A History of Swedish-Americans of Minnesota

Among the Swedish-American church books collection, you will find some scanned books. One is the 3-volume set, A History of Swedish-Americans of Minnesota, published in 1910.

You will find the three volumes by:

  • Go to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select Archive search
  • Select country, United States
  • Select archive type, printed literature
  • Select tryckta skrifter, Minnesota, USA
  • Then you will find the volumes:
    • Swed.AmericansOfMinnesota:1
    • Swed.AmericansOfMinnesota:2
    • Swed.AmericansOfMinnesota:3

You will find a table of contents covering all three volumes in the first volume. Some of the chapter titles are:

  • A Glance at the History of Sweden
  • Minnesota as a State
  • The Swedish Lutheran Church in Minnesota
  • The Swedish Baptists in Minnesota
  • Swedish Methodism in Minnesota
  • Swedish-American Press in Minnesota
  • City of Minneapolis
  • Leading Citizens of Minnesota

You will also find a name index in the first volume covering all volumes.

The chapter, Leading Citizens of Minnesota, begins on page 1028 in volume 3. Below is an image and short biographical sketch of Oscar Anderson, born March 24, 1847, in Åtvid parish in Östergötland county who emigrated from Sweden in 1868. Note – Oscar Anderson is his Americanized name.

leading citizen of minn

ArkivDigital

Swedish-American church books from Colorado are now online

We have exciting news! We have just added newly photographed images of Swedish-American church books from Colorado. These records were photographed this summer. This new collection includes records from the following churches:

 

  1. Augustana Lutheran Church, Denver
  2. Bethany Lutheran Church, Denver
  3. Bethesda Lutheran Church, Boulder
  4. First Lutheran Church, Boulder
  5. Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Boulder
  6. Swedish Evangelical Free Church, Denver
  7. Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Golden

We have photographed many types of documents, everything from congregation books, birth, marriage and death books to protocols, church accounts and much more.

denver augustana lutheran churchCongregation record from Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver for Lars Olsson (formerly Lars Olausson) born the 14th of December 1863 in Uddevalla and his family. 


You can find these church books by:

  1. Access app.arkivdigital.se
  2. Select Archive search
  3. Select Country – United States
  4. Select State – Colorado

We wish to give special thanks to the members of the Swedish Genealogical Society of Colorado especially Ron Floberg and Beverly Harbourt for contacting these churches, securing agreements and coordinating the photographing schedule.

Filming ColoradoPhotograhing Swedish-American church books at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver, Colorado.

ArkivDigital

Swedish American Church Books in ArkivDigital

ArkivDigital has Swedish-American church books for the following states in ArkivDigital’s online library:

  • Illinois – 2
  • Iowa – 88
  • Kansas – 100
  • Minnesota – 125
  • Missouri – 9
  • Nebraska – 120
  • Oklahoma – 1
  • South Dakota – 1
  • Wisconsin – 12

The Swedish-American church books include birth, marriage, death, membership, reception of members, dismissal of members, protocols and account records. Often you will find anniversary booklets, church histories, attachments to records and even in some congregation archives family histories. The types of records vary by parish and denomination. Click here for more information about types of church records.

Anniversary books were often created to celebrate the 50th, 75th, or 100th anniversary of the church. These books often will give a history of the congregation, sometimes a history of the settlement, biographical sketches of the ministers and even occasionally biographies, genealogies and photos of the early church members.

Below is a photo of Mrs. David Lindström or Maja Lisa Andersdotter born on July 28, 1811 in Fivlered parish and who emigrated with her husband and children to North America in 1852. This was taken from the 1863-1903 Minnesalbum (Anniversary booklet or remembrance album) for the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Paxton, Illinois. In 1903, she was the oldest living member in the congregation.

mrs lindstrom photo

ArkivDigital

Another look at Swedish American Church Books

ArkivDigital has Swedish-American church books for the following states in ArkivDigital’s online library:

  • Illinois – 2
  • Iowa – 88
  • Kansas – 99
  • Minnesota – 125
  • Missouri – 9
  • Nebraska – 120
  • Oklahoma – 1
  • South Dakota – 1
  • Wisconsin – 12

The Swedish-American church books include birth, marriage, death, membership, reception of members, dismissal of members, protocols and account records. Often you will find anniversary booklets, church histories, attachments to records and even in some congregation archives family histories. The types of records vary by parish and denomination. Click here for more information about types of church records.

