Help locating information on Swedish ancestors

+4 votes
287 views
Hi, I’m having a lot of trouble finding my Swedish family in Swedish records. My great great grandfather was August Swenson( Svensson) born around 1869 in Halland Sweden and immigrated to the US around 1883. My great great grandmother was Mathilda Nilsson born in Sweden in 1859 immigrated in 1883, and her husband was James Bengtsson born in 1858 in Sweden. I can’t find any information on any them outside of Pennsylvania. Any idea where I should be looking? The surnames don’t make it easy.
in Genealogy Help by Lyndsay Matthews G2G Crew (970 points)
Do you have a link to one of their profiles?
Thankyou,

I’m in the process of moving over info from my family search tree. I can send a link by the end of the day. I appreciate your help!
Lyndsay,

Ok great! I lost electricity for most of the day and my iPad and laptop both died (so did my phone! Lol). I am (obviously) back now. I found what looks like a hint to where he was from. I looked in Hishult in Halland. I only found one August Svensson in the birth book for 1875-1879, but I could not find your August Svensson there. So I am still researching. I will post whatever I do find.
You say August was born 1869 in Hallands län, but the profile says 1876.

There is a August Svensson born 13 Jan 1869 in Knäred, Halland to Sven Svensson & Pernilla Johansdotter.

And another born 31 Dec 1869 in Knäred to Sven Persson & Inger Lena Andersdotter.

Hi Gerry, I saw that one too. This one is not easy. I see her issues with finding information on them. I appreciate help on this one. I traced an August Svensson back to Hishult born in 1875. If you can offer help, i know I’d appreciate it. smiley

Unfortunately, I’ve seen a few different date of births for August Svensson.
Thank you. August has been a bit of a mystery. I know Florence remarried at some point but, I never found anything like a death notice or grace site, nothing about his birth, or family. I wish there was someone left alive in our family who has any answers
I started a new answer to this question for Matilda Nilsson.

It would be very nice to have more eyes on the candidate I dug up - Missy, Gerry, anyone else watching this thread, please!! It's not altogether straightforward.

4 Answers

+3 votes

Hi Lyndsay,

I am a member of the Sweden project. I will do my best to help you out. I do not know if this will help you, but to get started, I look on FamilySearch (they have actual images from ArkivDigital, paid Swedish site) and Ancestry (if you have a subscription) and hope it gives some information about where they came from. Then I go to RiksArkivet (free Swedish site) to search through actual parish records.

I will go look now.

Missy smiley

by Missy Berryann G2G6 Pilot (121k points)
Eva, yes! I had family come to New York and then go settle elsewhere. Unfortunately I did not find anything conclusive for Matilda Nilsson (Nilsdotter) or James (Emanuel) Bengtsson (Benson) coming into America.

Also, they did not marry in a Swedish church in America, and that complicates things. As you know, the American Swedish churches use their full Swedish names and include immigration years, etc. I was SO lucky that just about all of my ancestors (including aunts and uncles) who came to America all went straight to the Swedish churches, so I had a much easier time finding them in Sweden. I did not have one brick wall in my Sweden to America research.

James Benson and Matilda Nilson, however, are looking like brick walls. Have you tried looking for either of them, by any chance? I searched every record that came up in each search (on Ancestry and FamilySearch) and nothing conclusive. I am going to take a break from them and go back to the Swedish research of August Svensson. I’ll add his parents, etc.

Lyndsay,

I was able to connect your family with profiles already on WikiTree! Woo hoo. You should go check out August Svensson in your tree and then start clicking around. I was excited to find them already in the tree! smileyyes

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Svensson-4424

Yes, I've tried looking for James and Matilda, without much luck. There are too many Matilda Nilsdotter - and with James it's hard to know what he was called in Sweden.

Now that the info is sorted on to the profiles I'll have another look.

I think I found James Benson as Emanuel Bengtsson, born 27 Feb 1858 in Gunnarsjö parish to Bengt Andreasson and Inger Lena Caspersdotter.

