Sunday, February 14, 2016

SweAme 2015 Annual Report


Swedish America Heritage Online (SweAme)

SweAme Registered User Special Recognition:

David Anderson

This year we are very pleased to present SweAme Registered User, David Anderson, from Portland, Oregon and the Swedish Roots In Oregon organization.   

 After several years of independent data entry on the SweAme Swedes In Oregon and Clackamas County (Oregon) data base trees, David Anderson was encouraged to attend a Swedish Roots In Oregon (SRIO) Board Meeting.  A few months later, he was elected to be a genealogist with SRIO.  He enjoys making frequent trips to the Oregon State Archives in Salem to scan documents there and post them to the ever expanding SRIO data base and on the Clackamas County and Oregon trees, which are now both under SRIO’s umbrella.  Documents which can now be found, free of charge to the public, include marriage records, prisoner, State Hospital admittance, probate, death certificates and immigration documents.  

In 1999 Ross Fogelquist (in Portland) came up with an idea that he presented to the New Sweden Cultural Heritage Society.  That idea was so grand and so large it was decided to start an entirely new group that would be devoted to research, document and preserve the history of Oregon’s Swedish immigrants.  Out of that idea was born the Swedish Roots in Oregon (SRIO) project, which was granted tax deductible status by the Internal Revenue Service in December 1999.  Ross continues to be an active member of SRIO, and it is his home Fogelbo, a warm inviting log cabin richly decorated with Swedish memorabilia that the SRIO, where the SRIO Board of Directors meets.
The small, but active SRIO Board (see members data below) continues adding to and publishing results of the rich knowledge of Swedish Immigrants to Oregon.  We encourage you to take part, and to donate to, Swedish Roots In Oregon.

There are five goals that SRIO has: 

1.      Create a data base of first and 2nd generation Swedes in Oregon;

2.      Collect genealogical information from individuals and institutions;

3.      Build a database and publish it;

4.      Research the lives, settlements and achievements of Swedes in Oregon and publish the results; and

5.      Build an archive of oral histories of Swedish immigrants.   Over 14 booklets and books have been published by SRIO, the database, now on the website is expanding and including scans of documents found at the Oregon State Archives.
Rhonda Erlandson’sfather emigrated from Sweden in 1948 a few years before Rhonda was born. Rhonda grew up steeped in Swedish culture and was fortunate to make several trips to Sweden. Family members still live near the northern city of Lycksele. She became involved with SRIO, like several others, thru an invitation from Ross Fogelquist. She knew she wanted to roll up her sleeves and help with research efforts uncovering and sharing the rich history of Oregon’s Swedish heritage. After serving as SRIO Secretary for a few years Ronda was elected President in January 2016.
Herje Wikegard, first generation immigrant, stepped up and designed a new webpage, when a new one was needed.  We now have thanks to Herje.  It has changed tools periodically and new information gets added from time to time.  And, Herje serves as SRIO’s treasurer too!
Mike Timshel, 2nd generation immigrant, didn’t seriously begin studying Swedish until about 15 years ago, despite his father being the first generation immigrant!  A few years ago Mike was encouraged by Lars Nordström to attend an SRIO Board Meeting, and a few meetings later was elected to be a Board Member at large, and loves translating Swedish works in to English!
Ann Stuller
and David Anderson serve as genealogists for SRIO.  One of Ann’s Swedish cousins helped start SVAR in Ramsele, Sweden, and later presented the family with a
written family tree that furthered Ann’s interest in genealogy.  Ann has taught conversational Swedish at Portland Community College for 20 years.  In addition to genealogy Ann enjoys photography and painting.  One of her photos graces the cover on one of SRIO’s books!  She was invited to an SRIO meeting by long term friend Ross Fogelquist.
David Anderson, in addition to genealogy, has long pursued other hobbies – such as photography.  Taking pictures was one of the most important activities that David enjoyed during his days in the United States Peace Corps.
Many of us take family photos for granted.   Many of us were given cameras at an early age, our parents had cameras, and their parents frequently had cameras.  David can build a photo tree back to his father’s grandparents.  That is not the case with most everyone in the world.
From 1975 to 1977 he was a Co-op Advisor with the Peace Corps on remote Ujelang Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  The people he worked with had been removed from Enewetak Atoll so the American government could test nuclear and thermonuclear device.  They are currently still experiencing negative impacts as a result of the testing period.
David was the only person on Ujelang with a camera.  One of his personal goals was to record life on Ujelang in the mid-1970s.  His Mom would send several rolls of slide film to him every few months.  After exposure the film would be sent home for developing.  The developed slides would be returned to Ujelang where he would make notes on them, as to who, what, where.   It is amazing to think that no rolls of film were lost in this process, since mail service to Ujelang was not daily, weekly, or monthly.  It happened when a field trip ship called every two or three months!
Album of photos on flickr from Ujelang:
In January 2016 David flew out to the Big Island of Hawaii to visit people he knew on Ujelang.  There are now living there more people with ties to Ujelang/Enewetak as there were in the mid-70’s.  Preparations for the trip included printing photos of people on Ujelang and giving them away.  The looks on people faces as they saw themselves, or a loved one 38 years ago was priceless.  One guy asked David if he had a photo of his father.  David looked at him and asked how old he was, and he said 46.  David had a photo of him and his brother, with their Dad.
A few days later they learned his older brother passed away in the Marshalls.

