My grandfather Carl August Petersson (he later went by Charles) was born in 1863 in Sweden, and died in America in 1927. I've spent years searching unsuccessfully for his birth parish. He came immigrated around the mid-1800's and spent most of his life in northern California. Records I've found list his birthplace as only "Sweden."—QueenBea, on the FamilyTreeMagazine.com Brick Walls ForumA
Have you tried church records? David Fryxell, who wrote our guide to Swedish research in the October 2006 Family Tree Magazine
, says many Swedish-American churches kept records as thorough as those of their counterparts in Sweden.
The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center
has a broad church records collection, including several in California. The Swenson center is in Illinois, but you can request a $25-per-hour search by a staff member.
Search for Carl in immigration records (such as those for New York City arrivals indexed at CastleGarden.org
) and check the book Swedish Passenger Arrivals in the United States, 1820-1850
by Nils William Olsson (Schmidts Boktryckeri AB, out of print). Look for it at large genealogy libraries including the Family History Library
in Salt Lake City.
Since you don't know Carl's parish, Fryxell recommends a searchable CD such as Emibas
, compiled from Swedish church records (available from Genlineshop.com
). You can enter as much as you know about your ancestor to narrow your search results to likely candidates.
Two subscription databases, Genline
(click English), offer digitized Swedish church records. Both sites offer a variety of subscription options. Family Tree Magazine
reviewed Genline in the June 2005 issue
and SVAR in the June 2006 issue
Post your suggestions for QueenBea—or pose your own questions.