Is New Sweden part of Sweden or New Netherland?

+15 votes

Should profiles of settlers of the colony of New Sweden be part of the Sweden Project or the New Netherland Project? 

I started the New Sweden project because I formerly had no idea this colony existed, but it's a large part of my heritage (at least six forefathers so far).

At one time, it seemed to me New Sweden profiles should fall under NNS and I asked about it on this page.  Yet, the more I read about the period (I'm enjoying The Rise and Fall of New Sweden by Dahlgren and Norman at the moment), the more I believe this should be a Swedish project, as its people were Swedish (which at the time included Finland) and they married other Swedes. I'm not seeing a lot of Dutch intermarriage so far.  The sources a New Sweden researcher would use to track their ancestors are different than a NNS researcher would use and primary sources are in Swedish as well.  For secondary sources, we have the journal of the Swedish Colonial Society and other works by Peter Craig.

From my understanding, the colony was active for 17 years under Sweden, then fell to the Dutch in 1655, who had it nine years before New Netherland fell to the English the first time in 1664. (Not sure the status of the Delaware River area from 1664-1673, New Castle at least was apparently under English control after that point?). Until the Quakers came to the area, they remained linguistically, genealogically, and culturally distinct and governed themselves under the Upland Court. Some families retained this Swedishness into the 19th century and continued to attend Swedish language churches before the old ways died out. 

I have nothing but respect for the New Netherland project. I'm asking this question today because it's confusing to see a "New Netherland Settler" template with a Dutch flag on a profile of a Finn or Swede who settled in New Sweden and would have considered the Dutch his occupiers (not that some weren't mistreated by Printz). If the consensus is to fly the Dutch flag over these people, so be it, they did lose. Is there any way we can allow them some distinct identity though?  What about settlers who died before or during the Dutch takeover (at least four forefathers)? The Dutch flag doesn't make sense for them.

Thank you for helping sort this out, I appreciate it.  : )

WikiTree profile: Space:New_Sweden
asked Apr 24, 2016 in Requests for Project Volunteers by Heather Husted G2G6 Mach 2 (26,500 points)

H -

They can still be in both; they don't have to use the NNS project box (the one with the flag). To include a pre-1674 profile under NNS, just add [[Category:New Netherland Settlers]] instead of {{New Netherland Settler}} & go with your template (is that one final or are you still looking into which flag?).

I also noticed your project has a spreadsheet with some names ready to be PPP... I was going to offer to lock them for you, but I would need to also add what project they're protected under, which I would assume would be New Sweden. The Migrating Ancestor template isn't really the same thing as a project box, but I think using it in conjunction with a New Sweden category & also the Non-Migrating Ancestor template will serve to ID the project that is protecting the profile.

Hope all that made sense. Give a holler if it didn't!


P.S. I made the revisions to the definitions on the NNS criteria page I mentioned to you. Take a look at & let me know if that works for you.

Honoring the memory of Peter Stebbins Craig with a New Sweden project would be lovely. I have a fondness for the man. My husband lived in the Craig home for a few years during shich time he proposed to me on the 3rd floor. :-)
LIz, I'll interject my point here.  I think your revised definition of immigrant is fine, and properly inclusive, but the section right above that limits NNS to those who embarked from or were born in The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or their descendants.  Immigrants from Sweden, born in Sweden, would not qualify (even if their Swedish-flagged ship was captained by a Dutch sailor).
aha! I see the problem now. Sorry! I'll take a closer look at that. (And see if I can find the rationale from when that was decided.)
Thanks, Liz.  That's perfect.

Thank you for all your responses! I agree with Jim that the Swedes’ “genealogy, religion, language and inherited culture” are more important in some ways than the political entity they lived in. I don't mind being under the New Netherland wing if we can still keep them grouped distinctly.

