Research Related Articles

Swedish Research By Janet Wahlberg, Fenton History Center Research Volunteer- Jamestown Gazette (May 1, 2017): Great news for those of you with Swedish ancestors, we now have Arkiv Digital at the Hall House. What is Arkiv, you ask? Arkiv is a great database that holds many types of records. The most used, especially for those just starting their family research, are the household records. These were recorded by the village pastor every year and included all family members’ birthdates, birth places, marriage dates, death dates, small pox vaccination info, confirmation records, information on members moving in and out of the parish, as well as miscellaneous notes.

Additional birth, marriage and death records are listed in a separate book and contain additional information that can point you in new directions for your research. The moving in and moving out records are a great asset in tracking where the family came from or moved to. At the end of each parish register you will find a list on non-existing people. These are folks who left the parish without the parish priest’s knowledge and permission.

Another record is the Estate Inventories which were required for all who died in Sweden. They can give you a great picture of the family’s circumstances. In my husband’s great-great-grandfather’s Estate Inventory, I found a record of a pair of brass candlesticks that have been handed down to the youngest son of each generation in my husband’s family. We currently have them but will be handing them down accompanied by their provenance.

There is still more. Many of us find the word “soldat” in the records. This of course means that the man was a soldier. Arkiv has muster records as well as other information on the “soldats.” Then there are court records that might be of use for those whose family members ran afoul of the law or brought a case against someone. The parish meeting records are just what they sound like. You might liken them to today’s church council records. There are also tax records. The list is very extensive as you can see.

On the website there are tutorials for all of us to use. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we now have this database at the Hall House and we have volunteers who can help you to get started on your journey of discovery. We also have a database titled Emibas which contains thousands of emigration records. For all of you who know that Granny came from Sweden but not what province, parish etc., this is a priceless resource. By putting in her birth date we can usually bring up a record that will not only tell us where is Sweden she came from, but it will tell us the page of the book to find the record and will list those she traveled with.

So come on over and search out your Swedish ancestors. Who knows, you may decide to take a trip to Sweden to look for the family farm or modern day cousins.

To read Janet Walberg’s previous genealogy columns or to delve deeper into her writings and insights for searching out and recording your own family’s genealogy, please go to and visit Janet’s own web page.

African-American Heritage By Janet Wahlberg, Fenton History Center Research Volunteer – Jamestown Gazette (April 3, 2017): For those with African American ancestry, research prior to the Civil War has been very challenging as those who were enslaved were rarely named in the records. Louis Gates on Finding Your Roots gave all of us a window into records that are available. However, many of them are hidden deep in libraries and archives that require travel or hiring a professional to navigate them. A recent magazine article introduces us to a great resource that has recently been upgraded and made easier to use.

In the January/February 2017 Family Tree magazine, published a terrific article titled Finding Freedom by Leslie Albrecht Huber. It is an in-depth description of the Freedman’s Bureau Records. These records have been available for many years at the National Archives but were not indexed so were very difficult to navigate. In 2015, Family Search led a project to index these records. They are now available and searchable on . These records link newly freed slaves to people and places from the slavery period. They cover the years from 1865-1872 and primarily cover the states that were part of the Confederacy. I highly recommend that you order a copy of the magazine as it contains much valuable information on what is available in the records as well as how to best use them. To order on-line go to Family Tree Magazine, select shop in the banner, then select Family Tree magazine, and then Family Tree Magazine Print Articles. This will open up a selection of issues that you can purchase. The cost for the January/February issue is $8.99. We do have one copy of the magazine at the Hall House that may be used on site.

The Hall House Research Library on Forest Avenue has other resources to help you. Included are an At A Glance Laminated Sheet, Black Roots: A beginner’s guide to tracing the African –American Family Tree, Bibliographic checklist of African-American newspapers, and Genealogies of African- American families in southwestern New York State 1838-1955 among others.

In addition we have a volunteer there every day Monday thru Saturday to offer assistance as well as computers that are available for your use and include an Ancestry membership that may be used by patrons. There is a modest charge to use the library of $10/day or an annual membership for $40/person that allows you to search every day that the library is open for a year as well tour the Fenton Museum. There are other special membership rates for students, seniors and families. Call 664-6256 for more information. Please join us and begin the search for your family today.

To read Janet Walberg’s previous genealogy columns or to delve deeper into her writings and insights for searching out and recording your own family’s genealogy, please go to and visit Janet’s own web page.

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