10 things I loved about Stockholm – Part II

if you haven’t seen yesterday’s post, this is a continuation.

6. Family and (new) friends. We are blessed to have relatives in Taby, a suburb of Stockholm. Zouheir’s oldest brother Jean-Louis lives there with his wife Manar and their four adult children. The two youngers weren’t there: Jessica is in California finishing out a year abroad before she returns to the Stockholm School of Economics to complete her business degree. Mike has a summer job in a small town in Norway working with the elderly. He’ll be returning to continue his medical studies in the fall. George works as a trader at Swedbank and Rita works in Marketing at Nordea. We had a chance to visit them at their apartments, and the boys spent even more time with Georges watching the World Cup.

Our hosts for the week were Jean-Louis and Manar. We stayed with them for a couple of days at the beginning of the vacation, and also saw Zouheir’s brother Tony who was visiting from Paris. He’s been recovering from a significant health event and is retiring from his medical practice. Their younger sister Marie-Louise came from Lyon during the middle of our visit and it was lovely to spend time with her as well. We met a friend of Georges, Patryzcia Payak, a medical doctor who has just written a children’s book with her sister Anna, an artist, about dying called Dear Death (xxx in Swedish). Their other sister is a cinematographer. They live near J-L and Manar and I had a chance for a quick visit to see some of Anna’s work.

7. Visual beauty. Stockholm is a gorgeous city. I immediately noticed the relative lack of overt advertising (very few, if any, billboards) and the quiet presence of stately architecture of a city hundreds of years old. The city has preserved the traditional style and kept the waterfront (of which there are miles and miles) completely accessible. There are bike paths all over the city, and I had to get used to watching for cyclists as I crossed the paths that are shared with pedestrians. The apartment we rented was quite stunning. There were three bedrooms, including one with a sleeping loft, and one and a half baths, which were gorgeously tiled with a shower/sauna in one.

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I’ve already talked about the sea, and we saw lots of boats of all shapes and sizes, including a brand new super-yacht that had just been delivered. There was also a race scheduled while we were there.

http://www.charterworld.com/index.html?sub=yacht-charter&charter=motor-yacht-abeking-8521
Super-yacht Kibo, currently moored at Stockholm.

8. Quirkiness is in the eye of the beholder.  I like to laugh, and besides the great company, there were many chances for humour. A few that I caught on “film” (you know what I mean.)

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9. Swedish design and eco-consciousness

10. The Swedish people. Everyone was friendly. English is spoken pretty much universally, and no one batted an eye when I responded to a shopkeeper’s hello (“hey hey”) with English. People struck up conversation in the street, and everyone seemed to smile. A lot. A really marked difference from Paris, Rome, or Istanbul, where service can be surly and a few words in English often result in an unwillingness or inability to continue the conversation. I certainly don’t think that everyone in the world should speak English, but when your school system provides it and you work in hospitality or services in a tourist destination, an attempt to converse is appreciated. I’m sure that Swedes realise that their ability to survive in a global economy requires another language, particularly when their native tongue is relatively rare.

10 things I loved about Stockholm – Part I

There’s no place like home.

But I had a fabulous time in Stockholm and, if life took such a turn, I could definitely see myself living there. (Although I’d have to visit in December to make sure of my feelings…)

In no particular order, five of the things I loved about Stockholm:

    1. Coffee. It’s great everywhere. It is not an exaggeration to say that I did not have a bad cup of coffee anywhere, public, private, or commercial. They make it strong and dark, are non-plussed when you ask for warm milk to go with it, there are indie coffee shops and what I assume are local chains. Our apartment had a very funky coffeemaker and we picked up a pound of ground beans with the royal seal on it, but otherwise randomly. This county knows its coffee.

