Where did Klara settle in North America?

While we have often mentioned that one of the greatest challenges for many North Americans is to identify the parish where their Swedish ancestor originated from. However, once the mystery is solved, it is usually fairly easy to trace the family backwards in time in the Swedish records. Primarily because the records are so complete especially with household records that were updated yearly.

Finding where a Swedish emigrant immigrated to in North America can often be just as challenging if not more so especially with women who emigrated unmarried and then later married in North America.

This was the challenge that Todd Johnson faced in trying to research one of his ancestors, Klara Jonasdotter, who was born on the 15th of March 1859 in Håbol parish in Värmland. She emigrated from Dals-Ed parish in 1882 to North America. See image below.

householdklaraDals-Ed (P) AI:17 (1876-1885) Image 34 / page 27 (AID: v3863.b34.s27, NAD: SE/GLA/13082) Link.

But where in North America? In this case, Klara’s father, Jonas Johansson’s estate inventory provided the clue for locating Klara. By tracing Jonas forward in the household records, Todd discovered that Jonas died on the 6th of October 1901 in Håbol parish.

To trace Jonas further in the household records, one short method is to use the search index for the Population of Sweden 1880 to 1920 in the All-in-One subscription. In this case, just by entering his birth date, 18251119, and the birth parish, Håbol, all the applicable household records until his death appear in the result list. See below.

search-for-jonas

His death is recorded in the Håbol household record for the years 1901-1905. See image below.

jonasdeathhouseholdrecordHåbol (P) AIIa:2 (1901-1905) Image 2940 / page 282 (AID: v199357.b2940.s282, NAD: SE/GLA/13231) Link.

To find the estate inventory, go to the archives for Håbol parish and search for estate inventories. Open the archive and look for an estate inventory register which is a name indexed register. In this case since there is no register for this time period, we have to search for the record page by page beginning with the death date. However, we meet with success and we find the clue about Klara that helped Todd locate her in North America.

estate-inventoryVedbo häradsrätt (P) FIIa:57 (1902-1902) Image 1250 / page 51 (AID: v511345.b1250.s51, NAD: SE/GLA/11120) Link.

The estate inventory shows that Klara is in North America married to Aron Molin in Minnesota. (Klara gift med Aron Molin i Minnesota i Norra Amerika.) By knowing Klara’s husband’s name, Todd was able to do further U.S. research in the U.S census records where Todd discovered that Klara and Aron lived in Nessel township in Chisago county in the state of Minnesota in 1900.

Thanks to Todd Johnson in Minnesota for this research case.

Read more about estate inventories.

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Searching for a parish of origin in the Kansas church books

One of the biggest challenges for many Swedish Americans is to discover the parish of origin for their Swedish ancestor. When one attends a presentation about how to get started with Swedish research, the Swedish American church books are mentioned as one source that might provide some clues. (Click here for beginning Swedish genealogy research tips.)

Many Swedes who immigrated to North America joined a Swedish American church. While most of these congregations were Lutheran, there were also Swedish Covenant, Swedish Methodist, Swedish Baptist, Swedish Mission and other free churches. Many of these churches kept detailed records as they did in Sweden.

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many Swedish American church books from Kansas and a few from Missouri and Oklahoma. If one’s Swedish’s ancestor settled in these areas, these books can be helpful in determining where your ancestor came from in Sweden.

One can search in the  Swedish American church records to discover where in Sweden a person came from or to discover more about the person’s life in North America. The detail and content in the Swedish American church books do vary by time, minister and religious denomination. The Lutheran church books tend to have some standardization and more detail than other denominations but again that will vary by congregation.

Search Method
To begin your search, you will need a name and a location. If you have a name and town location, but don’t know the person’s religious denomination:

  1. Look for church books for that town.
  2. If there are several denominations, begin with the Lutheran church books since most were Lutherans, then proceed to Covenant, Methodist, Baptist or other church book denominations in that order.
  3. If you don’t find the person in the church books, you may want to search in the church books in a nearby town that is in the same county or nearby county.

Case Study – Begin in Congregation Book (Church Register)

We want to discover the parish of origin in Sweden for Carl Carlson who lived in Lindsborg, Kansas and was Lutheran. We have been told that he was born around 1835 and that his wife’s name was Emma and one of his children was named David.

