A new book has become available in recent months that will appeal to anyone researching Swedish ancestry. Your Swedish Roots; A Step By Step Handbook by Per Clemensson and Kjell Andersson fills a gap in genealogy how-to books. Several million Americans of Swedish descent live in the United States today, but a step-by-step genealogical handbook of Swedish-American genealogy research has not been available until now. Clemensson and Andersson's new book aims to fill this void.
The two authors have years of Swedish genealogy research. Per Clemensson has worked at the Regional Archive in Gothenberg as a senior archivist. He is a leading lecturer and writer in the Swedish genealogical field. Kjell Andersson is a journalist and history major from the University of Stockholm.
Per Clemensson and Kjell Andersson have collaborated before on genealogy and local history research books. Their Swedish genealogical handbook (Släktforska steg för steg) is the leading such handbook in the Swedish market. They also co-authored a book on Swedish emigration to the United States, called Emigrantforska steg för steg.
In the new English-language book, Your Swedish Roots; A Step By Step Handbook, Per Clemensson and Kjell Andersson describe both the ease and the difficulties of researching Swedish records in both countries. They point out that the Swedish sources and archives are very complete. The country has not had a war in nearly 200 years, and very few fires or other disasters have occurred. Most of the records are in good order and easy to find. The most commonly used church records are even available today on the Internet.
The difficulties of Swedish genealogy revolve primarily around the language. Many Americans of Swedish descent did not learn the mother tongue when growing up. Even among those who did, some never learned to read or write Swedish, even though they can converse in the language. Another challenge is the naming patterns; there are scores of Anderssons, Johanssons, Carlssons and Nilssons. Even if you find a person of the right name, it may be difficult to determine if you have the correct person. Finally, old Swedish handwriting can be difficult to decode, even for the skilled Swedish researcher. Clemensson and Andersson offer many hints of how to deal with these impediments.
The authors describe Swedish emigration, naming patterns, archives, passenger lists, and much more. The following is a list of chapters:
- A Name on a Gravestone
- Clues to Your Family's History
- The Emigration from Sweden to America
- How to Find the Place of Origin in Sweden
- Swedish Names and Swedish Spelling
- Where to Find Your Sources
- The Rapp Family in U.S. Sources
- Gustaf Adolf Rapp's Family
- Anna Christina Carlsson's Family
- Finding Your Ancestor in Swedish Passenger Lists
- Early Emigration
- Traveling with the Swedish American Line
- Old Records
- Finding Your Family in Sweden Today
- Prepare for a Trip to Sweden
- Meeting the Swedish Family
- Swedish Provinces
The book also includes an extensive 6-page index.
I found Your Swedish Roots to be easy to read and filled with facts. The authors obviously have expert knowledge of the material and are able to convey it clearly to English-speaking readers. This is an excellent reference book. If you are interested in Swedish ancestry, you need this book!
Your Swedish Roots; A Step By Step Handbook by Per Clemensson and Kjell Andersson is published as a collaborative venture by Ancestry.com and Genline AB. This 222-page hardcover is available in most bookstores if you specify ISBN 1-59331-276-8. It is also available from Ancestry.com for $24.95 and from Genline for $24.95.