      The coffeemaker in our apartment.
      The coffeemaker in our apartment.
    2. Fashion. It’s pretty low key there. Individualistic. I never felt under- or over-dressed. I noticed that over the ten days I was there, I slowly wore less makeup and felt better about it. (Not that I normally wear a lot, but mascara, bronzer, and lipstick seemed enough.) I would have liked to do some shopping for clothes as the relaxed style really appeals, but it will have to wait for my next trip. Have a look at this tumblr for an idea of what’s on the street these days.
    3. The Baltic. Michael announced in the car on our way home that he didn’t want to hear the word “archipelago” one more time. But really, that explains a lot of the appeal of the city. You turn a corner and suddenly a new vista appears that includes another bit of the sea, different from what you just passed. The climate is moderated by it, the food is influenced by it, history was shaped by it, and it’s simply beautiful.

      View from the restaurant in the Modern Art Museum.
      View from the restaurant in the Modern Art Museum.
    4. Food. Because we stayed either with family or in an apartment we rented, we experienced life as a resident, shopping in the grocery stores, as well as eating in restaurants. Compared to Canada, food is expensive but the quality is high. We had lots of seafood, fish, fresh salads, beets and legumes, breads scented with anise, dill, and caraway, and lots of flatbread (eg Wasa.) Fresh herb plants were available in even small grocers, and the owners of our apartment had a number of plants around the kitchen and on the balcony. I enjoyed a couple of different local beers, and a whisky tasting on an island on our final evening was both an excellent aperitif and informational.
    5. Interesting museums. We didn’t do all the biggies, but I had identified a couple that I definitely wanted to see. The Spirit Museum has an excellent exhibit of some of the Absolut Art Collection, in particular,  Art Pop, the artist and the record sleeve 1956-2013.

      There was also an exhibit there called Swedish Sin. In their words: In collaboration with artist Peter Johansson, we get to grips with lust and vice, liberation and shame – with ”Swedish sin”, both the myth and the phenomenon.

      We also visited the Vasa Museum, a showplace for the 17th century warship that sank into the Stockholm harbour, 30 minutes into it’s maiden voyage. It was salvaged in the early 1960s and is being painstakingly restored. If we’re going to build warships, we should make them beautiful.

      The stern of the Vasa.
      The stern of the Vasa.

      We enjoyed the Architecture and Design Museum where they had a temporary exhibit called Cykel as well as their regular exhibit on architecture in Sweden.

      ArkDes Museum
      ArkDes Museum

      We also visited the Moderna Museet, on the same campus as ArkDes, where we saw the Nils Dardel exhibit as well as some of the permanent collection. And the beautiful Fotographiska, the museum of contemporary photography, where I learned that black and white images can depict nature in stunning fashion.

      Stay tuned for items 6-10….coming tomorrow.

 

Hello from Stockholm!

We celebrated Midsummer with a trip to Skansen, a park with historical exhibits, where they demonstrated the traditional raising of the Maypole with dancing afterwards. It was pretty packed so Zouheir and I only got about a quarter of the way around the pole before we gave up. We finished up with a picnic lunch provided by Manar, my sister-in-law.

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A parish statistician (1770)

I’ve been searching the terrific database of parish records for Cheshire and for each set of records that are uploaded, there are  notes from those doing the transcribing.

St. Mary’s Church Tilston – geograph.org.uk – 510742 (Tower from 15th century.)
In the parish of Tilston St Mary, I came across this one:

Since I have been Rector of Tilston there have been
Burials 737
Christenings 829
Weddings 209
May 16th 1770
(Signed) James Richardson Rector
More Christenings than burials 107
Ten Christenings for nine burials
Five out of nine live to be merries [marrried?]
17 females born for 10 males
About one in forty die in a year.

James Richardson MA was rector of this parish from 1719-1773.

If you’v got ancestors from Cheshire, have a look at the Cheshire Parish Register Database. The user-interface is not gorgeous, but once you get there, click on Database on the left hand nav-bar and then you can search by event (Baptism, Marriage, Burial)

Happy Father’s Day!

In honour of Father’s Day, I’m reposting this piece from last year. All the best to those remembering their fathers today, living or dead.

