We were pleased to receive an invitation to a seminar “Källor och Arkiv” at the Åland Islands Emigrant Institute on 26.10.2019. The topic of the seminar was about various sources of information, which can be useful when doing research on local area or family research. As part of the family research can deal with persons who have been emigrants somewhere and immigrants on the other end, that gives new kind of opportunities to find information about them in all phases of travel as we could see.
The program was very versatile. There were presentation from libraries, archives of many kinds and also experiences and recommendations from certain family researchers, what they had utilized in their work. All in all, it seems that one must have very open mind, and think on the research topic in a broad way, that is a way you can find suitable archive (or library) and then the suitable material in that archive. It was also most intriguing to hear about those success stories when a family member was found after going through archives and here and there.
It was also most interesting to hear how newspapers have been important in research. Due to location of the institute and its members all over the world, having the materials online is crucial for their access. Even if newspaper might not be the primary source for offical documents, newspapers can give a hint where you could find certain thing and there are also lots of information of the life in the period, and those family announcements – what the family has reported about births, engagements and marriages as well as in the other end of the life. For example, the immigrant telegrams, which were published in newspapers, were important way to inform to the waiting families, that ‘all is well’. Nowadays, these name lists can give hints of who have emigrated when, and where, which then gives opportunities to search other services further, like EmiWeb https://emiweb.se/en/home/ .