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.

ArkivDigital

Estate Inventories (Bouppteckningar) 1901-1960 – Status update

ArkivDigital has been photographing estate inventory records for the period, 1901 to 1960 for a while. We have mentioned this activity several times in our blogs, the last one was about a year ago: see previous blog. We have photographed much more since then and thought it was a good time to give a status update.



Our photographing progress varies between counties. Below is a status by county of what records are complete followed by a summary of the records we are currently photographing. Our goal is to photograph estate inventories up to and including the year 1960.  But in Gotland, we have been successful in photographing some later records. For all counties, single volumes may be missing in cases where they were in such poor physical condition that they could not be photographed.

Estate inventories are available in ArkivDigital up to the year noted:

1920: Jönköping, Kalmar, Östergötland
1930: Kopparberg, Kronoberg, Norrbotten, Södermanland, Uppsala, Västerbotten, Västernorrland, Västmanland, Örebro
1940: Gävleborg, Jämtland*, Stockholm
1945: Göteborg och Bohus, Skaraborg, Älvsborg
1950: Värmland
1960: Blekinge, Halland, Kristianstad, Malmöhus
1980: Gotland, (Visby city court 1945-1961 missing)

Photographing is in progress for the following:

1921-1930: Jönköping, Kalmar, Östergötland.
1931-1940: Kopparberg, Norrbotten, Södermanland, Uppsala, Västerbotten, Västernorrland, Västmanland, Örebro
1941-1945: Stockholm
1946-1950: Göteborg och Bohus, Skaraborg, Älvsborg
1951-1955: Värmland

*For Jämtland county, there are some estate inventories missing for the period 1861-1900. But currently photographing is in progress for these records. For the rest of Sweden, the estate inventories from earliest time to the year 1900 are available in ArkivDigital and have been for some time.

estateinventory1926Eksjö rådhusrätt och magistrat FIII:9 (1921-1930) Image 7050 / page 30 (AID: v496946.b7050.s30, NAD: SE/VALA/01662) Link.

During the 1900’s, more estate inventories were typewritten. In the above image, which is from the Eksjö rådhusrätt och magistrats collection of estate inventories from the year 1926, we see the end or last page of a typewritten estate inventory and the beginning page of a handwritten one.

Learn more about estate inventories.

View original article 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.

ArkivDigital

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

ArkivDigital

English Product Catalog

product catalogArkivDigital has photographed over 61 million images of the Swedish historical records. For those who would like to see an overview of the contents of our extensive online archive, we wish to point out our product catalog. The product catalog is available both in Swedish and English. .

The product catalog is organized county by county and presents an overview of the types of documents and for what years that have been published for each county. In addition, the catalog mentions what documents are currently being photographed.

The product catalog should be viewed as a high-level overview at what is available in ArkivDigital. Even if certain documents are mentioned as being complete, individual documents might be missing such as in cases where they have been too damaged to be filmed.  In addition we have filmed many additional documents that are not listed in the catalog because it would be too extensive to include everything.

You will find the English product catalog on our English home page, www.arkivdigital.net. Click on the link “Product Catalog” on the right side of the page in order to open the catalog.

You will find the Swedish version of the product catalog as a PDF file at www.arkivdigital.se/online. Click on the link ”Produktkatalog” on the right side of the page to open the catalog.

ArkivDigital

Gammalsvenskby’s church books now available in ArkivDigital

Gammalsvenskbys kyrkoböckeGammalsvenskby (Ukraina) (Ut) 8 (1920-1921) Image 160 / page 64 (AID: v99903.b160.s64, NAD: SE/ViLA/23094) Link.

In the Baltic Sea, west of Estonia’s mainland is the island of Dagö. There was a Swedish speaking peasant settlement on Dagö that was believed to have been founded in the 1200’s. Other Swedish settlements existed along Estonia’s coast and nearby islands. Dagö belonged to Sweden from 1563 to 1721 and was an important Swedish territory in Estonia.

Under the Treaty of Nystad in 1721, Dagö was ceded to Russia. In 1781, the Russian Empress Catherine II forced the resettlement of about 1,000 Dagö-Swedes to Ukraine. Many died during the long march but those who survived founded the community of Gammalsvenskby.

Despite nearly no contact with Sweden, the population of Gammalsvenskby preserved their traditions and Lutheran faith. They even retained the old “östsvenska” dialect. Towards the end of the 1800’s some contact with Sweden was restored and in 1885 a new Swedish church opened.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917 and a devastating famine, many Swedish colonists requested to leave the Soviet Union and return to Sweden. In 1929, 881 villagers arrived in Sweden; only a few chose to remain in Ukraine. Most of the returnees settled in Gotland.