 

Winnipeg, MB. 1920s
Winnipeg, MB. 1920s

The son of Russian Jews, my father was born to David Berkman and Vera Elstein in Regina Saskatchewan, 1924. I don’t have any pictures of my grandfather; he and Vera divorced when my father was very young and she apparently cut him out of surviving photographs. But his work as a furrier survives in photographs of my father in tiny fur coats.

StitchSCAN0296-SCAN0297
Winnipeg, 1920s. My father is in the front, with his uncles Morris and Louis behind him.

By 1934, they were living in Ottawa where my grandmother worked as a saleslady at the Madame Louise Hat Shop on Bank Street which was run by David, also the proprietor of Berk’s Dress Shop. Vera also worked with fur, and was an accomplished dressmaker. Unlike my maternal grandmother, she wore wigs, nail polish and makeup, exotic clothing, and was something of a style maven.

Vera and her mother Sarah (Alexandra) Meznekoff on Russell Ave in Ottawa. 1950s
Vera and her mother Sarah (Alexandra) Meznekoff on Russell Ave in Ottawa. 1950s

My father attended Lisgar Collegiate where he was known as Bunny Berkman, a nickname my grandmother gave him.

1940s, Ottawa
1940s, Ottawa

He was an excellent trumpet player and led a student combo that included Mort Katz, who still gigs around Ottawa.

LIsgar Collegiate Institute, 31st Annual Concert, Jan 1943.
LIsgar Collegiate Institute, 31st Annual Concert, Jan 1943.

After graduating from Lisgar, he went to Queen’s University as part of the class of Meds49 where he apparently had a very good time. The reverse of this photograph has a woman’s name, phone number, and address on it.

Queen's Football Game, Kingston. late 40s.
Queen’s Football Game, Kingston. late 40s.
Graduation from Queen's School of Medicine, 1949
Graduation from Queen’s School of Medicine, 1949

He did post-graduate studies in Cardiology at Georgetown University under Dr. Proctor Harvey, and returned to Canada to begin working at the Ottawa General Hospital.

He married my mother in 1958. I was born in 1960, my sister Frances in 1961, and my brother John in 1964. My parents bought a cottage in Quebec, north of Ottawa, in 1967 and we spent many summers there. My father was the main family photographer and so there are not a lot of photos with him in them. Here’s one of the five of us.

31 MIle Lake, Quebec. July 1968
31 MIle Lake, Quebec. July 1968

He was an introvert, but well-loved by his students, winning a teaching award at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. He was intrigued by technology, built a Heathkit television and audio components, learned to program on an early Apple computer, scoured record stores every Saturday for new jazz releases (sometimes taking one of us with him and often “losing” us), and continued to play the trumpet on his own and, from time to time, with his friends.

He died in 1986 of cancer of the duodenum, predeceased by his mother in 1980.

Surname Saturday – Honsberger

I’ve been following up on a Goddard “stray”, Hilda Jane Goddard, my second cousin, twice removed. She was born to Samuel Goddard, a bricklayer, and Elizabeth Fuller in about 1900 in Folkestone, Kent.

This family photo shows her parents in the centre. Hilda is in the back row at the far right.

 

Samauel Goddard and Elizabeth Fuller, with family. Hilda is in the back row, centre, between her brothers.
Samauel Goddard and Elizabeth Fuller, with family. Hilda is in the back row, centre, between her brothers.

In the last quarter of 1918, Hilda marries Elton Snyder Honsberger, a signalman in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces from Jordan County, Ontario (near St. Catharines). In December of that year, Hilda gives birth to a son, Elton Eric Honsberger. Three months later, she and the infant sail from Liverpool  aboard the SS Melita, arriving in St John NB on the 6th of March 1919. Her husband is also on that ship with many other demobilized soldiers and their dependants. Canadian war brides were given free third class passage, and they could often return on the troop ship with their husband, which is the case with Hilda.

SS Melita. Courtesy http://www.norwayheritage.com.

I had trouble finding them in the 1921 census. Finally, I decided to go manually through each of the census files for Louth County, Elton’s home before he went to war. I found them, with their surname transcribed as “Honsinger”, and they have a second child, Marjorie.

