Meet Kathleen Hedberg: Accredited for Research in Sweden

kathleen-hedbergWhat motivated you to pursue accreditation?

I was motivated to pursue accreditation because I wanted to see whether my experience in learning about and researching my own Swedish ancestry for over thirty years had made me an expert in Swedish research.  I also enjoyed helping friends with their Swedish research, and thought it would be interesting to do this professionally.

What are some challenging or unique aspects to researching in your area of accreditation?

Sweden has some of the best records in the world.  The most important of these are available on multiple sites online and more are coming on line continually.  Keeping up with them all is a challenge!

Also challenging is the Swedish naming system, with its patronymic names for the majority of the population and its relatively few given names that were used over and over again.  This leads to some interesting situations, such as two couples with the same first and last names living in the same parish, or a person having two spouses with the same names. In addition to the patronymic names, there are military names, surnames that higher class people used, and names used by trades people.  If it were not for the excellent Swedish records, and the fact that people were also identified by the name of the farm or village in which they lived, Swedish research would be impossible.  But those great Swedish records make Swedish research not only possible, but also fun and very satisfying.

 What advice do you have for those pursuing accreditation?

My advice for those pursuing accreditation would be to learn all they can about their area of interest, to gain a lot of experience researching their own and their friends’ ancestry in that area, to take advantage of all the classes and helps that are offered, and to keep trying!

What are some of your goals as a genealogist?

My goals as a genealogist are to continue learning about and using the many records now coming online which will enable me to extend my own ancestral lines and better help other people. I also want to “give back” to the larger family history community by continuing to teach classes locally on how to do Swedish research, by continuing to index Swedish records, and by continuing to add information to the Family Search Swedish Wiki for the parishes that I am most experienced with.

 What research projects are you involved with now, or have planned for the future?

Currently I am helping a family extend their ancestral lines in Värmland into the early 1600s by using tax and court records that have recently become available online.  I am also researching my grandfather’s ancestors who were skilled workers living in cities in the Dalarna area.  I continue to review the information that I have entered in online sites such as Family Search Family Tree, making corrections and adding additional sources and information where needed.

Do you have a website you would like to have mentioned?

My website gives information about my grandmother’s ancestry in Karlskoga parish, and includes extensive genealogical information about all of Karlskoga in the 1600s. It is entitled Genealogy in Karlskoga, Örebro, Sweden.

When did you receive your accreditation?

I received my accreditation in October 2006.

 Is there anything else you want to let us know about your genealogy experience or activities?

I received a PhD in history from Brigham Young University in 1985.   My dissertation was Land, Family, and Inheritance Patterns in a Seventeenth-Century Swedish Community, for which I did extensive genealogical research in the parish, tax and court records of Karlskoga, Örebro, Sweden.  My work as a historian included writing two books on local history, one of which won the Idaho Library Association’s Book of the Year award.

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