United States Naturalization Records in Nebraska Collection

We now have 118 archives in our Nebraska collection. Most of these archives are Swedish American congregation records but not all are church records. One interesting collection in the Nebraska archives consists of declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization and final papers for United States citizenship. These records are from the District Court of Polk County in Osceola, Nebraska.

The process for United States citizenship was generally a two-step process. After a person lived in the U.S. for two years, the person could file a “declaration of intention” to become a citizen. After three additional years, the person could file a petition for naturalization. After the petition was granted, the person was given a certification of naturalization and became a citizen. Click here for more information about the naturalization process.

These applications for citizenship primarily the “declaration of intention” are often used to help a person identify where their ancestor came from in Sweden. Below is the declaration of intention for Axel Theodore Norstrom.

declaration of intentionDistrict Court of Polk County, Osceola, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:1 (1907-1922) Image 47 / page 33 (AID: v896407.b47.s33, NAD) Link.

The “declaration of intention” includes such information as physical description, age, occupation, birth date and birth place, emigration place, often name of ship along with date of arrival and arrival port.

In the above record dated 18th of January 1909 we see that Axel was born in Skinnskatteberg parish in Sweden on the 10th of September 1863. He is now living in Stromsberg, Nebraska. The record states that he emigrated from Göteborg, Sweden on the ship, Arabic, and arrived in the port of Boston, Massachusetts on the 14th of October 1905. His last residence in Sweden is Malma. (Note – in the declaration of intention it looks like Malmo but as we do more research, we discover that the last residence in Sweden is in the parish of Malma in Västmanland county).

With the above information, we can jump into the Swedish church book records and verify the information on the declaration of intention. We can search for the birth books for Skinnskatteberg parish and look for his birth record in 1863. Below is his birth record.

norstroms birth recordSkinnskatteberg (U) C:11 (1862-1878) Image 26 (AID: v74059.b26, NAD: SE/ULA/11336) Link.

We can follow him in the household books from the time of his birth until his emigration. Below is the household record showing him emigrating from Malma parish in Västmanland county to America in 1905. You notice that his Swedish name is “Axel Teodor Norström” and the American version is ” Axel Theodore Norstrom”.

norstrom hfl emigration recordMalma (U) AII:2 (1902-1914) Image 150 / page 3 (AID: v263759.b150.s3, NAD: SE/ULA/11056) Link.

You can find the “declarations of intentions” in the District Court Polk County, Nebraska Archives in ArkivDigital by doing the following:

  • Select New Archive search.
  • Select county, Nebraska.
  • Select District Court of Polk County, Osceola, Nebraska USA archive.
  • Select the book with the years that you are interested in.
  • Each book contains a name register in the front of the book.

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Swedish American Church documents provide genealogical information

 

hanepictureWe have written previously about the Swedish American church books in ArkivDigital. (See previous blog entry). Besides the church books, there are anniversary documents for many congregations and these publications often contain historical information about the congregation’s founding as well as genealogical information about some of the early church members. This information can help one jump the pond and trace the family in the Swedish church books. For many North Americans, one source for finding out where their ancestor came from in Sweden is often a Swedish American church book.

One interesting document is the one produced for the Centennial Anniversary of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bucklin, Missouri in 1970. Here you will find historical information for several families. One example is for Andrew Fredrick Hane’s family.

The text below states that he was born on “June 23, 1828 in Ostergutland, Sweden” and that he immigrated to American in 1880 with his wife Maria, born on “October 15, 1840, Grosmark, Varmland, Sweden” with four children. At the top of the page, you will find an image of Andrew, Maria and a child.

andrewhanetext
Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri, USA Vol:1 (1870-1970) Image 13 / page 13 (AID: v811754.b13.s13) Link.

We can find information about the family in the Swedish church books by using Maria as our starting point. The text provides information about Maria’s birth date, birth parish and immigration year. When one looks at the American records, often there is an Americanization of Swedish person and place names. In this case Grosmark, Varmland refers to Gräsmark, Värmland. As well, the county of Östergotland was spelled Ostergutland.

To search for Maria in the Swedish church books, we will begin by looking for her birth record.

  • Go to the search window.
  • Select the county archive and select Värmland.
  • Select the parish, Gräsmark.
  • Look for the birth volume that contains the year 1840.
  • Search for a birth record for Maria on October 15, 1840.
  • You will find record at the following reference: Gräsmark CI:5 (1838-1859) Image 18 / page 29 (AID: v6598.b18.s29, NAD: SE/VA/13165) (Link).

By tracing Maria in the church books forward, you will find that she marries Anders Fredrik Hane and they have several children and in 1880 the family immigrates to North American from Skedevi, Östergotland. You can see the notation about the move to North America in the household record shown below.

hane moving out recordSkedevi AI:25 (1880-1887) Image 128 / page 118 (AID: v29036.b128.s118, NAD: SE/VALA/00332) Link.

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