Obituaries and Genealogies in Swedish American Record Collections

We have Swedish American church books in ArkivDigital for several states in the United States primarily in the Midwest. One interesting collection is the Trade Lake Swedish Mission Church in Trade Lake in Burnett county, Wisconsin. Among the types of records, you will find in this archive include the typical church books collections such as congregation books, death records, attachments to migration records and anniversary booklets.

But there are also newspaper clippings of obituaries and genealogies for persons who lived in Trade Lake or the nearby area. Many of these are for emigrants or families of emigrants from Sweden.

The obituary collection is titled dödsrunor in the volume list and the death notices are in alphabetical order. Below is the volume list showing these volumes. You can hover over the ‘i” to see the first letters of the names ncluded in the volume.

dodsrunor

Below is the obituary for Andrew Bjork who was born on September 7, 1838 in Ljusnarsberg, Örebro, Sweden.

bjork obituary

Another set of volumes are titled familjehistoria or family histories. If you hover your mouse over the ‘i”, the family name will be visible.

family history

Below is the first page for the family history for the descendants of Johan Olof Akerlind shown as born August 6, 1822 in Fellingsbro, Örebro.

akerlund family history

To find the church books for the Trade Lake Swedish Mission Church:

  • Log in to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select Archive Search
  • Select country, United States
  • Select state, Wisconsin
  • Open the archive for the Trade Lake Swedish Mission Church

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Find obituaries in the Houston, Minnesota, Baptist Church Archives

When one browses in the Swedish American church book archives, one will often find photographs, newspaper clippings and sometimes printed obituaries.  Below is an obituary for Christian Johnson found in the archive for the Houston (Minnesota) Baptist Church Archives.

You can find the obituaries by:

  • Go to app.arkivdigital.se
  • Select archive search
  • Select country: United States
  • Select U.S. state: Minnesota
  • Select Houston Baptist Church, Minnesota, USA
  • Open archive
  • Select the volume: Dödsruna

houston baptistHouston Baptist Church, Minnesota, USA (MN) Vol:9 Image 13 (AID: v902876.b13)

Some of the facts noted in the above obituary are Christian’s death date: February 5, 1911 and his birth date of the 30th of January 1818 in Kongsbacka, Sweden. The obituary states that he was a sailor and that he married Louise Redding in 1850 and emigrated in 1854.

This is an example of how many American records can be misleading when one is trying to jump the pond. While some of the information is correct in the obituary, not all is. In doing further research, we will discover that Christian was born as stated on the 30th of January 1818 but in a place named Asslöv in Tölö parish in Halland county. His parents were Gustaf Jönsson and Lena Svensdotter. His birth record is shown below.

christian johnson birth recordTölö (N) CI:4 (1816-1835) Image 150 (AID: v93627a.b150, NAD: SE/LLA/13427)

He married Lovisa Sofia Röding from Onsala parish in Halland county on the 29th of January 1850 in Onsala. He is shown as a seaman and is using his patronymic name, Christian Gustafsson. The obituary shows how Lovisa’s name has been Americanized: Lovisa to Louise and Röding to Redding. Below is their marriage record.

christian marriageOnsala (N) EI:2 (1849-1860) Image 7 / Page 5 (AID: v93103.b7.s5, NAD: SE/LLA/13297)

The household examination record as shown below gives a date for their move to North America in 1853. They are not shown in the moving out book for 1853 or 1854. Below is the household record.

christian household recordOnsala (N) AI:5 (1849-1853) Image 179 / Page 174 (AID: v93088.b179.s174, NAD: SE/LLA/13297)

In both the marriage record and household record, Christian is shown as Christian Gustafsson but once in North America, he changes his name to Christian Johnson.

Obituaries can be wonderful records to help to identify where one’s ancestor came from in Sweden but many times the information is only partially correct as in this case and it will be necessary to evaluate other records before jumping the pond.

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