Discover Who You Are Through Genealogy Research

By on February 1, 2014

By Christina T. Lindaryd –

Most people get interested in their families and in their past at an age when their parents are already gone and there is nobody left to ask. As a professional genealogist, I see this all the time, and I do encourage people to ask questions every time they meet old relatives. However, there are always ways to find out more about your ancestors even if there is nobody left who remembers…

Genealogy research can make you understand your parents better and it gives you something valuable to forward to your children and grandchildren. You can even discover why you behave the way you do – who you really are!

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Most families have secrets, things grandma never talked about. Solving these family mysteries is a great challenge – here is the story about Janet.

Janet and Christina in Ölme in the summer of 2013.

Janet and Christina in Ölme in the summer of 2013.

Mystery solved

Janet in California contacted us three years ago with an amazing story. Her grandmother didn’t know she was adopted, but in the mid 1920s, her biological father suddenly knocked on her door. He was called Emery and told her that he and his wife had emigrated from Sweden. His wife was pregnant and gave birth to a child shortly after arrival; then she died. Emery was alone in a new country and it was impossible for him to take care of the baby. Now, some 40 years after, he had finally found his daughter and they met several times in the coming years.

When he died, the family realized that they knew very little about the Swede; they knew his American name, nothing more. Every time the family gathered together they discussed their unknown ancestors in Sweden; who they were, where they lived, why they left.

Finally, Janet got tired of these ongoing discussions and decided to do something. She contacted us and asked if we could possibly find her ancestors although there was not much information available.

Titus (left) and his cousin Karen with Leif, one of their Swedish relatives.

Titus (left) and his cousin Karen with Leif, one of their Swedish relatives.

It was a pure detective job, but finally the mystery was solved! Emery was born in Ölme in Värmland and his father was a bell ringer and organ player in the church there. Emery first moved to Stockholm and there he met Josefina. They emigrated together from Stockholm in 1892.

In the summer of 2013, Janet took her brother, sister-in-law and cousin to Sweden and one day I accompanied them to Ölme. I had arranged a meeting with the church janitor, who opened the church for us and showed us every detail. This included playing the organ, which was the same one Emery’s father had been playing in the late 1800s!

After a long visit to the church, we went to the house where their ancestors had lived. The present owners were expecting us and offered traditional Swedish coffee with a lot of pastries; Janet’s brother Larry was heard saying, “I knew I was created for pastry!” We all had some very pleasant hours in the beautiful garden and even the local newspaper journalist showed up!

“Thank you so much for the fantastic tour”, Janet wrote afterwards. “I never imagined it would be so meaningful!”

Titus and his wife Aurelia visiting Sweden. Annica from Swedish Genealogists to the left.

Titus and his wife Aurelia visiting Sweden. Annica from Swedish Genealogists to the left.

Finding a new family

Titus Nelson of Nevada knew he had Swedish roots and we helped him to find out more about his family.

His great-grandmother emigrated with her family from Sweden in 1869, from the small island of Visingsö in the south of Sweden. We managed to research the family back to 1490, and – perhaps more important – we found a bunch of relatives, still living on the island!

Later, we arranged a trip for Titus so that he could meet his living relatives in Sweden, walk the same soil as his ancestors, see churches and his folk’s old farm. To come to Sweden and see the place where my ancestors came from and meet my relatives has completely changed my life”, Titus says.

He connected not only with Swedish relatives, who have now become his close friends, but also with relatives in the USA. He keeps coming back to Sweden and he also brought his brother, Alan, and his cousin, Karen.

Do you have Swedish ancestors?

From 1840 to 1930, about 1.2 million Swedes immigrated to the USA; that is 1/3 of the population. Do you have Swedish ancestors? Why not try and find them and complete your story! Until now, we helped several hundreds of Americans to find their Swedish roots. Some of them came to Sweden, meeting their relatives, making the journey of their lives. Do something now; your family heritage is there waiting for you!


christinaChristina T. Lindaryd is founder and owner of Swedish Genealogists,, providing genealogy services for Americans who want to find their Swedish heritage.

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Discover Who You Are Through Genealogy Research