Swedish Research

Contributing Writer
Janet Wahlberg

Great news for those of you with Swedish ancestors, we now have Arkiv Digital at the Hall House. What is Arkiv, you ask? Arkiv is a great database that holds many types of records. The most used, especially for those just starting their family research, are the household records. These were recorded by the village pastor every year and included all family members’ birthdates, birth places, marriage dates, death dates, small pox vaccination info, confirmation records, information on members moving in and out of the parish, as well as miscellaneous notes.

Additional birth, marriage and death records are listed in a separate book and contain additional information that can point you in new directions for your research. The moving in and moving out records are a great asset in tracking where the family came from or moved to. At the end of each parish register you will find a list on non-existing people. These are folks who left the parish without the parish priest’s knowledge and permission.

Another record is the Estate Inventories which were required for all who died in Sweden. They can give you a great picture of the family’s circumstances. In my husband’s great-great-grandfather’s Estate Inventory, I found a record of a pair of brass candlesticks that have been handed down to the youngest son of each generation in my husband’s family. We currently have them but will be handing them down accompanied by their provenance.

There is still more. Many of us find the word “soldat” in the records. This of course means that the man was a soldier. Arkiv has muster records as well as other information on the “soldats.” Then there are court records that might be of use for those whose family members ran afoul of the law or brought a case against someone. The parish meeting records are just what they sound like. You might liken them to today’s church council records. There are also tax records. The list is very extensive as you can see.

On the website there are tutorials for all of us to use. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we now have this database at the Hall House and we have volunteers who can help you to get started on your journey of discovery. We also have a database titled Emibas which contains thousands of emigration records. For all of you who know that Granny came from Sweden but not what province, parish etc., this is a priceless resource. By putting in her birth date we can usually bring up a record that will not only tell us where is Sweden she came from, but it will tell us the page of the book to find the record and will list those she traveled with.

So come on over and search out your Swedish ancestors. Who knows, you may decide to take a trip to Sweden to look for the family farm or modern day cousins.

To read Janet Walberg’s previous genealogy columns or to delve deeper into her writings and insights for searching out and recording your own family’s genealogy, please go to jamestowngazette.com and visit Janet’s own web page.