"Sweden Baptisms, 1611-1920", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FKC5-SRX : 23 June 2020), Emanuel, 1858.

This guy worked as a farm hand in different places down in Skåne when he left home. Or maybe he worked in coal mines, they've got some down there (not my home territory).

The thing is that when he was in Jonstorp, his birth date was incorrectly entered as 29/2 1858, which seems pretty convincing that it's the same guy. (They didn't have computerized date checks in those days :-)

Jonstorps kyrkoarkiv, Husförhörslängder, SE/LLA/13193/A I/18 (1881-1897), bildid: C0066384_00055, sida 273, rad 9
https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/C0066384_00055

He moved on to Rolfstorp parish (almost back home) in October 1881, but I'm not finding him there.

According to the census 1900 James Benson immigrated in 1883 - And I found Emanuel Bengtsson (25) on board the Rollo, departing Göteborg 25 May 1883, coming from Varberg (which is the nearest city to Gunnarsjö and Rolfstorp) and intended final destination Landsford Pa.

Göteborgs poliskammare (-1900) (O) EIX:22 (1883) Bild 3400 / sid 675 (AID: v479746.b3400.s675, NAD: SE/GLA/12703)

Göteborgs poliskammare före 1900, Inkomna uppgifter om utvandrade personer, SE/GLA/12703/E IX/22 (1883), bildid: A0056911_00352, sida 674-691

https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0056911_00352

So, what do you think?

(I'm taking a break from this now)

Thankyou, Eva!
How did you figure out that he was also named Emanuel?

Edited to correct typo.
Emanuel was used on a few documents for his children.

Nice researching, Eva!

yes (supposed to be a thumbs up, I hope)
Good to know where the name came from (I should have known). I take it you don't disagree with the Emanuel I found.

That birth date was pretty unique.wink

It looks like it fits to me too! I agree with you that the 29/2 1858 being used in Sweden and in America is a big flag to me. Plus his final destination is a good indicator. Landsford is in Carbon county where he did live.

This is some wonderful collaboration for Lyndsay!

Lyndsay, you will need to change James last name at birth (LNAB) to Bengtsson, because only the profile manager cane change LNABs. I changed his first name to Emanuel and put James in the current name field.

Last Name at Birth: Benson Help  <- this needs to be Bengtsson

But you leave current last name at Benson.

+2 votes

Here are some helpful links to Swedish research:

Almost everything about Swedish research is here: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Sweden

This list of Swedish words is EXTREMELY helpful in reading the records: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Swedish_Genealogical_Word_List

Swedish parish records (microfilm) for free are found on FamilySearch.org and RiksArkivet: https://sok.riksarkivet.se/digitala-arkiv

Paid (in color and easier to read) Swedish parish records are at: https://www.arkivdigital.net/

There are a lot of pages on WikiTree. Here are a few:

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Glossary_Sweden

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Sweden_Genealogy_Resources

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Swedish_Genealogy

by Missy Berryann G2G6 Pilot (121k points)
+1 vote
As said, Matilda Nilsson / Nilsdotter was a very common name among Swedish women born in 1858.

According to her death record Matilda was born 11 November 1858 (11/11 1858), and according to the census she immigrated in 1882.
https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Nilsson-7853

I've been groping around with searches in ArkivDigital, MyHeritage and Riksarkivets Folkräkningar - finding either too much or too little, depending on how the search engines work.

I did find one possible candidate by searching for Emigrants in ArkivDigital - but she does not have the same exact birth date. Here she is:

Matilda Nilsson, 23 years old, left Sweden on board the Orlando 21 october 1881 with the stated intention to go to Omaha Nebraska. She was from "Flod" in Skaraborgs län.

