Sjostrom branch -- for whoever may be interested.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Viking Culture - Trelleborgs, Harald Bluetooth, Engineering. Early Roots

 The Kalmar Union, see :// and other periods in history show commonalities among Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and also Finland and Estonia.  Go back further in the Dark Ages and find where those nations influenced others, and see Sweden heading "east" and "south" into Russia, the Black Sea, Byzantium, even as far as Baghdad.  From that, it is not a leap to find some credence in later claims that the 14th century Battle of Kosovo included Serbs with Norse blood, see ://  Click on the time periods.  This is a recreational sidelight, intended only to show how the Swedish adventurers, raiders, traders, settlers, often eclipsed in historical accounts by the Norse and Danes reacting to Charlemagne and Christian incursions by raiding Christian sites and areas.  Theories, theories.

 Kosovo:  Refresh your recollection.  See Kosovo, 1389 Battle and video listed there.

More solid:  The Vikings, A History, by Robert Ferguson, 2009 Penguin Group, is the only Tome we have touched as to bona fide research on Viking culture, and his views may be rebutted elsewhere, but so far we learn this as to trelleborgs: see the Trelleborg at Slagelse at Slagelse, DK, Viking Construction, Thatch, Trelleborg  

1. PP 209-213 or so: There are a series of these ring forts, moats around outer wells, called trelleborgs across Denmark, Norway and Sweden, all built in the same era by one Harald Bluetooth who is now supposedly buried in a column at the Cathedral in Roskilde DK.

Trelleborg as a word can derive possibly from the wooden staves that support the earthen walls inside, or from a "town of slaves" that was part of a treaty for settlements along the Volkhov (Volga?) known as "Kholopij gorodok", and later Latiized as Drelleborch.

Each follows a perfectly circular pattern, suggesting engineering measurement skill, and a similar vision; gates at the cardinal points connected by perfectly intersecting roads. Imagine the four quarter-circles formed by that construction each with an identical huge square building with bowed long-house walls.

Beyond the walls came other similar buildings, perhaps a cemetery. Slagelse in Denmark was built in about 980-81 (sounds pretty precise) and the tree rings of other forts point to about the same time, or later years of Harald Bluetooth's reign. Archeology: find trading and traded items, including from the East, jewelry, coin, silver, bronze, evidence of ship repair at some trelleborgs.

2.  Odd part: no evidence of repair or upkeep. How could that be if, as is thought, the trelleborgs were supposed to be sites for training camps and garrisons. With no repairs, the structures could be expected to last some 5 years, see page 211. "Nonce constructions"?

Nonce -- just put up for a particular purpose, see :// And with laws for membership and internally applicable ethics, and fearlessness in conduct, see Jomsvikings page 213.

Sense or nonce-sense?

3.  There is also a Harald Bluetooth feat of engineering from the same time at Denmark, near Velje - a vast bridge at 760 meters long. That's nearly half a mile: precisely 2493.438320209974 feet, says And some 18 feet wide. Who says the Viking era was rude and crude? We avoid what doesnt' fit the stereotype, is that so. This bridge enabled an overland "motorway" -- rapid access, north and south.

With the bridge and the trelleborgs, was Harald able to defend against any threatened invasions at the coasts, and regain territory lost in 973 to the German tribes, Franks, especially one Otto, in southern Jutland, and then did not need them any more? See page 212.

4.  Harald Bluetooth -- that would be Blatann in Scandinavia at the time, but would you buy a form of wireless communication called "Blatann". No. Bluetooth is more marketable.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trolle Ljungby Slott, Manor House and the Trolls

Kristianstad Municipality, after visiting Ystad.

Castles and manor houses:  Pick and choose. No way to see them all. See this site for a fine showing like a gallery, of the great castles, at ://

1. Trolle Ljungby or Trolle Ljunghy Slott. This is a gem -- a Renaissance manor house.  Its oldest parts date from 1525,

The name: There was an influential family named Trolle, see their burial chapel in Roskilde, Denmark.  Is the same family?

This castle comes with tales of the horn and pipe kept here.  Visit here and learn wonders.

