Naeseth’s “Norwegian American Immigrants, 1821-1850” Now Available Online

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!

Portrait Photographs on ArkivDigital

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.

Estate Inventory Indexes On ArkivDigital

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!

SwedGen Tour 2017

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!

ArkivDigital Advanced Search

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.

ArkivDigital Scanning Kansas, Minnesota, and NOW Nebraska Church Records

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 ( : 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 ( : 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!

Happy Hunting!

Norwegian Bygdebøker (Farm Books)

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!

Happy Hunting!

Glad Midsommar!

The high point of Scandinavian summers is certainly the celebration of the summer solstice. Norway and Denmark recognize the longest day of the year, but Sweden and Finland go all out: in fact the Friday and Saturday after the solstice are national holidays. Traditionally, Sweden celebrated on 24 June, Johannes Doparens dag (St. John the Baptists Day.)

So how do you celebrate Midsommar? You adorn yourself in traditional clothing and flower crowns; dance around a Midsummer-Pole; sing traditional songs (Små Grodorna); enjoy plenty of herring, new potatoes, snaps, and strawberries; and um…well, there is a saying that “Midsummer’s night is not long but causes many cradles to rock.”

If you are not lucky enough to be in Sweden during Midommar don’t worry! There are festivities all over the U.S.

The official site of Sweden has a great webpage on Midsommar and I highly recommend the playing their video clip!

More Swedish Newspapers Online

Sveriges Släktforskarförbund (The National Swedish Genealogical Society) reports that the Royal Library continues to grow its online newspaper collection with the ultimate goal of having 2 million pages from over 60 historic newspapers online by the end of 2017. This is a tremendous collection for those researching Swedish ancestors. The newspapers have been digitized and OCRed but keep in mind the OCR technology is far from perfect so even if you do not find your ancestor using “Search” a page-by-page review of a local newspaper may be necessary.

While the site is in Swedish, it is easy to use even if you don’t read Swedish. There are essentially two options. First, put your search terms in the big empty field in the middle of the page and press Sök (Search).

This will return hits from all newspapers-historic and modern. And if there are not too many you can read them all or at that point you can adjust the time period to limit the search.

The second option is to use the browse function “Bläddra Bland Dagstidningar” to narrow down which newspapers will be returned. 

You can click on the “+ Se fler” button to see the full list of newspapers. You merely click on the newspaper from the location you are researching and it returns the entire set of that newspaper that has been digitized. Than you either review, page-by-page, or Search in the newspaper.

Note there are 400 available newspapers (some are not viewable online, but most of the historic ones are.) The historic newspaper collection comprises the following.

TITLE                                          FROM                  TO
Arbetet                                        1887-08-06            1901-12-31
Barometern                                     1841-10-02            1895-12-31
Blekingsposten                                 1852-12-04            1884-12-09
Bollnäs tidning                                1876-07-01            1880-05-01
Borås tidning                                  1838-12-07            1895-12-31
Carlscronas wekoblad                           1764-01-21            1878-08-31
Carlscronas wekoblad                           1753-12-29            1754-12-31
Carlscronas tidningar                          1755-01-11            1764-01-14
Dagligt allehanda                              1767-10-20            1849-02-12
Dalpilen                                       1854-01-02            1926-12-31
Eskilstunakuriren                              1890-12-08            1900-12-31
Fahlu weckoblad                                1786-09-16            1821-12-29
Falköpings tidning                             1857-02-07            1896-12-30
Faluposten                                     1869-09-01            1890-12-27
Folkets röst                                   1849-10-06            1861-03-16
Gotlands tidning                               1867-01-18            1888-01-07
Göteborgs handels- och sjöfartstidning         1832-03-22            1895-12-31
Göteborgs weckoblad                            1875-01-02            1892-12-29
Göteborgsposten                                1859-01-05            1895-12-31
Götheborgs allehanda                           1774-01-01            1843-02-10
Götheborgs weckolista                          1749-12-16            1758-12-20
Götheborgska nyheter                           1765-01-05            1848-12-30
Härnösandsposten                               1842-05-26            1895-12-31
Inrikes tidningar                              1760-11-26            1820-12-29
Jönköpingsbladet                               1843-11-25            1872-11-30
Jönköpingsposten                               1865-01-17            1895-12-31
Kalmar                                         1864-07-30            1918-06-22
Karlshamns allehanda                           1848-01-15            1895-12-31
Karlskrona weckoblad                           1879-01-02            1895-12-31
Kristianstadsbladet                            1856-09-20            1895-12-31
Lindesbergs allehanda                          1876-01-07            1880-12-01
Lunds weckoblad                                1775-01-05            1782-12-18
Lunds weckoblad                                1813-01-02            1895-12-31
Malmö allehanda                                1827-07-06            1893-01-31
Nerikes allehanda                              1843-03-04            1895-12-31
Norden                                         1856-08-02            1861-12-07
Norra Skåne                                    1881-01-04            1897-12-06
Norrbottenskuriren                             1861-12-14            1895-12-31
Norrbottensposten                              1847-01-09            1895-12-31
Norrköpings tidningar                          1787-01-03            1895-12-31
Norrköpings weckotidningar                     1758-10-14            1786-12-30
Norrköpingskuriren                             1858-10-02            1862-12-30
Norrlandsposten                                1880-05-03            1880-12-31
Norrländska korrespondenten                    1851-10-11            1873-12-16
Nya dagligt allehanda                          1859-11-17            1895-12-31
Nya Wermlandstidningen                         1851-01-02            1895-12-31
Nya Wexjöbladet                                1846-12-11            1895-12-31
Nytt allvar och skämt                          1843-01-19            1851-10-08
Nytt och gammalt                               1783-01-03            1812-12-15
Post- och inrikes tidningar                    1821-01-02            1895-12-31
Posttidningar                                  1645-01-02            1820-12-31
Reformatorn                                    1887-08-05            1965-03-28
Stockholms dagblad                             1824-01-02            1895-12-31
Stockholmsposten                               1778-10-29            1833-03-30
Sundsvalls tidning                             1880-01-03            1895-12-31
Sundsvalls tidning Norrländska korrespondenten 1873-12-18            1879-12-30
Tidning för Wenersborgs stad och län           1848-12-12            1898-12-29
Umebladet                                      1847-09-25            1895-12-31
Upsala                                         1845-10-03            1895-12-31
Wermlands läns tidning                         1871-12-27            1879-11-11
Wermlandstidningen                             1842-12-21            1850-12-24
Wernamo tidning                                1876-10-04            1884-12-19
Vestmanlands läns tidning                      1831-02-10            1895-12-31
Wexjöbladet                                    1810-01-30            1855-09-24
Östergötlands veckoblad                        1885-11-07            1895-11-08
Östgöta correspondenten                        1838-09-24            1895-12-31
Östgötaposten                                  1895-11-15            1917-12-28