What's I find so appealing about considering them as their own project is the manageable scale.  There were less than six hundred people in the colony when the Dutch took it and they typically married other Swedes/Finns, and had tons of kids with big families. There's been so much research already accomplished by the great Peter Craig, it's been fun to work on connecting these families. I love to take on a project small enough it's conceivable we could "finish" it.  Maybe some other SCS members or people with access to their archive would get on board. I’d also love to see us to do some DNA projects to prove/disprove some of the relationships where Craig made some educated guesses.

Two interesting things I read recently:

1. It was inevitable they lost the colony.

"The colonial enterprise New Sweden entered the scene late in comparison with the colonies that were to become its neighbors.  Three factors coincided so that this effort could be made by the Swedes. The initiative and in the beginning, part of the capital, came from Holland; it was possible to make use of the knowledge and experience of the Dutch West India Company concerning the Delaware River; and finally, in spite of their attempts, the Dutch and the English had not managed to gain a foothold on that waterway... The fact that so much of the Swedish colony's origins were dependent upon contributions of the Dutch most likely influenced the Dutch view of the colony as a parenthetical phenomenon which they would prevail over in time. Psychologically that may have also implied a handicap for the Swedish ability to retain the colony."

Source: The Rise and Fall of New Sweden, 57

2. Even when they lost, many things didn’t change.

“The Dutch did, however, strike a deal with the New Sweden settlers that they could retain sovereignty over the area north of the Christina River, having their own militia, their own religion and their own court, as long as they remained loyal to the Dutch government in New Amsterdam. The Dutch also offered to transport, at no cost, any of the Swedes wishing to return to Sweden.”

 Source: Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig. "The Toy and King Families of Sensamensing, New Jersey." Swedish Colonial News, 4, No. 2 (Summer 2010).

I like the idea of New Sweden (or New Sweden Settlers or New Sweden xyz) being a project on its own.  Of course it would link to both Sweden and New Netherland, but I agree that a few of us with the interest could get a lot of it done.

While waiting for a reply to get on a trusted list, I have begun compiling a bibliography of the New Sweden-related works of Dr Craig.  Besides the well-known monographs I have thus far identified 22 journal articles (mostly SCN), 20 of which I have copies of.  All but 2 or 3 relate to a single forefather & descendants.  So, to your point, this provides a huge start on 15% of the total -- an annotated, well-researched, and documented genealogy!

In other words, I'm in, whatever way we decide to do it, but I like the idea of a separate project.

6 Answers

+8 votes

Well there are several New Sweden Settlers that groups like the Holland Society also considers New Netherland Settlers. Additionally, many of the profiles in the People of New Sweden category on Wikipedia are also in the People of New Netherland category, like Mans Anderson

"For his own safety, Måns Andersson fled New Sweden for the new Dutch colony founded in 1651 near Fort Casimir, known as Swanwick (Swan Cove)."

"Andersson is last mentioned in the diary of a Dutch traveler, Jasper Danckaerts, who wrote, on 4 December 1679, that "towards evening we came to a Swede's named Mouns, where we had to be put across a creek, where we spent the night with him, and were entirely welcome. He and his wife and some of his children spoke good Dutch and conversed with us about various matters concerning the country.""

And while the government of New Netherland was Dutch, the settlers included many nationalities, including Swedes. My New Netherland Settlers include the Dutch, Norwegians, Belgians, French, Germans, English, and wherever Adam Brouwer came from. It was a melting pot.

answered Apr 24, 2016 by Carrie Quackenbush G2G6 Mach 7 (71,730 points)
Yes, some settlers would qualify for both projects, including Måns.
+3 votes

I agree with your leaning that New Sweden "belongs" with Sweden, although there is nothing wrong with having it linked to multiple projects. The genealogy, religion, language and inherited culture tie heavily to Sweden and Finland; the location and history in the New World are shared with New Netherland, and of course ultimately, the English colonies.

My reading of the New Netherland criteria for inclusion excludes almost all of the New Sweden immigrants.  The Sweden project Mission statement says it is "for those who seek to work on and improve profiles with a connection to Sweden" -- a much more inclusive mandate.

