Preserving the Legacy of the New Sweden Colony in America

The Swedish Colonial Society

97 Wanamaker Avenue
Essington, PA 19029

The SCS Registrar

The SCS Historian

Book Sales

Purchase online: link

Purchase in person:
Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church
916 S. Swanson St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147-4332

Enjoy the benefits of membership

The Swedish Colonial Society

Enjoy the benefits of membership

Home 2023

YOU ARE INVITED TO MEET OUR SPECIAL GUEST

Swedish Ambassador Urban Ahlin
at the GRAND OPENING of the
Swedish Colonial Society’s
Historic Art Gallery and
New Sweden Study Center and Archives
at the Lazaretto

WHEN: Saturday, 4 May 2024, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

WHERE: The Lazaretto, 97 Wanamaker Avenue, Essington, PA

AGENDA:

2:00 PM: Welcome by Governor Joseph P. Mathews, First Floor

2:10 PM: “How we got here” Historian Kim-Eric Williams

2:30 PM: Remarks by Ambassador Urban Ahlin, Washington, DC

3:00 PM: Dedication, Ribbon Cutting, Art Gallery, Second Floor; The Rev. Dr. Maria E. Erling, Professor of Church History and Global Mission At United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, PA and Ambassador Urban Ahlin

3:30 PM: Dedication, Ribbon Cutting, Study Center, Third Floor; The Rev, Dr. Erling and Ambassador Ahlin

Followed by Socializing and Fika (Refreshments), First Floor; and
Guided Tour, Swedish Colonial Farmstead at nearby Governor Printz Park; Gov. Mathews and Honorary Governor John Tepe

New Home for SCS Treasures

When the Swedish Colonial Society moved its Art and Archives to a new location at the historic Lazaretto in Tinicum township, over 115 years of collecting came into public view for the first time. All of these discoveries will now be on view at the admission-free Grand Opening on Saturday, May 4 at the recently restored Lazaretto in Essington, PA.

One among many of the treasures is the original life-size oil portrait of the famed Governor of New Sweden, Johan Printz. This is a reproduction made in 1909 by King Gustaf V’s personal painter of the original in Sweden that had been painted from life in 1660. It was sent as a gift to the Swedish Colonial Society at its founding in 1909. Before this no one in this country knew how this famed 400-pound courageous and proud Governor actually appeared. Now his image is on the Tinicum township seal and flag.

The festivities will begin on May 4th at 2 PM on the first floor of the Lazaretto, featuring an address by the Curator, Rev. Dr. Kim-Eric Williams, and the Honorable Urban Ahlin, Ambassador of Sweden to the US. The dedications of the Art Gallery and the Study Center will follow on the second and third floor.

ABSOLUTELY DON’T MISS!

Forefathers’ Day Luncheon

WHEN: Saturday, April 13, 2024, from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM

WHERE:

Riverwinds Restaurant
1075 Riverwinds Drive
West Deptford, New Jersey 08086

YOU’RE INVITED!

The Swedish Colonial Society requests the pleasure of your company at its annual Forefathers’ Day Luncheon on Saturday, April 13, 2024 at Riverwinds Restaurant, 1075 Riverwinds Drive, West Deptford, New Jersey 08086.

This year our speaker will be Mr. Mark Demitroff, Adjunct Professor of Geology at Stockton University, Galloway Township, NJ. For many years, Mark has researched  New Jersey’s unique geography and the communities that formed to exploit the region’s natural resources.

11:30 AM: Cocktail hour with cash bar
12:30 PM: Sit-down luncheon
1:30 PM: Annual Meetings, SCS & DSCS
2 PM: Speaker
3:30: Adjourn

Please reserve your places no later than April 6, 2024. Please include the following:

Name(s):________________________________
Telephone:____________
Email:___________
Please reserve _______ Luncheon(s) at $60 per person.
Total:_____________
Choose one of the following entrees: Grilled Salmon, Chicken Breast (Chicken Barone), Rib-eye Steak, Vegetarian pasta

Make checks payable to “Swedish Colonial Society” or “SCS” and forward to Linda Alexy, 438 Regina Street, Philadelphia, PA 19116-2405.
If you have questions, call Linda at 215-677-2046 or email her at kennethbykota@verizon.net.

