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!
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!
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
A very Happy National Day to Sweds this 6 June 2017. Although a fairly new recognized holiday–only being celebrated as a public holiday in 2005, and before 1983 it was Flag Day–nevertheless it coincides with the date of the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the adoption of a new Constitution in 1809. A nice description of the Holiday can be found here. There are not a lot of significant traditions with the holiday, but it sets the stage for the big summer holiday in two weeks, Midsommer!
Arkivverket-DigitalArkivet (the Norwegian National Archives-Digital Archives) has announced that the Digital Archives pages on the web will be all new starting 6 June 2017. The Archives promises not only a new look, but improved searching and filtering capabilities, as well as cross-platform capabilities (so you can look at your ancestors records on all your various Internet-connected devices.) Details are a bit thin, but the new site will be available on the 6 June, and new functionality will continue to be rolled out for a while thereafter. No search functionality will be reduced (at least according to the announcements.) But as with all new solutions it is best to keep a cool head and anticipate as-yet-undiscovered problems. I for one can hardly wait to see the new and improved website. And I will not also not count on doing any significant Norwegian research for the first half of June. 🙂 As always, takk to the the Norwegian Government for having such a great site in the first place!
One of the great, but often overlooked, resources for Swedish-American research are the ethnic newspapers that were available to most Swedish immigrants. They read these papers, usually published in Swedish, for news from home or news about other friends who had migrated to the U.S. It is estimated that there were around 600 published titles of Swedish-American newspapers, albeit some had for short runs. Many of these newspapers still exist, but you may need to do a bit of searching. The newspapers exist as hard copies in archives, some have been microfilmed, and a few have been digitized.
One of the most significant online collections can be found on the Minnesota Historical Society Website. The collection consists of 300,000 pages, from 28 newspapers published across the U.S. The publications were made available through a partnership of the Minnesota Historical Society, the National Library of Sweden (Kungliga Biblioteket), the American Swedish Institute, and the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College, in Rock Island, Illinois.Most Swedish American papers will have lists of immigrants, emigrants (many Swedes returned to Sweden after living in the U.S. for a while), visitors from the Old Country, births and marriages and deaths both in the U.S. and in Sweden. I have found many of my Sweden-living cousins’ death notices in U.S. papers.
Most Swedish American papers will have lists of immigrants, emigrants (many Swedes returned to Sweden after living in the U.S. for a while), visitors from the Old Country, births and marriages and deaths both in the U.S. and in Sweden. I have found many of my Swedish cousins death notices in U.S. papers.The Swenson Center has a large number of microfilmed newspapers that have not been digitized yet, a list of these can be found here: often these microfilms can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan.
The Minnesota Historical Society has some newspapers that have not been digitized, onsite research will be needed to use these resources. You can search for these newspapers in the Society’s catalog.
I cannot overemphasize how important is the work of digitizing, and indexing of the records through OCR capabilities. And I especially cannot overemphasize the importance of using these records for your research!
To all my Norwegian friends and family “Gratulerer med dagen” on this syttende mai! Learn more about Norway’s Constitution Day here and here.
ArkivDigital, the great company bring us Swedish genealogical resources online, released a blog its company’s yearly report for 2016. All good news, revenue up, subscriptions up, 8 million more images! But there were a few hints for the future, all very exciting!
- They will be increasing the personal register index, currently for 1880-1920, to next year 1860-1930,
- They are still on track to release the aerial photos of buildings from the 1950s,
- Digitization of new types of documents (they mention older photographs),
- Not to mention more archived documents.
All exciting things for us to look forward to!
There is a nice blog on Norwegian genealogy called Norwegian Genealogy and then some it has some great resources and tools (for example, cheat sheets for the parish book headings and list of causes of death), and I would highly recommend a virtual stop-by for anyone doing Norwegian research. I particularly like the blog, because the author brings together a good number of websites that you might not otherwise find.