Preserving the Legacy of the New Sweden Colony in America

The Swedish Colonial Society

97 Wanamaker Avenue
Essington, PA 19029

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

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The Swedish Colonial Society

Enjoy the benefits of membership


The Swedish Colonial Society By: Herbert R. Rambo

Founded in 1909 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,by a group of 24 prominent academics and cultural historians, The Swedish Colonial Society is America’s oldest Swedish historical organization and unique in this country because of its relationship to the Swedish Royal Family and the Swedish government.

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The Hymnody of Andreas Rudman in New Sweden, Delaware (1696-1708) by: Rev. Dr. Kim-Eric Williams

Hymnals were not usually available in Swedish parish churches, each family having brought its own copy from home to the services … The dedication of Gloria Dei was probably the occasion for Rudman’s publication of the first of the two hymnals in 1700. He no doubt also took them around on his many home visits and used them with his own portable spinet.

With these two collections the Swedish musical traditions were reinvigorated and the people did learn to sing.

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My family history with the SCS

In the late “Teens” my Grandmother Martha Darlington Helms Bates became involved with Amandus Johnson and the forming of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Swedish Colonial Society. She was married to my Grandfather Harry H. Bates in the early 1920’s and both my father William Helms Bates and my Aunt Marian Bates Bruce became involved as children. This was carried down to my generation. Grandmother Bates was a noted Genealogist for the SCS, The National Society of Colonial Dames of America and the Daughters of the American Revolution. At a National Meeting of the DAR in Washington DC She met my Mother who was sent there as a Page and fixed her up with my father.

Grandmother was very involved with the SCS and proud of her ancestry going back to Israel Helms and Ake Israelson Helms who was partially raised by Governor Printz from 1642 until he was old enough to be on his own. My Great-uncle Paul E. Helms became involved as well.

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The astonishing story of Hans Månsson, the Crowns Abbey garden in Varnhem and the death sentence in the Valle judicial district

The Abbey garden in Varnhem acquired by the Crown after 1527: The history of chopped down fruit trees 100 years later, a death sentence and the colony of New Sweden in colonial America – A very unlikely story.

This one of a kind story that we are about to tell actually starts in Hanaskede, Wing (Axvall), with the birth of Hans Månsson in 1612.

Mary Ann Royal, USA, searched for relatives in this part of the world due to DNA-research. And in the digital age, she was able to trace her family tree back 10 generations to discover Hans Månsson, her direct ancestor. The Skarke-Varnhem historical society decided, with Mary Anne’s help, to tell this unique historical story and this page is the result of our efforts.

Click here to read more of the work done by the Varham historical society!