Anna, can you supply some more information? I don't want to seem like
I'm talking down to you, but the problem with Scandanavians is that ,
unlike our last names, their last names changed generation by generation
because they took their father's first name as their last name, adding
-son or dotter as appropriate. Quite literally they were John's son or
So, for example, my husband's grandfather's name was Peter Peterson, but
HIS father's name was Peter Gustavson. And his wife's name was
Constantia Gustavson. Confusing--yes!!
Another problem is that unlike the United States, Sweden maintained
excellent records on local levels as far back as the 1600s. These
records were kept by the local parish. So, when you consider the
difficulties created by ever-changing last names, and the large number
of identical names like Peter Peterson it is really important to know
where and when your Swedish ancestor was born.
When I went to Sweden to research my husband's grandmother's family I
was so glad that I had thought to bring along my genealogical summary
sheet for her because it listed her birthdate, the place she was born
and who her parents were. With that information it took no time at all
for the gentleman assisting researchers in the National Archives
(Stockholm) to locate Grandmother Anna Peterson's birth record. He sent
me to the Immigrant Institute in Vaxjo (sorry, this is supposed to have
some little dots over the vowels but I do not yet know how to make my
computer write them) where another set of assistants soon set me up with
the microfilm to research her family and the records of their emigration
to the United States.
But I saw several people from the States come in, stay a few hours in
ever-increasing frustration and then leave because they did not have
birthdate or birthplace information for their ancestors.
So, my advice to you and to anybody else who would like to do Swedish
research, is to see if you can locate US records first that give you
birthdate and birthplace. Immigration records, U.S. Census records,
naturalization records, voter records, obituaries, death certificates,
even old documents still in family hands ought to pin down that specific
information, and it will make researching in Sweden so much easier.
I am probably not the best person to explain Swedish genealogy to
anybody, since I am not very far along with the study of it, but I do
have the advantage of having lived in Europe for a number of years, plus
traveling to the Scandanavian countries often, and having several close
Scandanavian friends. (Though I must confess most of them are
A side note: as I understand it, there is considerable difference in
names that end in -sen and names that end in -son, because the Danes
ususally use -sen, while the Swedes usually use -son.
I think I will make a little study of places where one can post Swedish
or Scandanavian queries and post it to this list when I get it all
Hope this has been helpful to you.
Looking for JACOBSEN or JACOBSON who change there name to Polander before
coming to the USA. Any help would be greatly appreciated Thanks in advance.
CaGenWeb County Coordinator--Fresno & Kings Counties
JonJan Felines--American Shorthairs & American Wirehairs