This biography is published by Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
The Swedish immigration to the United States began in earnest in the 1840s and ebbed out in the 1930s when about one million Swedes had arrived in search of better opportunities. This book highlights 35 years of travels in North America to microfilm historical records and tape personal memories of Swedish immigrants and their descendants, an accomplishment which has greatly benefited genealogical researchers.
Read about the man behind this unprecedented effort, Lennart Setterdahl, and his family. It begins in 1959 in Cleveland, Ohio, and the voluntary recording of interviews in the 1960s in northeastern Ohio and the western parts of Pennsylvania and New York. The story continues in 1969 when Mr. Setterdahl was engaged by the Swedish Emigrant Institute, Växjö, Sweden, to locate, inventory, and microfilm Swedish-American church records, a project which was later expanded to include secular societies, periodicals, not-for-profit organizations, and companies founded by Swedes, newspaper holdings, as well as private collections. The work necessitated travels by car through every state in the continental United States and some Canadian provinces. From 1971, the Setterdahl home base was East Moline, Illinois. During the years 1985-1994, Mr. Setterdahl devoted his time to recording oral history. The story ends with Mr. and Mrs. Setterdahl working on a project in Sydney, Australia, in the beginning of 1995.
The author presents a colorful story of the first-hand travel experiences, tribulations, and rewards connected with the work, placing it in a geographical and historical context. Of the thousands of Swedish Americans whom the Setterdahls met during their travels, the author sketches vignettes of more than one hundred individuals. But perhaps foremost, the book is the story of the author's own immigrant family that constantly had to adjust and pull together to achieve extraordinary results.