Hi Sharon, well, for starters...
Where were Gustaf and Helene married? I was thinking that they were
married in Norway when I first read this, then I thought maybe I had
misunderstood. Do I understand this right, that Gustaf came to the U.S.
from Oslo? Then he would have two emigration records, one from Sweden to
Norway at some early date (this would be in the Swedish emigration
institute records), and then one from Norway to the U.S. (don't know
about this one, but he may have gone through Hamburg, Germany, which was
sort of a leaping off place for most immigrants coming to the United
But let's suppose Gustaf and Helene were married in the U.S. That means
they came to the U.S. separately and there should be separate ships'
records, immigration records, and probably naturalization records on
I would try to backtrack to where you can find them--always climb back
down the family tree taking the branch nearest you first. It's really
hard to jump from today's information to 100 years ago. You need that
intermediate information to walk you into the right place to look.
Check state and federal census records, marriage records, death records,
obituaries--and for the obits, don't forget to look in the newspapers
published here in the U.S. for Swedish speaking people--cemetery
records, and probate records. Even the census records can give some
information, such as when they were naturalized.
What you are looking for is the parish and district your great
grandfather came from in Sweden. This is also usually mentioned in the
Swedish emigration records, which might be a good place to start looking
IF you know your great grandfather's name, the date of his departure
from Sweden (though maybe his arrival date would be close enough), his
approximate age, or the name of his ship, you can search through the
records to find individuals that fit. Obviously you don't need to know
all those things, but you've got to know at least some of them in order
to find the emigration record. Once you find his emigration record, it
will say where his Swedish residence was, and you could backtrack to the
parish records that would at a minimum give you his age, list any family
members living with him, and tell you where he was born.
The big thing with Swedish records is that they are mostly church
records, kind of an annual census that each church parish kept on the
people who lived within the parish--their names, ages, dates of birth,
dates of marriage, parent's names and the place they were born. When
somebody moved or emigrated, their name was crossed out of the parish
listing and a notation was made--"America" or wherever they moved to.
My knowledge of how to obtain microfiche or microfilm versions of these
records is just nonexistent because I did my research in Sweden,
however I feel fairly confident in saying that you can probably rent
or, in the case of a microfiche, purchase them through any LDS Family
History Center nearest you. These are in Swedish, however, and I
suppose you would need some grounding in words to look for at a minimum
to make any sense of them.
There are a couple of books that explain this and give complete
instructions on how to research Swedish ancestors that would be helpful
in this. I just stopped typing to see if I could locate my little
booklet--I purchased it in Sweden at the Emigrant Institute and it was
all I needed--on the subject, but I seem to have mislaid it for the
moment. The title is "Tracing Your Swedish Ancestor," by William Olsson
Another excellent book on the subject is "Cradled in Sweden: a Practical
Help for Research in Swedish Records," by Carl-Erik Johannson. I think
you might find it most valuable. Perhaps your local library can obtain
it for you on inter-library loan if it is not available where you live.
There is also a magazine--I believe it has the same name. Oh drat,I wish
I were better organized.
"The Source, A Guidebook of American Genealogy," has an excellent
capsule description of Swedish genealogical resources in the U.S. which
would be helpful to anybody undertaking a foray onto the Swedish
branches of their family tree.
Finally, it has recently been brought to my attention that Lutheran
Churches here in the United States often kept similar records among
their Swedish congregations (Swedes were usually Lutheran) so it might
prove worthwhile to search for those records too.
I believe it is always helpful to make a plan of attack for any
genealogical research. I ask myself "What do I want to know?" and make a
list of what facts I am looking for and where I might likely find them,
and what I have to do to get them. So, if I were doing your research, I
would want to know the following:
1. The names of this couple's children, birthdates, and places of
birth--from that I would try to obtain all the records I could that
might list something about their parents (birth records, christening
record, census, etc.)
2. The life facts of this couple--when and where married, hopefully get
a marriage certificate, church records, divorce records (if divorced),
obituaries, cemetery records, tax and voter records, naturalization
3. Individual immigration records
Then, using the knowledge obtained from these records, check the
Swedish and Norwegian records, where I would expect to find
4. Birthdate and place, siblings' names and dates, parents' names and
important dates, including marriage.
Maybe this is the wrong thing to say on the Swedish list, but I would
squeeze every bit of information out of the U.S. records before I set
out into the Swedish records. (Although surely once you get Swedish
records you will be able to find other U.S. records with the new
information they provide.)
Well, I'll bet this is thoroughly confusing. I'd better quit before you
and half the list throttle me.
Sharon D. Job wrote:
Looking for any information on Gustaff Almquist. Born September 4, 1832
in Sweden. Married Helene Regine Sorens from Norway. Came to the
United States from Oslo in 1871.
Can anyone give me any suggestions as to where I might begin looking in
Sweden. It is like looking for a needle in the haystack. That is how I
found the ship listing when they came out of Sweden. Thanks.
CaGenWeb County Coordinator--Fresno & Kings Counties
JonJan Felines--American Shorthairs & American Wirehairs