Finding a Place of Origin in Sweden
Finding the location where your ancestors lived has been an extremely import step to finding their records. It is less important now with indexing. If you are lucky enough that your ancestors records are indexed, then you can often find their records even if you don't know where they lived. Doing a computer search on indexed records is easy enough that you ought to try it first, just in case. If the records of your ancestors are not indexed, then you must do a manual search using the ideas described in the rest of this article.
Descendants of Swedish ancestors often begin their climb up the family tree with the question, “I know my ancestor came from Sweden…but where do I go from here?” Church records (kyrkoböcker) are the primary source for names, dates, and places of birth, marriage, and death in Scandinavia. Nearly everyone who lived in Sweden was recorded in a church record. Tracing one's ancestors in Sweden, therefore, depends on finding the name of the parish where they lived or were born.
Records of births, marriages, and deaths are commonly called vital records because they document critical events in a person’s life. Church records are vital records made by church ministers. Often called parish registers or church books, church records include information on births, christenings, marriages, deaths, and clerical surveys. They may also include account books, confirmations, and records of people moving in and out of a parish. Since civil authorities did not begin registering their separate vital statistics until 1950, church records are the main source of family information before this date. Sweden has no nationwide index to vital records. Records of births, marriages and deaths were all kept locally. For most researchers, then, the answer to “Where do I go from here?” is to find the parish in Sweden where the ancestor was born or lived.
Strategies for finding the place (parish) of origin for a Swedish ancestor
1. Search all available family records for clues as to the name of the parish where an ancestor was born or lived in Sweden.
2. Other sources in the U.S. can provide important clues to the home parish of immigrant ancestors.
3. Determine year of emigration (this can be found in U.S. Census returns beginning in 1900). See United States Census
4. Search Swedish Emigration Databases and Indexes: “Emigranten Populär 2006” and “Emibas 2008”. Also consult emigrant passenger lists.
5. Search Swedish census records from 1860—1910.
7. Utilize the resources of Emigration Archives in Sweden
8. If your Swedish immigrants were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), see artical Sweden: L.D.S. Church Record Sources for further guidance.
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