Den första massutvandringen : en studie av befolkningsrörlighet och emigration utgående från Alfta socken i Hälsingland 1846-1895

Sammanfattning: The first mass emigrationAlready during- the first half of the 1840's a number of smaller group emigrations from Sweden took place. However it was not until 1846 that the first real break­through in emigration occurred when the Erik Jansonist sect began emigrating. The majority of those more than 1,300 people who emigrated from Sweden in that year were members of the Erik Jansonists. In comparison, the number of emigrants from the preceeding five years was only 249. Almost a quarter of the 1846 emi­grants came from the same parish, Alf ta in Hälsingland, and it may thus be said that it was from this province that the earliest mass emigration occurred.Why did mass emigration in 1846 take place and what role did it play in later emi­gration movements at the local, regional and national level? Has the religious a- wakening been sufficiently noticed when tracing the background of Swedish emi­gration to America? Those are the main questions raised in this inquiry.However, socio-economic conditions were not a primary cause of this break-up. Emigration, instead, had its most important precondition in the widespread reli­gious revival in Alfta and Gävleborg. The Eric Jansonist emigration had great importance locally in Alfta, which can be seen most by the large number of follo­wers from the parish. Even in the 1880's the parish had the next highest emigra­tion intensity in the region. The importance of this early emigration can also be seen at the regional level. During the 1850's and 1860's Gävleborg was the third and second respectively emigration area in Sweden, but during the 1870's and 1890's there was a higher frequency of emigration from "Eric Jansonist parishes" than from "non-Eric Jansonist parishes". Finally the Eric Jansonist emigration played an important part in the Swedish emigration movement to America at the national level. First, it contributed to a substantial increase in the spread of information about America in Sweden in the 1840fs. Second, it can easily be estab­lished that there were definite links between the Eric Jansonist movement and other subsequent emigration from other parts of Sweden. Third, the Eric Jansonist emigration led to the establishment of a string of Swedish colonies strategically situated in the American Mid-West, which later served as reception and transit centres for subsequent emigration.