Here is our recent interview with Kathy Meade, the North American representative for ArkivDigital, a Swedish company that provides online access to newly photographed color images of Swedish historical records. ArkivDigital also operates an online tree service.
Ian, EasyGenie: Thanks for taking part in the interview, Kathy. What should newbies know about researching Swedish genealogy?
Kathy, ArkivDigital: To jump the pond, one must know the ancestor’s parish of origin, a significant date, and the Swedish name. Unique characteristics of Swedish research are naming conventions, geography, and the Swedish alphabet.
What sorts of Swedish genealogy resources are on ArkivDigital to help people who do not have Swedish language skills?
Kathy: ArkivDigital’s goal is to make Swedish research easier and faster. The biggest challenge for English and Swedish researchers is reading the old handwriting. The website has a knowledge section that includes a Swedish/English glossary and links to YouTube videos in English and the English blog.
The company is indexing many collections, such as church books, estate inventories, military collections, and census records. The church book index records (birth, marriage, death, and household) partially transcribe the record with English headings.
Does the ArkivDigital Swedish genealogy collection include records that can't be found elsewhere?
Kathy: Swedish records can be found on the National Swedish Archives of Sweden and FamilySearch. These latter sites are free, but the images are of the scanned microfilms. ArkivDigital’s images are clearer than the other sites because its images are newly photographed, instead of microfilm scans.
In addition, we are indexing many of the collections by names such as the church books and estate inventories (probate records), military collections, and others. We have a partnership with MyHeritage, so some of ArkivDigital’s records are on MyHeritage.
What is the drawback of digitized microfilms of old Swedish genealogy archives vs. new digital scans? Isn’t the data the same?
Kathy: The data is the same, but the newer images are much clearer. The data is blurred in many of the digitized images from the microfilms, and one can’t decipher the letters. Sometimes, it is impossible to read the digitized image of the microfilm.