Mark has provided us an abstract of his talk: “Till alla Svenskar”—Go East Young Man

“To all Swedes,” opportunity awaits you in the unbroken wilderness of the Pine Barrens. We will take an ancient trail from West Deptford deep into pine lands to see how the earliest Swedes and Finns practiced land use here. Some unusual landforms were encountered along the way. There were watering holes called spungs (panner in Swedish), dry valleys called cripples (dells in Swedish) where naval stores were rendered, and wet meadows called savannah where cattle were grazed. Ice age floods built broad river terraces where Atlantic white cedar grew in abundance, yet another example of sugar sand opportunity exploited as richer low-hanging fruit were exhausted along the Delaware.

If you would like to support the educational/cultural programs of either the Swedish Colonial Society or the Delaware Swedish Colonial Society, please enclose a fully tax-deductible optional contribution (a separate check payable to either the “SCS” or the “DSCS”).

ABSOLUTELY DON’T MISS!

The Swedish Farmstead: Open House

WHEN: Every first Saturday of the month from 11 AM to 2 PM

WHERE: Governor Printz Park
Taylor Avenue and W. 2nd Street
Essington PA 19029

The Swedish Farmstead at Governor Printz Park, Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania

By Joe Mathews / July 12, 2022

The Swedish Farmstead is now open! Tinicum Township has completed its improvement of Governor Printz Park and The Swedish Colonial Society has completed its Farmstead reconstruction project. While we’re still adding some finishing touches, we’re ready for your visit. We hold an open house every first Saturday of the month from 11 AM to 2 PM and we’re open plenty of other times too.

The Swedish Farmstead was originally built in 1988 as a living history museum in Bridgeton, New Jersey, in order to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the founding of New Sweden and to show how a Swedish settler family lived. Seven log cabins were built and maintained for about a decade by the NJ nonprofit, the New Sweden Company, many of whose members were descendants of colonial Swedes. The builder was the Swedish craftsman, Gunnar Zetterqvist, who derived his ideas about 17th century log construction from the many well-preserved historical log cabins that stand in his native land. The Farmstead was for years a popular destination for schoolchildren and adults. However, by 2015 the Farmstead had long been closed and in a state of dilapidation. The New Sweden Company decided to try to find a new home for it. Serendipitously, Tinicum Township was in process of making extensive improvements at Governor Printz Park, the very site of Printz’s capitol that he established in 1643. Through the intercession of The Swedish Colonial Society, conversations took place and the township welcomed the idea of having the Farmstead as a fitting memorial of its illustrious colonial history.

The process of dismantling and moving the cabins out of Bridgeton began in 2015, funded by a $10,000 donation from Wade Sjogren, owner of the Bridgeton-based sand company, Whibco, Inc. Each log had to be tagged and so that each cabin could be reconstructed with precision. Then, in 2019, The Swedish Colonial Society stepped forward and pledged to rebuild the largest of the cabins, a 30′ X 16′ cabin called the Main Residence. Highline Construction, an Amish-owned log-building contractor, was hired and by May 2019 the building was up and officially opened on 1st of June of that year. The total cost was $45,000.

Then the Governor of The Swedish Colonial Society, John Tepe, estimated the cost of reconstructing the remaining 6 cabins. He came up with the figure of $177,250. John wrote a grant application to the Crystal Trust of Wilmington DE for this amount and–much to everyone’s amazement–success arrived by Christmas 2019. Highline began building in Spring 2020 and–with the park closed for Covid–by September of that year finished reconstructing all 6 remaining cabins.

Today all seven cabins of the Farmstead stand proudly in the park, embraced by the surrounding community of Tinicum and Delaware County. Volunteer docents–often in period clothing–hold an open house every first Saturday of the month, from 11 AM to 2 PM. In summer we open the Farmstead during the Tinicum Farmers Markets, held every other Wednesday, 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM. We anticipate holding many special events in the coming years, like the Rambo Family 375th Reunion that was held on June 12, 2022. Christmas-time, harvest-time, and midsummer are likely celebratory seasons as well. We are just starting out, but we are conscious of having a serious mission, that of representing the achievements of the colonial Swedes and Finns who first settled the Delaware Valley, brought the log cabin to North America, and carried on peaceful trading with Native Americans.

SALE, SALE, SALE!!

The Swedish Colonial Society is having a sale on books. The more you buy, the more you save!

Buy the COLONIAL RECORDS OF SWEDISH CHURCHES IN PENNSYLVANIA series today!

