Happy Leif Erikson Day

October 9th is Leif Erikson Day when we celebrate the FIRST Europeans to visit the North America. October 9th was apparently selected not for anything to do with the Nordic visit but because it was the date in 1825 when the Restauration arrived in the U.S. from Stavanger, Norway inaugurating modern Scandinavian migration to the U.S.

This holiday takes place in October, the same month that Christopher Columbus is celebrated for his arrival in the U.S. Naturally, the celebration of Leif Erikson Day precedes Columbus Day (in almost every year.)

Posted in Holiday, Uncategorized

Tuesday Quick Tips – Swedish American Newspapers Online

One of the great, but often overlooked, resources for Swedish-American research are the ethnic newspapers that were available to most of the Swedish immigrants. They read these papers, usually published in Swedish, for news from home or news about other friends who had migrated to the U.S. It is estimated that there were around 600! Swedish-American newspapers that were published, albeit some for just a short time. Runs of a significant number of the larger and more influential papers still exist. Some of these are hard copies in archives, some have been microfilmed, a few have been digitized.

One of the most significant online collections can be found on the Minnesota Historical Society Website. The collection consists of 300,000 pages, from 28 newspapers published across the U.S. The publications were made available through a partnership of the Minnesota Historical Society, the National Library of Sweden (Kungliga Biblioteket), the American Swedish Institute, and the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College, in Rock Island, Illinois.

Most Swedish American papers will have lists of immigrants, emigrants (many Swedes returned to Sweden after living in the U.S. for a while), visitors from the Old Country, births and marriages and deaths both in the U.S. and in Sweden.  I have found many of my Swedish cousins death notices in U.S. papers.

The Swenson Center has a large number of microfilmed newspapers that have not been digitized yet, a list of these can be found here. Most of these microfilms can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan.

The Minnesota Historical Society has some newspapers that have not been digitized, onsite research will be needed to use these resources. You can search for these newspapers in the Society’s catalog.

I cannot overemphasize how important is the work of digitizing, and indexing of the records through OCR capabilities. And I especially cannot overemphasize the importance of using these records for your research!

Posted in Records, Sweden

Tuesday Quick Tips – 2016 Nordic Family History Conference (Webinar)

FamilySearch is putting on a FREE Nordic Family History Conference that will be available both online (500 spots) and in-person (26 spots). The level will be beginner to intermediate and it is being taught by the best in the field! Registration is required, so review the courses and set aside as much time that week as possible (I know I will!) The course and instructors are described here. You can register to attend one or more webinars here. (As always with the FamilySearch webinars, please note that the times listed are MDT.)

Posted in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Training Opportunities

Tuesday Quick Tips – Finnish Communion and Pre-Confirmation Books on MyHeritage

One of the most important record sources for Finnish genealogical research, rippikirjat (communion books) and lastenkirjat (preconfirmation books) are now available and indexed on MyHeritage. These records are similar to the Swedish husförhörboken (household examinations). They show the family groups with a significant amount of information, which might very from year to year. Earlier years having less information, later years more. These are an essential resource and confirms even more the importance of MyHeritage for researchers of Scandinavian genealogy.

There is a great discussion of these resources on the MyHeritage Blog!

Posted in Finland, Records

Tuesday Quick Tips – Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library

Whether you are experienced or new to Norwegian genealogical research, one must know location-physical and online-is the Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library located in Madison, Wisconsin.  The website provides, free-of-charge, a significant amount of information for the beginner: getting started guidance, information on naming patterns, and links to many important online resources. However, membership brings a lot of benefit beyond general support for the organization, it gives you access to several great databases of indexes, among which include important indexes to births, marriages, emigration, and cemetery records.

If you are in the Madison area the Center has a significant collection of Bygdebøker and family histories, as well as much more.

For researchers new to Norwegian genealogy the Center sells a rather good booklet “A Research Guide for Norwegian Genealogy.” This is probably the best printed work for Norwegian genealogy. It is focused on general Norwegian genealogical topics and is flawed only in that, like any printed source, it cannot keep up with the changes in online available record types and methodology. It was last updated in 2013, so it is still relatively fresh.

