Albers family

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Albers family

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The Albers family in the Wetaskiwin area belongs to the Swedish ethnic group called Svenskbybo-people (meaning the "Swedish Village People"). Several members of this same ancestral group settled in central-eastern Alberta in the early 1900s and joined the Lutheran Church of the Augustana Synod. The Svenskbybo-people left Sweden around 1300 for the island of Dago, in the Baltic Sea, where they lived as farmers and fishers for about 500 years. The island was under Swedish ownership from 1563 to 1710. The Russians conquered Dago in 1710 and about in 1781 the Russian authorities forced the Svenskbybo-people to wander through Russia and to settle in a place called Gammalsvenskby (meaning "Old Swedish Village") in Ukraine, near the Black Sea. It was a five month journey of more than 2,000 kilometres which took place in winter. Only about 500 out of the 1,200 people who started out from Dago survived this long trip. Primitive living facilities and diseases decimated even more the Svenskbybo-people who by 1795 were only 135 persons remaining in the village according to a church register. However after a few decades of tough life as settlers in a new land, during the 1820s the population of Gammalsvenskby grew and life became more comfortable for the Svenskbybo-people who learned new methods of agriculture from their German neighbours. At the end of the 19th century the Svenskbybo-people started to look for additional land and several families decided to come to Canada. The first Svenskbybo-people settled in British Columbia in 1888 and soon after other families came to Alberta which was called Nya Sverige or New Sweden. The immigration to Canada, where land was available, was ongoing for 25 years. Most Svenskbybo-people worked on farms and managed to maintain their culture for a few decades. The Albers family genealogy shows the transition from Swedish culture to Canadian culture and also the historical link between Gammalsvenskby in Russia and Swedish communities in Alberta.


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