Do you have Swedish ancestry? About 4% of Americans are estimated to have some Scandinavian family lines, which include Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Frequently, if you discover you have an ancestor from one of these countries, eventually you might find the family tree branches out into a second or even third Scandinavian country.
In my own family, I knew that Grandmother’s mother, Anna Elisabeth Jensen, was Danish, even though it took a very long time to break through the brick wall. From the 1910 U.S. census, I had a hint of a Swedish line when Anna’s father, Frits, reported that his father was Danish, but his mother was Swedish.
It turned out that my Swedish line was much easier to trace than my Danish family, even though the Danes lived right in Copenhagen for many years.
When I identified my 3X great grandmother, Johanna Elisabeth Molin, born in 1814 in Öved, Sweden, which is in southern Sweden, I became an instant fan of ArkivDigital.
Since most of the Swedish records aren’t indexed, as in searchable in one central search engine, it is necessary to know exactly where the family lived, or at least a good idea of the (small) area so that individual parish registers can be searched without too much difficulty.
ArkivDigital has been very busy expanding their database of records and now includes a growing base of SWEDISH-AMERICAN records. That means if you haven’t yet been able to identify your Swedish ancestral town, you might find just the clue you need in these new record sets.
Here’s an entry for a Lutheran church in Kansas:
A Methodist church in Minnesota:
Two churches in Nebraska:
If you already know the Swedish home town of your family and you haven’t explored ArkivDigital, you are missing out on the absolute best set of records.
ArkivDigital is a subscription site, but it offers memberships ranging from one month to one year. A month is currently less than $40 US and a researcher can tackle a lot of records in one month.
AD’s digital images are NOT taken from the old microfilms. They are created from the original records and documents and are colorized, making them much clearer and sharper, easier to read than the microfilmed versions.
There is a demo version of ArkivDigital:
They pick the records that you are allowed to see for free, but with this demo version you can view the catalog of all the records. That way, if you know the location of your family, you can view all the records available for that place.
If you already know your Swedish home/s, then ArkivDigital should be a “must have” for you. I have traced my Swedish family to a number of towns, all in southern Sweden, using baptism, marriage and burial records in conjunction with household examinations, moving in and out records and a few guild records.
The fact that the records are in Swedish, a language which I don’t speak, hasn’t been much of a hindrance. Names are names and many of the records are set up in columns with date, names, parents, godparents, places and comments. They are also categorized by event until they go back into the 1700s.
I have had help both in Facebook groups and at the Family History Library when I’ve been unable to decipher the handwriting or a record has contained sentences. I never, ever thought I’d even find Frits’s Swedish mother, never mind several more generations back. My current brick wall is Nils Molin and Helena Andersdotter who married in Ystad. Their son, Anders, was baptized there in 1739, but I haven’t yet located their marriage record.
ArkivDigital offers two or three free weekends throughout the year and is also available through the Family History Library and Family History Centers. If your FHC doesn’t include ArkivDigital in their subscriptions, ask a staff person to request it from Salt Lake City.
I rarely recommend subscription websites, but if you have Swedish family, ArkivDigital is essential. The Swedish National Archives recently announced a plan to make its registers free to the viewing public. How this will affect ArkivDigital is unknown. I am hoping they partner up to offer even more than the 76,000,000 images already in the ArkivDigital databases.