ArkivDigital announced yesterday that many of the church books that they photographed this past summer in the Midwest are now available through their subscription service. After a cursory review of what’s available, I can’t wait to dig in! I’ve seen bits and pieces of many of these books before, but it is so awesome to have them all organized and accessible.
Here’s some of the research projects I am already planning:
- The collection for Grace Lutheran Church in Swedeburg includes a ledger of books that were borrowed from the church’s library from 1894 to 1912. Browsing through the listings, I see Clara Brodd and Eulie Olson both borrowed books, along with many other relatives. I’m going to tabulate what books everyone was reading!
- Glancing through the Grace Lutheran books, I’ve noticed that the vast majority of these Lutheran immigrants came from Sweden’s Skåne County. I’m curious how that compares to the Mission Friends/Covenant membership. I’m wondering, for example, were the Skåne immigrants in Saunders County more likely to be Lutherans than Småland immigrants? I’ll be looking at Swedeburg Covenant and Bethlehem (Waverly) Covenant, too, where the Rudeen family first attended.
- I’ll be looking closely for other people that came from the same parishes that my ancestors came from. They might be relatives!
- The Ceresco Covenant baptism register is well organized and easy to read. Just or fun, I’m going to look at the sponsors (godparents) for all my relatives and see what patterns emerge. At first glance, it looks like Walt and Anna Rudeen were extremely popular.
- There are lots of meeting minutes and I can see various relatives mentioned here and there. Usually they’re just being appointed to a committee or something, but I already found some juicy stuff about Christian Pearson, stay tuned!
There’s a lot to learn about my favorite elusive relative Eulie Olson (nephew of Johanna Nilssdotter Pearson). I’ll be able to trace him from Swedeburg to Omaha and from Omaha to Chicago! I think I’ll be able to fill in some more blanks about his mother Bengte, too.
- In addition to church records in Nebraska, there are also records from Minnesota available. Christian Pearson had two brothers that settled in Minnesota, and Gustafva Brodd had a brother who settled there. I’m looking forward to tracking them down!
These are just a few ideas I’ve got cooking after only 24 hours since the records were released! These are going to keep me busy for months!