At many conferences in North America, many will stop by our booth and state that they have Swedish ancestry but are intimidated by the Swedish records because they are in Swedish. We explain that the church books are mostly tables of names, dates and places with headings and terms that are used repeatedly. Once one becomes familiar with the commonly used words, one finds it can be easy to work with the records even though one does not speak Swedish.
Today, we will search for a birth record and show that most of the record contains names, dates and place names. In order to search for a birth record, one needs the child’s Swedish name, birth parish and the birth date. Our search will be for the birth record of Elin Andersdotter born on the 13th of July, 1841 in the parish of Västra Torsås in Kronoberg county.
To begin the search, go to ArkivDigital and click on Search Archive. There are several methods for searching:
- One method is to just enter Västra Torsås in the search box and click search. You will need to type in the Swedish characters.
- Since we know the county, you can select advanced options and select county and then Kronoberg. You will now see a list of all the archives for Kronoberg county. Scroll down until you find Västra Torsås and then highlight the entry.
- On the right side, you will see a volume list for Västra Torsås as shown in the image below.
- Search for the birth and christening records book that includes the year 1841.
- Select the birth and christenings volume: Västra Torsås C:5 (1815-1848).
- Double click to open the book.
- Search for a table of contents in the beginning of the book. Many volumes include multiple types of records.
- In this volume, you will find a table of contents (Innehåll) (see image below).
Västra Torsås C:5 (1815-1848) Image 3 (AID: v29905.b3, NAD: SE/VALA/00453) Link.
The table of contents shows the following entries:
- Födelse- och dopbok 1815-1843 or birth and baptism book
- ” ” ” 1844-1848
- Lysnings- och vigselbok 1815-1848 or banns and marriage book
- Död-och begravningsbok 1815-1848 or death and burial book
On the far right side, you will see the page numbers for each record type. Since we are looking for a birth record in 1841, we see that the birth records between 1815 and 1843 begin on page 5 and end on page 430. We now need to look for the birth records for the year 1841. One can estimate a page number and go directly to a page and then page forward or backwards until you find the records for 1841. Once you find the year 1841, then you search for the birth date, July 13th. You will find Elin’s birth record on page 407.
Västra Torsås C:5 (1815-1848) Image 207 / page 407 (AID: v29905.b207.s407, NAD: SE/VALA/00453) Link.
The content and format of the birth records do vary by time and minister. The format for this book is the following:
- Column 1 – Child’s name
- Column 2 – Birth date
- Column 3 – Baptismal date
- Column 4 – Parents’ names and residence followed by the names of the baptismal witnesses
- Column 5 – Mother’s age
Elin 13 14 Föräld. B. Anders Nilsson H. Ingrid Magnisdotter i Långasten 44
Vittnen Nils Petersson, Bengt Abrahamsson i Sjöby H. Nil
la Nilsdotter i Källhult Pig. Maria Simonsdtr. i Sjöby
The child, Elin, was born on July 13, 1841 and baptized on July 14, 1841. Her parents were farmer Anders Nilsson and his wife Ingrid Magnisdotter residing at Långasten. The baptismal witnesses were Nils Petersson, Bengt Abrahamsson at Sjöby, wife Nilla Nilsdotter at Källhult and maid Maria Simonsdotter at Sjöby. Elin’s mother age is 44 years old.
As you can see this record contains primarily dates, names and place names. The only Swedish words in this birth record are:
B. abbreviation for bonde or farmer
Föräld. abbreviation for föräldrar or parents
H. abbreviation for hustru or wife
i at, by
Pig. abbreviation for piga or maid
You can find more birth record examples on our website by clicking here.
In a future blog, we will show you how to locate Elin with her family in the household examination book for the year 1841.