I recently came in contact with a Swedish relative thanks to this website who reached out to me via email in June of 2020. For the sake of privacy I will call him Andy. He told me a good bit about his part of the family and has provided me with a trove of photos from the old country, including some photos from my 2nd great-grandfather’s return visit to Sweden in the 1950s (he flew back some 60+ years since immigrating across the Atlantic on an old ship! This visit will be addressed in a future blog post).

One thing Andy told me was that he had up until recently been in possession of a 100-year-old painting of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Johannes Josefsson Thorin. He said that without finding a home for it he had donated it to a restaurant in a local Odd Fellow’s hall for display and safekeeping. I quickly wrote back saying that I would have paid good money just to obtain that wonderful family artifact. But the moment was past. Or so I assumed…

You can imagine my surprise when Andy emailed me the above photo with the caption “Step one in our recovery plan completed!” After hearing my desire to own the portrait, Andy went back to the Odd Fellow’s hall and asked for the painting back. I was beyond thrilled! Soon, Andy had the photo packed up and ready to send across the sea.

It only took about a week to ship across the sea from Andy’s home in Sweden to my home in Iowa. And thanks to the heavy-duty box that Andy constructed for shipping (he called it “A proper Swedish quality work!”), the picture arrived in perfect condition.

Andy showed his great sense of humor by writing inside the package, “Old J goes to USA.” I think it’s really amazing that after 100 years the portrait of my 3rd-great grandfather, the first of the “Thorins,” made it to the home of his patrilineal heir.

The photo as it now hangs upon a handsome wall in our home.

Credit goes to Andy for his hard work and familial devotion to preserving and honoring the legacy of Johannes Thorin.

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