During the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century about 1.3 million Swedes emigrated to the USA. Main reasons being poverty, bad crops here in Sweden and just generally the American Dream of the Promised Land.
An excellent source to learn more about this is to read the novel suite The Emigrants by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg, which he wrote between 1949 and 1959. (The Emigrants, Unto a Good Land, The Settlers, The Last Letter Home). These books are considered to be among the best pieces of Swedish literature. And I do recommend them strongly.
In the 1970's two films were made based on the book suite. The Emigrants and The New Land. These films I also highly recommend. They were shown on Swedish TV when I was a child, around 7 to 9 years old, and I still have very vivid memories from them. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman plays the two leading roles.
In the 1990's the two former ABBA members Björn Ulveus and Benny Andersson did a musical based on the story, Kristina from Duvemåla. The music clip from YouTube is from a performance by the female lead singer Helene Sjöholm, singing the main theme, where she is doubting God's existance. I get goose pimps!
My grandmother's older brother Harald Lignell emigrated in the 1920's. And I know I have a whole family of relatives from his descendants living in the US today. My cousin Eva went there and saw them some 20-30 years ago. I remember her showing photos of the amazing house they lived in. As I remember it, it was a round house looking almost like a spaceship that had landed in the desert. There was a small group of these houses built as I remember it on the outskirts of Phoenix Arizona. I think I must contact her soon to get the facts right. It would be very much fun if anyone would happen to know what I am talking about though. Those houses are apparently famous. My maiden name was Nordstrom (or Nordstroem, depending on how you choose to spell it). And isn't there a big and nice ware house called Nordstrom's in Chicago and around that area. I don't know if the founder was a relative of mine, but I can always fantasize, can't I.
Vi ses snart igen!