by Patti Simpson
Several months ago, the Nebraska Prairie Museum’s Don O. Lindgren Genealogy Library Director, Sandra Slater, was contacted by Lorna Nelson from the Old Mill Museum in Lindsborg, Kansas, about digitizing Swedish church records in Nebraska. Lorna and another employee had assisted ArkivDigital with this project in 2016 in Kansas, and now the Swedish group was ready to start on church records in Nebraska. This service is free of charge to both the churches involved and the Nebraska Prairie Museum.
In the early days, about 80 percent of Phelps County settlers were Swedish. Because of this, we not only have several churches with Swedish congregations, but many of these early records are also written in Swedish. Some churches even have the original transfer papers that the Swedish families brought with them from their church in Sweden from the 1870’s and 1880’s. Museum library volunteers and some members of the Holdrege Area Genealogy Club have been working hard, organizing this information and getting it ready for this digital church project. Museum volunteer, Susan Perry has also done a lot of research helping identify and contact the many Swedish churches in Phelps County.
Sven Hennig with ArkivDigital, arrived on August 7th from Sweden, and is busy digitizing Phelps County’s Swedish church records. This digitizing is a great opportunity for the church community too, as each participating church will receive their records on a free thumb drive for just letting ArkivDigital photograph their records. Churches will then have the opportunity to keep this digital record off-site in case of fire or some other disaster.
ArkivDigital will be here in Phelps County until all available Swedish Church records are digitized. Please contact Sandra Slater at the Nebraska Prairie Museum for more information.