Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sven fran Malmö

As a prelude to my next visit to Sweden (in May), I've been doing some more research on my great-great grandfather Sven Pearson, who, according to various Australian records was born near Malmö about 1857, with father Lars. His March 1880 marriage certificate to Annie Lyons in Adelaide, South Australia shows him to be 23yrs at that time.

There are so many factors which make the search awkward:
  • the possible spellings of his surname: was it Pearson before he emigrated? Or was it Persson or Pehrsson? (Person and Perkins are other English derivatives.) At least genealogical search engines will often handle all these variations automatically.
  • was his father actually Lars Pe---son? Or did Sven simplify matters for Australian authorities by using the same surname rather than a possible patronymic - the same issue as I have with Welsh ancestors from 200 years ago.
  • what is his full name? His children's birth, marriage and death records variously list him as Sven, Carl Sven, Sven Olaf - not to mention various misspellings like Iven, Swen, Swene, Olafe. Since his children's names include Sven and Olaf/Olof, I'm thinking that Carl Sven Olaf Pe--son is his full name.
  • when did he arrive? He was a young man when he married, and the first child arrived 9 months after, so not a rush to the altar, and he had some time to court young Annie. One of his children's certificates list his profession (pre-Adelaide) as sailor, so perhaps he worked his passage
  • where did he come from exactly? Malmö is a major port, and it may have been simpler to nominate it as his birthplace, rather than a specific parish in that region. Again, I had this issue with one of my Scottish Borders ancestors. Someone has suggested he could actually have been Danish but on reflection he would probably have then nominated Copenhagen, and family lore would have noted this. Two of his five children were still alive when I was born, so the facts couldn't have been entirely lost. As an aside, my Saxon ancestors would have traced a similar ocean path, leaving from Bremerhaven en route to Adelaide.
  • did he come to Adelaide on the ship he left Sweden in? Did he go to the US or Canada first and then move on, perhaps based on word of the Australian gold rush? Did he land at another Australian port first, and then travel via land or sea to Adelaide? For now I am working on the supposition that as a young sailor, lack of time for a diversion most likely meant a fairly direct voyage.
I have not been able to find any records of how & when he arrived in South Australia. The online records list assisted passengers, but if he was a sailor then he may not be named in any of these. I've found other Svens and other Pearsons, but nothing pointing to him.

Other descendants may have access to additional information, but I haven't been able to locate any living ones born after about 1920. Useful information in their possession would be the exact date of his birth/christening, and the parish he came from. One could even hope for his Flyttningsbetyg or official exit permit from the parish, as issued by the pastor, or subsequent correspondence with his family.

When I have that information, I can profitably search the Swedish archives such as:

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