When I first got the genealogy bug, my goal was to extend my pedigree charts as far back in time as possible. For many of my Swedish ancestors, that’s very doable and gets you to the 1700’s. At one time, I thought my genealogy was mostly “done”.
Then I attended a workshop where they suggested that another goal is to find every available document/record for the ancestors you already know about so you can learn everything possible about their lives. That’s when I really got hooked. It’s so much more interesting than just names and dates! If you pay attention to the small details, you can connect the dots in very surprising ways. The previous post about the Pearson and Hadsall families is just one example.
This also happened on our trip to Sweden and I remembered it today because of a Facebook post that I happened across this morning. Apparently, this past weekend was Confirmation Sunday at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Ceresco. The Facebook picture showed the seven confirmation students standing in front of the altar. Among them was one of my first cousins once removed on the Pearson/Brodd side of the family (not using names for privacy reasons). Behind the altar is the iconic painting of Jesus walking on the water, rescuing the Disciple Peter.
Immanuel Lutheran Church was organized in 1919 and my great-great-grandfather A. G. Brodd was elected as one of three deacons. I imagine that in his capacity as a deacon, he was very active in the construction of the new church.
A.G. Brodd was born on a farm called Sandlid, not too far from the village of Broddetorp. But he was baptized into a smaller parish a little ways south – a parish called Håkantorp. He is listed in that parish up until his teenage years. At age 19, he became a soldier in the Swedish Army (although never saw any service) and is listed in other parishes after that.
We were able to visit the Håkantorp church. Here is the altar area:
Here are the two altar paintings, Håkantorp and Ceresco, side by side:
Cool, huh? Can there be any doubt who chose this painting for their brand-new church?
It had probably been more than 50 years since he had set foot in the church of his childhood, but he remembered every detail!
Now I should mention that in religious art of this nature, there is often a “formula” for depicting well-known Bible stories. For example, the distressed boat is always an element in paintings of Jesus saving Peter (try Googling “religious art jesus water peter” to see the formula in action). Also, these artworks are usually inspired by an original more famous piece. It’s likely that the committee of deacons were able to choose their artwork from some sort of catalog collection of standard imagery, and then the painter creates the work according to the “formula”. So we shouldn’t assume that A.G. Brodd directed every detail.
But I like to think he knew exactly what he wanted and made it happen.
p.s. My youngest is graduating from high school in a few weeks, it’s really cutting into my genealogy time. Will post as time allows, but it might be sparse until June.