April 7, 2013 – How I got Interested in Genealogy: The High Family (1726-2006) First Edition

After the amazing breakthrough on finding Swedish records for my great-great-great-grandparents, Sven Hög and Anna Stina Andersdotter, I realized that those findings needed to be shared with my extended family, and that a new chronicle of High Family history needed to be written. After all, I had discoveries to share that several members of my grandparents’ generation had spent decades trying to find!

Having decided on writing a new chronicle of family history, I was faced with choosingthe scope I wanted the book to have. Of course, I would include the findings on our Swedish ancestors. What kind of material would I want to research and write about for the descendants of Sven and Anna Stina, though? What level of detail did I plan on including? Would this book incorporate many visuals, or would it be an updated version of the 1972 High book?

After thoroughly contemplating these considerations, I decided that the scope of my initial family history would includemore detailed information on fewer relatives instead of the basic birth, marriage, residence, and death information on all of the known descendants of Sven Hög and Anna Stina Andersdotter. After all, I could always update my family history to include information on more distant relatives.

Thus, I decided that first edition of family history would have four chapters:

• Chapter One would cover the High family’s Swedish ancestors.
• Chapter Two would be a biography on my great-great-grandparents, Gustaf Adolf and Anna Christina High, who immigrated to America in 1858.
• Chapter Threewould be a biography on my great-grandparents, Gustaf Aaron and Mary Lundgren High.
• Chapter Four would include biographies for all of the descendants of Gustaf Aaron and Mary Lundgren High.

Throughout the fall of 2006, I worked at least a couple of hours every day on my family book. In addition to providing brief biographies on my Swedish ancestors, I included a little bit of contextual information in the first chapter, such as an overview of 19th Century Swedish history and a description the geographical landscape of Småland, the area my family’s lived. I decided that I wanted my work to be very visually oriented, so I included illustrations on almost every page, including old Swedish church records, U.S. Census records, and old family photos. I also started getting in touch with distant relatives on the High side and interviewing them about their grandparents, parents, themselves, and their own families. I really enjoyed this aspect of my research, as it gave me an opportunity to get to know my extended relatives better. By that point in time, our family had ceased holding annual family reunions, so this was really one of the only opportunities I had to get to know my extended relatives. I set a deadline of Christmas for the release of my first edition, and I steadily worked more and more on it as the weather grew colder. By December, I spent around 30 hours a week on the project.

The High Family 1726-2006: First Edition was completed on December 23, only a couple of days shy of my deadline, and ended up being around 250 pages. I had several copies of the book printed, bound at Kinko’s, and mailed to several family members. This first edition was really a first draft; it lacked photographs of several family members, was plagued with numerous grammatical errors, and even included a bit of inaccurate information. However, the book succeeded in generating more interest among my family on our ancestry. Over the course of the next year, I received dozens of new pictures from family members, fixed numerous errors, and discovered a tremendous amount of more information on my ancestors. Only a couple of months after the High Family 1726-2006: First Edition was finished, work on the High Family 1726-2007: Second Edition began…

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