My cousin Squibs is descended from this family and she asked me to “keep an eye out for” Honsbergers. Given that Canadian census data is only available to 1921 at this time, next steps are to search local newspapers for obituaries or other news of interest. One of Hilda’s brothers, Stephen (seated in front row with the great hair) also came to Canada in the 1950s.

If you’re a descendant of Elton and Hilda (or Stephen), I’d love to hear from you!

—-

I’m fascinated by war brides. Check out this link for more on the Canadian War Brides of WWI. There’s also a great site on war brides from World War II here.

Family Recipe Friday Redux

Last week, I posted some Christmas cake recipes from my grandmother, her mother, and her mother-in-law. I got messages from my mom as well as two of her sisters with more information about the traditions around these dishes.

My mom wrote (in the comments):

The dark fruitcake was used for birthdays – it had two eggs. However we had another fruit cake that called for a “pound of eggs”, about 10, and this was made only for Christmas and New Year and Lillian’s birthday, December 28!

Your e-mail brought back a lot of memories – of the whole family sitting around the kitchen table late November or early December making mincemeat!

Aunts Joyce, Edith, and Lilian at Edith's graduation from University of Toronto, 1956.
Aunts Joyce, Edith, and Lilian at Edith’s graduation from University of Toronto, 1956.

My Aunt Edith emailed me to say “When we were kids, the Christmas cake was made in 3 graduated tins – like wedding cake tins.  The largest cake was for Christmas, the middle-sized one for New Year’s (Lillian’s b’day?[December 28])  and when Joyce arrived the third one, for a few years, was her birthday cake. 

My Aunt Lillian wrote that the two larger fruitcakes were for Christmas and New Year and that she got the smaller one for her birthday, perhaps until my Aunt Joyce came along some years later in mid-January.

All three sisters remembered, as my Aunt Lillian put it, “the cheap fruit cake”.  Aunt Edith wrote “[The] other siblings’ birthday cakes were the much cheaper and less fruity (i.e. no peel, almonds, pecans, cherries, etc.) fruit cakes, the ‘fruit’ being basically raisins.”  My mother remembered that the cheap fruit cake had no eggs.

Of the mincemeat: My mother wrote that it was “not at all like the one you get in cans. We liked grandmas although we also liked the other. My father got a hamper from the place where he worked [Canada Packers] at Christmas and it included mince meat in a can.” Aunt Lillian noted that 1/2 the mincemeat recipe is enough to make 2 pies.

My uncle, James Ross Gear. (1934-1957)
My uncle, James Ross Gear. (1934-1957)

Aunt Edith also commented on the handwriting of the second and third recipes, which I did not recognize: I’m not sure who printed out the other two recipes, although my guess is that it was [my Uncle] Ross.  When he was at home with nephritis, he did a variety of things like knitting at least one scarf, hooking a rug, and so on.  I think he also began to copy  some of mother’s recipes on cards to fit into a recipe box.  However, the asterisk and ‘2 1/2 tbsp’ on the pudding recipe is my addition!  

My Uncle Ross died in 1957 of kidney failure at the age of 22, and so I never got to meet him. It feels nice to have something that he wrote, if that is in fact the case.

My grandparents William Gear, Daisy Goddard, and sons Ross and Bill.
My grandparents William Gear, Daisy Goddard, and sons Ross and Bill.

 

Treasure Chest Thursday

I’ve been browsing through some of the great Canadian local history databases lately.  For general Canadian history, Canadiana.org has some terrific content. There are a couple of free databases there but the most inclusive one is Early Canadiana Online which requires a subscription. For western Canada, Peel’s Prairie Provinces is free and hosted by the University of Alberta.

