Update on Swedish American Church Books

We have received many questions at recent North American conferences regarding the Swedish American church books in ArkivDigital. Today, we will give a status of the Swedish American church books that are available in ArkivDigital today as well as links to the English blogs giving more information about these records.

We have Swedish American church books for the following states:

  • Kansas – 97 congregations
  • Minnesota – 76 congregations
  • Missouri – 7 congregations
  • Nebraska – 43 congregations
  • Oklahoma – 1 congregation

To search for Swedish American church books in ArkivDigital, do the following:

  • Select archive search.
  • Select county archive.
  • Then select desired state (for example – Nebraska).
  • A list of the congregations for that state will appear.

search swedish american records

Below is a list of blogs with links for more information about the Swedish American church books:

ArkivDigital

Sven Anderson’s Life in Bucklin, Missouri

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many Swedish American church books from Kansas and a few from Missouri and Oklahoma. While the record types will vary by parish, the most common sets of records found in the books include:

  1. Congregation records or church registers (Församlingsböcker)
  2. Birth and christening records (Födelse- och dopböcker)
  3. Marriage records (Vigselböcker)
  4. Death and burial records (Död- och begravningsböcker)
  5. Catechetical records (Konfirmationsbok)
  6. Protocols (Protokoll)
  7. Accountings (Räkenskaper)
  8. Member reception records (Intagna medlemmar)
  9. Member dismissal records (Utträdda medlemmar)
  10. Anniversary documents (Jubileumsskrift)

The anniversary or commemorative booklets for a church celebrating a number of years such as 25, 50, 75 or 100 years in existence can be very interesting to browse. Many present a short history of the church and even occasionally biographical sketches and photographs of early settlers. These can be wonderful sources for learning about the lives of early Swedish American settlers in North America.

 

The Bucklin, Missouri, Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church 100-year commemorative booklet includes a number of biographies of early church members. One of the biographies is for Sven Anderson who emigrated from Nydala parish in Jönköping County in 1869. Below is a photo of Sven and his wife, Matilda.

photo of sven anderson

Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri, USA (MO) Vol:1 (1870-1970) Image 10 / page 7 (AID: v811754.b10.s7, NAD: )  Link.

 

You will also find a short biographical sketch of Sven’s life in the new country. The sketch includes birth dates, birth places, emigration dates and death dates for both him and his wife along with information about their children. It also states, “In 1870, they came to Bucklin, Mo, and bought 40 acres of land north of Bucklin in the rolling hills of Mussel Fork from the Railroad Co. Sven being a skilled workman built a 3-room frame house with fireplace. The barn was made of logs with a prairie hay roof.” Below is the image of the written biography.

sven andersson biography

Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri, USA (MO) Vol:1 (1870-1970) Image 10 / page 7 (AID: v811754.b10.s7, NAD:)

 

You can find the commemorative booklet for the Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church in ArkivDigital by doing the following:

  1. Select new archive search
  2. Click on county and select Missouri (USA) MO
  3. Select Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church
  4. Select printed document 1870 – 1970

Below are links to additional blogs about the Swedish American church books:

Searching for a parish of origin in the Kansas church books

Swedish American Church books in Kansas

ArkivDigital

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

Publication of the Swedish American church records now complete

kansas church recordFalun Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA Vol:1 (1887-1913) Image 38 / page 16 (AID: v812504.b38.s16) Link.

During the last few months, we have been adding more Swedish American congregation records from Kansas to ArkivDigital’s online library. We have now completed the addition of this material which we photographed in Kansas last summer and fall. Previously, we  posted several blogs about this collection and you can read more about these records here.

Our Swedish American church collection includes about 75,000 images and over 1,000 volumes from approximately 90 congregations. Most of the material consists of records from congregations in Kansas but we do have a few in Missouri and also for one congregation in Oklahoma. Our hope is that one can discover more about Swedish immigrants’ descendants which should be a great benefit to both our Swedish and American customers.

Many of the Swedish American congregation church books are very similar to the Swedish church books. The image at the top of this page is from a “Church Register” for the Falun Lutheran Church in Falun, Kansas. The content of the record is similar to that of a Swedish household or congregation book. In this record, you see information about a Karl Fredrik Holmgren and his family. The record shows Karl’s birth date as the 9th of November 1845 in Falun.

You can use this information to find Karl’s birth record in the Swedish church books. Below is an image of his birth record from the Falu Kristine parish birth book.

carl fredriks birth recordFalu Kristine CI:12 (1828-1861) Image 148 / page 286 (AID: v129846.b148.s286, NAD: SE/ULA/11441) Link.

Read blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital