Swedish Research: Tips for Swedish American Researchers

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The best thing you can do, when you start your Swedish research project is to start at home! Check your drawers and in the attic for old letters, hymnbooks, old photos taken in Sweden, documents in Swedish. And ask around in the family, old aunts and cousins might have clues to where the family came from. It is possible to find help to translate records in Swedish.

Try to find your Swedes in as many U.S. censuses as you can. Look for obits, that might mention that the deceased belonged to a Swedish-American church. Most of the records records of those churches are available at the www.augustana.edu/swenson/ Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois.

It is no use to try to cross the Atlantic back to Sweden unless you have an exact location, which is a parish name. Småland for instance is a province of about 500 parishes, each with its own records.

Cultural Context