How we can help
While doing research at the Center, we will assist you by pointing you in the right direction and helping you read the Swedish handwriting.
Our volunteers are available by appointment Monday through Thursday mornings to assist you one-on-one with using parish record databases and images (including ArkivDigital and Riksarkivet).
Our staff and volunteers have over 135 combined years of experience in Swedish-American and Swedish genealogy research!
New! Virtual visits are available some Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings.
Tips for a successful visit
For an efficient and productive search please collect as much information as possible before you contact us.
Talk to older relatives; ask them where the immigrants' children were baptized and confirmed (denomination and location of church)
If possible, obtain copies of marriage licenses, death certificates, and listings in City Directories
A pastor's name on an official church document can be very helpful
If you do not know the year of immigration, try to locate the person in the Census records. For the years 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 there is a column that lists the approximate year of immigration
Interested? Follow these steps:
Step 1: Review Resources
Review our Genealogy Resources page of our most-used sources.
Take note of the "Using Parish Records Subscriptions" section. If you'd like to use these, make your appointment for a Tuesday or Wednesday and be aware there is a usage fee (more on that below).
Be sure to look at the Library/Archives collection too! Search our library catalog for keywords of your ancestor's settlement, name of church/congregation in the US, or name of parish in Sweden. Provide us with a list of the books you'd like to look at before your visit.
Step 2: Fill out the Forms
Fill out the following forms and bring them with you:
Be sure to fill in the "Information you are Seeking" lines. Having your information in this format will help us to make better use of our time.
For virtual visits, the Genealogy Visitor Research Form is the only form we ask for, and we would like it beforehand.
Note: If you are in Sweden and looking for immigrants who came to the US we have different instructions for you. See För Svenskar.
Step 3: Request Appointment
Genealogy research visits are by appointment. Please contact us several days in advance to schedule your visit to be sure that we have space and staffing to accommodate you. Virtual visits also need an advanced appointment.
Parish record subscriptions are available with volunteer assistance on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings only.
The Swenson Center is a private, nonprofit organization. The fee for non-members conducting genealogy research in-person is $10 per day ($5 per half-day). Free for members!
There is also a small hourly usage fee for our subscription genealogy sites, to help us pay for them. This is $10/hour for non-members, $5/hour for members, and free for Scholar+ level members.