Monday, January 20, 2014

SweAme 2013 Annual Report

Special Feature:

To benchmark (so to speak) one of the SweAme 2013 accomplishments (the online documentation of the Minnesota Swedish emigrants), this year’s “Special Feature” is the American Swedish Institute, Turnblad Mansion Museum located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The American Swedish Institute is a vibrant arts & cultural center and museum. The historic Turnblad Mansion first became home to the organization in 1929. The new Nelson Cultural Center addition opened in June 2012 and added a welcoming reception area, café, gallery, event center, studio craft classroom, terrace, courtyard, and new Museum Shop space.

In 1908, the Turnblads—a Swedish immigrant family—completed the construction of their castle-like mansion on Minneapolis’ Park Avenue. Just twenty-one years later, they gave it all away to the community, founding the organization that would become the American Swedish Institute.

Visitors can tour the Turnblad Mansion, enjoy exhibitions in the Mansion and Osher Gallery, experience contemporary Swedish and Nordic culture alongside Minneapolis history, find unique Nordic designed products in the Museum Shop, dine at FIKA, and share stories and experiences.

Museum (Turnblad Mansion) requires paid admission

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
noon –5 p.m.
noon.–8 p.m.
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
noon–5 p.m.
Mondays & most holidays

2600 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55407
612 871-4907

SweAme Purpose:

The Board of Directors of the SweAme non-profit organization would like to thank ALL of you for your participation this past year. 

This year was our third full year as an incorporated entity and we are making progress on accomplishing our primary purpose and goals.

Our purpose as stated in our IRS 501(c)(3) status request document and as contained in the SweAme By-Laws is:

A. SweAme is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

B.  In particular, the purpose of SweAme is for educational and historical research; 

·       by the  digital preservation of genealogy data, records, documents, and images related to persons of Swedish ancestry,

·       by promoting public knowledge of and an interest in the history of persons of Scandinavian - and particularly Swedish – ancestry,

·       by presenting the contents of the Online Internet data base as a FREE and open resource for all public users,

·       by facilitating an environment of learning and participation by Swedish Emigrant’s Swedish and American descendants in the documentation of their own separate branches

Our goals and objectives to accomplish this purpose are being met by our growing volume of Registered Users and the accumulation of multiple types of historical information.  This growth has been the result of a strong growth in the interest in family genealogy and historical documentation by Swedish American and Swedish descendants and, of course, the increased availability and functionality of the Internet.

The SweAme focus will continue to be the digitization of the Swedish immigrants who were living in America and documented in the 1900 census records.  This basic immigrant family information is being updated by Registered Users on both sides of the Atlantic with information on their own expanding family branches.

SweAme Accomplishments:

Program Status

The SweAme ( websites are well positioned to facilitate the growing interest in digitizing our past and present and therefore this interest has exceeded our expectations.  As of December 31, 2013, the data base statistics have again more than doubled over the previous reporting year:

                                  2013                   % Growth              2012                 2011                                   
Individuals:       537,267                  103%                  264,327           124,473                  
Families             151,244                  119%                     69,065              32,526                    

Project Status

In 2013 SweAme project teams have completed the states of Idaho, New Hampshire, Oregon, Wyoming and the Swedes In Minnesota major project.  This brings the total emigrant count up to 207,839, which is 35% of the Swedish emigrants who were living in America in the year 1900.  The total completed state and territory count is up to 33 (which includes Washington D.C.).   This leaves SweAme with 19 remaining states and territories to capture and document online. 

Hardware & Software Upgrades

There were no major hardware and software upgrades in 2013.

Major Project Completions

This year’s major project accomplishment was funded by the The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.  This project was completed in July and included the Swedish immigrants that were living in Minnesota in the year 1900.  It was executed by two contractors; Brenda Dahlberg (Dallas, Texas), Kathie Pearson (Stamford, Texas), and one management team volunteer.

SweAme Registered User Special Recognition:

This year we are very pleased to present a SweAme Register User from Sweden – Amir Sherif - who has made significant progress in documenting his Swedish family.  We are very honored that he has made the SweAme website his home for recording and sharing his heritage.  Here is Amir’s story:

How I found out my American family connections

By Amir Sherif

 I am 53 and the father of six kids and finally in my second marriage. I live in Stockholm, Sweden and work as a Senior consultant of Urology with a University position. My origins are half Swedish, half Egyptian and this is my short story of how I am researching my family history and where it brought me.

My maternal grandma used to tell me that she once upon a time had an offer from a cousin to emigrate to USA. This should have been way back in the 1920s, and her cousin had already established himself after emigration and used to come home to Sweden on a regular basis to see his family and report of his new life overseas.

A couple of years ago I had received a 100 page genealogical report on my maternal grandpas history from a cousin in Småland, and it had interested me a lot. But, first by the beginning of 2013 I had the opportunity to read it. Finally I decided to try to set up a tree over the internet, and started at one of the commercially available sites. Working on the tree, I was also curious to pursue matters on my maternal grandmas side.

She was born in Järsnäs in Jönköping county, and I hadn´t a clue of where to start. After several attempts asking my mother about names, I finally had some data to start with. Still there wasn´t much information available on-line until I by chance found out about the SWEAME website. I contacted Mr David Borg with my few names, and he started to help me in this, and many other matters as the whole process started to evolve. With the help of a number of Swedish on-line registers and the data found in Emigranten Populär, we finally could identify my grandmas cousin:

Mr Simon Natanael Swanson of Red Oak, Iowa: Go to Simon Swanson family records.