Posted in Norway, Records

Tuesday Quick Tips – Oluf Rygh and Norwegian Farm Names

Experienced researchers of Norwegian genealogy will know of the importance of knowing the name and number of the farm where a family came from. This farm name was often adopted as a surname when emigrating out of Norway. Bygdebøker will have the history of farms usually including who lived on, or owned, the farm.

A great resource for locating a farm and finding out a bit about its history is “Norske Gaardnavne” (“Norwegian Farm Names”) by Oluf Rygh. Volumes one through seventeen have been transcribed into a searchable database.  Oluf Rygh’s volumes do not include information on people living on the farm-you will need to go to the bygdebok for that. However, if you only have a the farm name and are trying to locate where it is in Norway, or in which municipality it exists, this database is great.

Posted in Norway

Tuesday Quick Tips – Swedish Emigration Contracts

So you’ve found your Swedish immigrant ancestor in the Göteborg Emigration lists-indexed on Ancestry.com, not indexed at ArkivDigital (or for from the Emigration lists in Stockholm or Malmö.)  And you see there is a contract number (Kontraktets N:o) to left of the name, is there any way to find a copy of the actual contract? And would that provide you with any additional information? Perhaps.

Copies of contracts may be available either microfilmed at FamilySearch or directly from one of the archives in Sweden. However, many contracts were apparently not copied, or the copies do not survive. For example, while Emigration lists begin in 1869, the contract copies do not really begin until 1891 in Göteborg. Also, even though the contracts are in numeric order, they can be difficult to find, depending on where, and from whom, the contracts were purchased. And finally, in most cases even if you find a copy of the contract it will not provide additional information, with the exception, typically, of the cost of the tickets.

For example, the Emigrant list for Per Johan Danielson and family from Elfkarleby (Älvkarleby), Uppsala provides just as much information as the duplicate contract number 532, except the contract provides a bit more specificity on the ages and indicates that they paid 1304 Kronor for passage for the family.PerJohanDanielsonGoteborg

“Gothenburg, Sweden, Passenger Lists, 1869-1951,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 August 2016), Calypso manifest, 12 June 1908, contract no. 532, Per Johan Danielson family; from Göteborgs Poliskammare, EIX 1-143, 1869-1950, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.


Bröderna Larsson & Co. Göteborgskontoret, “Dupletter av utvandrarkontrakt, 1881-1913,” loose records, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, vol. D III 3, 1893-1909: contract c no. 532, Per Johan Danielson Family, 12 June 1908; FHL microfilm 262,330.

The following contract indicates that Hilma was already living in the U.S. for over five years but she was not yet a citizen. This might be something that helps to clear up a question on your subject immigrant’s naturalization status or even a marriage question.HilmaAmaliaCharlottaAndersonKontract copy

Bröderna Larsson & Co. Göteborgskontoret, “Dupletter av utvandrarkontrakt, 1881-1913,” loose records, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, vol. D III 3, 1893-1909: contract c no. 546, Hilma Amelia Charlotta Andersson, 9 October 1908; FHL microfilm 262,330.

Generally, considering the potential difficulty of searching for the contract, the benefit of having the contract is probably small, although you never know if might find something interesting. However, there is a least one case where searching for contracts is likely very important, that is the case if there was any type of interruption in a migration trip–someone left their Parish to emigrate but returned to the Parish a few weeks or months later, or they left Sweden but did not seem to arrive to their intended Port.

For example when Johan Gustaf Dahlstedt left for Duluth, Minnesota in July of 1908 it seemed like a perfectly normal trip.JohanGustafDahlstedt


“Gothenburg, Sweden, Passenger Lists, 1869-1951,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 August 2016), Ariosto manifest, 3 July 1908, contract no. 5832, Johan Gustaf Dahlstedt; from Göteborgs Poliskammare, EIX 1-143, 1869-1950, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.

However, it is only if you look at the contract will you find that Johan Gustaf committed suicide by jumping overboard. The contract is the only place that I have, to date, been able to find a reference to his death.JohanGustafDahlstedtKontract


Bröderna Larsson & Co. Göteborgskontoret, “Dupletter av utvandrarkontrakt, 1881-1913,” loose records, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, vol. D III 3, 1893-1909: contract pp no. 5832, Johan Gustaf Dahlstedt, 3 July 1908; FHL microfilm 262,330.

