Johan Peter Molin, son of Anders Molin & Sara Brita Krok, born 1782, Vankiva, Malmöhus, Sweden; 12 for ’22

The genealogical benefits from taking the Advanced Swedish Research class through the Applied Genealogy Institute continue to appear.

Last month, I shared new details about the lives of Johan Caspersson Sandberg, his wife Anna Stina Berggren, and their children, who lived in Genarp, Malmöhus, Sweden in the 1700s.

One of my ongoing research goals is to learn more about my 5X great grandfather Anders Molin and his wife, Sara Brita Krok, who also lived in Malmöhus County, Sweden in the 1700s.

This ancestral couple was unusual for their times. Both were middle class, as Anders was a master mason and Sara’s father was the town mayor. They married in 1776, but separated before 30 July 1786, when Anders was noted as living in Marstrand, Sweden and Sara Brita gave birth to the first of her three illegitimate sons, Jöns Abraham, who was living at least until April 1812, when he appears in Sara Brita’s estate records. He remains a mystery, as I haven’t discovered him in any records after that time.

Sara Brita’s second son out of wedlock, Johan Jacob, born 11 March 1791, married and was the father of eight children.

Her third son out of wedlock, Hans Samuel, born 24 April 1798, also married, and had at least four daughters and one son.

However, Sara Brita and Anders were the parents of four sons. Hans Peter was born 3 June 1776 and died 20 October 1776.

The third son, Johan Peter, born 20 August 1780, also died in infancy on 15 September 1781.

Hans Niclas, the second born son and my ancestor,  was born 31 August 1778, married and had eleven children. I have written about him several times in the past.

The remaining son of Anders and Sara Brita Molin, their fourth and youngest child, Johan Peter, and the subject of today’s 12 for ’22 post born 26 July 1782 in Vankiva, Malmöhus, Sweden, had remained a mystery until recently.

He, too, was living in April 1812 and signed as an heir of his mother, Sara Brita (Krok), widow of the master mason Molin.

Thankfully, Swedes were quite good at keeping records – not just vital records, but also tax lists, moving in and out records, military records, etc. – and Johan Peter Molin was located in the BIS (Population of Sweden) 1800-1947, available on ArkivDigital.

First, just like with census and other indexed records, spelling variations and abbreviations must be considered. The BIS allows search parameters of just a first name, just a surname, birth year, exact date of birth and more.

Look what appeared when I entered “Molin” with Johan Peter’s exact date of birth:

Only one hit came up and it was for “Jöns Pet. Molin,” who was born on 26 July 1782 in the same village as Johan Peter – Vankiva, Sweden. He was living in Nevishög, Malmöhus, Sweden and appeared in the Household Examination for 1857-1861 and happened to be the entry with his date of death, 10 December 1860.

Notice that, although indexed as “Jöns,” this clearly identifies him as widower ‘Joh Pet Molin.’

From this record, I was able to work backwards to create a timeline of Johan Peter Molin’s wife, plus identify his wife and children.

In this timeline, it is assumed that Johan Peter was living with his mother, Sara Brita (Krok) Molin.

1770, 5 Aug – Malena Siversdotter born Uppåkra, Malmöhus, Sweden [Church records extant, but not found between 1770-1775]
1782, 26 July – Johan Peter born Vankiva
1783 – Anders Molin, father, taxed in Vankiva
1786, 30 July – half brother Jöns Abraham born in Everlöv, Malmöhus, Sweden
1791, 11 March – half brother Johan Jacob born in Önnestad, Malmöhus, Sweden
1798, 24 April – half brother Hans Samuel, born in Önnestad, Malmöhus, Sweden
1804 – Johan Peter Molin taxed in Övedsklostergard, Malmöhus, Sweden
1805 – Johan Peter Molin, unmarried, Household Exam of Övedsklostergard, Malmöhus, Sweden
1820, 26 MarchJohan Peter Molin married Malena Sivesdotter in Brågarp, Malmöhus, Sweden
1820, 29 Dec, son Anders Molin baptized in Önsvala [Nevishög parish], Malmöhus, Sweden
1821 – Johan Peter Molin taxed in Önsvala
1822 – Johan Peter Molin crossed off tax list in Önsvala
1823 –
Johan Peter Molin taxed in Djurslöv [Knästorp parish], Malmöhus, Sweden
1824 – Johan Peter Molin taxed in Djurslöv [Knästorp parish], Malmöhus, Sweden
1825, 11 March – son Lars born in Djurslöv [Knästorp parish], Malmöhus, Sweden
1843, 21 Oct – Malena Siversdotter died in Nevishög, Malmöhus, Sweden
1826 – 1860 Johan Peter Molin appears with his family in the Household Examination records of Nevishög, Malmöhus, Sweden.
1860, 10 Dec – Johan Peter Molin died in the workshouse,  Nevishög, Malmöhus, Sweden.

