Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New Records for my Swedish-American Ancestors

Anna Olivia Johnson, Selma Josefina Carlin, Mathilda Alfina Johnson

One of the many blogs that I read regularly is Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings. Among his regular features is a weekly post with new and updated record collections at Ancestry. Well, I must not have read his May 6th post very closely because I missed a new record set for my Swedish-American ancestors: U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Swedish-American Church Records, 1800-1946. Luckily for me, I stumbled on it yesterday but I'll have to be sure to read those posts more closely from now on.

I was very excited to find these records for two reasons. My Swedish ancestors settled in Manchster, Connecticut. A few years ago I was able to get into the vaults in their Town Hall during a Family History Day to look through their index books but discovered that the actual records are $20 a pop. This new record set gives me a lot of the same information in a different context, with additional information like the baptismal dates and burial dates that would not be found on the civil records.

Second, like Lutheran churches in Sweden, the affiliates of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in America kept member lists and recorded when people joined the church as well as when immigrants entered the United States. For years I have searched in vain for any records pertaining to my great-grandmother Mathilda Alfina Johnson's immigration to the United States, now I have a big clue that I hope will help.

Click to enlarge

I knew from oral history that Alfina came with her sister Anna and their friend Selma, now I have this church record that confirms the same immigration date for the three women. Having a possible date is also huge, obviously, and confirms what I suspected, that if they sailed to New York and arrived on September 5, 1890, as stated above, they would have come through the Barge Office, the first federal immigration processing center which opened in April of 1890.

Although there is still much information that I need to confirm with other sources, I am very happy to have these records for now and the clues they have provided!

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