CRAIG COLLECTION ONLINE: We have posted for sale the first digitized item from the Craig Collection, a package of all Peter Craig’s family group sheets for the first four generations of the Mounce Rambo branch of the Peter Gunnarsson Rambo family. We plan to add more such packages of family group sheets as well as other materials. It is our hope that these resources will facilitate the process by which members of The Swedish Colonial Society apply for forefather status as descendants of Swedish colonists who arrived in the thirteen colonies before the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783.
Link to the online Craig Collection
The Swedish Colonial Society’s renowned Historian and Genealogist, Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig, passed away on November 26, 2009. Colonial Swede and Finn scholars and especially the Society, in particular, miss his expertise and friendship. Dr. Craig’s lifetime work, his massive collection of New Sweden historical and genealogical data, will be available worldwide through the Society’s website: http://craigcollection.colonialswedes.net/ . Please check back as the collection is added to the site.
From the day in early 2010 when the Society collected Dr. Craig’s bequest of his entire library and all his research, a vast amount of work has been accomplished by a score of faithful SCS volunteers who boxed, packed, moved, unloaded, removed non-archival folders, binders and countless staples, and re-filed loose pages into archival boxes and folders. The 40 boxes of books have been inventoried and unpacked onto 70 lineal feet of shelving organized to make research easier.
Governor Margaret S. Bridwell noted, “Our members live in many parts of the United States and in Sweden. Most cannot be directly involved in the initial phase because it requires a presence locally. However, in early January we will unveil a new initiative where SCS members using the internet can assist other volunteers proofreading some 140,000 pages of material.”
Dr. Craig’s collection arrival at the Society’s archives, when added to Society material, resulted in the world’s largest collection of colonial Swedish and Finnish data. Additionally, Dr. Craig had filled two posts: Society Historian and the Society Genealogist.
The Society reorganized its operation and appointed a new management team.
Leaving his post as Society Archivist, Dr. Kim-Eric Williams became Society Historian. Dr. Williams had been our first Archivist who took what was a largely disjointed collection of all kinds of materials packed into a basement storage room and managed a major transformation to what we have today. He coordinated the move of all our material to the Brossman Center at Lutheran Seminary in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, prepared an extensive inventory of what we own and undertook museum level conservation of rare materials and documents.
The Archives was reorganized as “Archives and Genealogy” with two sections: Archives now refers to the Society collection of historical material and the massive Genealogy section comprised of the Craig Collection, the Ronald S. Beatty Collection and the Society’s genealogical material.
Beverly B. Walker was named Curator of Archives and Genealogy overseeing both sections.
Edward Root, M.D., became Archivist and had to hit the ground running. He is updating our master inventory of holdings, which will also be available on line
The Society was fortunate when a married team, both Forefather Members, accepted an invitation to serve as Co-Genealogists. Individuals who want genealogical work undertaken will be referred to professionals versed in New Sweden genealogy
Ronald S. Beatty and the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Forde-Beatty accepted and rose to the challenge of raising and providing funds to undertake the massive work of digitizing the Craig Collection for online research
Now the entire Craig Collection of loose materials has been digitized. Forefather member Austin Sisman scanned nearly 125,000 pages of paper into .pdf format and ran everything through “optical character recognition” to turn the scanned images into text that can be searched via computer. In addition, he used special “redacting” software to remove all personal data such as addresses.
Dr. Craig began his research long before the use of computers and over the years he had amassed more than 10,000 handwritten family group sheets! Austin has taken on the herculean task of transcribing those notes to data.
The Craig Collection will be easily searched by name, place, keyword, etc.
It is important to remember your membership dues help provide financial resources that are absolutely necessary and make it possible for all Society initiatives to preserve the legacy of New Sweden and the colonists.”