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

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Memory Album (Minnesalbum) from Frederic Trade Lake Baptist Church in Wisconsin

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

  • Iowa – 60 congregations
  • Kansas – 98 congregations
  • Minnesota – 106 congregations
  • Missouri – 7 congregations
  • Nebraska – 119 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 archives for the Frederic Trade Lake Baptist Church in Burnett County, Wisconsin, you will find a minnesalbum or a memory album.

This congregation was established on the 5th of June 1869 in Knut Anderson’s schoolhouse. Below is an image listing the names of the early congregants and where they came from in Sweden.

frederic trade blogFrederic Trade Lake Baptist Church, Wisconsin, USA (WI) Vol:25 Image 58 (AID: v904644.b58) (left side of the image)

Below is an image of John Ring, the first pastor of the church, and his wife.

john ringFrederic Trade Lake Baptist Church, Wisconsin, USA (WI) Vol:25 Image 58 (AID: v904644.b58) (right side of the image)

John Ring or Jonas Ring was born in Delsbo, Gävleborg, Sweden on the 16th of February 1829. (Note – the record in the album states that he is from Ilsbo but he was actually born in Delsbo but did live part of his life in Ilsbo.)  He and his wife and children emigrated from Sundsvall, Västernorrland. Below is the household record showing them moving to America along with a notation that he and his wife are Baptists.

ring household recordSundsvalls Gustav Adolf (Y) AI:6b (1851-1866) Image 179 / Page 468 (AID: v122499.b179.s468, NAD: SE/HLA/1010190)

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