Saturday, October 4, 2008

Brohemmet, Ljung, Östergötland, Sweden

Built in the 1700's, the old home in Sweden is still standing, but a new house was built behind it. The new house is also named Brohemmet.

The Swedish-English translation of Brohemmet is Bridge Home. The river Motala Ström seperates Brohemmet from the Ljung parish church. So I imagine it was the home nearest the bridge to cross the river.
Above: the Ljung Castle and bridge across the river in the distance, taken from the driveway to Brohemmet.
When our ancestors lived in Brohemmet the owners of Ljung, were until 1862, the von Fersen family (they went bankrupt) and then the von Mecklenburg family bought the estate. They sold Ljung in 1906. Then the Lindström family bought it and sold it again in the 1920's to the Möller family. The brother of the owner of Ljung's estate is the one who has built and lives in the new Brohemmet, just behind the old house, his name is Mats Nordenhed. We were so welcomed to this house because by chance I had met Inger Nyberg on a genealogy message board on-line and she is on the board of a group of women restoring and giving tours of the Ljung Castle. She is good friends with Anna Karin who lives in a house next to the Ljung Castle on the grounds. Her family is the owners of the estate. Days after touring Brohemmet, she and Inger gave us a private tour of the Ljung castle, that will have to be another posting someday.
I had seen the house from the road back in 1975 when I was an exchange student traveling with my host family, but being a shy 17 year old had never approached the then owners.
How can I explain walking through the doors of this house with my Mom, Aunt and Cousin 26 years later? A large lump formed in my throat almost immediately. The home was much larger than we expected and even large by old Swedish standards.
We all snapped photos and Robin took a few videos shots although there was some trouble with the camera. These photos are all Robins, mine are still not scanned, taken in my pre-digital days.
There were two rooms on each floor, one small and the other large. The smallest room was in front of us and the larger room to the right. The small room on the ground floor was used as a kitchen. All had their own huge fireplace.

The chimneys all met in the center of the house to radiate heat and warm the house from the center.
A curving staircase with tightly spaced steps connected in the front hallway on both floors. The current owner was using the house as an artist studio so there were paintings, easels and furnishings in the house to add to the comfort and atmosphere we experienced.

My GGG Grandfather Sven Svensson was a torpare (tenant farmer who farmed some land owned by the Ljung Estate in return for working for the estate family for a number of days by contract) at Brohemmet and died there October 8, 1860.
Sven and his wife Katerina Larsdotter had seven children born at Brohemmet, three dying under the age of one. Their oldest Sven Johan died at age 22. Their three remaining sons were Karl August, Adolph Frederik and Alfred. Karl and Adolph immigrated to the U.S. Karl and his family in 1869 and Adolph and his entire family came to the US in 3 different trips between 1887-1889. Alfred stayed in Sweden and was the master gardener at the Stjärnorp Castle. We met some of his descendants on our trip there in 2001.

There were two outbuildings still standing from the time of our ancestors. One a storage building where they most likely kept their food supplies and the other a small building to put the animals is now converted to a garden shed. The current owners are Helene and Mats (newlyweds for one month when we were visiting) had refreshments set up on the lawn and we enjoyed sitting there taking in the atmosphere and talking about the history of Brohemmet and Ljung parish. Mats had lived there since around 1994 in the new Brohemmet just north of the old house.
Brohemmet is now available for rent by the week or day! So relatives please check out the link and plan to stay there on your next trip! When searching on line I even found a link to a site from Sweden that prints Brohemmet T-shirts and caps!

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