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Finding the LDS emigration for a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emigrating from Sweden may be an important step for building family history. LDS Swedish emigrants often are not found in the major emigration sources for the country of Sweden. Interesting and helpful information can be found in the LDS emigration records.
From the beginning of the Church in Sweden, members were encouraged to emigrate and join the body of Saints in Zion. The members had a strong desire to follow this counsel and escape the persecution they experienced in Sweden. They desired to live in a place where they could live the principles and teachings of the Church in peace with others who believed as they did. They wanted to be close to their leaders and also to have the blessings of the temples. Religious reasons were the main reason for the LDS emigration to Utah. Others in Sweden were emigrating for different reasons -- poverty, opportunity to own land, the great class divisions, famine, lack of right to vote, and opposition to military service. These reasons played a very minor role for the LDS emigrant.
Nearly all LDS Swedish emigrants traveled in companies organized by Mormon leaders in Scandinavia. It was no easy task for the leaders to plan and arrange everything but this needed to be done since most of the saints were unacquainted with the incidents of travel. Among them were those, who, during all their previous experiences in life, had never had occasion to go further from their homes than to the nearest market town. The Scandinavian LDS publication, “Skandinaviens Stjerne”, was used to give plain and minute instructions to the emigrants. Converts were guided by experienced leaders every step of the way, whether purchasing tickets, choosing routes, selecting commodities, and so forth. Prearrangements were made for every detail. This process enabled leaders to obtain the most affordable and reasonable prices and to meet the needs of the converts.
The cost of emigration was usually paid by the emigrant personally, by money sent from friends and family residing in Zion, by monies received from the Perpetual Emigration Fund, or any combination of the three. The Perpetual Emigration Fond ended in 1887.
The journey from Scandinavia began in Copenhagen. To begin with the journey went through a port in Germany, then to the east coast of England, across England by train to Liverpool, and then by ship to America. Later companies sailed direct from Copenhagen to England. The first 5 large companies sailed to New Orleans and then went up the Mississippi by riverboat Kansas City where they were outfitted to cross the plains by wagon or handcart. These companies experienced cholera on the Mississippi riverboats that caused many deaths. The companies later sailed to New York and went by rail to Iowa. Beginning in 1860 emigrants went by steamboat from Iowa City to Florence, Nebraska. This eliminated the most difficult part of the trek. The year 1869 marked a great change for the emigrants. All companies at this point were able to cross the Atlantic Ocean by steamship rather than sailing ships. In 1869 the Union Pacific Railroad was completed all the way to Ogden, Utah and emigrants traveled by rail from the East coast to Utah. The journey for the first companies took around seven to eleven months. With the steamships and train, the journey usually took a little under a month.
The first large company of Scandinavian Saints left Copenhagen December 20, 1852 under the leadership of John E. Forsgren, the first missionary to Sweden who was returning from his mission. This company had only three Swedes – John E. Forsgren and his brother and sister.
Many companies followed. As missionaries completed their missions in Scandinavia, they would return to Utah with the LDS emigration companies. One or more of the missionaries would be called to be their leader(s). Details of the companies can be found in the book, “History of the Scandinavian Mission” by Andrew Jenson (FHL Call # 948 K2je). Some of the details may include name of ship, name of company crossing the plains, departure and arrival dates to various places on the trip, numbers and sometimes names of deaths, marriages and births that took place on the journey, names of returning missionaries, and sometime interesting occurrences.
From 1850 to 1930 there were 8,545 members that immigrated to Utah, the great majority coming prior to 1900. In 1910 President Joseph F. Smith visited Sweden and counseled the members there to remain in Sweden and build up the church there. There was little emigration after 1930 except for a couple of years after World War II ended. About 250 members from Sweden emigrated during the years 1948 and 1950.
How they came:
• 1850-1867 Crossed the Atlantic Ocean in sailing ships that also carried cargo. The trip took about 3 days from Copenhagen, Denmark to Liverpool, England. From Liverpool to New Your, it took anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months depending on the weather.
• 1850 – 1869 Crossed the Plains by covered wagon or handcart which took 3 to 4 months.
• 1867 The first steamship with LDS immigrants left from Liverpool and arrived in New York. It took approximately 9 to 12 days for a steamship to travel from Liverpool to New York.
• 1869, June 25 The first train with emigrants arrived in Ogden, Utah ending the use of covered wagons and handcarts. It took approximately 6 to 9 days to travel from the East Coast to Utah via railroad.
Finding LDS Swedish Emigrants
In using any of the LDS Swedish emigration sources remember the surname may appear as the usual patronymic name or the surname may be the surname of the person’s father. Some names have various forms so it may appear in a variety of ways. For example the name Johan may also be recorded as Jan, Johannes, Jaen, Jahan, Janne, Jean, Jens, Jo, Joen, John, Jon, or Jöns. Watch for the name and variations and also for the patronymic and father’s surname.
