Beginning in 2018 Sweden will join the other Scandinavian countries in allowing free access to the digitized records of the Riksarkivet (Swedish National Archives.) This will provide access to most church records, and many tax, court, and land records, among many other records.
However, these digitized images are the older black and white images that are often not as readable as the new color digitized images that ArkivDigital offers. It is currently not clear what will happen with ArkivDigital. Sveriges Släktfroskarförbund (The Swedish Genealogical Society) is working with the Government and ArkivDigital to try and work something out. ArkivDigital not only has better and more readable images, but they have a lot of images that are not otherwise available online. Hopefully, something can be worked out that will be good for ArkivDigital and all genealogist!
If you are researching in the southern part of Sweden you likely already know about Demografisk Databas Södra Sverige (DDSS) the Demographic Database of Southern Sweden. It has the ultimate goal of providing a free index of all of the birth, marriages, and death records for Skåne, Blekinge, and Halland. Recently they added about 82,000 new records with four new parishes being covered Gladsax, Kvidinge, Källna, and Reslöv. This is a an incredible resource if you have family in the Skåne, Blekinge, or Halland
It is great to hear that Gerhard Naeseth’s five volume set Norwegian Immigrants to the United States-A Biographical Directory (1821-1850) is now available as a searchable PDF on the Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library website. You must be a sustaining member to get access to this information, which while a bit costy, is a great way to support the fine work this group does. And it may be JUST what you need to break down that Norwegian brick wall!
It seems that every time I log on to ArkivDigital–and I do so daily–there is great new material available. Now the web version with the All-In-One subscription includes a quarter of a million portrait photographs, dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, from three professional photographers in Stockholm. As you will imagine the majority of the photos are probably of individuals from the Stockholm area but I have found many photos of people living elsewhere.
You find the “Portrait Collection” among the other index options in the Index Search.
Note that you should plan on doing very broad searches as there may be very little information about the photos.
Martin Roe Eidhammer whose great blog Norwegian Genealogy and Then Some had a post which featured a wonderful video of a traditional wedding in rural Hardanger. It is narrated in English and really gives you a sense of a traditional wedding. It was filmed in 1954. While certainly not identical to 19th Century weddings, it is very interesting and gives a nice flavor of traditional weddings in rural Norway.
ArkivDigital is at it again! Now they have added a search capability to help you locate your ancestor’s bouppteckningar (Estate Inventory). For those who have not used bouppteckningar before, they are great for confirming relationships and they give just about the most complete picture of your ancestor’s life-at least from a material perspective. These very detailed inventories are wonderful resources. The problem has always been that they are in these large collections, which usually need to be searched page-by-page. It can be difficult to locate “your” inventory. (Yes, some indexes do exist, but they were few and far between.) The problem is exacerbated by the fact that although almost everyone was supposed to have an estate inventory conducted–at least after the law created the requirement in 1734–many people did not have inventories done and even for those who did, it is clear that not all these inventories survive. Also, while it was common to have the estate inventoried almost immediately after death, in some circumstances it could be many months or I have seen examples of several years before it was done. And even then, there are possibly multiple courts where the record could exist. Bottom line, they could be difficult to find.
Select “New Index Search” > then select “Inventory of estate” under “Index Source” and you will be given options to enter name, date range for the inventory, and location of the inventory. I would start with a broad search and then narrow it down, as location and dates can be unexpectedly broad.
ArkivDigital released this capability as a work in progress. Currently, indexes are available for Gotlands, Jönköpings, Kalmars, Kronobergs, Stockholms, Uppsalas and Östergötlands Counties. They are planning on continuing to add to these indexes.
Note: In addition to listing every animal, spoon, book, item of clothing, and work-tool the decedent owned, you can frequently find the signatures of surviving relatives at the end of a bouppteckningar! Happy Hunting!
Once again this year, a group of Swedish genealogists will make a trip to the U.S. to present spectacular Swedish genealogical presentations. This year they are making three stops: on 23 September 2017 at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin; 30 September 2017 at the Swenson Swedish Immigration Center at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; and finally 7-8 October 2017 at the Old Mill Museum in Lindsborg, Kansas.
