Getting Started in the Swedish Church Books

Are you new to Swedish research? Swedish research is extremely rewarding because there are so many types of records and they are very complete. But before you begin, you must know your Swedish ancestor’s Swedish name, place or parish of origin in Sweden and a significant date such as a birth date. If all you know is that your Swedish ancestor’s name is Charles Johnson, you have a little more work to do before you jump the pond. For information on how to search for more details about your Swedish ancestor, click here.

But, let us say you are now successful and have discovered that your ancestor’s Swedish name was Carl Johan Johansson and he was born in Habo parish in Skaraborg county on the 10th of February 1819, you are ready to jump the pond and research in the Swedish records. Today, we will walk you through the steps for searching for Carl’s birth record and the corresponding household record in ArkivDigital.

We enter the application: app.arkivdigital.se and then select New Archive search. Since we know the name of the parish, we can enter, Habo, in the search box and the archive box for Habo will appear.

search habo

Click on Habo and you will see a list of all the volumes that are available for this parish. In this case, there are 122 volumes. Search for a birth book that includes the year 1819.

search habo birth book

You will see that there are two birth books that contain births for the year 1819:  C:10 Birth and Christening records 1801-1820 and C:11 Birth and Christening records 1801-1827. When one sees two books that cover the same period, it is always good to look at both books. They can often contain different information.

By looking further at book C:10 Birth and Christening records 1801-1820, we see that that there is a circle with an “i” before the words birth and christening records. This means information and if you put your mouse over the “i”, you will see the notation, “register till födelseböckerna” or register to the birth books.

hove birth register

When we look at this book, we see it is an index organized by first given name and then birth year. Note -you will not encounter this type of birth index in many parishes. But remember before the mid 1800’s, the information can vary by time and minister.

In browsing this book, we will find a page for Carl’s and you will find the information for Carl Johan in the section for Carl’s born in the year 1819.

carl birth index recordHabo (F, R) C:10 (1801-1820) Image 16 / Page 25 (AID: v34105.b16.s25, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

The information shown in the above index record includes:

  1. Second given name – Joh. or abbreviation for Johan
  2. Parents’ first names: Johan, Katrina
  3. Residence in parish – Sållarhemmet (line above the letter m represents a double m).
  4. Year – 19 or 1819
  5. Day of month – 10
  6. Month – 2 or February

The book C:11 Birth and Christening records 1801-1827 contains the actual birth records. It is always good to look in the front of the book and check for a table of contents. There may be multiple types of records in the volume and the table of contents will show on what pages the various types of records begin. In this case there is not a table of contents and the births are arranged in chronological order. Open the book and look for birth records for the year 1819 and then the month, February, and then the day, the 10th. Below is the birth record for Carl Johan.

carl johan birth recordHabo (F, R) C:11 (1801-1827) Image 109 / Page 213 (AID: v34106.b109.s213, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

The record contents are:

  1. Birth date – 10 (February 10, 1819)
  2. Baptismal date – 11 (February 11, 1819)
  3. Child’s given name – Carl Johan
  4. Parents’ names – Johannes Larsson and Kathrina Andersdotter
  5. Residence in parish – Sållarehemmet
  6. Baptismal witnesses – And. Carlsson och (and) D. H. dess hustru or his wife Stina at Skogshemmet
  7. Mother’s age – Between 25 and 30

The next step is to find out more information about the family by going to the household book that includes the year 1819. Now we return to the Habo archive and search for the household book that contains the year 1819. We find the book, AI:4 Household records 1814-1820.

search habo household book

The household books are organized by place name. In most household books you will find a place name index in the front or back of the book. Open the book and search for a place name index or ortregister. Then look for Carl Johan’s residence, Sållarehemmet, in the place name index.

habo place name indexHabo (F, R) AI:4 (1814-1820) Image 5 (AID: v20176.b5, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

The place name index states that the records for the place, Sållarehemmet, begin on page 206. Now there may be one page for the place or many pages, but the page number shown in the index is the start page for the search for the family. We now go to page 206.

hova household recordHabo (F, R) AI:4 (1814-1820) Image 110 / Page 207 (AID: v20176.b110.s207, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

