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

Glad Nationaldag! in Sweden

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!

NEW Norwegian National Archives Digital Archives Page

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!

Swedish-American Newspapers Online

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!

ArkivDigital Update

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!

Norwegian Blog

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.

Swedish Death Transcriptions

For those working in more recent Swedish records there is a very helpful resource Sveriges Dödbook the most recent version–number 6–covers the time-period 1901-2013.  It’s a list of all (or almost all, over 99%) of all deaths in Sweden transcribed and available on this CD.

The next iteration, version 7, is currently being developed and will cover 1860-2017! Apparently the plan is to publish a “pre-release” version in November 2017 that covers about 2/3 of the new material, and the final Sveriges Dödbook 7 will be released in November 2018. The price for version 6 is about $70 dollars, no notice yet on the price of version 7.  I have found this resource to be indispensable for my research and I am sure I will be early in line to get version 7.