Scandinavian LDS Mission Index is a microfiche index of information found in all the LDS Scandinavian branch, mission and district records and was created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The information for each individual is found on an index card and could include:
• Birth date and place
• Parent’s names
• LDS baptism date and place
• By whom baptized
• LDS confirmation date
• By whom confirmed
• Blessing date
• Information about priesthood callings
• Movements from one branch to another
• Emigration information.
The series of microfiche is # 6060482. This is an alphabetical listing and it should be remembered to look under all possible phonetic spellings and that an individual may appear on more than one card for different information. A guide to the microfiche numbers can also be found in the back of volume one of “Passport to Paradise: The Copenhagen ‘Mormon’ Passenger Lists.” Microfiche numbers and parts are also in the Family History Library Catalog.
LDS Membership Records can also give emigration information. These are available on microfilm at the Family History Library or its centers. They are found by looking up the name of the branch or district (conference).
1847-1868 Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel (1847-1868) is an online database listing individuals and companies of Mormon pioneer emigrant travels to Utah. All or some of the following information may be given for a pioneer: company, leader of company, departure date, arrival date in the Salt Lake Valley, name of pioneer, birth, death, gender, other pioneer information and sources. To use this source go to: www.lds.org. Then click on “about the church” followed by clicking on “Church history”. Here you will find the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel 1847-1868.
1872-1894 The Copenhagen “Mormon” Passenger Lists, 1872-1894. Original documents are found in the National Archives in Copenhagen, Denmark. These are passenger lists of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from the Scandinavian Mission who emigrated between the years 1872 to 1894. These lists may include the contract number, person’s full name, age, last occupation, last place of residence, marital status, destination, and other miscellaneous information. Lists include the sailing date and the name of the ship. A microfilm copy is available at the Family History Library and has the Family History Library film number 0,040,994. (See Passport to Paradise for a printed version of the lists with an index).
1872-1894 Passport to Paradise, by Shauna C. Anderson, Ph.D.; Ruth Ellen Maness, B.A., A.G.; and Susan Easton Black, Ed.D. This is a set of two printed volumes containing the names in the Copenhagen “Mormon” Passenger Lists, 1872-1879. An index of the passenger lists is found in volume 2. The passenger lists give the name of the head of household, name/s of Family member/s, occupation or relation, age gender, marital status, and last place of residence (which is usually only the name of the country. Each passenger list gives the name of the ship, date of departure, ports of departure and arrival, and often names of leaders and historical information about the group. Pictures of some of the ships that brought Scandinavian saints to the United States are in volume one. Available at the Family History Library under the call number INTL REF AREA 973 W3a volumes 1 and 2.
1905-1932 Emigrations records, 1905-1932 The original records are in the LDS Church Historian’s Office in Salt Lake City. A microfilm of original records is available at the Family History Library with the Film # 0,025,700. These records are of the emigration of LDS Church members from the Swedish Mission for this time period. An individual record includes the member’s name, age, residence, port and date of departure, destination, and other miscellaneous information. This is indexed in the Early Church Information File.
1852-1920 Emigration records, Scandinavian Mission (Denmark, Norway, Sweden) 1852-1920
This is a record of the members of the Scandinavian Mission who immigrated to the United States from 1852 to 1920. The record lists the person’s name, age, residence, occupation, name of mission conference where a member, destination in the US and other miscellaneous information. This is indexed in the Early Church Information File.
1830-1890 Saints on the Seas: A Maritime History of Mormon Migration, 1830-1890. Compiled by Conway B. Sonne. This book is found at the Family History Library with the call # US/CAN 289.309, So59s. It gives the following:
• Sea Routes of Mormon Emigration
• Mormon Migration River Routes
• Pictures of vessels
• Departure date and port
• Arrival date and port
• Name of Company Leader
• Information about each company and ship
• An index
1830-1890 Ships, Saints, and Mariners: A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration 1830-1890 Compiled by Conway B. Sonne. This book is found at the Family history Library with the call # US/CAN 973 W2ss. This is an encyclopedia which summarizes alphabetically information about each known vessel and voyage of emigrants and missionaries.
1850-1905 History of the Scandinavian Mission by Andrew Jenson. This book gives a chronological recording of the history of the Scandinavian Mission. This book is found at the Family History Library with the call # SCAND 948 K2j. You will find here:
• Names of mission leaders, when they arrived and when they departed
• Biographical information on some leaders and missionaries
• Names of missionaries, when they arrived and when they departed
• Experiences and hardships of missionaries and leaders
• Emigration companies with details of travel, numbers, and leaders
1. Höglund, Inger and Johansson, Caj-Aage. Steg I Tro., Jesu Kristi Kyrka av Sista Dagars Heliga: Italy. 2000.
2. Anderson, Shauna C.; Manness, Ruth Ellen; Black, Susan Easton. Passport to Paradise. Geaealogical Services, Utah. 2000.
3. Jenson, Andrew. History of the Scandinavian Mission. The Deseret News Press. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1927.
4. Zobell, Albert L. Jr., M.S. Under the Midnight Sun. Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1950.