Swedish American Church Book Record Types

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many Swedish American church books from Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and a few from Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Below are the types of records that you will find in the various congregations However, the type of records that were kept and preserved varies by congregation.

  1. Congregation records or church registers (Församlingsböcker)
  2. Birth and christening records (Födelse- och dopböcker)
  3. Marriage records (Vigselböcker)
  4. Death and burial records (Död- och begravningsböcker)
  5. Catechetical records (Konfirmationsbok)
  6. Protocols (Protokoll)
  7. Accountings (Räkenskaper)
  8. Member reception records (Intagna medlemmar)
  9. Member dismissal records (Utträdda medlemmar)
  10. Anniversary documents (Jubileumsskrift)

Congregation Books (Församlingsböcker)
The congregation records or church registers include similar information to the Swedish household or congregation records. The type of information you may find includes:  the names of the household members, birth date, birth place, baptismal date, marriage dates of the head of the household, arrival date in America and arrival date in the congregation. Some of these books have alphabetical name indexes. These records are very helpful in identifying where a person came from in Sweden.

Omaha Congregation RecordCongregation book from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:1 (1868-1890) Image 74 / page 69 (AID: v883292.b74.s69, NAD: ) Link.

Birth and Christening Records (Födelse- och dopböcker)
The birth and christening records are somewhat similar to the Swedish birth and christening records. The contents do vary by congregation but they usually contain the child’s name, birth date, baptismal date, names of parents and names of baptismal witnesses.  Most of the time the mother’s married name and not maiden name is presented. These records are organized in chronological order often by baptismal date. Occasionally, there is a cross reference to the family in the church register or congregation record.

omaha birthsRecords of baptisms from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 21 / page 35 (AID: v883294.b21.s35, NAD: ) Link.

Marriage Records (Vigselböcker)
The marriage records are an important source because it is the one source where the female’s maiden name is shown. The contents in the marriage record usually include the names of the groom and bride, date of the marriage and the places where the bride and groom are from. These records are organized in chronological order.

omaha marriageRecords of Marriages from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 59 / page 173 (AID: v883294.b59.s173, NAD: ) Link.

Death and Burial Records (Död- och begravningsböcker)
The death and burial records sometimes called “Records of Funerals” show the deceased’s name, death date, burial date, age, sometimes names of nearest relatives and cause of death. Unfortunately, abbreviations may be used in names such as “P. A. Swanson” versus the complete name and married women are often noted as “Mrs. Charles Eklund”.  These are organized in chronological order usually by the funeral date. Occasionally, there is a cross reference to the family in the church register or congregation record.

omaha burialsRecords of Funerals from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 98 / page 291 (AID: v883294.b98.s291, NAD: ) Link.

Catechetical (Konfirmationsbok)
The catechetical records provide names of the persons confirmed. Most of the time, these are only list of names but occasionally, the birth date and the names of the parents of the confirmed will be shown.

Protocols (Protokoll)
The protocols are administrative records for the parish. They contain minutes of administrative meetings and decisions relating to parish matters.

Accountings (Räkenskaper)
The account books will include records of financial transactions such as cash books, bookkeeping records and real estate transactions.

Member reception records (Intagna medlemmar)
These records record new members of the parish usually stating the name of the person, date of admission and the place where the person came from.

Member dismissal records (Utträdda medlemmar)
These records record the names of members who leave the parish. Usually, you will find the name of the person, departure date and where the person is going to.

omaha dismissalRecords of Dismissals of Members from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 85 / page 247 (AID: v883294.b85.s247, NAD: ) Link.

Church anniversary document (Jubileumsskrift)
In many congregation archives you will find a church anniversary document celebrating a number of years in existence such as 25 years, 50 years, 75 years or 100 years. These documents usually present a short history of the church or a church organization such as a singing group or other group within the church. Sometimes in addition to the history of the church, biographical information and photos of members of the church are included.

Other documents (Övriga handlingar)
You may find other documents dependent upon the parish such as church school records, tomb or cemetery records, historical notes, church constitution, and attachments to migration records, newspaper clippings and other types of documents.

More information about Swedish American church books:
Searching for a parish of origin in the Kansas church books.

ArkivDigital

Place Names in the Church Books

Place names in the church books can be names of farms, villages, parishes, counties, countries, abbreviations or even Latin terms.

