About this project

I am assembling this database in order to investigate the story of the early Swedes in Jamestown, New York. My basic questions include:

  • Why are the histories so silent about these first immigrants? Were they ignored or forgotten?
  • How successful were these early Swedish immigrants? 
  • How difficult were their experiences (i.e., mortality rates, poverty, insanity)?
  • How cohesive was the community within the village of Jamestown?  In the region?  How connected were they?
  • Were there divisions among them based on religion (i.e, Methodists, Lutherans, anti-church)? 
  • Was there division based on their region of origin (i.e., Smålanders vs. others)? 
  • How different were their experiences from the Swedes who arrived after the Civil War? 
  • How essential were these first Swedish immigrants to the later success of Swedes in Jamestown? 

I am using genealogical information as a tool for reconstructing that small community.  The snapshots taken in the 1850, 1855 and 1860 censuses don't provide much information about their lives.  I am hoping that learning more about the families will tell me more about their experiences as immigrants.  I hope that by documenting the deaths of parents and children, the remarriages, the re-migrations, the family alliances and their connections to non-Swedes that I will learn more about their immigrant experiences.

The objective of this web site is to provide a fully documented list of all Swedish immigrants to Chautauqua and Warren counties from 1844-1855. Full documentation includes:

  • Swedish church records of birth 
  • Swedish records of emigration
  • Identification on a ship manifest
  • Census, legal and church records of their residence in the area 
  • Death and burial records.

Currently, I am cross-referencing the various lists and reviewing them with published biographies or family histories and family trees.  I plan to take this database online once it approaches a more complete state.  In the mean time, I will be "publishing" on the site various lists and reports as documentation of the project.

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