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.
- The Arne G. Brekke Bygdebok Collection, at the Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota has an extensive collection of bygdebøker. They do not offer inter-library loans (ILL), but they do offer research services for fairly reasonable rates.
- The University of Minnesota, primarily at the Wilson Library in Minneapolis, has a nice collection, and some of these books may be available by ILL.
- The University of Wisconsin has some.
- The Rolvaag Library, at St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota has a large collection
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