The membership books for the Swedish-American Lutheran churches are very similar to the Swedish household/congregation books. These records have often been the link in helping Swedish-Americans identify where in Sweden their ancestor came from. Below is an example from Trade Lake Zion Lutheran Church in Wisconsin for Per Erik Erikson and his family.

per erik eriksonTrade Lake Zion Lutheran Church, Wisconsin, USA (WI) Vol:2 (1895-1943) Image 54 / Page 23 (AID: v904701.b54.s23) https://app.arkivdigital.se/volume/v904701?image=54

The above record shows that Per Erik was born on the 27 of September 1848 in Linde (Lindesberg) parish in Örebro county and that he joined this congregation in 1889 and arrived in America in 1880. The record shows his wife, Anna Rosenqvist, who was born on the 16th of July 1862 in Vinslof (Vinslöv) parish in Kristianstad county, followed by the names of their children and their birth information. The record shows that Anna immigrated in 1881. Sometimes, the date of marriage will be shown on the membership record but in this case it is not. More research will be required to find the marriage date. The first child, Harry Lawrence, is shown as having been born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1884 and the next child was born in Trade Lake in 1886. So, it appears that the family moved from St. Paul to Trade Lake between 1884 and 1886 and then joined the congregation in 1889.

With the above information, we can search in the Swedish church books for Per Erik’s birth record.

per eriks birth recordLindesberg (T) CI:13 (1833-1850) Image 408 (AID: v53511.b408, NAD: SE/ULA/10851)
https://app.arkivdigital.se/volume/v53511?image=408

The birth record confirms his birth date as the 27th of September 1848 and that his parents were Erik Olsson and Maria Andersdotter. His mother was 29 years old at the time of his birth. The family lived in a place in the parish named Ryda.

Also, with a little further research, we can see the notation in the household record showing his move to North America in 1880.

erik move to americaLindesberg (T) AIc:19 (1871-1881) Image 229 / Page 225 (AID: v52142.b229.s225, NAD: SE/ULA/10851) https://app.arkivdigital.se/volume/v52142?image=229&page=225&register_collection=28

ArkivDigital

Korsbaneret – Another source for the family historian

ArkivDigital has recently photographed copies of the Korsbaneret (The Banner of the Cross), a yearly calendar published by the Augustana Lutheran Synod from 1880 to 1950. These booklets contain many articles which include church and congregation news, obituaries of the clergy and their spouses, articles about synods, schools, religion and poetry.

Currently, we have scanned books for the following years in ArkivDigital: 1880 thru 1932 and also the year 1934. You can find the publications by doing the following:

  • Access app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select Archive search
  • Select archive type, printed literature
  • Select country, United States
  • Select tryckta skrifter, USA
  • You will find the issues listed by the title, Korsbaneret and year, in the volume list

At the end of the volume, Korsbaneret, 1929, you will find an index or register for the volumes for the first fifty years, 1880-1929. There are indexes for various categories such as general news , obituaries of ministers and their spouses, illustrations or photos of churches and portraits of individuals.

Let’s look for the obituary for the pastor’s wife, Wilhelmina Lundquist, in Beaver, Illinois. By going to the volume, Korsbaneret, 1929, you will find the beginning of the registers or indexes on page 311. If we page forward to page 330, we will see the index for levnadsteckningar or biographies In the register. Then look for Lundquist, Wilhelmina and you will see next to her name the notations 21 and 275 which means you will find information about her in the volume for the year 1921 on page 275.

korsbaneret registerTryckta skrifter, USA Korsbaneret:1929 (1929) Image 171 / Page 339 (AID: v965044.b171.s339)

Then go to volume Korsbaneret, 1921, open the volume, go to page 275 and you will see the below image.

fru wilhelminaTryckta skrifter, USA Korsbaneret:1921 (1921) Image 141 / Page 275 (AID: v965036.b141.s275)

In this obituary we discover her birth date, place of birth in Sweden and emigration date.

Fru Wilhelmina Lundquist, född Johnson, föddes i Fyreled (Fryele) församling, Jönköping län, Sverige, den 14 februari 1857 och ankom till Amerika och Beaver, Illinois.år 1870. Hon konfirmades i den svenska ev. Lutherska kyrkan i Beaver 1871 och förenades i äktenskap med pastor L. J. Lundquist den 26 juni 1878. Hon fick i tron på sin dyre Frälsare sluta sin jordevandring och ingå i den boning, som Kristus beredt at de sina, den 5 januari 1919 i en ålder af 61 år, 11 månader och 21 dagar.

Wilhelmina Lundquist, born Johnson, was born in Fryele parish in Jönköping county, in Sweden on the 14th of February 1857 and arrived in America and Beaver, Illinois in 1870. She was confirmed in the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beaver in 1871 and was united in marriage with the pastor L. J. Lundquist on the 26th of June 1878 She was faithful to her dear Savior and ended her earthly journey and entered into the abode prepared for her by Christ on January 5, 1919 at the age of 61 years, 11 months and 21 days.

