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From the Ancestry Daily News
  Michael John Neill – 9/3/2003

Anders' Son and Erik's Daughter: Part II

This week, we continue our work on the family of Samuel Johnson, a late nineteenth century immigrant from Tjärstad, Sweden. I will address a few housekeeping items from last week before our analysis continues.

Where Does the Apostrophe Go?
The name of the father was accidentally changed in the title last week. Last week's article, Ander's Son and Erik's Daughter, contained a misplaced apostrophe. The location of the apostrophe implies that the first name is Ander, when it is actually Anders. A quick perusal of the records I had copied showed the name as "Anders" every time (such consistency is fortunate). A Swedish reader also gently pointed out that Anders is the spelling used the vast majority of the time. We won't get into a detailed discussion of apostrophes here, but let it suffice to say that the placement of an apostrophe should not change the original spelling of the name.

Do Not Skip Around
Our discussion last week focused on some records that happened to be at my local Family History Library. As I continue work on this family, I will make certain to view all extant clerical registers for the Tjärstad parish, not just the ones that happened to be at my local Family History Center. This way, I will not overlook children who died at a young age and other potential clues. A hit and miss approach may be how this research was unintentionally started, but it should not be how this research (or any research) continues. After all, if this were an American family, we would expect to locate them in as many census records as possible. For this Swedish family, we should do the same with the clerical registers.

Back to Johan and Anna Lisa
For the family of Johan Sund and Anna Lisa Eriksdotter, I used the most recent Husförhörslängd (clerical register) entry I had as a place to begin my work on the family. Earlier and later entries may indicate additional children or provide other clues, but this will get me started. Keep in mind these registers are a rough equivalent to census records, but are significantly more detailed.

Summarized information from the Husförhörslängd (Clerical Register) for 1866 through 1872:

Johan Sund, born Tjärstad 1822
married 1849
Anna Lisa Eriksdotter, born Tjärstad 1829

Alexander, born Tjärstad 1850
Erik Oscar, born Tjärstad 1852
Wilhelm, born Tjärstad 1854
Salomon, born Tjärstad 1856
Pehr Gustaf, born Tjärstad 1858
Daniel, born Tjärstad 1860
Mathilda Charlotta, born Tjärstad 1863
Carl Johan, born Tjärstad 1865
Samuel Otto, born Tjärstad 1867

I now have an excellent overview of the family. One could use the Husförhörslängd entry to complete a quick tentative (not final) family group chart while researching. Another approach (more geared for "on the fly" research) is to make a second copy of family's Husförhörslängd entry and mark it "working copy." This way my original copy has not been altered and I can use the "working copy" for making notes while doing actual research. Using second copies of these entries as rough family group charts will save me time while actually using the microfilm and reduce confusion on my part.

This entry will particularly help me to search records of baptisms and marriages. The baptismal records may provide additional clues, specifically names and residences of godparents who are likely relatives and possibly siblings of the parents. The clerical registers may also help me in tracking down these ancestral siblings as well.

There was a column in the Husförhörslängd headed by a word I did not expect to see. The word, "kopper," is not a slang word for a policeman or a reference to the pots in the family's kitchen. It has an entirely different meaning and its translation caused me to go on a quick history lesson.

It means "smallpox."

So although one may say the Sund family members were shot, we are not talking about guns here. The members of the Johan Sund family received a shot. The 1866-1872 Husförhörslängd entries in this column contained a "v" for every family member, indicating that they had been inoculated against smallpox.

To be perfectly honest, I had forgotten whatever I had learned about smallpox in school, so I went on a quick Google search ( to see what I could learn about the history of smallpox vaccinations; there were several hits. Those who wish to brush up on the history of smallpox and vaccinations would do well to read a posting on the site of the American College of Physicians ( ). There are other sites, but this reference provides an overview of the history of smallpox and the vaccinations. It was interesting reading in and of itself, and it reminded me of just how devastating this disease has been for much of recorded history. Again, the pursuit of genealogy sent me on a history lesson.

Back to the Records
As mentioned last week, About Parish Records ( ), hosted at Umeå University's website contains excellent detailed reading material regarding these records. It includes explanations derived from representative record samples.

An additional advantage to using the records (at least during the era I was working in) is that they were kept on ledgers with the column headings already printed. This made translating certain parts of the entry significantly easier.

Getting to the Baptisms
There was more to search than just the clerical registers and I was anxious to research vital records as well. The Husförhörslängd entry for the family made searching baptismal and marriage records easier. I was able to find baptismal entries for all the children of Johan and Anna Lisa. The baptismal record for son Alexander is typical.

Alexander, son of Johan Sund and Anna Lisa Ericsdotter [sic] was baptized in October of 1850 in Tjärstad. Johan is listed as a "Torp" which is an abbreviation for a torpare, which is a tenant farmer. The godparents are listed as "Alex. Ericsson, Sara [Nytteen?], And. Jonson, and Anna Jonsdotter." Anna Lisa had a brother Alexander, and the "Alex." listed as a godfather is likely that Alexander.

I found it easiest to make a photocopy of each entry instead of hand copying it. In pencil on each copy, I made a notation of the page number, month, and year of each entry. That information was not obvious on the photocopy of each page, and it would be easy to mix up all the copies later. These notations are best done as the copies are made, not after.

A Farmer Is a Farmer Is a Farmer
Well, not exactly. After all, Johan Sund was listed as a tenant farmer, not a landowning one. Keep in mind that while some words may translate loosely to "farmer," there may be additional connotations to the word as well. The word may mean farm laborer, tenant farmer, or farm owner. Of course a farm laborer will not be typically considered of the same social class as a farm owner and an ancestor who is a farm laborer may move more frequently than one who is a farm owner. Farming is just one occupation where the word used to indicate the occupation might mean more than just the occupation.

Summing it Up
In a later column, we will return to the records of Johan's family. Those wishing to start their Swedish research are reminded to:

--- Locate the parish as precisely as possible
--- Read the LDS Research Guides for Sweden at:
--- View the Swedish Word List at the LDS site
--- Start with the Husförhörslängd if available for the desired parish
--- Consider posting questions to the Swedish genealogy list, which can be subscribed to at:

Copyright 2003, Michael John Neill is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is the Web columnist for the FGS FORUM and is on the editorial board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. He conducts seminars and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry and Genealogical Computing. You can email him at: "mjnrootdig @", or visit his website at: , but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.

Copyright 2003, All rights reserved.

Used by the author on his website with permission.  


Cradled in Sweden, by Carl-Erik Johannson is an excellent book on Swedish research and has been very helpful to me in my work on my wife's Swedish Roots.













































































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