The most loved song in Värmland is probably this one,
du sköna, here sung by one of Sweden's wellknown singer,
Jussi Björling. Perhaps you recognize this song from when your
grandmother sung it when you were a child. While you are listening,
perhaps you could study the
map of Värmland - if this is where your family came from, to
find the area where they lived. These are wonderful old maps, many
from the latter part of the 1800. You'll need a small program in
order to use these maps, which you can get from
Emigration, and immigration, is
nothing new to the people of Värmland. Many Finns immigrated from
the counties of Savolax and Tavastland, in Finland, to Värmland,
hundreds of years ago. They were called "skogsfinnar" (Finns of the
forest) and settled the uninhabited areas of northern and western
Värmland. Nobody cared much that those strangers came to Värmland,
since there was lots of space for everyone. So your Värmland family
might originally have come from Finland!
Värmland borders on Norway and Swedes
from Värmland often crossed the mountains to work. Many also found a
wife or husband on the other side of that border. Southern Värmland
borders on the largest lake of Sweden, Vänern, and this is also
where two of the biggest cities,
are located. Now, when I say that
these are big cities, don't imagine highways and skyscrapers,
because you will not find either one. These are instead very
pleasant communities, with old churches, houses and narrow streets.
Karlskoga, an important mining
town, is located in the eastern part of Värmland. When mines failed,
in the late 1800's, workers lost their jobs and many miners found
work in other countries. By 1920 only a few big iron works remained.
Karlskogaemigrationen is a website, in Swedish, about the
emigration from Karlskoga. But it's in Swedish - how will you
understand? Read on, please!
There is a translation program, which
works quite well, made by Google (there are also others). Go to
Google översätt, and
enter the Swedish text into the space to the left. (The word
svenska means Swedish, engelska means English).
Just copy it and then paste it in that space. You will now get the
full translation in the space to the right. Magic, right? Here is my
entry, taken from Karlskogaemigrationen:
emigrantagent från Bjurtjärn
En av de mest kända och största emigrantagenterna, Frederick
Nelson (Fredrik Nilsson), kom från gården Näs i Bjurtjärn.
Även en bror till Frederick Nelson, J.O. Nelson (Johan Olof
Nilsson), var verksam i branschen.
emigrant agent from Bjurtjärn
One of the most famous and largest emigrant agents,
Frederick Nelson (Fredrik Nilsson), came from the
farm Nose in Bjurtjärn. A brother of Frederick
Nelson, J.O. Nelson (Johan Olof Nilsson), was active
in the industry.
Now back to a few more Värmland
north of the fertile peninsula of Värmlandsnäs, was populated
already during the Stone Age, i.e. around 6000 to 2000 before BC (or
BCE). These days there is a pulp mill - and yes, you do smell it as
you approach Säffle.
a beautiful town located right on Kyrkviken, the
400 years old, as a city, in 2011
Hagfors is instead a very young town, heavily influenced by
I want to thank Wikipedia for the use
of their information, in English, about so many Swedish cities and
Famous people from
Some of the emigrants from Värmland
became famous, e.g. Johan Eriksson (later spelled John Ericsson),
the well-known inventor, born in Långbanshyttan in Värmland. You
might enjoy listening th this original
presentation about John Ericsson from the University of
People from Värmland have the
reputation of being creative. Here are a few of those talented
Lagerlöf, from Östra Ämtervik, who received the Nobel Price of
Literature in 1909
Fröding, from Alster parish, a much loved poet.
Monica Zetterlund, from Hagfors parish. Yes, it's Ack Värmeland
du sköna, once more, but quite different from the one Jussi Björling
Genealogy in Värmland
If your family came from Värmland, I
suggest you try these interesting and useful research organizations:
Most records from Värmland
are stored here, and also scanned, giving all of us access to them.
This includes records up to year 1999, enen though all are not yet
scanned. The archives are located at Höökgatan 2, in Karlstad, for
those of you who would like to check out the original documents.
The Swedish American Center
is another research center in Karlstad that might interest you. All
Let me explain something about
Karlskoga: it's located in the province (landskap) of Värmland, but
in the county of Örebro. So your grandmother from Karlskoga might
call herself "värmlänning" (from Värmland), but her birth records
are located at Uppsala landsarkiv, in the drawer for Örebro län!
This is because Sweden is divided into counties (län) for
administrative purposes, but also into provinces (landskap), a more
historical term. Provinces (landskap) and counties (län) sometimes
have common borders, but at other times they do not.
You can find a link In English on
the left side of the page.
Bridge to Sweden
If you would like some help with finding your emigrant from Värmland
and don't really know where to start,
contact me and I'll try to help you.
2. Emigrants leaving
from Norway or Denmark
With Norway so close to Värmland,
many emigrated from Christiania, now called Oslo (since 1925), as
well as some smaller Norwegian ports close by. Those who left the
more northerly provinces, e.g. Jämtland, usually chose to leave from
Trondheim, in Norway, instead.
Many moved to Norway to find work
there, and emigrated to North America or to other parts of the world
at a later time. This means that many emigrants are not included in
databases such as Emihamn/Emigranten, which are based on documents
made at a Swedish port, such as Göteborg, just before boarding the
How to find those who emigrated from
Norway? Here are a few website that may help.
Chose the port you believe
your ancestor emigrated from (a map is helpful here), most likely
Christiania or Trondheim.
Here you will find passenger lists from
Norwegian ports from before 1875. A great website to learn from and
explore. Yes, most emigrants are Norwegians, but many Swedes are
And what about those leaving from
Copenhagen? There is a website, which can help:
The Danish Emigration
Click on Databases and enter what
you know about your emigrant.
Thinking of traveling to Sweden in 2012?
The research takes time, so don't
wait too long with getting it started. Sometimes you have to rely on
the Swedish archives in order to get the information and they are
usually very busy.
Before leaving for Sweden you will,
of course, want to know where your Swedish ancestors came from. If
both grandma and grandpa emigrated from Sweden, and then married in
another country, you need to find out where each of them grew up. It
could be that these places are located far from each other, perhaps
even in Lappland, for grandpa, and in Småland, for grandma. If so,
you have many kilometers to travel between these places.
You will also need to find the village where each of them lived, and
the farm or cottage or city house. The farm is probably still there,
and the cottage might now be used as a summer house for a family. If
grandma grew up in the city, the house might now be gone, but not
necessarily. So you need to find out. If it's gone, and a modern
house is there in its place, you might at least be able to find a
photo at the local museum or archives, and that is certainly also
very valuable. My mother was born in Göteborg, but the house has
been demolished and a day care center is there in its place. The
local museum had pictures though, and I was very excited to get
copies of them.
Next is finding your relatives in
Sweden, your grandma's sister's grandchildren perhaps, your second
cousins. I am sure that you would very much like to meet some of
them during your visit. I have accompanied many of you, my
customers, to meet your relatives, and it was always a great
experience. So how do you find them? This is where I can help you
(actually I can help you with finding your grandparents' villages
also). This part of the research is often more difficult and can
involve some detective work. I have lots of experince in finding
Swedish relatives and I'll be
to help you.