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.

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New Records in ArkivDigital

Produktkatalog

During the past month, many new records have been added to ArkivDigital’s online library. A summary of the highlights follows.

Estate Inventories (Bouppteckningar)
The estate inventories for all of Sweden up to 1860 have been available in ArkivDigital for some time as well as the estate inventories between 1860 and 1900 except for Jämtland county. We have now begun to add these records for Jämtland and a small number are now available in the online library. We will continue to add more.

New estate inventory volumes for the years 1901-1960 have been added for most counties. The estate inventories up to 1945 are now available for Blekinge, Halland, Kristianstad and Malmöhus counties.

Military Records
A large number of volumes for the soldier rolls “Rullor 1620-1723” have been added. With the exception of some individual volumes, the soldier rolls between 1620-1647 are now completely available.

Kansas and Åland
In our previous blog about new records in ArkivDigital, we mentioned that we were photographing church books from Kansas in the USA as well as seamen house records from Åland, Finland.  Many new volumes have been added for both of these record sets and more will be added in the near future.

Link to blog in Swedish.

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Estate Inventories (Bouppteckningar) Status Update

estateinventoryupdateOctober
Göteborgs rådhusrätt och magistrat. Första avdelningen efter 1901. EIIIa:150 (1930-1930) Image 500 / page 547 (AID: v562001.b500.s547, NAD: SE/GLA/14055) Link.

After the church books, the estate inventories (bouppteckningar), are probably the most valuable source for many genealogists.  The estate inventories provide genealogical information as well as help one gain a better understanding of one’s ancestor’s life. The estate inventory details the assets and debts of the deceased person’s estate.

For some time now, the estate inventories from earliest times to 1900 have been available in ArkivDigital’s online library.  The one exception has been Jämtland county where the records between 1861 and 1900 have not been added. However, we will be adding these records in the near future.

For the period 1901-1960, we have reached different milestones in various parts of the country.  Below is a summary of what estate inventories are now available by county followed by a summary of the volumes we are currently photographing. There may be single copies missing in each county in cases where the original records were in such poor physical condition that they could not be photographed.

Estate Inventories (Bouppteckningar) available in ArkivDigital:
1917: Stockholm city.
1920: Göteborg och Bohus, Jönköping, Kalmar, Kopparberg, Kronoberg, Norrbotten, Skaraborg, Södermanland, Uppsala, Västernorrland, Västmanland, Älvsborg, Örebro, Östergötland.
1930: Gävleborg, Västerbotten.
1940: Blekinge, Halland, Jämtland, Kristianstad, Malmöhus, Stockholm county (exception Stockholm city, see above).
1945: Värmland, Gotland.

Photographing in progress for the following:
1918-1940: Stockholm city.
1921-1930: Göteborg och Bohus, Jönköping, Kalmar, Kopparberg, Kronoberg, Skaraborg, Södermanland, Uppsala, Västmanland, Älvsborg, Örebro, Östergötland.
1921-1940: Norrbotten, Västernorrland.
1931-1940: Gävleborg, Västerbotten.
1941-1945: Blekinge, Halland, Kristianstad, Malmöhus.
1946-1950: Värmland.
1946-1960: Gotland.

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New Records Added to ArkivDigital

Produktkatalog
During June and July, many new records have been added to ArkivDigital’s online library. We have begun to add some new record types, continued to add estate inventories (bouppteckningar) and completed the photographing of a couple record sets.

SCB Extracts
The first set of new materials that we are beginning to add are the Statistiska centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden) or SCB extracts from the birth, marriage and death books. The SCB extracts are transcriptions from the original church books but not all the information from the original books was transferred to the extracts. The advantage with the SCB extracts is that we are able to publish these up to 1944. Because of the law of privacy we are seldom able to add the original books up to this date. We have added most of the records to ArkivDigital for 1944. We will then work our ways backward to publish as many SCB extracts to fill in the gaps where we do not have the original books.

The easiest way to search for the SCB extracts is to enter “SCB” in the search box. The volumes are organized by county thus requiring one to browse through the book to find the correct parish. We plan to begin the indexing of these books so that it will be easy to locate each parish.

“Stamkort” for Military Conscripts
The second set of new records that we are beginning to add is the service card (stamkort) for each military conscript.   Each conscript or serviceman had his own “stamkort” where you will find information about his service beginning with his enrollment, usually between 20 and 21 years of age, up to his discharge which normally happened at age 47.  Currently, only a small number of volumes are available in ArkivDigital. However, we plan to add the service cards or “stamkort” for all men who were enrolled between the years 1902 and 1941.

The simplest way to search for the stamkort in ArkivDigital is to enter “stamkort” in the search box. You will be directed to a page where you will find more information about the stamkort  in the info box. Currently this information is in Swedish.

Estate Inventories (Bouppteckningar)
We continue to prioritize adding estate inventories (bouppteckningar) beginning in 1900 and forward. During the last two months, new volumes were added for most counties.

Completed Projects
We have now completed projects for photographing the prison lists for all of Sweden from the Office of the Chancellor of Justice and also the Supreme Court protocols. The prison lists from the Office of Chancellor of Justice are available for the period 1750-1825 and the Supreme Court protocols are available for the period 1694-1800.

Read more about our image database.

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