Yesterday, while researching my Rycroft post, I popped the name “Goddard” into the search field over a Peel’s and found this postcard:

Buffaloes at Elk Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. [Fort Saskatchewan: ca. 1910].
The text on the back reads:

From: Ralph
To: Mrs W.D. Goddard
Address: Fragmew, Cheriton Rd., TolReston, Kent, England.
Message: “Very best wishes & happiest returns of 30 Dec. Just having another cold spell. Had a good time this xmas, will write more fully very soon. House still progressing very slowly, but hope in the * dim dark future to see it finished. Just off there now, C. going to hunt this morning. glad to say all well. Expect to go up to his Close New Years’ day when we anticipate a good time. A & his wife up at his shack whilst Sullivan is building his house quite a grand affair I can tell you. Hope all well. Best love from Ralph. Ballentyne Dec 30th”
I was excited to see this and posted it to the Goddard Association of Europe’s Facebook page. My Goddards come from Kent so I was wondering whether this might be an ancestor. Regardless, I figured it would be interesting to someone.
I did a little research on Ancestry and determined that William and Mary (Hyde) Goddard had a son Ralph. After posting, one of the admins who is a cousin of mine (and who blessed me with my Goddard family tree back to the 17th century when I joined a few years ago) contacted a Gail Goddard in Ottawa who’s husband is a descendant of these Goddards. While we’re not in the same family, it was exciting to link up this artifact with the descendants of the writer.  Gail writes “Ralph had arrived in Canada in 1907. In 1910 Hilda Mary Goddard came to Battenberg, Alberta (later called Gibbons) to join her parents and siblings. In 1912, she and Ralph were married.”
While the sites I mentioned above are not specifically genealogical, this demonstrates the importance of having a peek at other resources to flesh out local history of our ancestors and maybe come across something special!

 

Workday Wednesday

I’ve recently been responding to some hints on Ancestry.com, those little green leaves that tell you that there are records in their database that may contain information about ancestors in your tree. In particular, I’ve been looking at the Rycroft family, my maternal great-grandmother’s mother Eliza Rycroft.

Eliza was born in 1842 and baptised in St. Oswald’s Parish, Chester in Cheshire, England in 1842. This parish was associated with the south transept of Chester Cathedral, inside the ancient walls of the city. Her family lived on Princess Street where her father Thomas was a pawnbroker. Her mother was Sarah Purslow. Eliza married James Dobb Price (also a pawnbroker) in 1866 and they lived next door to her parents. Eliza is noted as a grocer in the 1871 census. They had four children, the second of which was my great grandmother Emily Minnie Price.

Stephen Robert Goddard and Emily Minnie Price
Stephen Robert Goddard and Emily Minnie Price

Eliza died in her late 30s and the children were split up: the elder two lived with their grandmother next door and the younger two went to live with their father’s mother and her second husband, Thomas and Mary Ruscoe, in Toxteth Park (now Liverpool), about 30 miles away. A few years later, Minnie emigrated to Canada where she met and married my great-grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard.

What interested me yesterday morning was that it became apparent that another Rycroft family member also came to Canada, specifically, the Toronto area.

Anne Rowe (1849-1904)
Anne Rowe (1849-1904)

Eliza was the first of five children born to Thomas and Sarah. Thomas William was born in 1848; Sarah Jane was born in 1850; John Stanley Ford was born in 1851; and Annie Eliza was born in 1854. Thomas is listed as a carpenter in the 1871 census. (Sarah and Annie work with their parents as “pawn brokers assistants”. John heads off to Lancashire to be an “assistant master” in a school.) Thomas sails for Canada on the Nestorian in the summer of 1872 and six years later, marries Ann Rowe in Toronto.

By 1881, they have a toddler (Annie) who dies shortly thereafter and an infant (Stanley) and are living in St. Patrick’s Ward where Thomas continues to work as a carpenter. By 1891, they have three growing sons (Stanley, Percy, and Jamie) and Thomas is now listed as a clerk. Jamie dies the following year at age 4 of diphtheria.

In 1901, Thomas is working as a clerk in a store and making $500 per year, well above others who live on his street. Stanley is a piano maker, making $200 per year, and Percy is a machinist, $200 per year. They are now living at 261 Church St (currently in the middle of Ryerson University) and Thomas is a warden at Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church. In 1904, Ann dies of general peritonitis.