Life in Ocean View Estates, Hawaii is not easy for the Marshallese.  Life is basically ‘off the grid’, and is very reminiscent of life in the Marshalls, although they are living at 1,000 foot elevation on lava rather than at sea level on coral rock.  And, they are living on a volcano that is inflating.  Jobs are hard to come by.  One woman leaves her house at 3:30 a.m. to drive to the north end of the Big Island to drive handicapped students around.  She returns home at 6 pm.  And repeats this five times a week.  On weekends she is out picking macadamia nuts or coffee in season.  Depending on the grower picking coffee can net someone about $8 an hour.  Sometimes a little more, and sometimes significantly less.  Depending on the grower.  It is a family affair picking coffee involving parents and children and the money goes in to a collective pot.
People from Ujelang/Enewetak are in Hawaii for the same reasons our Swedish ancestors came over: a better life for them and their children.  Health care is a driving factor since diabetes and hepatitis are rampant and there are still continuing issues from radiation poisoning.

SweAme Accomplishments:
Program Status
The SweAme ( websites continue to facilitate the growing interest in digitizing our past (and present) and continues to exceed our expectations.  As of December 31, 2015, SweAme has exceeded the 1.1 Million mark of Individuals on our series of data bases.  This number is the count of Individual records (ALL persons on our websites) who were Swedish born immigrants or who were related (as ancestors or descendants) to the immigrants. 
This year again there has been growth in all of the data base statistics – two are shown here:

Project Status
In 2015 the SweAme project teams have completed the state of North Dakota, and initiated the major projects for New York and Massachusetts.  This brings the websites total count of Swedish born immigrants up 417,091, which is 70% of the total number of emigrants who were living in America in the year 1900. 
The total completed state count is 39, plus 63% has been completed for New York and Massachusetts.   This leaves SweAme with 37% of New York and Massachusetts and nine (9) remaining states to capture and document online. 
Hardware & Software Upgrades
In 2015, there were no major upgrades to the SweAme hardware servers at Simply Hosting. 
A major software upgrade has been partial implemented with the SweAme Gateway webpages.  These additional webpages have been implemented to provide a more user friendly experience.  The new webpages were developed using Responsive Web Design (RWD) techniques to provide self-adjusting webpages for any size of device – desk top, lap top, tablet and/or phones.  The new webpages use color images as selection buttons to LINK to the many different segments of the SweAme resources.  You can access the new pages at

SweAme Summary Financials:
2015 BOPSF Funding:                                                      $ 3,500.00
2015 Expenses – Swedes In New York:                      $     987.45
2015 Expenses – Swedes In Massachusetts:            $ 1,035.18
Remaining Project Funding:                                         $ 1,477.37
Completed States/Territories:
Arizona Terr.
District of Columbia
Hawaii Terr.
Indian Terr.
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
West Virginia


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Borg Family 2015 Sweden Trip

For Your Information:

The David Borg family will be on a journey to Sweden beginning 17 June for 2 weeks.  If you would like to follow us around Sweden, sign-up as a follower of this SweAme Blog.  You will then be notified when a trip update is provided.

The planned itinerary can be found on the Borg 2015 Travel Itinerary webpage:

The itinerary webpage provides LINKS to view the daily events via pictures and videos.  Live streaming (real time) videos will be scheduled and broadcast for your viewing fun.

Submit your comments and questions below.