Notice all the villages where Johan Peter Molin can be documented? If you have ancestors from southern Sweden, you may already be aware that southern Swedes have been highly mobile for hundreds of years. I have no one in the northern part of the country, but I’ve been told that northern Swedes were much more likely to stay put.

Johan Peter Molin is a perfect example of one family’s mobility:

From this data, a biographical sketch can be created for Johan Peter Molin, wife Malena Siversdotter, and their two sons, Anders and Lars, who make up an unusual family.

Did you notice anything that might be considered a bit unusual about the ages of Johan Peter and his wife, Malena?  There is a gap of twelve years, but Malena is the one who is 12 years older than Johan Peter.

Their marriage record identifies Malena as a widow and no evidence has been found to suggest that Johan Peter had an earlier wife.

That alone wouldn’t raise eyebrows, as I’ve found many Scandinavian couples where the wife was older than the husband. Maybe not quite 12 years older, but older, nevertheless.

The eyebrow raising comes from reading the birth/baptismal records of their sons, Anders and Lars.

Johan Peter Molin was born 26 July 1782 in Vankiva, Malmöhus, Sweden, the son of Anders Molin and Sara Brita Krok. He married widow Malena Siversdotter on 26 March 1820.

Johan Peter died 10 December 1860 in the workhouse in Nevishög, Malmöhus, Sweden, having survived his wife, Malena, by more than 17 years. She also died in Nevishög on 5 August 1843.


1. Andreas, born 29 December 1820, Önsvala, Malmöhus, Sweden
2. Lars, born 11 March 1825, Djurslöv, [Knästorp parish], Malmöhus, Sweden

Stop for a moment and check Malena’s age when she gave birth – 50 years old in 1820 and 55 years in 1825! She is either a medical marvel or something is wrong. Either her birth year is way too early or else someone else gave birth to Johan Peter’s sons.

First, look at Anders’ 1820 baptismal record:

The mother’s age is actually noted – 50 years old!

What about Lars? Well, interestingly, although the Household Examination record notes that he was born in Djurslöv, which is in Knästorp parish, on 11 March 1825 AND Johan Peter Molin does appear on the 1825 tax list for Djurslöv, NO BAPTISMAL RECORD can be found in Djurslöv or anywhere in Knästorp parish for that matter, in 1825 or several years earlier or later.

As an adult, Lars stated that he was born in Stanstorp or Stenstorp. Stanstorp is part of Eslöv in Västra Sallerup parish, perhaps 25 miles from Djurslöv. Stenstorp is another town about 200 miles north. No baptism was found for Lars in either place.

Something is clearly off with Lars’s birth. Lars may be the son of Johan Peter Molin, but it would not surprise me if his mother was not Malena Siversdotter. On the other hand, there are a few documented women who gave birth in their mid-fifties. It’s just quite a rare happening.

Anders and Lars Molin both married and had children. More on their lives to come in future posts.

Both sons of Anders Molin and Sara Brita Krok have now been located and traced. In addition, two of Sara Brita’s out of wedlock sons have also been traced.

Did Jöns Abraham, born 30 July 1786 in Everlöv, Malmöhus, Sweden marry and have children? For now, I know only that he was alive in April 1812, when he signed in his mother’s estate papers. The answer to that question will require much more digging!









New GeneaGem: The Library of Virginia Collections

I realized that I have mentioned a certain resource many times in the past, and while it ranks as one of the truly great GeneaGems, I had never included it in my list. I am rectifying that mistake now.

In 1995, the National Genealogical Society conference was held in San Diego, California. I have a distinct memory of one early morning session which I attended. The speaker was Barbara Vines Little and I guess she wanted to make sure her audience was awake that day.

She pounded her fist on the table and yelled “Virginia is the center of the universe!” Well, anyone who had been dozing off was no longer doing so.

Much has changed in the genealogy research world since 1995 when the internet was in its infancy and Virginia became ahead of its time with the online collections housed at The Library of Virginia, which is truly the center of today’s Virginia research universe.

First, I have to admit that the Library of Virginia has extensive holdings that are digitized and accessible online from home (at least if you are not a Virginia resident), but the staff added to the digital collections constantly through the years and continues to do so today.

A number of Reference Guides and Indexes have been created to help researchers understand and find materials in the various collections.

Each of the above categories opens extensive drop down menus revealing just how deep the library’s collections are.

I would encourage anyone with Virginia roots to spend some time exploring these finding aids that will help genealogists identify possible resources pertaining to their own family trees.

One category that I don’t see on the above page, and which may well be buried in one of the drop down menus, is the Guide to the Personal Papers Collections at the Library of Virginia. This book was published in 2008 and is currently out of print. A quick look online found it priced at a hefty $142.00. However, the library has in-house copies available to peruse.

Personal papers and manuscripts are a significantly under-used resource because most are not available online. Virginia has an extensive collection, so this guide is an important finding aid.

There is also a PDF online, Genealogical Records at the Library of Virginia, which is worth taking the time to review.

What Collections are Digitally Online at Library of Virginia?

The library has several projects accessible online on Virginia Memory, which is where its digital collections are housed.