Holy Trinity Church on Trinity Square, Toronto, c 1870-5.
Holy Trinity Church on Trinity Square, Toronto, c 1870-5.

I have been unable to Thomas Sr. in the 1911 census. But death records show that he died in 1912 of heart disease. He was living at 425 Wellesley Street.

In 1904, Percy marries Jean MacPherson and they have two children in the following two years, Dorothy and John. Then they move to Watertown NY where he is a collar-maker in the harness industry. I believe that they return to Canada but I haven’t verified this yet.

Stanley Rycroft (b.1881)
Stanley Rycroft (b.1881)

Stanley marries Frances Mabel Riches in 1907 and by 1921, they are living in Parkdale at 31 Prince Rupert Ave. Stanley works at Gourlay Winter and Leeming, a piano factory and makes $1560 per year. They have two children, Frances and James. I kwow that Gourlay Winter and Leeming go out of business in the 20s, so I’m not sure where Stanley ends up (yet.)

I haven’t taken this story much further, but I know that there are lots of references to Rycrofts in the local paper from those years that I haven’t begun to explore. Even better, I likely have some Rycroft cousins on this side of the Atlantic that I haven’t met yet. If you know or are related to any of these people’s descendants, please get in touch.

 

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Family Recipe Friday: Christmas Edition

When we cleared out my mother’s condo, I grabbed her recipe boxes with the intent of uploading the family favorites to share with my siblings.

I knew that there were a few cards in my grandmother’s handwriting that I wanted to save and possibly make. I’m one of the increasingly rare breed who love fruitcake and today share three Christmassy recipes.

The first is for Dark Christmas Cake. I recall these cakes arriving by mail (?) in Ottawa from my mother’s mom, Daisy Goddard, who lived in Toronto.

My Grandma Gear (Eva Daisy Goddard) in her kitchen on Nairn Ave, Toronto.

One day, I came home from school to find a syringe in the sink and the cake on the counter. My mother (a physician) had been injecting some kind of alcohol into it well in advance of Christmas so that it would have time to absorb the goodness. The recipe is in my grandmother’s handwiting.

Family Christmas recipes_0001

Next up is a recipe for Mince Meat from Daisy’s mother, Emily Minnie Price. Minnie was born in 1869 in Chester, England, the second of four children of James Dobb Price (bookkeeper) and his wife Eliza Rycroft (a grocer).

Emily Minnie Price
Emily Minnie Price

Minnie’s mother died in 1881 when she was twelve and she and her sister went to live with her maternal grandmother, Sarah Rycroft, and three of Sarah’s unmarried children, then in their 20s. Sarah was a pawnbroker with a shop at 26 Princess Street. The younger two children went to live with their paternal grandmother mother.

Minnie emigrated to Toronto in 1889 a couple of years after Sarah died and, two years later, married my grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard. Here is her Mince Meat recipe: it has no instructions, just the ingredients, which was probably pretty common in those days.

A Christmas Pudding recipe labelled “Grandma Gear’s” was from my great grandmother Janet Forbes Morren. She was from Aberdeen and emigrated to Canada in 1899 where she married a Walter Gear in Calgary. Janet’s father, WIlliam Morren, was an engineer and was away a good bit of the time on steam ships. (The census regularly showed his civil parish as “Vessels”.) Janet’s mother, Barbara Gordon, died in 1886 when Janet was just eight years old, and she and her sister Margaret went to live with her older sister Williamina (who was 15 years her senior) in Edinburgh (then Leith North.) She ended up in Toronto (a long story for another time) and lived close by my grandmother and family.

Her Christmas Pudding recipe. Again, no instructions.

Family Christmas recipes_0002

Would love to hear from relatives who have stories or anecdotes about these recipes or these three women. The second and third recipe are in the same handwriting. Can anyone identify it? I hope to take a crack at the recipes in about six months.