At a recent conference in North America, the following question was asked: What are the birth places for Fredrik Leopold Hartung and members of his family as shown in the household record in Ystads Sankta Maria parish in Malmöhus county for the years 1882-1887?  Below is the record in question which is an example of a record with various types of place names.

hartungYstads Sankta Maria (M) AI:49 (1882-1887) Image 205 / page 1084 (AID: v111988.b205.s1084, NAD: SE/LLA/13489) Link.

Line 1 – Skomakeriarb. (Shoemaker worker) Fredrik Leopold Hartung’s birth place is Tyskland or Germany. In this case, the birth place is a name of a country. Tyskland is Swedish for Germany.

Line 2 – Hu (an abbreviation for hustru or wife) Charlotta Josefina Klein’s birth place is shown as YSM. This is an abbreviation of the parish, Ystads Sankta Maria. You will find her birth record at the following reference in ArkivDigital: Ystads Sankta Maria (M) C:11 (1827-1845) Image 42 / page 38 (AID: v112010.b42.s38, NAD: SE/LLA/13489).

Note – Her birth date is actually the 20th of April 1834 versus  April 4,1834 as shown in the household record. That will be another blog in the future to show how the correct birth record was found.

Line 3 – Son Carl Fredrik’s, porslinsmål. or abbreviation for porslinsmålare or porcelain painter, birth place is noted as ibm. Ibm is a Latin abbreviation for ibidem or in the same place. In this case, he was born in the same place that was noted above for his mother or Ystads Sankta Maria parish. You will find his birth record in ArkivDigital at the following reference:  Ystads Sankta Maria (M) C:17 (1863-1872) Image 187 / page 184 (AID: v112016.b187.s184, NAD: SE/LLA/13489)

Line 4 – Foster daughter, Charlotta Pettersson and her birth place is noted as YSP or Ystads Sankt Petri. Her birth record can be found in ArkivDigital at the following reference: Ystads Sankt Petri (M) C:8 (1877-1884) Image 30 / page 28 (AID: v111936.b30.s28, NAD: SE/LLA/13490).

In the above household record, we discovered place names in the following formats:

  • Name of a country
  • An abbreviation of a parish name
  • Latin term

ArkivDigital

Church Book Tutorials

At conferences, we receive many questions from our English-speaking customers on where to find examples for reading the church books. Today, we would like to point out that we have some tutorials on our website. In addition, we want to point out a wonderful website that includes some instructional videos on reading birth records from the late 1800’s back to the early 1700’s using ArkivDigital images.

On our English website, you will find a section titled, Swedish Genealogy. In this section, you will find record examples with transcriptions and translations for birth, marriage, death, household examination and moving records and much more. Below are links to these tutorials.

birth tutorial

Also, we would like to point out a wonderful website (swedishgenealogyguide.com) which is free that includes some wonderful instructional videos including among others “Reading Gothic Handwriting for Swedish Genealogy” and several videos showing examples of reading birth records.

Click here to link to the learning center which lists the instructional videos.

ArkivDigital

Registers for birth, death and marriage records, 1666-1894 for Västra Södermanland

Thanks to a partnership between ArkivDigital and Katrineholm-Flen-Vingåker’s Genealogy Society (KFV), we can now proudly present a wonderful searchable name register that will greatly simplify and enhance the quality of research in Västra Södermanland where the register is linked to the original photographed book.

The register, which was created by KFV, contains nearly half a million register entries and comprises a total of 20 parishes: Bettna, Björkvik, Blacksta, Dunker, Flen, Floda, Forssa, Helgesta, Hyltinge, Julita, Lerbo, Lilla Malma, Lilla Mellösa, Sköldinge, Stora Malm, Vadsbro, Västra Vingåker, Årdala and Östra Vingåker.

In order to access the register, one must have an All-in-one subscription and access the service by using the web version of our program software, which you find here: https://app.arkivdigital.se.

In our program, select “New index search” and then select one of the following: “Birth index”, Marriage index”, or “Death index” and then you can begin to search.

In the following example, we will search for the birth record for Helga Carolina born on the 26th of September 1893 in Västra Vingåker parish.

  • Select new index search
  • Select birth index under index source

birth marriage death search

  • Enter Helga Carolina in first name field.
  • Enter birth date in birth date field.

search carolina

Below you see the register entry for Helga Carolina born on the 26th of September 1893 in Västra Vingåker followed by an image of her birth record.

carolina register entry

helga carolinaVästra Vingåker (D, T) C:20 (1879-1894) Image 346 (AID: v63059.b346, NAD: SE/ULA/11076) Link.

