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Did Carl Johnson emigrate to America or not? A reexamination of the sources of the swedish emigration to America and their usage in swedish historical research

Publiceringsår: 2006
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag


As an historian studying the Swedish migration to America, I often come across the notion that the Swedish sources on the subject are excellent and that we who studies swedish migration are fortunate because of this.

It is generally thought that 1.2 million swedes emigrated to America and that about 200.000 people returned to Sweden, but is this true? In my ongoing study of the return migration to a rural area of southern Sweden I am working with the emigration on a individual level and have found major discrepances between the official statistics and my own. Previous Swedish historical research lacks a crtical examination of how these sources were created and how they depend on each other nor does it contain a discussion of the criterias used by the Central Statistical Bureau when creating the statistics.

In this paper I therefore argue that while the Swedish sources on the migration to America are plentiful, not all of them are as good as we might believe. Thus we need to rethink our approach to them and we need to reflect on the methods by which they were created. This ofcourse leads to the conclusion that we must also reevaluate the results of the previous research on this matter.


  • History


31st Annual Meeting Social Science History Association, 2006
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