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Scandinavia Quick Start

Seeking Your Ancestors in Scandinavia

For Expert Help, Click Here   |   For Additional Research at Wiki, Click Here

All Countries classed in the Scandinavian Group have certain number of things in common that the family history researcher should know.

1. History: As early as 1397 Sweden, Denmark and Norway were united into one sovereignty by an act called the "Union of Calmar".
    When the Calmar Union was broken in the early 1500s these three countries still held partially together.

2. All of these counties kept vital records in the form of church registers in a similar manner.

3. Naming systems until 1860 were patronymic; that is John Andersson's son was Sven Johnsson. Norwegian and Denmark use the suffix
    "-sen" instead of "-son".  Many times the men would have a military name to distinguish them from their comrades. The Norwegian
    people also incorporate the name of their farm or village as a matter of distinction.

4. Because an individual's name might change during his lifetime, it is important to indentify him by birth date, name(s) and if possible
    birth place (Parish).

5. Their language was similar, differentiated by dialect until 1905, when they became more varied and distinct.  Records in Finland were
    kept in Swedish until recent century; then they were in Finnish and sometimes Russian language.

6. Records: The Church of the State (Lutheran) kept vital records: birth, marriage, death, moving-in, moving-out, confirmation records. 
   The Swedes also kept a running census (household examination records) from about 1800 to early 1900s.  This is invaluable in
   identifying individuals by families, birth date, birth parish and their movement from place to place and finally death. Civil or
   government records include some census records that did not include everyone, probate, land and court records.  These were recorded
   on a county level.  Military records are listed separately in each country.

7. Each country has a National Archive, regional or provincial archives, some town archives.  These archives store ancient records,
   military, civil and church.  Many have digital images available on the Internet.  The most current url's are seen on FamilySearch Wiki
   which is updated daily. To view the FamilySearch Wiki, Click here.

The following is taken from FamilySearch Wiki. When on the site, click on the underlined topics to get more information.

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 the 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 the 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

5. Search Swedish Census Records from 1860-1900.

6. Search Parish Register Indexes, Swedish Passport Journals and Swedish Emigration Journals.

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 the article Sweden:
    L.D.S. Church Record Sources for further guidance.


In our library, we have learned the following:

1. Remember your search focus is Name(s), birthdate, parish of origin: also indentifying other family members from the "old country"
    may be useful.

Search your immigrant family member in all US Censuses: i.e. ($) or

Learn all about family members who immigrated; many came from the same place.  We have also found 2 Ludwig Jonssons, indentical
birthdates and from different parishes.  So if you can indentify relatives who emigrated by their birth records your results will be more sure.

2. *Naturalization records especially the first paper Declaration of Intention may list the EXACT place of birth. (Note: Name, age and
     date of naturalization is on the census)

These may be found on ($), local county or state web sites; the Family History Library Catalog list them by state and by county.

Author: Schaefer, Christina K. "Guide to Naturalization Records of the United States" identifies districts of newly forming states where
some declarations for citizenships were made.

Immigration into the United States can be seen on ($); our ancestors had the choice of many routes.

Search first immigration into the US, secondly from the home country or large ports in neighboring countries, i.e. Norway or Copenhagen, Denmark.

3. *Swedish immigration and Hamburg Passenger Line immigration are on ($).  These will give the EXACT parish of birth
     or dewelling place before departure.

(Swedish Emigration Records, 1773-1951 or Emigration Populär, 1783-1951)

(Hamburg Passenger Lists 1850-1934)

4. Check the following extracted parishes using immigrant's name and birth year on FamilySearch (advanced search). IGI (look at the 
    bottom for "Extracted"). If you click on the batch number, press Enter, you will see the entire extracted parish. Vital Records Index
    on FamilySearch (advanced search) Extracted Records by Other Countries.

5. Sweden

Demographic Database of Southern Sweden (Free, includes counties of Blekinge, Skåne, Halland)

Roteman Databases (Stockholm 1878-1926)

The Swedish Census for Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Västernorrland, Jämtland and Värmland (free online)

6. Danish and Norwegian and Finnish Archives have some census information online.  They also have church birth, marriages and deaths.

The goal is to mesh name(s) and birth date with the newly discovered place.  Validating this with the some of the brothers, sisters or other
immigrant friends makes your research more accurate.

Genealogy Links (Try * Ones First)

Sverige Sweden


    *Finland National Archives - Click here

Norge Norway

Danmark Denmark

Övriga länder - Other Countries

Handwriting Examples


How to Capture Genline Images to Memory Stick at Mesa FSL

1. Print Screen

2. Start--select Word Pad

3. File--select Page Setup---select Landscape

4. Paste using ctrl V

5. Save As

Folder, Document Name, Rich Text Format

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