Further research showed that he had two more siblings who had emigrated too, and at first all these persons had a place in the Iowa section at the website. Meanwhile my research back in the generations of my grandma led me back to the surname “Kindgren”. That surname is for certain not Smålandic and pointed instead to the province of Östergötland – I was surprised over this, and it took me a lot of energy and basic research to find out that my 5th great Grandfather along the Kindgren-line, was Erik Andersson Kindgren born in 1739 at the croft of Stora Fjättersund in Kimstad Parish, Östergötland. He had been a gardener who moved southwards to Småland and Jönköping County once upon a time.

Looking for the Kindgrens in Jönköping, I encountered two persons: Peter Kindgren and Anders Kindgren. At first I just had a feeling that they were related (but I was far from certain), and it took a good deal of basic work to finally understand that they were both sons of Erik, and that they were the origins of 99% of all Kindgrens in Småland – especially Jönköping county. From Anders Kindgren I finally could trace a number of emigrants, especially Texans, and as the amount steadily increased – Mr Borg and I decided to put my whole family tree in the Texas section instead. The main directly connected families were the Starks, through Mr Henry Stark

a brave and morally strong man who cared for his family and for his motherless kids after the tragic demise of his first wife, and brought the lot of his kids all the way over the Atlantic Ocean to Texas – in a time when travels must have been a major ordeal. Furthermore, I managed to figure out that also his brother had emigrated (until then unrecorded on the site) – that is Mr Anders Johan Carlson

Through these two brothers down the lines, I finally found out the connections to a number of Central Texas families – apart from the Starks - like the Adamsons, Andersons, Crofts, Munsons, Sellstroms, Fosbergs, Berkmans, Skoogs, Quicks and so forth.

To my great astonishment, I also found out that on my maternal grandpas side there were Texans. My maternal grandfather was from the southern parts of Jönköping County originally (Hjälmseryd) and from some northern parishes of Kronoberg county – and originally had nothing to do with my maternal grandmas side due to geographical distance. One major branch in his family is the Malm branch. While reading the online edition of Swedes in Texas (page 637) I stumbled over this sentence

The widow, EMMA GUSTAFSON, born Malm, had her home in Hjortsberga, Småland, where she was born in 1856”

The name Malm and the Parish name of Hjortsberga brought out my curiosity, and after working some more on the basic research, it turned out that Mrs Gustafson was my grandpas aunt, who after marriage in Nässjö, had emigrated in 1881 to Texas with her husband!

To do my research I use tools like SVAR.RA (Swedish National Archives), the Central Soldiers register, a number of both American and Swedish registers through two of the commercial websites and some other similar registers. My most valued tool so far is Arkivdigital Go to Arkivdigital. in which I find data on Church records at the very root of matters, and also in bright and highly readable color pictures. To me it is of great importance to have the exact data on every person, matters can otherwise become incorrect and totally confusing with all the Anderssons, Johanssons, Peterssons and so forth – especially having in mind that surnames in Sweden until early 1900s, changed with every generation (the tradition of patronymic Go to Wikipedia). I usually don´t want to put any data on the website, unless I have convincing information from at least one or more bona fide sources.

Finally I can say that the research goes on, and I find new data and new distant family connections almost every week – both in Sweden and in USA, not only in Texas and Iowa, but also in Illinois, California and so forth. This is really an intriguing and interesting hobby, especially as I am very much interested of the social settings and historic connections of each identified person. By following these valued members of our ancestral origins, we can start to understand their lives and their hardships. It is also of great importance in understanding the Swedish history and a way to put all these persons in their historical, social and economic context. What did they do for a living? In what setting did they have to grow up and adapt? What did Sweden look like in the 1700s and further on in the 1800s when it became industrialized? Why did some people move to larger cities in Sweden and others just leave the country and start all over on a totally new continent (20-25 % of the total population!!)? What did they bring with them when emigrating, in aspects of knowledge, skills, ethics, morals and values? All these subjects are more or less endless. Once you have identified real persons – and especially family relations, even if distant – you find it more rewarding to get to look for a number of mentioned aspects, and not only birthdates and dates of death. Working with the SWEAME website has truly helped me a lot in pursuing, not only a structured genealogy and tree-building, but also in my attempts to understand the real persons behind all the names and dates.

 SweAme Summary Financials:

2013 Income – from BOPSF:                               $4,000.00
2013 Expenses – Swedes In Minnesota:         $4,000.00
Net Income/(loss):                                                 $         0.00

Board of Directors:

Doug Anderson, Richmond, Texas
Jan Augustsson, Ytterby, Sweden
Lissa Bengtson, San Antonio, Texas
Larry Blomquist, Mesa, Arizona
David Borg, Salem, Missouri
Elin Criswell, Georgetown, Texas
Jeanne Rollberg, Little Rock, Arkansas

Organization Advisor:

John Norton, Moline, Illinois

(For management team bios, go to:  SweAme Management )

Completed States/Territories:

Arizona Terr.
District of Columbia
Hawaii Terr.
Indian Terr.
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
South Carolina
West Virginia

Finest regards,
David Borg, Chairman