In the 1990’s I began a quest tracking down family ancestors, and I discovered some were practically in our back yard. The extended family of relatives I knew in the 1950’s were mostly within 5 miles. My parents were strapped raising 8 kids, so without an automobile our travels were mostly walking distance. The Degerstrom grandparents lived next door, and the Parkman set were within 2 miles.
While studying the genealogy of my Degerstrom surname I discovered my great grandfather lived within 50 miles of my home town, Derby, where my Dad was born and raised his family. The ancestors emigrated to Monson, Maine from Sweden in 1881, and as shown in the photograph here the street they carved out was eventually named Degerstrom Road. More amazingly, my great great grandfather and his wife emigrated with them. These facts were not known by my Dad who may have met his grandfather once as a teenager in the 1930’s.
The distance from Derby to Monson may as well have been 1000 miles. With the help of my brothers and contacts in Sweden, we eventually traced the family name back to the year 1560. Before coming to America more than 10 generations lived as farmers in Northern Sweden in the village of Ranea, and very close to the Arctic Circle.