I’ve made a lot of genealogical progress lately, greatly aided by the automatic search facilities at MyHeritage.com. I’ve filled every slot in my tree up to generation 5 (OK, except the one “father undisclosed” in that generation) and I’ve got loads of people beyond that, even a few born in the late 1500s.
Almost everyone in my family tree is humble peasantry, farm owners or tenants. But I knew when I started my investigations that my mother’s paternal grandma had a petit-bourgeois background. Her branch shows up really clearly in the tree because they’re the only ones who took and curated photographs. And moving up that branch I’ve found two minor celebrities. They’re in generations 6 and 8, so their contribution to my own genetic makeup is of course negligible. But still fun.
Otto Kristian Ekman (1791-1866) was really a nice surprise, because he was an antiquarian and major collector. Oblivious to any relation, I’ve studied a lot of the finds that he brought together from Öland and Småland provinces, now held by the Swedish History Museum. By profession he was a medical doctor, provinsialläkare in Kalmar. So I’m not actually the first doctor in the family as I’ve thought.
Lars Kockom (1719-90) was a real big shot, an MP för the mössorna party and a town councillor in Malmö. His main business was as head of a pre-steam-age chamois leather workshop.
Otto and Lars were both from the upper middle class in the towns of west Scania. Otto’s daughter married Lars’s great-grandson. In addition to the Ekman and Kockom/Kockum patrilineages, names in this part of my tree include Bothe, Frick, Hammar, Horster, Jyde, Lang, Malm, Malmgren, Ruhe and Thott. I guess it was their cultural legacy that made my grandpa a (rather reluctant) auditor and caused his daughter to advise her son to study business administration. I didn’t listen to her.