Similarly, because the shipping line was responsible for transporting anyone back who was not physically healthy enough to enter the U.S. they had an incentive to reject people who were not well. In this case Otto A. Anderson made it to Grimsby, England before they cancelled his ticket and returned him to Göteborg, for having Trachoma.OttoAAndersonKontractCancelledTrachoma

Bröderna Larsson & Co. Göteborgskontoret, “Dupletter av utvandrarkontrakt, 1881-1913,” loose records, Landsarkivet i Göteborg, vol. D III 3, 1893-1909: contract c no. 2971, Otto A. Anderson, 31 August 1904; FHL microfilm 262,330.

The bottom line is that the copies of contracts can be valuable resources, but they are by no means primary resources for most researchers. They can add the extra information that puts the meat on the skeleton of your family tree!









Posted in Emigration Records, Records, Sweden

Tuesday Quick Tips – Danish Census Records at MyHeritage

Some of the most important genealogical resources for Danish research are the national census records: the enumerations were frequent, are generally easily available, and many have been indexed.  A fairly good description of the Danish Census records can be found on FamilySearch. There is also a great recorded webinar on doing research with Danish Census records on the FamilySearch Learning Center Page.

Many of the indexes are available at Dansk Demografisk Database. But the site is only partially available in English, and that done in English is done poorly so it can be confusing or difficult to use. And it seems to suggest that a lot more of certain census years have been indexed, than actually have been. Although most of the older census enumerations are indexed and available there.

For some time now, the 1930 Danish Census has been indexed and was linked to the actual page of the census return at MyHeritage.com. However, great news for other recent census years–the 1911, 1916, 1921, and 1925 Danish Census records are now all indexed and linked to the page and are available at MyHeritage! I have noted before that MyHeritage.com is a great resource for individuals interested in doing Scandinavian research, and they continue to not disappoint!


Posted in Denmark, Records

Tuesday Quick Tips – Modern Church Books on ArkivDigital

Great news for those seeking more recent records. Because of a change in policy from the Swedish National Archives earlier this year additional church records are available for the public to review. ArkivDigital has been working to digitize many of those records that had been closed previously because of how the privacy laws were being interpreted, but in a blog post today they noted that they have completed digitizing 20 counties so far through the year 1945 (the cutoff for privacy law purposes.)

These are great records for helping Americans to locate Swedish cousins!

Posted in Sweden

Tuesday Quick Tips – Typing Scandinavian Vowels

The Scandinavian languages have a number of letters that are different than those used for English-å, æ, ä, ö, and ø. These are not interchangeable and many times you must know how to type these letters, for example, if you are looking up a word in an online dictionary, or using an online database that makes a distinction between a and å, æ, or ä. For example, two very common words in Swedish genealogy are “år” and “är” the former means “year” and the latter “are.” Both good words, but hardly interchangeable!

Some programs like Word provide a list of “Symbols” that you can insert into a Word document. But unless you are going to copy and paste from Word all the time there is a much easier way of just typing the letters directly. There is a difference between how to type these letters on an Apple product versus a non-Apple PC. So we will show both methods.

APPLE Products

Lower Case Letters

ä       Hold down the “Option” key while striking the “u” key and then strike the “a” key

æ      Hold down the “Option” key while striking the ” ‘ ” key

å       Hold down the “Option” key while striking the “a” key

ö       Hold down the “Option” key while striking the “u” key and then strike the “o” key

ø       Hold down the “Option” key while striking the “o” key

Upper Case Letters

Ä       Hold down the “Option” key while striking the “u” key and then hold down the “Shift” key and   strike the “a” key

Æ      Hold down BOTH the “Shift” and “Option” keys and strike the ” ‘ ” key

Å       Hold down BOTH the “Shift” and “Option” keys and strike the “a” key

Ö       Hold down the “Option” key while striking the “u” key and then hold down the “Shift” key and strike the “o” key

Ø       Hold down the “Option” key and the “Shift” key while striking the “o” key

PC (Non-Apple) Products

For PCs, usually Windows-based, the process is a move uniform but more key strikes. You merely hold down the “ALT” key while typing the number next to the desired vowel:

Lower Case Letters

ä       0228

æ      0230

å       0229

ö       0246

ø       0248

Upper Case Letters

Ä       0196

Æ      0198

Å       0197

Ö       0214

Ø       0216


Posted in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Uncategorized
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