Genealogy and family history

Swedish immigration to Canada began in the 1870s with the first rural Swedish colony, Scandinavia, near the town of Erickson in Manitoba. Originally named New Sweden, Scandinavia was established by three men who organized dwellings to house the first settlers.

Like their Scandinavian counterparts, Swedish immigrants first arrived and settled in the United States and then travelled north to settle in Canada. A large influx of Swedish immigrants from the states of Minnesota and North Dakota migrated to the Canadian Prairie provinces in the 1920s. At that time, the United States introduced an immigration quota and Canada became the destination of choice for Icelanders, Finns, Norwegians and Danes.

Winnipeg was the "Swedish capital of Canada" until the 1940s, when Vancouver took over the title. Although a considerable number of persons of Swedish origin live in Calgary and Edmonton and their environs, the Toronto area is currently home to the largest concentration of newcomers. Swedish heritage is visible in Canada with more than 175 place names of Swedish origin such as Upsala in Ontario, Stockholm in Saskatchewan, and Thorsby and Malmo in Alberta.

As of 2001, there were more than 282,000 people with Swedish ancestry living in Canada. 

Research at Library and Archives Canada

Fred Burman, 1963–1982 (MG 31 H125) (MIKAN 105750)

The fonds consists of memoirs of Frederik (Fred) Burman who was born in Skaerpinge, Sweden. It provides a description of his early life in Sweden, his immigration to Canada in 1909, and his work experiences and those of other Swedish immigrants in the province of British Columbia.

General Correspondence, Department of Agriculture (RG 17)

  • T. Bennett, Winnipeg. Letter from Scandinavian Philanthropic Society asking for free medical attention for sick Swede (RG 17, vol. 624) (MIKAN 1955669)
  • W.J. Wills, Ottawa. Recommending a Swede as an interpreter on immigration service (RG 17, vol. 385) (MIKAN 1914165)

Library and Archives Canada holds other records pertaining to Swedish immigrants to Canada. Consult the Collection Searchdatabase using keywords such as a surname or the name of an organization.

Research at other institutions and online

Research in published sources

  • Cradled in Sweden, by Carl-Erik Johansson.
  • Genealogical guidebook & atlas of Sweden, by Finn A. Thomsen.
  • Putting it together: one Swedish family in Canada, by Valerie Lawson. (OCLC 642435960 )
  • Sandin, by T. Bryan Campbell-Hope and Alice Thomas MacKinnon. (OCLC 263469486 )
  • The Scandinavian Home Society, 1923–1993: a place to meet, a place to eat, by Elinor Barr. (OCLC 35886054 )
  • The Swedish community at Eriksdale, Manitoba, by George J. Houser. (OCLC 2943104 )
  • The Swedish experience in Canada, an annotated bibliography, by Elinor Barr. (OCLC 26053269 )

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