Read original blog in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Birth Record Reading Example

frossa birth recordForssa (D) C:1 (1682-1798) Image 59 / page 95 (AID: v55123.b59.s95, NAD: SE/ULA/10279) (Link)

Today, we will present a lesson in reading a birth record in the 1700’s. The above record is a birth record from 1762 in Forssa parish in Södermanland county. For many experienced researchers, this may appear to be clear and easy to read but for many new researchers this record may seem intimidating.

When looking at the birth records and the same can be said for marriage and death records one needs to become familiar with the minister’s format style for the record. In this case the minister has chosen the following format:

  1. Birth month
  2. Birth day
  3. Baptismal day
  4. Names of parents
  5. Name of the place of residence in the parish (e.g. farm, village, estate)
  6. Child’s Name
  7. Names of baptismal witnesses
  8. Entry number

In this case the child was born on the 12th of July 1762 and baptized on the 18th of July 1762. We know the year is 1762 because that is noted on the top of the page.

The minister has written the names of the parents: Per Andersson, h. Carin Persdotter. The abbreviation “h” is short for hustru or wife.

The place in the parish where the family lives is Stavsjöstugan. If you have difficulty in transcribing the place of residence, check to see if there is household book for that period and look in the place name index for a place that looks similar.

You will need the place name in the birth book to find the family in the household book. Below is the place name index for the corresponding household book You can see in the index at the bottom of the page that the household records for Stavsjöstugan begin on page 61. You will go to page 61 and then begin to look for the family.

The child’s name is Carin.

The names of the baptismal witnesses as written: Per Bengtsson i Spånga, dr. Carl Ericsson i Stavsjöstugan, hust. Maria Lars dtr i Spånga, pig. Cherstin Pers dtr ibidem.

The following abbreviations were used in recording the names of the witnesses:

  • i – in, at
  • dräng - farmhand
  • hust. –  abbreviation for hustru or wife
  • pig. – abbreviation for piga or maid
  • dtr – Often you will see “dtr” as an abbreviation for dotter or daughter in the name. The full names in this case are Maria Larsdotter and Cherstin Persdotter.
  • ibidem – Latin term meaning the same

The entry number 10 states that this was the 10th birth entry for the year.

You can see that one really doesn’t need to know Swedish to read the record. The record is primarily a table of names, dates and places. Yes, there are a few Swedish words but these words are used repeatedly in the church books so one just needs to become familiar with a few Swedish words to become comfortable reading the records.

ort name indexForssa (D) AI:2 (1757-1766) Image 5 (AID: v55102.b5, NAD: SE/ULA/10279) (Link)

Click here for more birth record reading examples.

ArkivDigital

Beginning Swedish Research Tutorials

churchbooksummaryAlgutsrum (H) CI:3 (1779-1854) Image 104 / page 203 (AID: v37085.b104.s203, NAD: SE/VALA/00005) Link.

Are you new to Swedish research and don’t know how to get started? Want to know more on how to research in the Swedish church books? Today, we would like to provide a summary of our English tutorials and blogs providing tips on how to get started and researching in the church books.

Tips for beginning Swedish research
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/research-tips (Link)

Introduction to Swedish Church Books
https://www.arkivdigital.net/swedish-genealogy/swedish-church-books (Link)

Birth Record Examples
1700’s birth record example (Link)
1800’s birth record example (Link)
1814 Christmas birth reading example (Link)

Marriage Record Examples
1700’s marriage record example (Link)
1800’s marriage record example (Link)
Marriage record example from Jönköping (Link)

Death Record Examples
1700’s death record example (Link)
1800’s death record example (Link)
Death record example from Söderfors parish (Link)

Household Record Example
https://www.arkivdigital.net/swedish-genealogy/late-1800s-household-examination-record-example (Link)

Moving In/Out Records Example
https://www.arkivdigital.net/swedish-genealogy/moving-records (Link)

Case Study – Searching for Birth Record
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/birth-record-search-and-reading-example/ (Link)

Case Study – Searching for Household Record
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/search-for-household-record-and-reading-example/ (Link)

ArkivDigital

1946 SCB extracts (birth, death and marriage)

Now the Statistiska centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden) or SCB extracts for birth, marriage and death books for 1946 are accessible online with ArkivDigital. Because of privacy rules, we are seldom able to photograph the original birth, marriage and death books up to this date. The SCB extracts are a good replacement when the original books are not available.

scb 1946Statistiska centralbyrån (SCB) – Avdelningen för befolkningsstatistik 1:a avdelningen  H1AA:3671 (1946-1946) Image 750 (AID: v816356.b750, NAD: SE/RA/42040101) Link.

