OK, so maybe this won’t DIRECTLY help your genealogical research…but it is interesting. A recently published work based on ancient DNA suggests that Scandinavians are essentially the product of two separate migrations into Scandinavia after the last Ice Age. The article Population genomics of Mesolithic Scandinavia: Investigating early postglacial migration routes and high-latitude adaption, is a very interesting-if technical-discussion of the how modern Scandinavians came to be. The study suggests that after the last Ice Age, separate populations migrated first from the South and then from the Northeast, combining in Scandinavia.
Perhaps it is not surprising, the study also found that it was during the postglacial time period that DNA adaptations to the high latitudes created “high frequencies of low pigmentation variants and a gene region associated with physical performance.” In other words our reputation as hard working, blond haired, blue eyed (Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Danes) goes back millennia.
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!
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!
I wanted to remind everyone that FamilySearch has some great free webinars on Scandinavian research. Some of the webinars are pre-recorded (they can be found in the Learning Center-But note, they have recently “upgraded” their Learning Center and its search functionality does not work very well and there does not appear to be a browse by Country capability.) Others webinars are in real-time which allows you the opportunity to ask questions of the instructor. For example, over the next two months FamilySearch is offering four live webinars:
- Tue, 9 May, 11:00 AM MDT, Norwegian Emigration: The Experience
- Wed, 24 May, 2:00 PM MDT, Databases for Swedish Genealogy
- Tue, 13 Jun, 1:00 PM MDT, How to Find Ancestors in the Digitalarkivet
- Wed, 28 Jun, 11:00 AM MDT, Introducing Danish Probates
New webinars are posted monthly, and can be found here. I highly recommend these webinars: they are from some of the top people in the field!
Welcome to my blog! The purpose of this blog is to pass on news on the field of Scandinavian and German Genealogy, and to present tricks and tips to make you a better genealogist.