Newsletter no 22
Malsta church, located right outside Norrtälje, is one of many ancient churches in Sweden.
This one was built around 1200.
Photo: Marie Louise Bratt
Gott Nytt År!
(Happy New Year)
Of course, the year is no longer quite new, and the days are already visibly longer here in Norrtälje, Sweden. The sun is rising higher in the sky every day and is no longer hanging sleepily right above the horizon. Snow finally covers the ground after a slow beginning of the winter.
What's in this newsletter?
1. Let's talk about research in Stockholm!
... because it is quite different to research in other parts of Sweden.
2. Why did they leave
3. Our trips in 2007
This map of Stockholm might also be helpful in orienting yourself to the city. You can zoom into the different regions of Stockholm as I tell you about each one.
Many Swedes, in the late 1800s, moved to Stockholm when life in the small villages where they lived became too hard. They probably hoped for an easier life in the big city, but were met by a place quite different from the welcoming city of today. There were few jobs and few places to live. Your great-grandmother probably had to share her room with people she did not even know. Food was scarce as well. Many decided, after some time, to leave the misery behind and emigrate to Nord-Amerika, Australien or Nya Zeeland (North America, Australia or New Zealand).
If your your ancestor
lived in Stockholm for some time, you will be interested in the excellent records
available at Stockholm Stadsarkiv, perched
high up on a hill at Kungsholmen in Stockholm. Much of their material is
available on CDs, which I'll tell you about below.
Even without understanding Swedish, you can
access their impressive list of archives, which includes schools, children's homes, homes
for the elderly, organizations etc.
Perhaps most interesting is
which includes over half a million people who lived in
Stockholm: name, date and place of birth,
occupation, other members of the household, and more.
On this website you will also find Register till mantalsuppgifter, somewhat like a census. The most extensive one is from 1855, but you can also try the information from 1800 to 1879.
Gamla Stan (Old
Södermalm (the parishes of Maria and Katarina) is another island located south of Gamla Stan. Most of the very poor settled here, hoping to find a place where they could make a living. Many gave up, because of awful conditions, and decided to leave their country, usually forever. This CD includes about half a million people who lived at Södermalm during the years 1878 to 1926.
The CD includes postings for years 1878 to 1926, for around 200 000 people, with information about the household, the address and any moves.
If you would like to buy the CDs, or one of them, please contact Sveriges släktforksarförbund.
Why did they leave?
"But how could they leave this beautiful country?" you told me as we traveled through Småland or Västergötland past red houses and gorgeous flower gardens. There were many reasons, but mostly hunger, lack of work and miserable living conditions. When crop failures occurred, especially during the 1860s and 1870s, hunger was everywhere. Even when harvests were good, life became increasingly difficult when the population grew. Many children died in infancy, but an increasing number survived, with improved food, hygiene, and the vaccination against smallpox.
The oldest son of the family usually took over the
farm, while younger ones had to find work and a
place to live elsewhere. A small cottage, torp, with a garden for
growing a few potatoes made survival possible, but
difficult. Many families decided to sell what they had and emigrated, most often to
Our trips 2007
You might consider doing this trip with others in your family, perhaps your brothers or sisters, your parents, or even your children if they are old enough, making possible a real reunion of this family that was broken up so long ago! Because many Swedes, especially older ones, don't speak English, we'll be available to translate during your stay. My American husband, Lonny, is picking up the Swedish language. Since I grew up in Sweden, but lived in the US for many years, both languages are familiar to me.
The research has to start early in order to find out where your grandparent or great grandparent lived. Not only do we need to find the area and the village, but also the farm or homestead. The house might not be there after all these years, but you probably still want to stand where it was, and see the old stone wall and the apple trees that are still there. Your relatives might live in the area, perhaps even still on the same farm, but they might also now live in the closest town, or even in a big city. Make sure to find them well before your planned trip. Remember that research takes a lot of time.
I hope you have found this newsletter interesting and useful. If so, please send it to family and friends. If you no longer would like to receive it, please let me know and I'll immediately take your name off my list of subscribers.
I wish you an invigorating winter, perhaps with snow, but at least with weather for walking, bicycling and other fun activites. I'll get back with you again in the spring, when buds and flowers appear.