Monday, April 6, 2015

New Sweden Heritage Day Celebration, 2nd Annual

May 2, 2015

Our Day’s Events

VÄLKOMMEN – Welcome!

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. New Sweden Heritage Center Tour and Heritage Displays

·       Tour the Heritage Center with members of the Church Committee working on the restoration.

·       Visit the 2st annual featured group of FAMILIES of our church: including families of ministers, music directors, and other church families who will share with you their roots as descendants from the Swedish church pioneers.

·       Enjoy a continuation of last year’s displays and meet volunteers who are available to work with you on your family history in Sweden and here.
·       Stroll through the silent auction and bid on treasures that come directly from Sweden and other special items.

·        Visit with your friends and enjoy the countryside.


VARSÅGOD – Please Come to Dinner!

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 or 6:00 p.m.- Meal Served in the Parish Hall.

·       Blessing by Pastor Hans Lillejord.
·       Enjoy a delicious, traditional home-made Swedish meal of meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, seasoned greed beans, Swedish rye bread and butter and Swedish summer tårta along with coffee and tea. Enter your ticket with your name, address, phone number, and email to win a door prize:  a very special made-made keepsake item from Småland, Sweden. Ticket sales end April 21st, or when all tickets are sold.
·       Enjoy Swedish music recordings while you enjoy your meal, and take your time and enjoy your dessert and coffee!


MUSIK OCH  SÅNG – Music and Singing!

6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. – Program in the church

·       Opening, Pastor Lillejord.
·       Join in singing our National Anthem, Swedish National Anthem (music/words provided in Swedish and English.)
·       Enjoy special songs shared by the New Sweden 6 Singers.
·       Delight to the voices of a Swedish singing duo, Malcolm Nelson and Allison Tucker.
·       Everyone sing-a-long with a medley of our favorite Swedish songs (handouts provided in English and Swedish.)
·       Close with singing the Heritage Center theme song, FAITH OF OUR FATHERS.
·       Don’t forget to pick up your silent auction treasures!

KOM TILLBAKS  NäSTA ÅR – Come Back Next Year,  ALWAYS the 1st Saturday in May !

New Sweden Heritage Center, 12809 New Sweden Church Road, Manor, Texas  78653 phone 512/281-0056


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Reading Swedish Records, Estate Inventory

Using Bouppteckning to find the parents of Inga Sunesdotter (1761-1803) in Asarum

David A Anderson

               Handwriting in Sweden from the early 1800s can be challenging to read.  One of the best ways to improve your skills in deciphering the words is to take known words, cut them out of the document with a snipping tool and save them in a folder with that word as the image name.  I started doing that with a Bouppteckning, or estate inventory, for a Johannes Nilsson who lived, at least most of his life, and died in Asarum, Blekinge. 
              In the first three Husförhörslängd for Asarum we find Bond. Johannes Nilsson and his wife Inga Sunesdotter living at No. 92, Per Nils Hoka, along with their four children: Thore, b 1793; Pehr, b 1795; Elizabeth, b 1798 and Carin, b 1800.[1]  We learn from those three sources that Johannes Nilsson is born 1772, 6 Junii and Inga Sunesdotter is born sometime in 1761.  The location(s) of their births is not given.  A search of the birth records for Asarum does not list a Johannes Nilsson on 6 June 1772.  There is a birth for an Inga in 1761 who could be the Inga we are looking for[2], but without knowing for sure that Inga was born in Asarum we can’t with 100% certainty say this is her birth record.
              From the records we learn that Inga dies 15 Sep 1803 at Per Nils Hoka[3] and Johannes dies there a year and two months later on 16 Nov 1804[4].  They leave their orphaned children behind.
              The Bouppteckningar (estate inventories) for Asarum are found in the Bräkne häradsrätt (district court) files and are accessible on Arkivdigital.   Inga’s Bouppteckning is found[5] as is Johannes’s.[6]  Although ultimately information found on Inga’s Bouppteckning would have lead me to the names of her parents, it is thru Johannes’ Bouppteckning that I started putting the clues together that allowed me to identify with certainty her parents.
              We know Johannes Nilsson

lived in Per Nils Hoka  and that he and Inga had four children (barn)  
whose names are: Thore ,

 Pehr ,

Elizabeth, or Lisbet  

  and Karin, or Karna .
From these examples we can see what various letters look like in the rest of the document and therefore begin to read it with a lot more confidence.  This is exciting stuff!  We read a bit further and find the word . 

