Scandinavian

Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweeden

My Heritage contains millions of records from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland

Denmark

Boundaries and Territory

Emerged as a unified country in the 10th century. It survived as a monarchy until 1849, when it became a constitutional monarchy.

The main body of Denmark is comprised of a large peninsula and 443 islands.

Divided into 5 Regions (regioner) and further divided into Municipalities (kummuner).

Immigration

The Copenhagen police recorded everyone emigrating from Denmark from 1868-1940.

Information included: name, last residents, age, year of emigration and initial destination abroad.

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Finland

Boundaries and Territory

From medieval times through 1809 Finland was under Swedish rule.

From 1809 to 1917 the territory was an autonomous grand duchy within the Russian Empire.

From 1918 to the present the territory is the Republic of Finland.

Immigration

Large number of Finland emigrants to U.S. from 1890-1914.

Visit the Institute of Migration for Finish research.

Finish ancestors may have migrated through the following ports: Goteborg, Malmo, Stockholm and Trondheim.

Misc.

Most official records before 1863 are in Swedish.

Until the late 19th century, surnames changed with each generation.

Most important records are those kept by the state Lutheran Church beginning in 1686.

Finland began keeping a census, called henkikirjat, in 1634.

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Norway

Boundaries and Territory

During 1524 to 1814 Norway was part of Denmark.

From 1814 to 1905 the territory was the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway.

In 1905 the territory became the Kingdom of Norway – independent constitutional monarchy.

Misc.

Records may be in Danish, Swedish or Latin.

Four major waves of emigration from Norway: 1866-1873, 1880-1893, 1900-1914, 1920-1929.

Police in major coastal towns kept records of emigrants between 1867-1930.

When Norwegians began adopting permanent surnames, many used the name of their town or farm.

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Sweden

Boundaries and Territory

From the Medieval Times to the 17th Century Sweden was a unified country.

During the 17th Century the country includes Finland and portions of Russia, Poland and Lithuania.

During the 18th Century Sweden lost most of its non-Scandinavia territories (including Finland).

Misc.

In Sweden, it is not uncommon to call a person by an affectionate form of the given name. Most names also have variant spellings.

Children often took their father’s first name, plus a possessive s and -son or -dotter as their last names.

  • For example:
    • 1st gen: Anders Svensson
    • 2nd gen: Sven Andersson
    • 3rd gen: Anders Svensson
  • The following pattern was often used in naming children:
    • The first son was named after the father’s father,
    • The first daughter was named after the mother’s mother,
    • The second son was named after the mother’s father,
    • The third son was named after the father, and
    • The fourth son was named after the father’s eldest brother.
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