The mission statement for the New Sweden project identifies time and place, not national origin or cultural heritage.  My preference would be to redefine the mission to focus on the immigrants themselves.  The "Forefathers" as identified by the Swedish Colonial Society is certainly a part of this group (maybe the defining part).  


answered Apr 24, 2016 by Jim Angelo G2G6 (7,460 points)
Liz updated the criteria, Jim.  What do you think of it now?
We seem to be both replying in multiple sections of this thread.  I don't think Liz has done any revisions since her 'aha' comment at:
no - I was gearing up for my last of 6 consecutive (non-WikiTree) Saturday conferences & had to finalize some reports that took all my time. I just got back in from being out of town (and offline). I'll work on it tomorrow.

I don't recall the reason we were so specific on debarkation port - our intent was to be inclusive, so the revision will meet that intent.

Cheers, Liz
+4 votes

In view of the historical overlap between New Sweden and New Netherland, and the fact that New Sweden is not yet a full-fledged project, it seems to me that it would make sense to treat New Sweden as a subproject of New Netherland with its own template.

The New Sweden template could indicate "This person was a member of a New Sweden family" (or something like that) and "If you are interested in this profile, please check out the New Sweden Project, currently a subproject of the New Netherland Settlers Project!" That would clearly label it as a New Sweden profile, but alert people to contact the New Netherland Settlers Project if there is a question about project protection.

answered Apr 25, 2016 by Ellen Smith G2G6 Pilot (719,470 points)
But do I understand that the New Sweden settlement preceded New Netherland? That would seem to work against NS being a sub project of NN...

New Sweden was a latecomer to the colonial party, which was one of the reasons (along with lack of support from Sweden) that it didn't have time to build itself up to the much larger populations in colonies around them. 

"calculated number of inhabitants" in 1660

Virginia: 27,020
Maryland: 8,426
Delaware (Swedish): 540
New Amsterdam (Dutch): 4,996
Connecticut: 7,980
Rhode Island: 1,539
Massachusetts: 20,082
New Hampshire: 1,555
Total: 73,078

Population figures are from Dahlgren and Norman, 59; citing Simmons, R. C., The American Colonies: From Settlement to independence. Longman Group Limited, London, 1976, 24.

H. - Let me know what flag you want (or other image) & I can create a project box (template) that includes a link to New Sweden & adds Category:New Sweden to the profile.

Cheers, Liz


ah. Update: I had looked at the projects using the project box template & seen subprojects on the list. However, the subprojects have Project: pages (not Space: pages), which I found out when I went to do a mockup for you & got a "doesn't exist" link for Project:New Sweden.

However, I can do a template for you that looks like a project box:


... ... ... belongs to a New Sweden family.
If you are interested in this profile,
please check out the New Sweden Project!

hmm. That looked right in edit, but not when I saved the message. See a correctly displayed version here.

Thank you so much, that template looks great.  What code do you use to generate it?

Sorry for the delay - I was out.

I borrowed the coding from the Project Box template. It's now its own template. You can add {{New Sweden}} to a page & it will display the template.

I think you have to be a Leader to edit the template page. But let me know of any changes you want to & I can make them for you. The template currently adds Category:New Sweden. Let me know if you're ok with that. It's easily removed, or changed.

Cheers, Liz


+3 votes
Hi again!

I proposed a change to NNS criteria in a separate G2G discussion. Please see

answered May 1, 2016 by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (251,060 points)

I opened a can of worms over in that other discussion. For now, I've added a footnote to the Criteria page that clarifies New Sweden settlers can be in the NNS project & links to your project page.

P.S. I only got through two New Sweden profiles that were on the doc as having the correct LNAB before I realized the first one shouldn't have been PPP since it was not the lowest number with the correct LNAB. I'll get back to the list tonight or tomorrow. If New Sweden project members want to search for duplicates & note on the spreadsheet that the WikiTree ID listed has been confirmed as lowest-numbered one with correct spelling/styling, that'd be great! (See this bit on the Merging help page for more info.)

