Thursday, May 7, 2009

RESEARCHING MY SWEDISH GENEALOGY-PART2- "Strategic Study Plans and Finding the Records"



Finding elusive and unknown ancestors can pose quite a challenge to those of us who are genealogists, but study and planning ahead can be the key to success. In Part1 of "RESEARCHING MY SWEDISH GENEALOGY, Using Maps To Lay a Foundation"- I covered my strategies for using maps to aid in this venture. Here in Part 2, I will give some tips about old handwriting that have helped me to prepare for what I hope will be a successful search for my husbands ancestors when I soon make the trek to Salt Lake City for research.

My family only has two old photos of our Swedish ancestors. These have been handed down through several generations but unfortunately they lack much as to identification of our loved ones. These two photos and other scant information have founded the basis for my search to find our Swedish ancestors. The LARSON and ANDERSON patronymic names will be my starting point.

The old Swedish language differs somewhat from the modern language so I have chosen to learn as much as possible about the language as used prior to about 1900. For about a year I have been studying this beautiful language and samples of old handwriting. The goal is to have the best chance for successful record transcription when I can search old church files or film. Many useful research tools are available but these are a few I have found to be excellant help, primarily for Swedish handwriting, and language study. All are simple enough for the beginner, yet offer very good information.

1.--A recent article in the 2009 January issue of Family Tree Magazine, titled "Writing Riddles". This has some very good basic information.

2.--"Your Swedish Roots" A Step by Step Handbook. Written by Per Clemensson and Kjell Andersson. This hardbound book has excellant information for those researching Swedish Ancestors.

3.--Family Search.org offers a great General Word List with translations. I printed the entire list off to study it often.

In addition, The Family Search site has a lot of great research titles under the heading of SWEDEN. I took time to look at them all, there is a wealth of info there to help researchers. After reading all their titles, you can then go to the catalog to find the call numbers and details of what ever records you might want to search. Print them off and take them along on your trip to the Family History Library. The book "Your Swedish Roots" is superb, I have reviewed it several times and it has a wonderful glossary and other information in the back of the book. In addition to these sources I have compiled my own word and phrase lists as I have found something of interest that was not included in these other sources. There are several good online translators for these. I like Freedict and Lexin2. Both have worked fairly well for me and are easy to use.

I have studied all these sources and others along with old maps as explained in Part 1 of my "RESEARCHING MY SWEDISH GENEALOGY, Using Maps To Lay a Foundation". Learning the words, their meanings, handwriting styles, and writing shortcuts will be a big asset to successful researching. Practicing what I learned by reading a few old Swedish films at a local Family History Center helped me to know what areas I still needed more study in. I want my trip to the Family History Library to be successful with lots of good record discoveries in the limited time I have.

My sister-in-law, Ruby Coleman, and I will soon head to Salt Lake City for 8 days of intense research. We will make several stops on the way to do even more at other locations. Check out one of her blogs: Genealogy Lines and her latest blog post "Genealogists At Work-Do Not Disturb". She has some really great tips on planning ahead for a research trip to Salt Lake City. She has guided me on setting up a research notebook with an outlined strategy for finding my records. Ruby has been on the trail of ancestors for over 50 years now and offers great professional, albeit lighthearted tips for research strategies on her blog. All of these mentioned tactics combined with learning my historical context, studying old handwriting and learning words commonly used in records will make for a successful and hopefully enjoyable trip.

I invite you to follow along with Ruby and I on THE YOU GO GENEALOGY GIRLS blog (Grannies on the Go!) while we are traveling, having fun and researching for the next 20 days or so.

Watch for Part 3 of "RESEARCHING MY SWEDISH GENEALOGY, Successes and Conclusions" back here on my blog. I will let everyone know if my strategic plans for finding records and interpreting them has paid off and how my plans were put to work.

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