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Article posted: November 17, 1998

Genealogy Trip To Sweden
By: Ryan Taylor, Biography and Archived Articles

I was in Sweden recently for a genealogical event and another one led out of it.

The event was the christening of my new grandniece, first in the next generation of Taylors. Six of the only eight older living Taylors were there to see her launched on a splendid occasion in an eight-hundred year old church by the sea.

In the churchyard there my brother and I found many gravestones which included the dead person’s occupation ahead of their name. He told me that he had seen similar stones in Iceland earlier this year.

This struck us as a very good idea, and beneficial to genealogists. While some said merely ‘sailor’ or ‘fisherman’, others said ‘ship’s engineer’, ‘sea captain’ or ‘master builder’. One woman was identified as an organist and many of the men as church wardens.

While in Malmo (Sweden’s second city), I decided to call by their library to look over the genealogy collection. The building is a huge new place which seems to be mostly glass, everything visible from the outside. Within it is plain and simple, but busy with people and books.

I identified myself to the reference librarians and asked if there were general handbooks on Swedish genealogy. They showed me two (both in Swedish) and I asked if there were any in English. This might seem a dumb question, but almost everything there seems to be in both languages.

I was told no, so I settled down to examine the two books. Shortly afterward a senior librarian approached me and said they did have an English-language text. He showed me Angus Baxter’s In Search of Your European Roots (now out of print but available in many libraries).

The older Swedish-language book is entitled Lasebok for slaktforskare, by Henrik Andero (1979). I was intrigued by the many examples of older Swedish handwriting which Andero provides. For those who will be using Swedish Lutheran church records, these examples will be very helpful in deciphering difficult documents.

The second book was published in 1997 in a revised edition, so is very up-to-date. It is entitled Slaktforska steg for steg [Family history step by step], by Per Clemensson. I do not speak Swedish, but I found that with the help of a dictionary I could interpret a great deal of Clemensson’s advice. He does not provide the wonderful handwriting examples, but his information probably reflects the great changes in family history research over the past twenty years.

For those who have interests in Swedish genealogy, these books will be useful, and my advice is not to be too afraid of the language question. The Swedes are helpful and kind, and most everyone we met spoke English. (This was also true in Denmark.)

In addition, the LDS provides access to a great many Swedish documents via the IGI and its catalog. An assortment of Swedish-American associations (based principally in Minnesota) have also published information helpful to researchers, always in English.

Reading List (in English):

"Gallons of Milk"

Gallons of Milk: A book I came across recently published the accounts and journals of David Adams, a fur trader in the American west before 1850. Many of the entries in his accounts were for ‘1 gal. of milk.’ It might have struck readers as odd that Adams was such a big milk drinker, but the editor hastened to explain that this was Adams’ way of keeping his accounts straight but still concealing the fact that he was buying a great deal of liquor.

Cousin Found Me By Using Genealogy CDs!

One night recently the phone rang and I found myself talking to Jodie Edgar, an unknown cousin from Saskatchewan. She had found information I submitted to the Broderbund World family Tree Project, and called to say that we were fifth cousins (both descended from the same gt-gt-gt-gt-grandparents). Since these ancestors were born in Oxfordshire England in the 1730s, you can be sure our families have not been in touch for a while!

This is the second time I have been contacted by someone who found me using the Broderbund Family Archives CD information. The last one concluded with a decision we were probably related, but exactly how is unsure, but Jodie and I know exactly what's up with our relationship. I am sending her information in the mail and I hope to get the same from her.

My side of the family are all agricultural labourers and poor farmers, but Jodie's great-grandmother had a royal princess and a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria among her godmothers! I hope she doesn't mind our more humble relations.

Certificates for Framing Now From

(Editor's note: Mr Taylor published an article in the last issue of the Global Gazette about reproduction certificates. Below please find the article reprinted with new information about sourcing the certificates.)

Click here for more information An American company which finds attractive nineteenth century certificates, scans them, cleans them up and offers them for sale, has recently signed Global Genealogy & History Shoppe as a distributor.

Their biggest seller is an 1888 photo holder, with room for 10 portraits on an attractive tree.

There are also baptismal, marriage and first communion certificates, and a glamorous printing of the Lord’s prayer. These are good ideas for someone who wants to welcome a new baby or celebrate with some newlyweds.

Click here for more information You can get the newly printed version of the old certificate, fill in your friends’ names and present it to them, framed or unframed.

There is also a family register which looks like the inner pages of one of those old family bibles that were used for the same purpose

The paper used is acid-free, heavy archival stock. Any pen or marker can be used to add your own information.

To see a complete listing of available certificates and pictures of the prints, look on the web at

They are there in full color. If you have questions, you can call Global Genealogy & History Shoppe toll-free at 613-257-7878 or at 1-905-854-2176 if calling from outside of North America.

Books By Ryan Taylor

Across The Waters, Ontario Immigrants Experiences 1820 - 1850 - by Frances Hoffman & Ryan Taylor, 1999. Riveting first-hand accounts of the immigration and settlement experience, taken from the diaries and letters of 150 immigrants.

Routes To Roots, The Best of Ryan Taylor's columns from the Kitchener Waterloo Record, by Ryan Taylor 1997

More Family History Research Resources

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
(Pontiac County, Quebec)

The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)