  1. Start the ArkivDigital application and click on search archives.
  2. Select new archive search and county.
  3. Select the archive for Kansas (USA).
  4. Search for the Lindsborg Lutheran church archives.
  5. You will find that there are 3 Lutheran churches in Lindsborg:
    1. Lindsborg Lutheran Bethany Church
    2. Lindsborg Freemount Lutheran Church
    3. Lindsborg Messiah Lutheran Church
  6. Select the first in the list: Lindsborg Lutheran Bethany Church.
  7. The info box above the archive list names the county where Lindsborg is located which is McPherson. On the right side is a list of volumes available for this congregation. For this parish, there are four congregation books all beginning in the year 1869 with different end years.
  8. Search for congregation books and click on each congregation book and see if there is a name register in the book. In the info box above the volume list, the name index will be noted with the entry “med personregister”. You will notice that one appears for the volume, Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA Vol: 2 (1869-1886).  Not all congregation books have name registers. In those cases, where there is none, you will need to browse through the book page by page.

Open the book and you will see an indexed name register. Search for Carl Carlson. See image below.
lindsborg-index
Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA (KS) Vol:2 (1869-1886) Image 9 (AID: v812465a.b9, NAD: ) Link.

While there are no Carl Carlson’s, there are the following entries in the list:

  • Carlson C. J.                     25
  • Carlson C (Sec 28)           96
  • ” (Sec 30)                          83
    The numbers: 25, 96 and 83 to the right of the names in this case represent an entry number in the church register.  Sometimes the number represents a page number. The minister did not repeat the name on the third line but only indicated that it was the same name by a ditto mark.

Go to entry  #25 to see if the information matches. In this case, the record does not match the given information. Below is the image for entry #25.

entry-number-25Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA (KS) Vol:2 (1869-1886) Image 37 / page 7 (AID: v812465a.b37.s7, NAD: ) Link.

Next, go to entry #96. See image below.

entry-number-96Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA (KS) Vol:2 (1869-1886) Image 50 / page 20 (AID: v812465a.b50.s20, NAD: ) Link.

This is the correct person. The record shows Carl Carlson born on the 12th of June 1835 in Lungsund, Värmland. You will notice that Värmland is abbreviated as Werm. Also, Carl has a child named David and his wife is Emma Olsdotter born on the 23rd of July 1840 in Färnebo, Värmland. This record shows that they were received in this parish in October of 1869.  Carl and Emma arrived in America from Sweden in 1869 and came to Lindsborg in 1869. The record also shows three children all born in Lindsborg:

  • Emma was born on the 28th of June 1870.
  • David was born on the 21st of December 1875.
  • Hannah was born on the 2nd of February 1880 and she died on the 17th of July 1880.

Now you have enough information to research Carl and Emma further in the Swedish church books. Below is an image of Carl’s birth record in Lungsund, Värmland.

carls-birth-recordLungsund (S) C:5 (1830-1854) Image 29 / page 53 (AID: v7336.b29.s53, NAD: SE/VA/13342) Link.

Click here for more information on Swedish church books.
Click here for examples of birth records.

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Two blacksmiths in same parish had stillborn babies on same day

Sometimes by chance, unusual events seem to happen around the same time. In an earlier blog, we described two triplet births that happened in the same parish with only a few months between the births.

That a stillborn child would be born to two men with the same occupation on the same day in the same parish is highly unlikely. But this happened in 1798 in Burlöv parish in Skåne.

smedenstillbirthsBurlöv CI:4 (1775-1816) Image 91 / page 92 (AID: v106310.b91.s92, NAD: SE/LLA/13050) Link.

Den 26 januari fick smeden Bengt Andersson och hans hustru Kjerstina Nilsdotter tvillingar, varav den ena var dödfödd. Samma dag fick smeden Pär Ahlström och hans hustru Elna Bengtsdotter en dödfödd son.

On the 26th of January, twins were born to the blacksmith Bengt Andersson and Kjerstina Nilsdotter. One of the twins was stillborn. On the same day, a stillborn son was born to blacksmith, Pär Ahlström and his wife, Elna Bengtsdotter.