If you are ANYWHERE in the neighborhood you really have to attend. These are professional Swedish researchers and they provide one-on-one assistance, in addition to lectures. If you plan on attending you must sign up however. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Well, ArkivDigital has done it again! Another great update to their service. They have added an Advanced Search option for the 1950 Census, 1960 Census, and 1880-1920 Population indexes. Much of the update merely makes the searching a little more clear by having separate fields for entering specific types of information, rather than the one field for all searching. They have various search options in the categories of Name, Birth, Census, and Household. So now you can distinguish in your search between someone’s residence and place of birth. AND what I find incredibly useful, you can search for two people in the same household!! This can be an incredibly useful capability depending on the information you have. I would highly recommend a quick read of the blog that describes this functionality.
Note: The Advanced Search functionality is only available on the web version of ArkivDigital.
I have mentioned in the past, with great excitement, that ArkivDigital has begun scanning Swedish-American church records in the U.S. They started with Kansas (and a few Missouri and Oklahoma), they moved to Minnesota, and now they are working on Nebraska!
It is important to note that even if these are “Swedish”-American churches, many of them had Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish members. And it is often the best place to find where someone came from in the old country.
So can you expect to find in these records? Well, naturally birth/baptism, marriage, and death/burial. But do not be surprised to find a whole lot more. You might find a moving certificate (Flyttningsbetyg) that includes where in Sweden Andrew Mellborg and his wife Kristina Johnson were born, it gives information on when, and from where, they came to America, and when the moved to Carver Salem Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Carver Salem Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, (Carver County, Minnesota), Församlingsbok (Church Register), 1891-1946, vol. 1, p. 69a, Flyttningsbetyg (Moving Record) for Andrew A. Mellborg and Kristina Johnson; digital images by subscription, ArkivDigital (http://www.arkivdigital.net : accessed 13 July 2017), AID #v843931.b53.s69a.
You might find the church kept a register like those-församlingsbok and husförhörslängd-kept in Sweden that detailed the lives of the members. Here is one for Buffalo Zion Lutheran Church for the Johan Bodin and Lisa Larsdotter family, listing their birth dates and places in Sweden, marriage date, immigration information, and death information for Johan, Lisa, and all their children! Imagine finding this if you did not know where Johan or Lisa came from in Sweden. Note they use Lisa’s maiden name, just as they did in Sweden. An incredible fine!
Buffalo Zion Lutheran Church, (Wright County, Minnesota), Församlingsbok (Church Register), 1886-1943, vol. 3, p. 8, Church Register for Johan Bodin and Lisa Larsdotter family; digital images by subscription, ArkivDigital (http://www.arkivdigital.net : accessed 13 July 2017), AID #v843158.b32.s8.
These records have many treasures like these and they are a “must research” if available for your family’s area. Once again, ArkivDigital doing incredible work for researchers!
One of the most important resources for Norwegian genealogical research are the bygdebøker (Farm Books). They tell the history of the farms and families that owned or lived on them and can be an absolute goldmine for genealogists. However, these books can vary in quality and availability. Some have been meticulously researched and others are compilations of fairy-tales and guesswork. By-and-large, they are reliable, and you should always check for existing research, but confirm anything you find in the book.
While bygdebøker are more readily available in Norway, there are many great collections of them here in the U.S.
Increasingly, bygdebøker can be found online, and except the Norwegian National Libraries collection, which is mostly available only to Norwegians, the online books are scattered and can be difficult to find. That is why I am adding a new page to this website that lists bygdebøker that can be found online. I will update this list as I find additional books online.
If you do not read Norwegian the books can take a little while to get used to. They will almost inevitably use a significant number of abbreviations. Usually, you can find a list of explanations at the front of the book. Also, remember this is more typically a history of the FARM not the families necessarily. When someone sold a farm, or moved, the new family living on the farm would be tracked. So make sure that you are following your family and not someone else!