You will the SCB extracts in the archive: Statistiska centralbyrån (SCB) – Avdelningen för befolkningsstatistik 1:a avdelningen. The easiest way to search for the SCB extracts is to select archive search and enter “SCB” in the search box. The volumes are organized by county thus requiring one to browse through the book to find the correct parish. We plan to begin the indexing of these books so that it will be easy to locate each parish.

The SCB extracts from 1925 to 1945 were added at an earlier date. In an earlier blog, we published information about these records. Go to earlier blog.

Read original blog in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

More modern church books in ArkivDigital

During January and February, we were busy photographing church books whose confidentiality or protection from the law of privacy expired at the end of last year. The volumes included are congregation books, birth and death records with an end year of 1946. In addition, we also photographed moving in and out books and marriage books with the starting year 1946 and year ending no later than 1980.

The photographing for Blekinge, Gotland, Halland, Jämtland, Jönköping, Kopparberg, Kristianstad, Kronoberg, Malmohus, Södermanland, Uppsala, Västmanland, Örebro and Östergötland counties are now complete. Newly photographed images from several other counties are now available online and more will be added in the near future.

1946 death recordÖdestugu (F) F:2 (1917-1946) Image 520 / page 49 (AID: v172844.b520.s49, NAD: SE/VALA/00473)  Link.

You can find more detail as to what volumes are available in ArkivDigital such as the modern church books and other types of volumes on our website, (link to website page).

Finally, we would also like to mention a few words about the birth and baptismal books.  In these books, it is common that notes may be added to a record, for example a note relating to an adoption, often decades after the event. The 70-year privacy law begins from the date of the last inserted note. For example, a note might have been entered in 1956 in a book containing birth records between 1930 and 1946. This means that the book is protected by the privacy law for 70 years after 1956 or it can’t be photographed until 2027.  So in some cases, we currently do not have the opportunity to photograph some of the birth and baptismal books even though they do not contain any birth records for persons born after 1946.

Read original article in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Searching for a parish of origin in the Kansas church books

One of the biggest challenges for many Swedish Americans is to discover the parish of origin for their Swedish ancestor. When one attends a presentation about how to get started with Swedish research, the Swedish American church books are mentioned as one source that might provide some clues. (Click here for beginning Swedish genealogy research tips.)

Many Swedes who immigrated to North America joined a Swedish American church. While most of these congregations were Lutheran, there were also Swedish Covenant, Swedish Methodist, Swedish Baptist, Swedish Mission and other free churches. Many of these churches kept detailed records as they did in Sweden.

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many Swedish American church books from Kansas and a few from Missouri and Oklahoma. If one’s Swedish’s ancestor settled in these areas, these books can be helpful in determining where your ancestor came from in Sweden.

One can search in the  Swedish American church records to discover where in Sweden a person came from or to discover more about the person’s life in North America. The detail and content in the Swedish American church books do vary by time, minister and religious denomination. The Lutheran church books tend to have some standardization and more detail than other denominations but again that will vary by congregation.

Search Method
To begin your search, you will need a name and a location. If you have a name and town location, but don’t know the person’s religious denomination:

  1. Look for church books for that town.
  2. If there are several denominations, begin with the Lutheran church books since most were Lutherans, then proceed to Covenant, Methodist, Baptist or other church book denominations in that order.
  3. If you don’t find the person in the church books, you may want to search in the church books in a nearby town that is in the same county or nearby county.

Case Study – Begin in Congregation Book (Church Register)

We want to discover the parish of origin in Sweden for Carl Carlson who lived in Lindsborg, Kansas and was Lutheran. We have been told that he was born around 1835 and that his wife’s name was Emma and one of his children was named David.