First, there are several historical exhibitions, which are described as:

The Library of Virginia’s exhibition program offers physical, traveling, and virtual exhibitions that explore the commonwealth’s social and cultural history. . .

The current exhibition is WE DEMAND: Women’s Suffrage in Virginia.

However, most family history researchers will want to check out the MANY databases found under the Digital Collections tab, which are orgainzed in alphabetical order:

There are a number of digital databases that are directly relevant to genealogy research.

Here is a sampling of some of the databases available:

Cohabitation Registers – A cohabitation register, or as it is properly titled, Register of Colored Persons…cohabiting together as Husband and Wife on 27th February 1866, was the legal vehicle by which former slaves legitimized both their marriages and their children.

Civil War Project Map

Stereograph Collection – Old photos of Virginian people and places

Broadside Collection – Early Virginia news notices (single event notices, rather than an entire newspaper)

Electoral College Digital Collection – Virginia’s Electoral College results from 1789 onward

War of 1812 Bicentennial Collection

Last, but definitely not least, here is my favorite database, which I use often – the Virginia Chancery Records Index:

Chancery court is where, simply put, the court decided the fairness of situations. When a man died and left an estate that couldn’t easily be equitably divided among his heirs, the family went to Chancery Court for help.

Sometimes these court cases were simply a request for a court order to help, while other cases involved unhappy litigants, seeking redress from the court.

In both situations, a stream of paperwork was created that leaves valuable family information for us today.

I have found complete lists of heirs, both living and deceased, with their places of residence, members of the FAN club who gave depositions and stated relationships to the deceased person, AND I’ve even found copies of wills recorded in the lawsuit WHICH NO LONGER EXIST IN THE HOME COUNTY because the county courthouse burned!!!

Not all Virginia chancery court records have been digitized, but many are complete. The home page includes a box listing the current projects, which right now include Amelia, Giles and Princess Anne Counties:

It is very easy to search for Plaintiff, Defendant or Surname:

If you have an Index Number or Case Number, that can be entered and there are boxes to check for cases that mention free or enslaved persons.

If you have Virginia ancestral connections, I can’t recommend the Library of Virginia highly enough! For those of you who have no Virginia family ties, I am sure you will wish you did after visiting this website.




An In Depth Look: Library of Congress – Online

Back in the “olden days,” when I began my genealogy research (1979), the Library of Congress was a far away place – 3,000 miles from California, to be exact – and the internet age hadn’t yet been born. Digitization in the 1980s meant records were on microfilm!

Sure, the Library of Congress held all kinds of genealogical and historical treasures – we all knew that – but an in-person visit wasn’t going to happen often, if at all.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the Library of Congress website is digitally growing to provide in-home access to more and more of its collection of goodies.

If you haven’t ever visited the Library of Congress website, you are bypassing a rich catalogue of American resources. Its collection is so vast that not all of it is available online – and it may never digitize the entire collection.

However, every researcher needs to take the time to browse through what is currently available.

NOTE: If you have accessed Library of Congress American Memory, but it’s been 1+ years since your last visit, the American Memory collection has been migrated and integrated into this home page.

On the home page, begin by clicking Digital Collections at the bottom of the page.

A new page will open showing Featured Content plus a long list of Topics on the left side.

Was your family living in San Francisco in 1906 when the earthquake happened? If so, you’ll want to check out Local History and Folklife, which includes film clips taken on that April morning.

Maybe you are interested in the historical events leading up to the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. Women’s History contains the pamphlets, books and scrapbooks in the National American Woman Suffrage Association collection.

Or perhaps your interest is in Science and Technology because a relative worked in one of those fields. That collection includes papers of Alexander Graham Bell, Jedediah Hotchkiss (a Confederate Army topographical engineer), and the Historic American Buildings Survey. These examples represent just a fraction of what can be found here.

As the Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell tells us, knowing the laws that were in effect in a certain time period is key to understanding why and how legal decisions were made.

Government, Law and Politics will expand your knowledge. For those interested in the birth of our nation, this collection includes A Century of Lawmaking for A New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates.

The Confederate States of America Records can also be found in this category.

Did someone in your family file for a copyright? You’ll want to view the Early Copyright Records Collection, 1790-1870.

Geography & Places includes the Panoramic Maps collection, containing 1,726 panoramic maps of the U.S. and Canada.

Other collections to be found on this website include Florida Folklife, created during the Depression Years Works Progress Administration, Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal, and Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters, 1862-1912.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that a newspaper search would bring up possibly the Library of Congress’ most well known collection – Chronicling America, Historic American Newspapers.

Lastly, if you are ready to do more than browse and want to search a specific topic or person, the collections to have a search box at the top of the page:

Where the purple arrow is pointing is a category box, which has a long subject list:

This will allow you to narrow down your search considerably.

This post would become a book if I tried to name all the records in each of the 66 categories. However, I hope I’ve shared enough examples that prove it worth your time to do some serious browsing and/or searching at the Library of Congress online.