Göteborgs poliskammare (-1900) (O) EIX:18 (1881) Bild 2980 / sid 591 (AID: v479742.b2980.s591, NAD: SE/GLA/12703)

I'm not worried about someone leaving Sweden late in 1881 being in the census as immigrated in 1882 (immigration years are often more off than that). It's a bit more problematic that she was going to Nebraska (she may of course not have stayed there or changed her mind).

Once I figured out that "Flod" meant Flo parish in Skaraborg, I was able to find her with her parents:

Flo kyrkoarkiv, Husförhörslängder, SE/GLA/13116/A I/13 (1875-1886), bildid: 00078194_00153, sida 144  https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/00078194_00153

Sara Matilda, daughter of crofter Nils Andersson Wiberg,  left for N. Amerika 21 October 1881.

This will certainly be the same young woman as in the emigrant register. However, her birth date is 4 October 1858  (58 4/10) so for this to be your Matilda Nilsson both digits for day and month will have to have been mistranscribed. In my experience a 4 written like the one in the household record quite often turns into 11. 10 turning into 11 is not unthinkable.

Is there any other information from the American side that can help establishing the identity?
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (430k points)
Good morning (and afternoon) Eva,

I was working on sourcing the other Swedish profiles In Lyndsay’s line, but I will look into Matilda now. It would be great to find her. So far, I am not convinced of the Matilda Nilson above.

The same as you, I’d really feel better if the birth date was closer and if final destination was closer to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I will post what I find.
I have been researching Matilda Nelson/Nilson/Nilsdotter (?) most of the day and I am not coming up with anything concrete. I even paid for a month of AD so I can use it for the research. I will keep trying. I have been looking for all four of the children. I thought their birth, marriage or death records may give us a clue the way finding the name Emanuel helped find him.
I have been considering all names with Mathilda and Nilsson/Nilsdotter in them, but nothing conclusive. Every record I found for her children ONLY ever said Mathilda Nelson/Nilson. Not a hint of a second name for her.

I was hoping for something like a clue to a second name.

Have you looked for emigrants in ArkivDigital?

There were lots of Matildas with a father named Nils - but it does not seem as if all that many of them emigrated.

Folkräkningar gives me 94 Mat*ilda Nils* born 1858 in 1880 - and that is not counting those wo still live with their parents and aren't listed with a surname. That's just too much.

There is a Mathilda Nilson (with one s), 24 years old, leaving on board the Romeo 7 April 1882, going to New York.

She is from Mönsterås, Småland (Kalmar län) - but I'm not finding her.

Göteborgs poliskammare (-1900) (O) EIX:19 (1882) Bild 2110 / sid 419 (AID: v479743.b2110.s419, NAD: SE/GLA/12703)
Well, it helped to stop relying on indexes for a bit and simply going to the moving-out book for Mönsterås. This young woman was Karolina Matilda, daughter of Nils Peter Karlsson Ax. her birth date was 24 October 1858 - and she returned to Sweden 1897-1899 (to care for her mother in her final year), using the name Karolina Matilda Ax.

Mönsterås (H) AI:19 (1881-1895) Bild 229 / sid 441 (AID: v23557.b229.s441, NAD: SE/VALA/00258)

There was also a Mathilda Nilsson, 22 years old, leaving on board the Orlando 6 August 1880, going to Boone Ia. She was from Vetlanda, Jönköpings län. But looking closer, she travelled with a baby son.

Göteborgs poliskammare (-1900) (O) EIX:16 (1880) Bild 300 / sid 57 (AID: v479740.b300.s57, NAD: SE/GLA/12703)

I'm not finding a Matilda Nilsdotter born 1858 among the emigrants.

I think the woman from Flo is the best bet, in spite of the mismatched birth date.
I have worked on Matilda all night (it is 6:14am here on the east coast) and I thought I found something. I was so excited, but no proof of who she was coming into America. There were very few Matilda Nilsons coming into Philadelphia. Honestly, Philadelphia was not a common port for Swedish immigrants that I have found in my research. The fact that we can not find this Matilda Nilson coming into Philadelphia and that there are so few coming into Philadelphia directly in the 1800s, leads me to think that Matilda May have came through NY. However, there are way too many.
I suspect that I saw Matilda-from-Flo arriving in New York; there was a record from the right time. Not the nice type  of record giving two contact persons, one in Sweden and one in America. Just saying that she tracelled in steerage.