  1. Start the ArkivDigital application and click on search archives.
  2. Select new archive search and county.
  3. Select the archive for Kansas (USA).
  4. Search for the Lindsborg Lutheran church archives.
  5. You will find that there are 3 Lutheran churches in Lindsborg:
    1. Lindsborg Lutheran Bethany Church
    2. Lindsborg Freemount Lutheran Church
    3. Lindsborg Messiah Lutheran Church
  6. Select the first in the list: Lindsborg Lutheran Bethany Church.
  7. The info box above the archive list names the county where Lindsborg is located which is McPherson. On the right side is a list of volumes available for this congregation. For this parish, there are four congregation books all beginning in the year 1869 with different end years.
  8. Search for congregation books and click on each congregation book and see if there is a name register in the book. In the info box above the volume list, the name index will be noted with the entry “med personregister”. You will notice that one appears for the volume, Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA Vol: 2 (1869-1886).  Not all congregation books have name registers. In those cases, where there is none, you will need to browse through the book page by page.

Open the book and you will see an indexed name register. Search for Carl Carlson. See image below.
lindsborg-index
Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA (KS) Vol:2 (1869-1886) Image 9 (AID: v812465a.b9, NAD: ) Link.

While there are no Carl Carlson’s, there are the following entries in the list:

  • Carlson C. J.                     25
  • Carlson C (Sec 28)           96
  • ” (Sec 30)                          83
    The numbers: 25, 96 and 83 to the right of the names in this case represent an entry number in the church register.  Sometimes the number represents a page number. The minister did not repeat the name on the third line but only indicated that it was the same name by a ditto mark.

Go to entry  #25 to see if the information matches. In this case, the record does not match the given information. Below is the image for entry #25.

entry-number-25Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA (KS) Vol:2 (1869-1886) Image 37 / page 7 (AID: v812465a.b37.s7, NAD: ) Link.

Next, go to entry #96. See image below.

entry-number-96Lindsborg Bethany Lutheran Church, Kansas, USA (KS) Vol:2 (1869-1886) Image 50 / page 20 (AID: v812465a.b50.s20, NAD: ) Link.

This is the correct person. The record shows Carl Carlson born on the 12th of June 1835 in Lungsund, Värmland. You will notice that Värmland is abbreviated as Werm. Also, Carl has a child named David and his wife is Emma Olsdotter born on the 23rd of July 1840 in Färnebo, Värmland. This record shows that they were received in this parish in October of 1869.  Carl and Emma arrived in America from Sweden in 1869 and came to Lindsborg in 1869. The record also shows three children all born in Lindsborg:

  • Emma was born on the 28th of June 1870.
  • David was born on the 21st of December 1875.
  • Hannah was born on the 2nd of February 1880 and she died on the 17th of July 1880.

Now you have enough information to research Carl and Emma further in the Swedish church books. Below is an image of Carl’s birth record in Lungsund, Värmland.

carls-birth-recordLungsund (S) C:5 (1830-1854) Image 29 / page 53 (AID: v7336.b29.s53, NAD: SE/VA/13342) Link.

Click here for more information on Swedish church books.
Click here for examples of birth records.

ArkivDigital

Two blacksmiths in same parish had stillborn babies on same day

Sometimes by chance, unusual events seem to happen around the same time. In an earlier blog, we described two triplet births that happened in the same parish with only a few months between the births.

That a stillborn child would be born to two men with the same occupation on the same day in the same parish is highly unlikely. But this happened in 1798 in Burlöv parish in Skåne.

smedenstillbirthsBurlöv CI:4 (1775-1816) Image 91 / page 92 (AID: v106310.b91.s92, NAD: SE/LLA/13050) Link.

Den 26 januari fick smeden Bengt Andersson och hans hustru Kjerstina Nilsdotter tvillingar, varav den ena var dödfödd. Samma dag fick smeden Pär Ahlström och hans hustru Elna Bengtsdotter en dödfödd son.

On the 26th of January, twins were born to the blacksmith Bengt Andersson and Kjerstina Nilsdotter. One of the twins was stillborn. On the same day, a stillborn son was born to blacksmith, Pär Ahlström and his wife, Elna Bengtsdotter.

At this time the number of stillborn children in Sweden was approximately 27 per 1,000 births. Today, it is about 4 per 1,000. During the second half of the 1700’s, there were approximately 70,00 births per year. The number increased during the first decades of the 1800’s so that by the middle of the 1800’s there were as many births yearly as there are today despite that the population was much smaller. According to the official statistics, there were 2,160 stillbirths in 1798 in Sweden.  While stillbirths were not unusual, still the combination of the above circumstances can be described as being a unique event.

This article was written by Örjan Hedenberg for ArkivDigital and originally published in Swedish. Click here to read in Swedish.

ArkivDigital