+4 votes
I can understand if you want it to be its own project. What I don't see is why you would have to choose either NNS or Sweden... being related to some of the people who were a part of new Sweden and being a Swede I feel strongly connected to New Sweden. :)
answered May 3, 2016 by Lena Svensson G2G6 Mach 4 (44,090 points)

I dont see the benefits of belonging to another project. Isnt it just to ask on G2G if you need Swedish resources....

Sweden and Netherlands had a lot of connections

I read in a rather new Swedish book Herman Lindqvist "Våra kolonier" eng. our colonies. That people from the Netherlands did build the Swedish harbour in Gothenburg 1600 and that Netherland was the role model for Sweden. All well educated people spoke dutch also the Swedish queen Kristina and that the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf had a 6 hour long meeting with Willem Usselincx (swe wikipedia Runeberg Uppfinningarnas bok) who convinced him to move west to expand the Swedish kingdom.... 

Peter Minuit met 1635 Axel Oxenstierna and on the first two ship "Kalmar Nyckel" and "Fågel Grip" half of the crew was from Holland. Both the commanders of the ships were from the Netherlands....


Painting: Peter Minuit with the Swedish soldiers 

Yes they did and and very interesting Magnus, those days just as English is nowadays, low saxon was the language that was spoken those days by almost all . (it's still spoken in the area where I live ;) )

Now I can only speak for the Dutch Roots Project of course, a lot of Dutch indeed traveled all over the world and we agreed on just adding these Dutch emi/immigrants to the NNS project, the Cape of Good Hope Dutch emi/immigrants are added to the Cape of Good Hope project etc. we can add just a category and they all are added to the Dutch Roots Project as well. And best thing is, we all are working on them together to get them all sourced and improved, lineages corrected, duplicates merged and we really love it . 

Main and most important thing of course is that these profiles are looked after, get improved and sourced, duplicates merged and so on. If all projects collaborate we can keep things very simple I think. No need to bombard profiles with more than one or two templates, a template for the most proper project and if needed categories for the other projects the profile also could fall or falls under as well. So KISS is also very important..

No need to bombard profiles with more than one or two templates.... 

Maybe we should start using templates for non graphic things as the intention was when they were designed back in 2005 ;-)

Cool template usage at other wiki places. Think Wikitree would benefit using the same when navigating between free space pages and categories in Wikitree... and maybe also between important people. One navigational template could be members on ship xxx. As they can be collapsed they don't take any space...

Now that's really cool Magnus and of course if I understand this correct that is, it would reduce the amount of categories on top of the profiles as well . :D

yes and no Bea... 

My understanding is that lesson learned was that categories are great for "inbound" links BUT jumping between them is not user friendly ==> that God invented navigational boxes..... to make wiki people happy

Lesson learned why using categories is not the best tool in the toolbox and that you need navigational boxes  (see also)

  1. When you get too many clicks to find a category....
  2. You don't get the overview of a structure e.g. category Sweden had about 12 levels when I checked. A normal user get lost after 3 levels.......
  3. Often many things are related and it's difficult to fit this one thing to more category structures in a nice way ==> easier with one or more navigational boxes e.g.
    1. Swedish Colonies
    2. Zijbalk_Nieuw-Nederland
  4. Navigational boxes can look complex but by hiding them /Collapse makes it less frustrating for not so advanced users

==> So people started create templates for easier navigation =  create Navigational templates

Question: Can we use them inside Wikitree?

  1. Chris need to decide if it's inside/outside the template policy
  2. If we should have collapse/expand I think we need to add some server side Javascript common.js
  3. And then do the work. I think we can copy a lot from Family Search as they don't use a LUA module that Wikipedia has ==> a navigational box inside Family Search will work at Wikitree

How to use them?



+4 votes

Thanks for sharing this. I also had never heard of New Sweden. I had to look it up and because of you I learned something new. Cheers!

answered May 31, 2016 by Rod DuBois G2G6 Pilot (162,400 points)

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