I didn't even copy the reference - if we need it, it can be looked up again.

One thing: are there any signs of other relatives coming to America? I don't suppose there would be, what with the missing 1890 census and all.
But you deserve a break now, Missy.

Eva, yes we both deserve a break. wink I am going to work on something else now. Thank you for your help!! heart 

I spent yesterday exploring the family of Sara Matilda Nilsson - siblings, parents and one couple of grandparents. A real rabbit hole. References are on the profiles.

Sara Matilda, born in Flo 4/10 1858 left the parish as Sara Matilda Wiberg, but she left Sweden as Matilda Nilsson.
https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wiberg-203

Why she went to Omaha Nebraska was because her elder, married, sister Johanna was there.
https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wiberg-199

Their youngest sister, Augusta Sofia also went to Omaha Nebraska, in 1883.
https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wiberg-202

It so happened that eldest sister Johanna Wiberg and her husband Johan Gustaf Svensson were recorded in the firts book for one of the two Swedish churches in Omaha Nebraska where Arkiv Digital has records that far back.

A few pages later sisters Sara Matilda Nilsson and Augusta Sofia Nilsson arrived.

Augusta Sofia married Alex Backlund - her family was quite easy to find at FamilySearch (good name).

Johanna and Johan Gustav Svensson with family left town in 1906/1907 and I haven't been able to find them at FamilySearch.

Matilda Nilsson left Omaha Nebraska already in 1886, to go to Wisconsin.
0 votes
by Gerry Hagberg G2G6 Mach 1 (15.9k points)

Hello Gerry,

Thank you for your willingness to help. We believe Eva got it right (attached here below). The birth dates in Sweden match the dates in America and so does the place where he came to America. Do you believe the American information and the Swedish information do not match? Thank you for your help!

From Eva:

“I think I found James Benson as Emanuel Bengtsson, born 27 Feb 1858 in Gunnarsjö parish to Bengt Andreasson and Inger Lena Caspersdotter.

"Sweden Baptisms, 1611-1920", database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FKC5-SRX : 23 June 2020), Emanuel, 1858.

This guy worked as a farm hand in different places down in Skåne when he left home. Or maybe he worked in coal mines, they've got some down there (not my home territory).

The thing is that when he was in Jonstorp, his birth date was incorrectly entered as 29/2 1858, which seems pretty convincing that it's the same guy. (They didn't have computerized date checks in those days :-)

Jonstorps kyrkoarkiv, Husförhörslängder, SE/LLA/13193/A I/18 (1881-1897), bildid: C0066384_00055, sida 273, rad 9 
https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/C0066384_00055

He moved on to Rolfstorp parish (almost back home) in October 1881, but I'm not finding him there.

According to the census 1900 James Benson immigrated in 1883 - And I found Emanuel Bengtsson (25) on board the Rollo, departing Göteborg 25 May 1883, coming from Varberg (which is the nearest city to Gunnarsjö and Rolfstorp) and intended final destination Landsford Pa.

Göteborgs poliskammare (-1900) (O) EIX:22 (1883) Bild 3400 / sid 675 (AID: v479746.b3400.s675, NAD: SE/GLA/12703)

Göteborgs poliskammare före 1900, Inkomna uppgifter om utvandrade personer, SE/GLA/12703/E IX/22 (1883), bildid: A0056911_00352, sida 674-691

https://sok.riksarkivet.se/bildvisning/A0056911_00352

So, what do you think?“

false alarm! That Emanuel Bengtsson is still in Varberg in the 1890 census.
Seems the name combination was popular in Halland :-) (Gunnarsjö is Västergötland on the border to Halland).

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