As you can see these booklets are a another wonderful set of records for the family historian and for those interested in emigration research.

ArkivDigital

Olof Liljegren – Letters from the Civil War

Today, in ArkivDigital we have Swedish American church records for the following states:

  • Illinois – 2 congregations
  • Iowa – 88 congregations
  • Kansas – 99 congregations
  • Minnesota – 125 congregations
  • Missouri – 9 congregations
  • Nebraska – 120 congregations
  • Oklahoma – 1 congregation
  • South Dakota 1 congregation
  • Wisconsin – 12 congregations

In many of these archives along with church records such as membership, birth, marriage, death, reception and dismissal records, you will often find anniversary booklets and historical notes that present a history of the congregation, ministers and early settlers. In browsing these books, one will find many items of historical and also genealogical interest.

In the archive for the Cambridge Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Minnesota, you will find a very interesting set of letters, Olof Liljegren – Our Years in the Civil War. This collection consists mostly of letters translated into English written by Olof Liljegren to his father in Sweden, Jonas Nilsson, in Boggsjö, Sundjö parish in Jämtland county between the years of 1861 and 1864.

Olof emigrated from Sweden in 1858 to North America. He served in the Third Minnesota Regiment during the Civil War and in 1865 died in the United States Army in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1865. Besides the letters written by Olof to his father, the collection also includes a letter to his sweetheart, Mary Edblad, a pioneer school teacher in Isanti County, Minnesota as well a letter from Sargent Glader to Olof’s father notifying him of Olof’s death in 1865.

olof letter 1861

Letter dated December 1861 from Olof to his father. Cambridge Lutheran Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:31 Image 20 (AID: v886267.b20) Link

In the above letter Olof writes to his father the following:

“I have not told you anything about myself. I enlisted in the U. S. Army for three years or the duration of the war. We are building up a Swedish regiment with all officers having been trained in Sweden which makes them excellent officers. The captain’s pay is $108 per month, first lieutenant, $100, 2nd lieutenant, $75, Corporal $15, and private $10 per month.

I took this step after much thought and decided my life is worth no more than the next man and if I die, I feel I can not die for a better cause than to stop slavery.”

 olof deathLetter from Sargent Glader to Olof’s father notifying him of Olof’s death dated December 17, 1865. Cambridge Lutheran Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:31 Image 80 (AID: v886267.b80) Link

“I am sending you a few lines to let you know your son Olof died in the United States Army at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, September 25, 1865. Two days before he died, I stayed with him one day and one nite. He was then so poorly he did not think he could get well. He told me to write to you and gave me authority to take card of his belongings and send his medal home to Sweden.”

To find these letters:

  • Go to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select archive search
  • Select country, United States
  • Select state, Minnesota
  • Select Vol:31 Printed Documents

ArkivDigital

Obituaries and Genealogies in Swedish American Record Collections

We have Swedish American church books in ArkivDigital for several states in the United States primarily in the Midwest. One interesting collection is the Trade Lake Swedish Mission Church in Trade Lake in Burnett county, Wisconsin. Among the types of records, you will find in this archive include the typical church books collections such as congregation books, death records, attachments to migration records and anniversary booklets.

But there are also newspaper clippings of obituaries and genealogies for persons who lived in Trade Lake or the nearby area. Many of these are for emigrants or families of emigrants from Sweden.

The obituary collection is titled dödsrunor in the volume list and the death notices are in alphabetical order. Below is the volume list showing these volumes. You can hover over the ‘i” to see the first letters of the names ncluded in the volume.

dodsrunor

Below is the obituary for Andrew Bjork who was born on September 7, 1838 in Ljusnarsberg, Örebro, Sweden.

bjork obituary

Another set of volumes are titled familjehistoria or family histories. If you hover your mouse over the ‘i”, the family name will be visible.

family history

Below is the first page for the family history for the descendants of Johan Olof Akerlind shown as born August 6, 1822 in Fellingsbro, Örebro.

akerlund family history

To find the church books for the Trade Lake Swedish Mission Church:

  • Log in to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select Archive Search
  • Select country, United States
  • Select state, Wisconsin
  • Open the archive for the Trade Lake Swedish Mission Church

 ArkivDigital

Immigrant Stories in the Swedish American Church Books

ArkivDigital’s online archive includes many Swedish American church books primarily from Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota. But we also have a few from Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The types of records vary between congregations. The most common sets of records are congregation or membership rolls, birth, marriage, death, confirmation, church protocols, church accounts, anniversary booklets and other types of records.