At this time the number of stillborn children in Sweden was approximately 27 per 1,000 births. Today, it is about 4 per 1,000. During the second half of the 1700’s, there were approximately 70,00 births per year. The number increased during the first decades of the 1800’s so that by the middle of the 1800’s there were as many births yearly as there are today despite that the population was much smaller. According to the official statistics, there were 2,160 stillbirths in 1798 in Sweden.  While stillbirths were not unusual, still the combination of the above circumstances can be described as being a unique event.

This article was written by Örjan Hedenberg for ArkivDigital and originally published in Swedish. Click here to read in Swedish.

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Siamese twins sex unknown (year 1749)

The following record is recorded in the Västerstad death book in 1749. (Click here for original article in Swedish.)

siamese-twinsVästerstad CI:1 (1736-1789) Image 116 / page 115 (AID: v110359.b116.s115, NAD: SE/LLA/13469) Link.

”1749 Aug 14 och begrofs 22 Augusti. Twå oäkta dödfödda Twillingar, som woro sammanwuxna med bukarna, dessutom wanskapta till buk, länder, lår och ben, så att man ei kunde se af hwad kön de woro. De föddes d:14 Augsti. Modren är qwinfolket Karna Nilsdotter från Wästra Wedåkra. Barnafadren är Soldaten af Hamiltons regemente Nils Österberg.”

Death on August 14th and buried on August 22nd. Two illegitimate stillborn twins, who were joined together at the belly and additionally malformed to the belly, loin, thigh and leg so that one could not tell what sex they were. They were born on the 14th of August. The mother is Karna Nilsdotter from Wästra Wedåkra. The father of the children is a soldier from Hamilton’s regiment, Nils Österberg.

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Moving Certificates

karlskrona-moving-recordKarlskrona amiralitetsförsamling HII:1 (1773-1809) Image 80 (AID: v249317.b80, NAD: SE/LLA/13200) Link.

Whenever a person moved from one parish to another, the minister gave a moving out certificate to the person moving to give to the minister at the new parish. Sometimes, it was a brief notation that included the person’s name and what was considered important to know such as information that the person had fulfilled their duty to receive Holy Communion and marital status. Above is an example from Karlskrona in 1785.

However, in many places even in the 1700’s, preprinted forms existed with lines for dates and places of birth, reading knowledge and proof of receiving of Holy Communion. In addition, often there was a line such as “Är till vande” or something similar referring to the person’s character or morals. This line is interesting because the priest often wrote down his opinion about the person. These opinions often mirror the times and the minister’s views about morality.

moving-out-certificateKarlskrona amiralitetsförsamling HII:31 (1855-1855) Image 1190 (AID: v249347.b1190, NAD: SE/LLA/13200) Link.

An example of this in the above example where the Pigan (maid) Anna Maria Hultberg moved from Karlskrona Stadsförsamling to Karlskrona Amiralitetsförsamling in 1855. Her character is mentioned as ”sålunda att hon eger en oäkta son Carl August” or that she has an illegitimate son, Carl August. It also could be interpreted that the minister considered her to be promiscuous.

One can also note that a completely filled out certificate would include birth date, birth place and parents’ names. Not all the moving certificates have been preserved but they can be a very good source for researchers in tracing a person backwards in time.

The original article was written in Swedish by Örjan Hedenberg. Click here for original in Swedish.

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Smothered by the mother

Sometimes, when one is browsing in the old church books, one sees a notice that makes one stop and think. One tries to imagine what life was like during that time and especially some of the feelings our ancestors experienced. For example – the pain a couple must have felt losing their small children. But then there are others types of notes in the records which note events that are more tragic.

arvik-1Arvika landsförsamling (S) CI:7 (1809-1827) Image 37 / page 61 (AID: v4798a.b37.s61, NAD: SE/VA/13011) Link.

The above image is a birth record from 1811 from the Arvika city parish (Arvika stadsförsamling). The record is the birth record for a daughter, Anna Lena, who was born on the 25th of September. Her parents were the miller, Nils Mattsson and his wife Lena Åsberg. But on the right, the priest has crossed out Anna Lena’s name and written “förqvafd vådl. av modern 17/12 1811” or smothered accidentally by the mother on the 17th of December 1811. This is also mentioned in the death record.

mattson-and-lenaArvika landsförsamling (S) CI:7 (1809-1827) Image 134 / page 255 (AID: v4798a.b134.s255, NAD: SE/VA/13011) Link.

