Swede Success
10/1/2006
You'll taste the thrill of family tree victory with our seven-step guide to discovering your Swedish roots.

The history of Stockholm, Sweden's capital, stretches back to the 13th century, when the city was a prominent trading post.

My great-grandfather Gustav Fryxell came to America in 1876 with his brother John. In a book about his life, John recalls the impoverished life they left behind in rural Sweden: "I remember one fall when mother had made a coat for Gustav, then 5 or 6 years old. He was very proud of it, but one day when he was out picking berries he lost it. How we looked for it — mother, father, all of us! But we did not find it, and all that winter Gustav could not go out when it was cold because he had no coat." Buying fabric to make a replacement coat, of course, was out of the question. Another time, John recalls when the family's only cow starved to death and "father got the minister to draw up a letter petitioning the neighbors to help us secure another. Father being ashamed, I was sent from house to house with it."