Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Genealogy mistakes

Some people say Swedish genealogy is very easy to do, but thats not quite true...

Actually its rather tricky sometimes, mostly because of the fact that we in Sweden rarely used family surnames. So one great challenge is to avoid mixing people up when they all have almost the same names.

From my last post about Swedish surnames and family names. I have got some questions and reactions from people wanting me to share some more examples.

I often notice that americans trying to find their Swedish roots end up wrong sooner or later and one reason is that they may think that people named Andersson, Johansson or Olsson are actually carrying family surnames and that they may think they are related to all other Andersson, Johansson and Olsson...
(actually there are also Swedes making this error...)

I have studied hundreds of public and private familytrees that contains these type of mistakes.

Here is an example of how this sometimes tends to occur;

Lets start with a man named Andrew Olson that is supposed to be borned in the year 1870 in the parish Brösarp in Sweden. As a bonus in this example we know that his name before leaving Sweden was actually Anders Olsson.

We check the birth records for Brösarp 1870 and find that there are actually six Anders born there this year.

May 9: Anders : fathers name; Ola Persson
May 30: Anders : fathers name; Per Persson
June 20: Anders: fathers name; Per Olsson
July 26: Anders: fathers name; John Larsson
Oct 16: Anders: fathers name; Nils Brock
Oct 21: Anders: fathers name; Nils Andersson

Now guess which of the Anders most people pick out as to be "their" Anders Olsson here?

Yeah, most common mistake is to pick Anders born in June 20 because his fathers surname is what we are looking for; Olsson.

The correct Anders is the first one. The fathers name is Ola Persson and his children will have the name Olsson based on the fathers first name Ola.

Anders that was born in june 20 will be named Anders Persson, as his fathers first name is Per.

So thats a typical example how easy things can go wrong from the start.

From about early 1900 we changed and started to use our current surnames as normal family names.

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