17/12 dog och den 22/12 begrovs. Gateqvarn. Flickan Anna Lena Nilsdotter, f.1811 21/9. Föräldrar: Mölnaren Nils Matsson och hustru Lena Åsberg. Vådeligen af mdren förqvafd i sömnen.

The above death record states that the girl Anna Lena Nilsdotter living at Gateqvarn died on the 17th of December (1811) and was buried on the 22nd of December (1811). She was born on the 21st of September 1811 and her parents were the miller, Nils Mattsson and his wife Lena Åsberg. The cause of death was smothered in sleep accidentally by the mother.

We may never know the actual reason for this tragedy. But it is probable that there can be many different reasons that this small child died. Another question is how do we interpret the term, vådeligen or accidental. Was it an accident, or was it something else?

There exists an absolution register (absolutionslängd) for the period 1625-1650 from Östra and Västra Göinge in north Skåne. In this register, the dean has listed those who have received absolution (the priest gives absolution to a person for his/her sins) and many of the notes concern cases where a child has died. What is especially interesting in this record in this book is that the name for the both the man and woman is noted. During this period, it was rare to see a woman’s name.

1632-recordÖstra Göinge kontrakts prostarkiv (L) FIV:1 (1625-1650) Image 13 (AID: v103010.b13, NAD: SE/LLA/13583) Link.

The above note dated on the 22nd of June 1632 Kongens (The king owned the farm that the couple lived on).

Söffren Jepsön i Önnestad
Karine Nielsdatter. Pige 9 Ugier.
til fattige 10 mk

Söffren Jepsön in Önnestad
Karine Nielsdatter. Young girl 9 weeks
(donation) to the poor 10 mk (mark)

Read the original article in Swedish.

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Triplets (Trillingar)

Twins occur now and then. According to the Swedish language encyclopedia, (Nationalencyklopedin), twins account for 1 in 85 births. Triplets are considerably less common, 1 in 70,000 births. Therefore, it is rather surprising to see two sets of triplets born in the same parish with only 3 ½ months between them. This happened in the same village in Mjällyby parish in Blekinge county in the years 1731 and 1732.

On November 9, 1731 the triplets, Sissa, Åke and Lars, were born to Ingemar Larsson and Sissa Åkesdotter in Istaby. (See image below.)

november-tripletsMjällby (K) CI:1 (1723-1753) Image 31 / page 53 (AID: v96434.b31.s53, NAD: SE/LLA/13269) Link.

On February 27, 1732 the triplets, Karna, Kiersta and Berta ware born to Bengt Olsson and Anna Svensdotter in Istaby.

february-27-imageMjällby (K) CI:1 (1723-1753) Image 32 / page 55 (AID: v96434.b32.s55, NAD: SE/LLA/13269) Link.

There is a gap in the records in the death book from August 1731 to April 1732 so it is difficult to see if all the children survived. Triplets are often born prematurely and weigh less than ordinary children and at this time the prognosis for survival was not great. However, these triplets were baptized at the ordinary times and there is no notation that they received emergency baptisms.

It is likely that they died within a month after their birth. The writer has not found them in the later church books from Mjällby.

This article was written by Örjan Hedenberg for ArkivDigital and originally published in Swedish. Click here to read the article in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Life-long companions

lina and eric birth recordSäfsnäs (W) C:3 (1801-1844) Image 71 (AID: v132067.b71, NAD: SE/ULA/11506) Link.

As more people are living longer, it is not unusual to see more couples celebrating 60 years of marriage or their diamond anniversary. We have a couple of examples in the church books where couples have literally followed each other from the cradle to the grave.

One case is from Säfsnäs in Dalarna.  There are two children, Lena Stina Larsdotter and Eric Jansson who were born in 1812. They are listed next to each other in the birth and baptismal book, respectively numbers 59 and 60 as shown in the above image.

The two married and they are shown with children in the household record below.

eric and lena household recordSäfsnäs (W) AI:12 (1845-1854) Image 93 / page 88 (AID: v132047.b93.s88, NAD: SE/ULA/11506) Link.

