Thousands of Chinese railroad workers helped build the First Transcontinental Railroad. As you celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony that made the transcontinental railroad a reality, you can also explore the stories of your Chinese immigrant ancestors. Full Story
Heritage and Culture
Your heritage can teach you a lot about yourself. Discover the stories and facts behind the fascinating cultural traditions of your ancestors.
Written by Laurie Bradshaw and Maddy Stutz Holidays and celebrations are some of the best times to gather with family to create lifelong memories, and families around the world cherish many traditions together. Here are a few of these traditions from holidays around the world.
What comes to your mind when you think of Sweden? Is it ABBA, the Swedish pop group that gained worldwide fame in the 70s? Or is it Sweden’s breathtaking, frigid landscapes with spectacular views of the northern lights? If you are Swedish or have Swedish ancestors, you may think of the patronymic surnames in your family tree, something that is common both in Sweden and in other Scandinavian countries. Full Story
If you’ve been to Sweden, you might have noticed that most Swedish pancakes are eaten during brunch, lunch, or dinner—not for breakfast. Two popular types of potato pancakes are perfect for trying at your next meal: råraka and raggmunk. Full Story
So popular are chocolate balls (chokladbollar) in Sweden that they have their own holiday—May 11, Chokladbollens Dag. “The rule in our family was that we could make them anytime of the year because they were so yummy and satisfying to eat,” says Rebecca Haggard, who shares this easy-to-make family recipe for Swedish chocolate balls. From her experience, she suggests: Full Story
Köttbullar, as meatballs are known, are made with ground meat and breadcrumbs softened in milk. The exact preparation varies from kitchen to kitchen. Sometimes the meatballs include ground pork or diced onion, and sometimes they are served with gravy. According to Sweden’s national website, the most important ingredient of this home-cooking staple is that the meatballs “must be prepared, above all, with love.” Full Story
A favorite food for many people with Swedish heritage is Swedish pancakes. They “are simple, yet super good, and we eat them throughout the year,” says Dee Wilhite. Traditional Swedish pancakes are light and thin—comparable to crepes—with a hint of sweetness. You may find them folded (not rolled) and topped with cream, jam, or fruit such as lingonberries, an essential Swedish fruit. Full Story
Have you ever poked around your family tree and run across a line of people with Swedish names such as Lars Andersson, Karen Svensdotter, Britta Johansdotter, and Per Lindström? Were you confused when the family surname changed a lot? Why didn’t Nils Hansson and his father Hans Eriksson share a surname? Something must be wrong! Right? Full Story