One of the most interesting set of records is the anniversary booklet (jubileumsskrift). Often these booklets include a history of the church and settlement and describes the life of the early immigrants in North America. Some of these books also contain wonderful biographical sketches and pictures.

john benson imageBucklin Swedish Mission Covenant Church, Missouri, USA (MO) Vol:13 (1880-1980) Image 17 / Page 31 (AID: v950811.b17.s31)

The above image is taken from the Centennial Celebration booklet for the Swedish Mission Covenant Church in Bucklin, Missouri. There is a short biographical sketch of John Benson born Johannes Bengtsson in Skummeslöv parish in Halland county in Sweden on April 4, 1852. It states that he first lived in St. Louis, Missouri and worked for the Johansen Shoe company and then moved to a farm north of Bucklin in 1881. The sketch gives information about his wife and children and states that he died on July 24, 1900.

With the information in the anniversary booklet, we can search for his birth record in ArkivDigital and then trace him forward in the household books until his emigration in 1871. Below is his birth record showing his birth of the 4th of April 1852 at Allarp in Skummeslöv parish. His parents are noted as B. P. Persson and Christina Bengtsdotter. His mother was 32 years old at the time of his birth.

john benson's birth recordSkummeslöv (N) CI:3 (1824-1860) Image 380 / Page 69 (AID: v93216a.b380.s69, NAD: SE/LLA/13348)

To find the Swedish American church books in ArkivDigital:

  • Log in at app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select Archive Search.
  • Select country, United States.
  • You can also limit the search by state.

ArkivDigital

Find obituaries in the Houston, Minnesota, Baptist Church Archives

When one browses in the Swedish American church book archives, one will often find photographs, newspaper clippings and sometimes printed obituaries.  Below is an obituary for Christian Johnson found in the archive for the Houston (Minnesota) Baptist Church Archives.

You can find the obituaries by:

  • Go to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select archive search
  • Select country: United States
  • Select U.S. state: Minnesota
  • Select Houston Baptist Church, Minnesota, USA
  • Open archive
  • Select the volume: Dödsruna

houston baptistHouston Baptist Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:9 Image 13 (AID: v902876.b13)

Some of the facts noted in the above obituary are Christian’s death date: February 5, 1911 and his birth date of the 30th of January 1818 in Kongsbacka, Sweden. The obituary states that he was a sailor and that he married Louise Redding in 1850 and emigrated in 1854.

This is an example of how many American records can be misleading when one is trying to jump the pond. While some of the information is correct in the obituary, not all is. In doing further research, we will discover that Christian was born as stated on the 30th of January 1818 but in a place named Asslöv in Tölö parish in Halland county. His parents were Gustaf Jönsson and Lena Svensdotter. His birth record is shown below.

christian johnson birth recordTölö (N) CI:4 (1816-1835) Image 150 (AID: v93627a.b150, NAD: SE/LLA/13427)

He married Lovisa Sofia Röding from Onsala parish in Halland county on the 29th of January 1850 in Onsala. He is shown as a seaman and is using his patronymic name, Christian Gustafsson. The obituary shows how Lovisa’s name has been Americanized: Lovisa to Louise and Röding to Redding. Below is their marriage record.

christian marriageOnsala (N) EI:2 (1849-1860) Image 7 / Page 5 (AID: v93103.b7.s5, NAD: SE/LLA/13297)

The household examination record as shown below gives a date for their move to North America in 1853. They are not shown in the moving out book for 1853 or 1854. Below is the household record.

christian household recordOnsala (N) AI:5 (1849-1853) Image 179 / Page 174 (AID: v93088.b179.s174, NAD: SE/LLA/13297)

In both the marriage record and household record, Christian is shown as Christian Gustafsson but once in North America, he changes his name to Christian Johnson.

Obituaries can be wonderful records to help to identify where one’s ancestor came from in Sweden but many times the information is only partially correct as in this case and it will be necessary to evaluate other records before jumping the pond.

ArkivDigital

Swedish American Church Book Status Update

Today, we will give an update of the status of the Swedish-American church books that are available in ArkivDigital. Most of the new books are for churches in Iowa and a few more in Minnesota.

We have church books for the following states:

  • Iowa – 82 congregations
  • Kansas – 98 congregations
  • Minnesota – 113 congregations
  • Missouri – 7 congregations
  • Nebraska – 119 congregations
  • Oklahoma – 1 congregation
  • South Dakota – 1 congregation
  • Wisconsin – 12 congregations

swedesburg church       The first Swedesburg Evangelical Lutheran Church that was built in 1868 and destroyed by fire in 1883.

To search for Swedish American church books in ArkivDigital, do the following:

  • Select Archive search.
  • Select country – United States
  • Then select desired state (for example – Iowa). Then a list of congregations for that state will appear.
  • Select the congregation that you desire.

search for iowa church books

Click here for more information about Swedish-American church book records.

ArkivDigital