Tag: sweden

Historical Imaging



Showcasing images I’ve created, composited and/or altered in order to make historical situations, places or circumstances more readily accessible to as many people as possible.

This grew out of my effort–shared with anyone who gets intricately lost in making family trees–of trying to find relevant imagery to use for people of whom no pictures exist (e.g., anyone who lived before the 1840s). But not just relevant, you really want to push it further and find images that are interesting, too. Or at least I do. And accurate, for instance, to the time when a particular ancestor or historical personage might have actually lived or been at a given location. So from these endeavors, the following sampling of images.

First Example

This is Château de Jumilhac, a castle south of Limoges in southwestern France. In the course of working on a friend’s family tree, I learned some of his ancestors had been ChteaudeJumilhacleGrand copyinvolved in actually building it back in the 1200s. (!!) They’d been among its lords, too, for 150 years or so. After first thinking, aha! whatta sweet image to use for that string of ancestors, I learned as I read more about them and it, that the conical rooftops (that will surely strike Americans as quintessentially “fairy-tale”) were added hundreds of years after his family had been on the scene in the depths of the actual Middle Ages. Well I couldn’t use a historically inaccurate image, so I did something about it.

ChteaudeJumilhacleGrandOLD copy



This is much closer to what it would have looked like to the de Bruchard family as they knew it.




An older photograph also lent itself to easy changing:


















So the examples here are each within a category:

  • People & Location
  • Now to Then
  • Obsolete Professions
  • SketchUp 4 Teaching History
  • Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

People & Location

  1. Swedish origin spot of my great-grandmother and 3 generations of her people


South-central Sweden, Vastragotaland.


2. Recent Dukes of Argyll at their seat, Inverary Castle, Scotland

DUKE 11 1


Now to Then

  1. View from the Mayflower

2. Castle Hornby

On the left, as seen around 1900 (& today); on the right, as it was when my ancestor lived there (incidentally, just about the last–my most recent–ancestor to reside in a castle…500 years ago!)


Obsolete professions

Two variations


SketchUp 4 Teaching History

  1. Construction of the White House (the Executive’s Mansion) in the 1790s in Washington, D.C.

These are views of a multi-layered SketchUp model I’ve built of various stages of the White House’s construction. Here we see the foundation as it was originally laid down in 1791-2. The layers reflect the actual materials, orientation and configuration learned from researching primary source material (such as reports of the crew who laid the new foundations in the 1950s as to what they found as well as reports of Thomas jeffereson, architect Benjamin Latrobe and others involved in the early days of the building). The close-up is the northwest corner, seen from just a few feet south and west of it.


Here’s the southern facade, seen from the southeast, depicted as the Limestone facing began to be mounted on the brick walls.

And the same face seen from the southwest, a little further along in the process:












And here’s the north (properly, the front) as it neared completion. (The portico that we know today  was not added until the 1820s).


Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

Here you can see various elements that went in to the image at the very top of the page (the black & white 1800s looking street).

That’s Liverpool, England. Specifically, Vauxhall Road, looking across it from near where my gr-gr-grandad, a guy named Edward Dunn, had a business in the 1870s, to the intersection with Blacklock Street, toward the site of Vauxhall Gardens, a housing project that was destroyed in WWII during the Blitz just before Xmas 1940.




Composite of contemporary shot (made B&W) with old shot.






Composite of two images; the corner building has been added to the street shot. I then added this with the B&W version of the current corner seen in the shot above this to get the image seen at the very top of the page.

This is the current shot, unaltered.




And the combo with the building destroyed by Nazi bombs in WWII is below again for easy comparison.






Club Chill

Axevalla Hed – Garrison of the Skaraborgs and Västergötland regiments of the Swedish Army


AXE MOREKungshuset

A visual meditation on the couple of things the name “Kylén” would’ve meant to my gr-gr-grandfather, Sven Andersson, when he received it as his soldatennamen (soldier name) when he served in the Swedish Army, probably sometime between 1842 and 1849. Through an incredibly nice guy in Sweden who has it as a last name (for the same reason that Sven’s daughter had it as her last name; ie, his ancestor was given it as a nickname in the army) I learned that it was a word meaning thigh-bone, from the German “Keule”, which has the meaning of “cudgel”, as in a “club”, like a fighting stick. He shared this info with me after consulting an etymology dictionary from the 1800s himself! Cuz up to that point (w/out knowing each other) we both DID know that today, SVEN KYLEN“Kylén” is the word in Sweden for “the fridge”. Yeah yeah, all very funny, but what the hell did it mean in 1842, 80 years b1000px-Skaraborgsgruppen_vapen.svgefore “the fridge” was invented? The legbone-as-weapon sounded pretty good.


But then I looked up more stuff and it might just as well have simply meant “chill”, along the lines of “cold snap” or “icy blast of air”, “coldness”. Imagine a battaliion of 50 guys, the seargent at Axevalla (the garrison where my, and the ancestor of this Swedish fellow I just mentioned, were both stationed [some 30 years apart, though]) barks out a few soldiers’ names: “Sword! Thunder! Evergreen! Lightning!…Chill?…Stick? Cudgel? Coldness? Icy Chill?


