Swedish Portraits (Svenska Porträttgalleri)

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many types of records such as the church books, estate inventories, court records, tax registers and military records. But there are many additional types of records within ArkivDigital including scanned books. One interesting set is the Svenskt Porträttgalleri.

The Svenskt Porträttgalleri includes 26 volumes of portraits and biographical data for over 20,000 persons who represented key segments of Swedish life including clergy, military officers, academics, doctors, publishers, financiers, and others. The series includes a general register or an index which lists all the individuals in alphabetical order and points to the volume that shows the photograph and biography. You can find these volumes in ArkivDigital by going to archive search and selecting archive type, printed litterature.

As an example, we will look for Gustaf Unonius, who was the founder of St. Ansgarius Church established in 1849 in Chicago, Illinois. This was the first Scandinavian church in Chicago. To find the biographical data for Gustav Unonius in the Svenskt Porträttgalleri, do the following:

  • Access ArkivDigital (app.arkivdigital.se).
  • Select archive search.
  • Select archive type – printed litterature.
  • Select the archive – Svenskt Porträttgalleri.
  • Open the general register volume. The names are listed in alphabetical order.
  • Below is the register entry.

unonius registerSvenskt porträttgalleri (o) Generalregister (1913) Image 3900 / Page 765 (AID: v903628.b3900.s765)

The information in the register is an abbreviated biographical sketch along with pointing out where we can find his portrait and a more detailed biography in Volume 15 (XV). The information shown in the register is the following:

Unonius, Gustaf Elias Marius was born in Helsingfors (Helsinki, Finland) on the 25th of August 1810. He was a pastor at an Anglo-American church, a customs collector in Grisslehamn and died in Hacksta parish in Uppsala county on the 14th of October 1902.

The next step is to go to Volume XV. You will see that Volume XV and XVI are in the same volume in ArkivDigital. The names are listed in alphabetical order for each volume. Browse through the book to search for Gustaf Unonius. Below is his photograph and a more detailed biographical sketch.

gustaf unonius full biographySvenskt porträttgalleri (o) XV-XVI (1897-1900) Image 990 / Page 181 (AID: v903622.b990.s181)

In the above record, you will find a few more details about Gustaf Elias Marius Unonius’s life. Additional information in this record includes that he studied in Uppsala, emigrated to America in 1841, studied at an Anglo-American seminary in Wisconsin in 1843, ordained to the priesthood in 1845, was a pastor at the Swedish-Norwegian parish, St. Ansgarius in Chicago in 1849 and still a priest in the Anglo-American church and returned to Sweden in 1858. In 1860, for his work with the Swedish immigrants in America he was given a reward of 3,000 riksdaler. He worked as a customs official in Grisslehamn from 1863 to 1888. The last portion of the sketch list some of his publications and probably the best known being Minnen fr. en Sjuttonåring vistelse in nordvestra Amerika or Memoir for a Seventeen-Year Stay i Northwest America. This work has been translated into English with the title of A Pioneer in Northwest America 1841-1858, The Memoirs of Gustaf Unonius.

The Svenskt Porträttgalleri is a wonderful source for finding photographs and some biographical information about persons active in Swedish society.

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Swedish Parish Records in Paris now on ArkivDigital

sofia in paris
Svenska Sofiaförsamlingen i Paris AV:1 (0-9999) Image 40 (AID: v793349.b40, NAD: AD/PARIS/0001)

Sweden’s oldest international parish, Svenska Sofiaförsamlingen, is in Paris, France. The Swedish church presence in Paris dates back to 1626, when Professor Jonas Hambraeus at the Paris Academy began to gather Swedish and German Lutherans for worship services. The parish services were both in Swedish and German. On Sunday, worship services were usually held first in Swedish and then in German. Knowing this, it is easy to understand why the oldest books in the church’s archive are written in German as the above image out of one of the books from the 1600’s shows.

The Swedish parish in Paris existed from the end of the 1600’s to 1806 as an embassy church. The parish did not have a permanent location for services and moved around between the diplomatic envoys’ different residences. At the time of Napoleon Bonaparte’s crowning in 1806, the parish minister received an order to leave the country. For the years up to 1806, there are three volumes available on ArkivDigital: 2 parish registers (församlingsregister) volumes AV: 1-2 (written in German) and a marriage book for the years, 1764-1806. A large portion of the marriage book is written in French.

In the autumn of 1858, the embassy preacher Thor Frithiof Grafström was sent to Paris. At the time, there was the Union between Sweden and Norway and Grafström’s commission was to establish a Swedish-Norwegian parish. The volume, Svenska Sofiaförsamlingen i Paris AI:1, includes various types of documents from the Swedish-Norwegian parish in Paris during the years 1859-1863.

During the period 1863-1877, there was no Swedish priest in Paris. Since 1877 when Emil Flygare became the minister in Paris, the Swedish church presence in Paris has continued without interruption. The parish received its current name in 1878 when the first church, Sofiakapellet, was consecrated and named after the Swedish queen, Sofia of Nassau. The current Swedish parish church, Sofiakyrkan, was consecrated in 1913.

Most of the volumes for the Sofia parish in Paris are after 1877. These volumes include household examination/congregation books, migration records, birth, marriage and death books along with many other types of documents.

Read the original article published in Swedish.

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