NEW PRICING for this 9-Volume, hardbound, library binding series, covering the years 1646-1786

  • Each single book is on sale for $10
  • The complete set of 9 books is $50
  • Includes free shipping

Checks should be made out to “Gloria Dei Church”.

Please mail checks to:

Swedish Colonial Society
916 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia, PA 19147-4332

Purchase in person:

Gloria Dei Church
916 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia, PA 19147-4332

215-389-1513
Hours: 9-3, Tues-Thurs

The 26-year-old research project of the Swedish Colonial Society, “Colonial Records of Swedish Churches in Pennsylvania” is now complete. Covering the years 1768-1786 they tell of the unstable and frightful times for people during the American Revolution when the pastor of Gloria Dei was a Tory with mental instability and the church building was expropriated by British soldiers, making it unusable for three years. You will read about the successful English ministry of Matthias Hultgren and the funeral for signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Morton. A fabulous Index of 200 pages of personal names and places and 194 pages of vital records makes these two volumes a rare treasury of genealogical information.
The Complete Set – 9 volumes


Volume 1:
The Log Churches at Tinicum Island and Wicaco, 1646-1696. Includes the translated travel journal of Johan Companius, information about Governor Printz and his daughter, Armegard, the problematic lives of Lars Lock and Jacob Fabritius, the famous 1693 Census of Swedes in the Delaware Valley.


Volume 2:
The Rudman Years, 1697-1702. The arrival of Andreas Rudman, Eric Björk, and Jonas Auren to renew the mission of the Church of Sweden on the Delaware. The building of Gloria Dei Church at Wicaco, various letters from the Archbishop and King, reports back to Sweden, Members of Gloria Dei, Founding of churches at Matsunk (UpperMerion), Manatawny (Douglassville) and Swedesboro, NJ.


Volume 3:
The Sandel Years, 1702-1719. Years of growth and consolidation, Pew assignments, Ordination of Justus Falckner, Return of Eric Bjröck to Sweden and his letter describing the Indians, Provincial Council Minutes, Letters to and from the King and Bishop Svedberg, Sandel’s Diary, receipts and expenses, Baptisms and Burials.


Volume 4:
From Lidman to Nilsman, 1719-1750. Lidman’s steady leadership, Petition to PA Assembly, 1722, Letter from Bishop Svedberg, Disasterous ministry of Gabriel Falk, Exemplary ministry of Johannes Dylander, pIpe organ set up, plans for a church in Kingsessing, Per Kalm’s References, Problems with Moravians, Gabriel Näsman’s strict orthodoxy and Admonition to the congregation, His conflicts with Peter Kock, Installation of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg as pastor to Germans in Philadelphia, letters from Dean Israel Acrelius describing conditions, Burials, 1720-1750.


Volume 5:
The Parlin Years, 1750-1759. Letters from Dean Israel Acrelius, Journal of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, and the very capable Olof Parlin’s appointment as Dean over the congregations, his early death in 1757 and the work of Eric Nordenlind. Vital records from Wicaco and Manatawny.


Volume 6-A:
With Catechisms, The Wrangel Years, 1759-1766. First English version of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism (1749) and the Wrangel Rudiments of the Shorter Catechism (1761), Instructions for the American Mission, the Diary of Anders Borell, Journal of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Wrangel’s Diary, Vestry minutes and clerical conflicts.


Volume 6-B:
With Index, The Wrangel Years, 1766-1768. Continued conflicts, Letters to the Uppsala Consistory, Letters from Wrangel, Johan Wicksell, Vestry minutes, Baptisms and Marriages, Wicaco and Manatawny, 1759-1768, Burials, Wicaco, 1759-1768, Yardbook from KIngsessing.


Volume 7-A The Göransson and Hultgren Years, 1768-1786

The final volumes describe the conditions during the Revolution when British troops invaded Philadelphia and used Gloria Dei as a barracks, the Church then being closed to worship for three years. Pastor Göransson’s Tory sympathies and friendship with Anglican clergy. His mental instability and problems returning to Sweden. The funeral for John Morton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. The arrival of Matthias Hultgren on a British vessel who capably officiated in English and rebuilt the three congregations.