<sigh … or is that “brrrrr!”>

So it looks like the quest continues. Here I go trying to find a native Swedish speaker who also happens to know rather a lot about the military history of his country that hasn’t had or been in a war for 200 years, and a bit about the evolution of his language. lol  In the meantime, here’s the picture I made about it all.

So, until later; I’ll just be chillin’ da mos’ all up in here at Club Kylén…




150th Part 2

Scan 4_3 copy

We all celebrate birthday weeks these days, yeah? So let’s say I’m extending the same courtesy to my dear old namesake great-grandmother, Selma Kylen.




First, a little reality check: in Osterbitterna, where she was born, it’s 17 degrees Farenheit today! (-2 Celsius)! Yowzah!




So as part 2 of the info celebrating her, this post is the beginning of the “big reveal” as to what it turns out her last name and my first name mean. (Reminder, or background for any 1st time readers: She was born Jan 10, uni_i_m_m1845c1864 in southwestern Sweden & came to the US in 1880, married an American named Frank Campbell in Minnesota, etc etc. Her birth last name can also be considered to have been Selma Svensdotter; her dad was named Sven Andersson, but while in the Swedish army he received, as was the practice, the soldier name–soldaten namen–of “Kylen”, and the name was passed on to/used by himself and some of his 9 kids, including Selma. These days it means “the fridge” in Swedish, but other leads point to another meaning.)AXE 1


This is the place that was (almost certainly) the location where Sven was trained 2093_1910Aand served in the army back in the 1840s. Thus it’s the place where he received the moniker that would Picture 8eventually find its way to being my name. These uniforms from the period are approximately what he would’ve been wearing in those days.

More to come!

1864 – 2014

Picture 6S KYLEN WDGSK CARDSelma Kylén

January 10

1864 – 2014

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth in Sweden of a very particular great-grandmother of mine. VARA ETC SWE copyAlthough, sadly, not even my mom or her siblings got to meet her since she died several years before they were born, she holds a very special place in my heart since her last name came to be me…or rather, mine…Er, the name…I call myself…


It seems altogether fitting and just that I share a pile of stuff about her, and revolving around her on this day.
Some has to do with the origin of the name (again, a topic dear to my heart; especially since as a little kid I wanted to change my name to Charlie, or Tommy, or Jimmy; and yeah, you could say I’m more than glad I steered clear of doing that).

Another bit will be to share what I’ve fused together thanks to the kind donation of some DNA code of a fellow great-grandson of Selma’s with some extremely productive on-site famtracking done in Sweden a few years back by my aunt. (And while we’re all usually used to thinking of “be fruitful…” to mean on the downward flow of generations–and Selma and her husband Frank Campbell were indeed that–my aunt’s investigations on the ground in Sweden proved just as fruitful in the backward flow, giving us a dozen or more ancestors we had no idea about beforehand!)

First, though, the basics.

Selma was born 150 January 10ths ago (in 1864) in a place called Österbitterna in Sweden, which is about 25 miles or 40 kilometers south of that huge lake, Lake Vänern, in the southwest part of the country, the 7th child images%2f191-2images%2f10-2and 5th daughter born to her mother Marja and father Sven. Thus going by the patronymic naming tradition she would be called Selma Svensdotter. Judging by the blondish looking hair she has in all the pictures we have of her and the blonde hair all of her kids sported as kids, it’s most likely as a little girl, she too was a blondie. Her older brothers came to the USA first and sent money back–very common, of course, in those days when much of Europe was emigrating across the Atlantic. Selma was only 16 when she and her one of her sisters sailed to America in the fall of 1880. Their parents and a younger brother joined them within a couple years.

F&SCampbells2 copy
Lee is the little guy, 2nd from the left, holding his daddy’s hand.

Like so many other Scandanavians, they went to Minnesota. My aunt did most of the digging and finding on Selma’s ancestors and family, so I’ll quote her succinct summary: “Upon arrival she was hired as a maid in the FnS WEDDINGhome of John Murphy’s family. (The Murphy family later moved to Foley, Minnesota and had a life long friendship with Selma and Frank.)” Frank is Frank L. Campbell (1861 – 1952), the American man she married  who, the story goes, was also employed in the Murphy household as a gardener. If my memory serves, that was all in Minneapolis. My aunt continues: “Following her marriage to Frank she became a farmer’s wife in Blue Earth County until 1898 when they moved to St. George twp., Benton County, Minnesota.” Blue Earth County is out by Mankato, Minnesota, about 60 miles south-southwest of Minneapolis. And it was there that Selma became a mother, herself, in 1890, to a girl they named Myrtle. Another girl two years later was named Abigail (probably after relatives of Frank’s), and a third two years after that they named Gladys. In the winter of 1896 Selma gave birth to a boy. They gave him his dad’s middle name (Lee). That little guy would go on to be my grampa.
As my aunt noted, they moved a few years later to Benton County, which is due north of Blue Earth, about 60 miles north-northwest of the twin cities. Two more kids followed, Vern in 1900 and Vida in 1903. Selma’s dad, Sven, died in 1901, and her mom (name anglisized to Maria) went to live with Selma and Frank. She and they would remain right there for the rest of their lives, growing their family and then later being there and getting to see the familes that their kids in turn grew.

Next part: Why I’m Not Named “Svensdotter”  (Wha??)