Along with the returnees came the Gammalsvenskby’s church books. Pastor Kristofer Hoas was responsible for seeing  that these books were sent to Sweden. Up until his death in 1941, Pastor Hoas continued to send the church books to Sweden. In 1947, the archive was transferred to the county archives (today’s regional archive) in Visby, where we have recently photographed the documents.

You can find the Gammalsvenskby’s church books in ArkivDigital by entering Gammalsvenskby in the search box.

Read the original blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

SCB extracts 1925-1945

The birth, marriage and death extracts from Statistiska centralbyråns (SCB or Bureau of Central Statistics) for the years 1925 to 1945 are now available in ArkivDigital.

The SCB extracts are organized by county and year. This means that we have been able to photograph all parishes through the year 1945. The law of privacy in Sweden prohibits us from photographing some records that are younger than 70 years or for years later than 1945. This also includes church books where the final year in the book is for records later than 1945. Thus if a birth book includes the years 1930 to 1950, we are not allowed to photograph that book because some of the records are protected by the privacy law. In these cases where the original birth, marriage or death books are not available for the years 1925 to 1945, you may wish to look in the SCB extracts.

You will find the SCB extracts in the archive with the long name, Statistiska centralbyrån (SCB) – Avdelningen för befolkningsstatistik 1:a avdelningen. The easiest way to find this archive is to enter “SCB” in the search box and you will be directed to the archive.  Each volume specifies which county and year it covers. If nothing else is mentioned, the volume includes birth, marriage and death records for that year. In other cases there may be an abbreviation specifying the types of records the volume includes. The abbreviations are: fbu (birth records), vbu (marriage records) and dbu (death records).

skaraborg scb

Each volume consists of many images and therefore can take a few minutes to locate the correct parish. We are well aware of this problem and are working on creating a register for the SCB extracts so that one can select a parish and year and go directly to the image.

The SCB extracts are based on transcriptions sent by each parish to the Bureau of Central Statistics. One should be conscious that these are secondary sources and there could be errors and that these records do not contain all the information that is included in the original church book records.

deathscbStatistiska centralbyrån (SCB) – Avdelningen för befolkningsstatistik 1:a avdelningen  H1AA:2656 (1929-1929) Image 10 (AID: v816233.b10, NAD: SE/RA/42040101) Link.
First page in the SCB extract for Vänersnäs (Skaraborg county) death book for 1929.

Read original blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Modern church records photographing status – more counties are now available

newphotographHärlöv (G) AIIa:3 (1923-1941) Image 310 / page 18 (AID: v166757.b310.s18, NAD: SE/VALA/00156)  Link.

About a month ago, we published a blog (see blog entry) giving an update on the photographing of the modern church books up to the time of privacy law limits (currently 1945). At that time, we announced that the photographing was complete for the modern church books in Gotland, Jämtland, Stockholm and Värmland counties. 

Now five more counties are available: Blekinge, Halland, Kopparberg, Kristianstad and Malmöhus. Photographing is in progress for additional counties and new records are continuously being added.

Click here to see what is available in ArkivDigital.

Read blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

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.

ArkivDigital

Photographing of modern church books complete for several counties

varmland 1945

 At the end of January, ArkivDigital began photographing the modern church books up to the time of the law of privacy limits, currently 1945 (See earlier blog entry). We are happy to announce that we have now completed the photographing for Stockholm, Jämtland, and Gotland counties. In early February, the modern church books for Värmland were added to the online archive.

New volumes of modern church books are continually being added. Currently we are focusing on photographing the books in Blekinge, Halland, Kristianstad, Malmöhus, Västmanland, Kopparberg and Kronoberg counties.

Concerning the privacy limits, we wish to clarify that if a book contains years that are protected by the privacy law, we cannot photograph it. For example if a death and burial book covers the years 1895-1950, we are not able to photograph this book since the book contains years that are protected by the privacy law. The moving in and out registers along with the banns and marriage books are an exception to this rule. Generally, these records are not protected by strict confidentiality so we can often photograph these records even if they include information after 1945.

Finally, we would also like to mention a few words about the birth and baptismal books.  In these books it is common that notes may be added to a record, for example a note relating to an adoption, often decades after the event. The 70 year privacy law begins from the date of the last inserted note. This means that we do not currently have the opportunity to photograph some of the birth and baptismal books even though they do not contain any birth records for persons born after 1945.

Read blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital