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Swedish visitor traces ancestor's steps to church in Lake Park, MN

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Lake Park, MN (WDAY TV) - Swedish roots run deep at Eksjo Lutheran Church in Lake Park, Minnesota, the name, the decorations, and the members.

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A small group of Swedish immigrants settled the area in 1860s and Sunday, old world family met their new world relatives.

Outside of Sweden it doesn't get much more Swedish than Eksjo Lutheran Church.

Vince Lindstrom/ Eksjo Churchgoer: "A lot of the immigrants that came from there, they left a lot of family behind and some came over here. And the group that's with us today are from the families that were left behind."

Mats Nilsson is retracing the path of his great-great uncle, all the way from a small town outside of Stockholm to the small town of Lake Park, Minnesota.

Mats Nilsson/ Swedish Visitor: "We say we kind of recognize ourselves because it is quite similar to the places where we come from."

Nilsson and Lindstrom are seventh-generation cousins and many of the other church members are also related to the Swedish guests.

Nilsson: "It's a thrill. It's very interesting and people are so nice and interested in the ancestors and the roots back from Sweden."

Lindstrom: "When you can not only find your parents and your grandparents, but your great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents, and you know where they're all buried, that makes it very special. And I guess that's why Eksjo Lutheran Church is so special to so many Swedes that have ancestry."

For their next stop, the Swedish guests plan to tour the Hjemkomst Center and take a look at Minnesota's North woods near Lake Itasca.

Mats Nilsson also compiled a book mapping the family tree from 19th Century Sweden to today's modern relatives.

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