That has to be barnans, or the children’s, and it is followed by:

!  Whoa! 

That’s moder broder, which is the mother’s brother, or uncle!  But wait, there is more, and it’s a name:   which is

followed by:  
which is telling us that the children’s uncle lives in some place that’s hard to read. 
We’ve seen the given name before, and it is Thore, but what’s the surname?  The first letter of the surname, and of the place he is from, is a bit strange and really doesn’t look like any letter we might be familiar with in 2015.  However, looking elsewhere in the preamble to Johannes’s Bouppteckning we find words that also have that letter as the beginning letter, and they are:  
and .[7] 

The first word is “?amt” while the second is “?lutat”. 
By now, for those of us who do not even speak much Swedish, but have looked at a lot of church records are thinking that the two words are ‘samt’, (also, or and) and ‘slutat’ (ended, end, the end), which makes that weird letter an ‘s’!  We then re-evaluate Thore’s surname and can now plainly see the name “Sonnasson”, and he is from some place that is: “Södra???rnö.” 

              One of the biggest benefits to using the newer photographic images of the Swedish church records on Arkiv Digital is the fact that many of the Husförhörslängd now have indexes or tables of contents that aren’t found in the older microfilmed records.  Turning to the “Ortregister”, or place name register, in the Husförhörslängd for 1799-1803, AI:2 (Arkivdigital, Image 4), we find the only one place with “Södra” and “rnö” in it, and that is Södra Sternö, found on pages 99-101.  Looking on page 99 we find house No. 62, Södra Sternö, and Bonden (farmer) Thore Sunasson, his wife, and three children.  Further down the page easily over looked is the name Gårdman (house man) Sune Thorsson who was born in 1730.[8]  This could be Thore’s father, and by default Inga’s as well.  Looking in Asarum AI:1, pg 75 we find Thore Sunesson, his family, and Sune Thorsson and his wife Elisabeth Mattsdotter who was born 1731.  A notation indicates that Elisabeth Mattsdotter has died in 1796.  Now we have a name of a possible mother for Inga and Thore!

              Looking in Asarum’s Husförhörslängd AI:3 on page 111 for House No. 62, Södra Sternö, we again find, as expected, Thore Sunesson’s family and again Sune Thorsson who was born in 1730.  A note indicates that Sune has died in 1804.
              Searching for specific people in Bouppteckningar takes a while since they aren’t indexed and not in strict chronological order.  Eventually the Bouppteckning for Sune Thorsson was found in the Bräkne Häradsrätt record.  [9] 
There are at least two children mentioned.  One is Thore Sunasson who lives in “Södra Sternnöö” and a daughter Inga who was married to Johannes Nelsson who lives in Pehr Nils Hoka.
              Going back to Asarum’s birth records for 1761, the year Inga was born we find birth number 24.  In the image you can see the place name “Sternö”, and by now you can also pick out two names that confirm that Sune Thorsson and Elisabeth Mattsdotter are the parents of the Inga Sunesdotter who married Johannes Nilsson:


[1] Asarum Hfl AI:1 (1794-1798), pg 107; AI:2 (1799-1803), pg 139; AI:3 (1803-1807), pg 168; all accessed via Arkvidigital,  20 Dec 2014.
[2] Asarum CI:2 (1745-1767), Fodde, pg 379, 1761, no 24, Inga; Arkivdigital, Image 195.
[3] Asarum CI:4 (1791-1813), Dödde, pg 797, 1803, no 69, Inga; Arkivdigital, Image 408.
[4] Asarum CI:4, pg 807, 1804, no 105, Johannes; Image 413.
[5] Bräkne-Häradsrätt FII:5 (1799-1805), beginning on pg 1373; Image 723.
[6] Bräkne-Häradsrätt FII:5, beginning on pg 1823; Image 959.
[7] Images are from Johannes Nilsson’s Bouppteckning found in: Bräkne häradsrätt FII:5 (1799-1805) Image 959 / page 1823 (AID: v156930.b959.s1823, NAD: SE/LLA/10008)
[8] Asarum AI:2 (1799-1803), pg 99, No. 62, Södra Sternö; Arkivdigital, image 105.
[9] Bräkne Häradsrätt FII:5 (1799-1805), pg 1455; Arkivdigital, Image 766.
[10] Last image from: Asarum CI:2 (1745-1767) Image 195 / page 379 (AID: v95383.b195.s379, NAD: SE/LLA/13008)