Volume 7-B The Göransson and Hultgren Years, 1768-1786
The final days of Matthias Hultgren and the arrival of Nicholas Collin from Swedesboro as the last Swedish Lutheran clergy at Gloria Dei. More than 200 pages of persoanl and place names in a detailed Index for both volumes. Additional 194 pages of Pastoral acts for all three congregations’ Baptisms, Weddings, and burials.

If you wish to donate to the Farmstead, you can BUY-A-LOG for $100. Your name or your organization’s name will be added to a plaque. Any contribution is greatly appreciated.

Contributions can be sent to:
The Swedish Colonial Society
Attn: Linda Alexy, Treasurer
The Lazaretto
97 Wanamaker Avenue
Essington, PA 19029

If you would like to BUY-A-LOG online, please click on the PayPal button below. Thanks!

OUR MISSION

Our Mission is to preserve and promote the history, genealogy and culture of the New Sweden Colony in America.

Our Purposes are:

  1. To collect, archive and publish materials
  2. To make colonial genealogical records broadly available
  3. To acknowledge members’ proven descent from colonial forefathers
  4. To encourage awareness and preservation of monuments at historic sites
  5. To celebrate historic and cultural events and accomplishments relating to the colonial Swedes and Finns in America

The Swedish Colonial Society Welcomes New Members. No Swedish relative or ancestry is required – only an interest in the colonial history of our nation. Membership is available for all parties interested in the history of the New Sweden Colony and the early Swedes and Finns in America. Swedish heritage is not a requirement. The four classes of Active Membership and application fees are: Individuals ($45.00) Family (Parents and children under 18 -$52.50) Organization (Business or Institution Name $52.50) Lifetime ($600.00). We do not have automatic recurring payments, set up at this time.

JOIN TODAY AND ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP!

Renovated Farmstead

Photo by Britt Apell. 2019

As a member of the Swedish Colonial Society:

SWEDISH COLONIAL SOCIETY DNA PROJECT
DNA Project Update by Rev. Cynthia Forde-Beatty and Becky Griswold at Family Tree DNA.com

So far, the SCS New Sweden DNA Project is going very well, even better than we expected!

For those of you who have tested at Ancestry DNA or 23andMe and want to transfer your results to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and join the SCS DNA Project, we have good news! Now it is FREE to transfer your DNA results to FTDNA. After transferring you can unlock all Family Finder Features,which include the Chromosome Browser, myOrigins and ancientOrigins for only $19. Please email Becky Griswold, beckygrizz@yahoo.com for more information.

The Peter S. Craig Collection
If you are an SCS member, you can now order a custom package of family group sheets (FGSs) showing all the detail around your earliest Swedish colonial ancestors.

Hear what our happy members have to say about the Swedish Colonial Society!


Thank you for a great presentation of the SCS Journal, Winter Issue, VOLUME 5, excellent, informative articles, well-written!  With each issue I wonder how will you top this one, and you do.  One of my favorite items is the winter photo of the Farmstead. Great job!

—Rev. Cynthia Forde

Reviews

WOW,  The SCS Journal only seems to get better and better. An exciting layout, new visuals, lots of information, and more info about Lars Lock than anyone ever knew.

—Rev. Dr. Kim-Eric Williams

Reviews


I am very proud of the SCS. The first cabin is only the beginning of the Swedish Cabins in Governor Printz Park. The rest will be coming soon. The Printzhof, located in Governor Printz Park in Essington, Pennsylvania, was the home of Johan Björnsson Printz, governor of New Sweden. In 1643, Johan Printz moved his capital from Fort Christina to Tinicum Island. At that time Fort Gothenburg was established in addition to Printz’s dwelling and headquarters.

—Michael D’Andrea, Honorary Governor, Swedish Colonial Society

Reviews


The SCS is a wonderful path for keeping history alive. It provides a remarkable way to meet others with similar or related ancestors. Their Facebook page has interesting tidbits to enjoy and the fellowship is unprecedented. Lifetime membership is a thoughtful one of a kind bequest to a family member

—Judy Glowiak

Reviews


The SCS resources available to New Sweden colony researchers are unmatched; Camaraderie with fellow members, distant cousins in many circumstances, an added bonus.

—Richard L. Steadham, President & Newsletter Editor, the Timen Stiddem Society

Reviews


Your newsletter has been of interest to our family.  Thank you for the great work you are doing to keep the story and tradition alive.

— Kathleen

Reviews


I have really enjoyed the literature you have sent out since I joined.

— Sandra

Reviews