Eric took the name Hök after Hökhöjden where he was born and where the couple first lived. He died in Mörttjärn on August 25, 1882. The couple had followed each other for 70 years.

The other case is from Västland in Uppland, where in1813 the children Maja Stina Löfgren (nr. 36) and Lars Persson (nr. 37) were born.

matts and maja birth recordVästland (C) C:4 (1803-1837) Image 44 (AID: v127256.b44, NAD: SE/ULA/11734) Link.

lars birth recordVästland (C) C:4 (1803-1837) Image 45 (AID: v127256.b45, NAD: SE/ULA/11734) Link.

Likewise, this couple married. In the household record below, however, Maja Stina’s birth month is noted incorrectly, August instead of September.

household record lars and wifeVästland (C) AI:12 (1846-1850) Image 266 / page 249 (AID: v127235.b266.s249, NAD: SE/ULA/11734) Link.

Lars took the name Wesslander (after Västland) and became a foundry worker at the Västland foundry. When he died on March 1871, he and his wife had followed each other for 58 years.

Maybe one can find more cases similar to these.

The original article was written by Örjan Hedenberg. Click here for original post in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Photographing of modern church books – several counties are complete

modern church bookA page out of the Junosuando congregation book for the years 1935-1945 (AIIa:4), one of the many new church book volumes which have recently been added in ArkivDigital.
Link.

At the end of January, we announced some exciting news in a blog post. The National Swedish Archives changed a decision which had previously prohibited ArkivDigital from photographing some church books after 1935, (see previous blog entry). This opened up a long awaited opportunity for us, namely to photograph the modern church books up to and including the law of privacy limits (currently the year 1945). During the late winter, spring and summer, we have been busy photographing parish congregation books, moving in/out registers, birth, marriage and books. As a result of this work, 20 of the 25 counties are now complete.

Completed counties: Blekinge, Gotland, Gävleborg, Halland, Jämtland, Jönköping, Kalmar, Kopparberg, Kristianstad, Kronoberg, Malmöhus, Norrbotten, Stockholm, Södermanland, Värmland, Västerbotten, Västernorrland, Västmanland and Örebro.

Counties with photographing in progress: Göteborg och Bohuslän, Skaraborg, Uppsala and Östergötland.

For the remaining county, Älvsborg, we will soon begin to photograph these books.

You can find more detail as to what volumes are available in ArkivDigital such as the modern church books and other types of volumes on our website, (link to website page).

We want to emphasize that that there are different privacy rules for different series which influence which volumes we can photograph. In an earlier blog, (see earlier blog) we outlined some of the privacy rules for various types of church books, (see third and fourth paragraphs).

Read original blog entry in Swedish.

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Name Registers in Parish Archives

borasregister

In a previous blog entry, we pointed out name registers (släktnamnsregister) in ArkivDigital for those who research in Göteborg och Bohus, Skaraborg, Älvsborg, Värmland or Västernorrland counties. If one is searching for a person who has a non-patronymic name meaning a name that does not end with a “son” or “dotter”, these registers can be very helpful. Examples of groups of people who had a non-patronymic name were the nobility, priests and not least the many soldiers.

However, you will also find name registers for parish books in some parish archives which also include both patronymic and non-patronymic names. Whenever you research a parish, it is always recommended to browse the archive to see what types of volumes are included in the archive. Occasionally, you will see “register” or “personregister” volumes. For example, if you browse the Borås parish/congregation archive in Älvsborg county, you will see name registers for birth, marriage, death and household records. In this parish, there are name registers for the household records between 1745 and 1860 as shown in the above image. These can be very helpful in the search process.

Below is an example of a page from the household record register book for Borås for the years 1745 – 1754. To the right of the person is the page number where you can find the person in the household record book for the years 1745-1754.

household register imageBorås (P) HFReg:1 (1745-1754) Image 74 / page 70 (AID: v188594.b74.s70, NAD: SE/GLA/13048) Link.

Examples of a few other parish archives where you will find name registers for church books are:

  • Gävle Heliga Trefaldighet – Gävleborg
  • Göteborgs Karl Johan – Göteborg och Bohus
  • Göteborgs Kristine – Göteborg och Bohus
  • Uppsala domkyrkoförsamling – Uppsala

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