Swedish American Church Book Record Types

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many Swedish American church books from Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and a few from Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Below are the types of records that you will find in the various congregations However, the type of records that were kept and preserved varies by congregation.

  1. Congregation records or church registers (Församlingsböcker)
  2. Birth and christening records (Födelse- och dopböcker)
  3. Marriage records (Vigselböcker)
  4. Death and burial records (Död- och begravningsböcker)
  5. Catechetical records (Konfirmationsbok)
  6. Protocols (Protokoll)
  7. Accountings (Räkenskaper)
  8. Member reception records (Intagna medlemmar)
  9. Member dismissal records (Utträdda medlemmar)
  10. Anniversary documents (Jubileumsskrift)

Congregation Books (Församlingsböcker)
The congregation records or church registers include similar information to the Swedish household or congregation records. The type of information you may find includes:  the names of the household members, birth date, birth place, baptismal date, marriage dates of the head of the household, arrival date in America and arrival date in the congregation. Some of these books have alphabetical name indexes. These records are very helpful in identifying where a person came from in Sweden.

Omaha Congregation RecordCongregation book from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:1 (1868-1890) Image 74 / page 69 (AID: v883292.b74.s69, NAD: ) Link.

Birth and Christening Records (Födelse- och dopböcker)
The birth and christening records are somewhat similar to the Swedish birth and christening records. The contents do vary by congregation but they usually contain the child’s name, birth date, baptismal date, names of parents and names of baptismal witnesses.  Most of the time the mother’s married name and not maiden name is presented. These records are organized in chronological order often by baptismal date. Occasionally, there is a cross reference to the family in the church register or congregation record.

omaha birthsRecords of baptisms from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 21 / page 35 (AID: v883294.b21.s35, NAD: ) Link.

Marriage Records (Vigselböcker)
The marriage records are an important source because it is the one source where the female’s maiden name is shown. The contents in the marriage record usually include the names of the groom and bride, date of the marriage and the places where the bride and groom are from. These records are organized in chronological order.

omaha marriageRecords of Marriages from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 59 / page 173 (AID: v883294.b59.s173, NAD: ) Link.

Death and Burial Records (Död- och begravningsböcker)
The death and burial records sometimes called “Records of Funerals” show the deceased’s name, death date, burial date, age, sometimes names of nearest relatives and cause of death. Unfortunately, abbreviations may be used in names such as “P. A. Swanson” versus the complete name and married women are often noted as “Mrs. Charles Eklund”.  These are organized in chronological order usually by the funeral date. Occasionally, there is a cross reference to the family in the church register or congregation record.

omaha burialsRecords of Funerals from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 98 / page 291 (AID: v883294.b98.s291, NAD: ) Link.

Catechetical (Konfirmationsbok)
The catechetical records provide names of the persons confirmed. Most of the time, these are only list of names but occasionally, the birth date and the names of the parents of the confirmed will be shown.

Protocols (Protokoll)
The protocols are administrative records for the parish. They contain minutes of administrative meetings and decisions relating to parish matters.

Accountings (Räkenskaper)
The account books will include records of financial transactions such as cash books, bookkeeping records and real estate transactions.

Member reception records (Intagna medlemmar)
These records record new members of the parish usually stating the name of the person, date of admission and the place where the person came from.

Member dismissal records (Utträdda medlemmar)
These records record the names of members who leave the parish. Usually, you will find the name of the person, departure date and where the person is going to.

omaha dismissalRecords of Dismissals of Members from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 85 / page 247 (AID: v883294.b85.s247, NAD: ) Link.

Church anniversary document (Jubileumsskrift)
In many congregation archives you will find a church anniversary document celebrating a number of years in existence such as 25 years, 50 years, 75 years or 100 years. These documents usually present a short history of the church or a church organization such as a singing group or other group within the church. Sometimes in addition to the history of the church, biographical information and photos of members of the church are included.

Other documents (Övriga handlingar)
You may find other documents dependent upon the parish such as church school records, tomb or cemetery records, historical notes, church constitution, and attachments to migration records, newspaper clippings and other types of documents.

More information about Swedish American church books:
Searching for a parish of origin in the Kansas church books.

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