This past weekend was our Svensk Hyllningsfest, the bi-annual festival to honor the Swedish pioneers that settled in the Smoky Valley of Kansas. It’s been held on odd years ever since 1941. The two highlights for most people are the school children dancing for the opening ceremonies, and the Saturday parade.
All the school children, grades one through eight, are in Swedish costumes and perform three dances per class. It’s fun to watch the timid steps of the little ones, to the accomplished maypole dance of the oldest girls.
Saturday’s parade theme was “Everywhere a Dala”, because we have Dala horses all over town- from house signs- to four-foot dalas on street corners. The float that won top place was themed “Dala Dynasty” after the TV show Duck Dynasty. It was a hoot!
Tracing those Swedish Family Roots
Recently I helped with a genealogical conference here in Lindsborg where 150 people from 18 states attended. Four researchers from Sweden were here to conduct the workshop on how to find one’s Swedish ancestors.
On the second day everyone set up in our local school computer lab with laptops to search the internet for leads to their Swedish ancestors. I helped out those that needed help to translate old Swedish words, or navigate internet pages. It was exciting for people who finally found the names of their ancestors, all because of this workshop.
And some of those ancestors from Sweden were ones that settled on the Kansas prairie that we honored this past weekend…including mine! My Swedish Johnson family story is told in my book series Planting Dreams.