At the beginning of the summer, there were headlines in the Swedish newspapers and on Swedish TV that a double murder that occurred 16 years ago in Linköping was solved with the help of DNA technology. The genealogist, Peter Sjölund, assisted the police with the investigation and we have asked Peter some questions about how he used ArkivDigital in his work.
In the media, there is much talk about DNA when it comes to how the double murder in Linköping was solved, but how big a role did traditional genealogy play in this case?
DNA genealogy research is always based on a combination of DNA information and archival research. To find the perpetrator, I had to map 25 family trees back to the1800s and 1700s and via traditional genealogy methods trace 600-700 people from the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century. After that, I had to search all the descendants forward to persons living today by researching in the archival sources. So much traditional genealogy research was required.
Which supplier of the church books have you mainly used to obtain the information and why that particular supplier?
When it comes to church books, I have almost exclusively used ArkivDigital. The quality of the digital color images is absolutely outstanding and the personal registers from the second half of the 19th century onwards are invaluable for searching for people (although of course the information must always be double-checked in the original images).
How much longer do you think this would have taken if you had not had access to the church books online but had to travel around to archives or order microfiche?
I managed to find the perpetrator in about five weeks. If the church books and search registers had not been available online, as they are at ArkivDigital, it would have taken several years to search for the double killer with this method.
Is it primarily the church books you have used or have you also used some slightly more unusual sources that are available in ArkivDigital?
In some isolated cases I have had to check a family in the tax registers, but otherwise I have exclusively used the church books and personal indexes.
How much help have you had from ArkivDigital’s searchable indexes?
Very great help! The indexes really speeded up the search, although of course I always checked the original image to see that the information in the index is correct. When I found errors, I took the opportunity to send in corrections to ArkivDigital, so that the indexes would be even better.
Which searchable register at ArkivDigtal has been the most helpful?
Clearly, the BiS (Population in Sweden) 1840–1947 as it includes the largest time span and data further back in time. I could usually obtain information from the 20th century through the police register.