Down the road is a troll stone, a huge boulder right next to a building by the road that suddenly is just there, but in a traffic area -- hard to stop.  This fits with the old tale of the horn and pipe kept at the castle-manor house here.

The horn and pipe were supposedly stolen from the trolls who lived at the stone, but the trolls was not to be found and the horn and pipe were not on display when we were there.  See ://

See the horn and pipe illustrated at :// --  a gilded cornucopia-type drinking horn, with little foot to set it down.

Here is the tale:  a paltry summation but the story must live on.  The image of the golden horn also recurs in museums and castles in Sweden, so get acquainted here.

  • Bring me news of the revelry down the road, said the lovely Lady Cissela of the castle. So off one young swain went, and found trolls, by and under the stone, and gold, and revelry. Go ahead, said a troll lady to one young man in the tale, drink first from the horn and blow three times on the pipe, and whispered something. But the young man tossed the horn's contents over his shoulder and took off with the horn and the pipe, both. The trolls pursued, and asked the lovely Cissela lady in the castle to see that the articles were returned and then all would prosper; or bad things would happen, and sure enough the young man and his horse were dead in three days. But where the horn? Fast forward to 1645 and the horn was causing such disturbance that its owner decided to return it as had been asked, but return it to the castle, not the trolls.Time passed, a priest came into possession of it, and then others; trolls requested return, there were sightings and descriptions of the troll folk, and finally this story was written down in 1692. Hear and believe.
2.  Navigating issues.  The DK travel series has usually been helpful, but less so in Sweden. The tour guide includes tantalizing read-bitess to lure us off the road, but not enough direction for that country where to go. At least include a GPS street number or other address.

Sweden does not help.  It is as though they do not expect tourists, so skip the signs.  Motorways gloss right by. Get off the motorway, and have no idea where to go. Other countries have little signs. Not here.

3.  The lost castle.  For example, Backaskog Slott, or Backaskog Castle. There is an area of that name, but the castle itself is substantially north of that, and on an isthmus, and no way to get there because it is not on the maps we had.  Go into a supermarket and get an idea, but they, too, sent us to the township.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ystad - Cloister Garden, Preserved Homes,

Gamla Stan, the old town, still boasts hundreds of historic half-timbered houses, some 300 scattered, and many on Ostergatan (gatan means "street" we concluded). Some sag here, but are buttressed up there, and look well-preserved. The oldest is said to date from 1630, but most are 1700's says an old Frommer.

Prince Carl lived here, the Crown Prince - he was born in 1826, and stayed until he became king in 1859.  He is better known as King Charles XV.

St. Maria's Church.  This was a cloister until the 16th Century, then came the Reformation. 

Many buildings have the stair-step roof, but they vary in pitch, how many steps up, and the design of windows and patterns below.  This one, to the right of the Church, is not the Grayfriars' Monastery, but also looks too small to be the Latin School, or the Brahehuset. Could be the Latin School.

Ystad - Canal, pastries, half-timber, facade faces, brickwork


Off the ferry at Trelleborg, and Ystad is only 30-40 miles east, on the coast.

For a first pastry, choose one where you can get a car-picnic sandwich at the same time, for later. A recurrent sandwich theme, all open-faced, is a large hunk of great bread beneath, lettuce, tomato, them come the large shrimp just spilling over, and cucumber, etc etc. 

Be sure to read at least one Henning Mankell mystery before arriving.
Ystad's residential and commercial streets: Haunts of Detective Kurt Wallander, mystery series by Henning Mankell. 

This may look like the same house (no wonder you can't find the car), but look closer.  There are little faces up there, above the windows on this one. It is never enough to remember half-timber house on corner, because too many are. And the colors of the brickwork and half-timber -- remember those as well.

Ystad corner house. Half-timber.

Can't see them yet? Get closer.

The faces go all around the house.  Then  find the intricate doorway.

Ta-Da! Worth waiting for. Each one different.

Oh, no!  It's Wallander! He found us out!

The streets combine commercial with residential still. This small slaughterhouse appears abandoned for that purpose, though

Now, where was the car?