In this case we find the family on page 206. Below is the information that is shown for the family:

  • (Father) äg. (abbreviation for ägare) owner or landowner Johannes Larsson born on the 6th of May 1782 in Loco Loco is a Latin term meaning here or in Habo parish. Note – further research will show that the birth date is incorrect and is actually the 15th of May 1782.
  • (Mother) H. (abbreviation for hustru or wife) Catharina Andersdotter born on the 6th of May 1790 at loco or in the parish of Habo.
  • Son Anders born 9th of May 1813 loco or in Habo. There is also a notation that he has died.
  • Son Gabriel born on the 23rd of April 1816 loco or in Habo. There is a notation that he died in 1817.
  • Flicka (Girl) Stina Svensdotter born on the 15th of October 1803 in Ekebo. There is a notation that she moved here in 1816 from Ekereds torp and moved out in 1817 to V. Ekered. More research is required to check to see if she is just a worker or if she has some relationship to the family.
  • (Son) Carl Johan born on the 10th of February 1819 in loco or Habo.

Since there are no notations that the family has moved in or out, we can assume that the family is living at the same place, Sållarehemmet, in the subsequent household book. We can continue to trace Carl forward in the household books until his emigration.

Also, from this record, we have enough information, that we can look for birth records for other members of the household. Also, please note that sometimes the minister will note the incorrect birth date information in the household record such as was the case for the father, Johannes Larsson. If there is a discrepancy between the birth dates in the birth record or household record, you should always use the information shown in the birth record.

For more information about researching in the church books, go to the following links:

ArkivDigital

Birth record reading example with some abbreviations

Prior to the mid 1800’s, the birth books were not standardized and the format varies by minister and time. When looking at a birth book, it is always good to review the minister’s style and determine the format of the content.

Today we will look at a birth record from 1837 in the parish of Älvsbacka (Elvsbacka) parish in Värmland county. In the record below, you will see that the content of the birth record is divided into six boxes. In this record, the minister has recorded the birth date, baptismal date, child’s residence, names of parents, names of witnesses and residence, name of minister who baptized child, age of mother and child’s name.

alvsbacka birthÄlvsbacka (S) C:3 (1827-1860) Image 22 (AID: v9055.b22, NAD: SE/VA/13662) Link.

  • Box 1 – Birth and baptismal month – Juni (June)
  • Box 2 – Birth day 14 (June 14, 1837)
  • Box 3 – Baptismal day 15 (June 15, 1837)
  • Box 4 – Child’s residence in parish, name of parents, names and residence of baptismal witnesses and the name of minister who baptized the child
  • Box 5 – Age of mother – 36
  • Box 6 – Child’s name – Stina Maria

Box 4 Transcription:

Örtnåstorp, H. e. Henrik Andersson o. d. h. Cajsa Magnusdotters barn.
Faddrar:  H. e. Anders Henriksson o. d. h. Ingrid Andersdotter i Örtnås.
D. a. Comm Frykholm.

While most of the words in the birth record are names of persons or places and dates, there are some Swedish words. Also, in this record, the minister has used some abbreviations. Below in text order are the Swedish words and abbreviations.

  • H. e. – hemman ägare – farm owner
  • o – och – and
  • d – dess – his
  • hhustru – wife
  • barn – child
  • Faddrar – witnesses
  • i – at
  • dopt – baptized
  • a – af – by
  • Comm – Komminister – assistant pastor, curate

Complete English translation of Box 4:

Örtnåstorp, Farm owner – Henrik Andersson and his wife. Cajsa Magnusdotters child.
Witnesses- Farm owner Anders Henriksson and his wife Ingrid Andersdotter at Örtnås.
Baptized by Pastor Frykholm.

Sometimes the minister would use full words in one entry and then abbreviate the same words in another entry. If you were to look at another birth entry in the previous year, you will see that the minister has spelled out the phrase baptized by (dopt af) as seen in the image below. By looking at that record, then one can decipher the meaning for the abbreviation “D. a”.

full spelling doptÄlvsbacka (S) C:3 (1827-1860) Image 21 (AID: v9055.b21, NAD: SE/VA/13662) Link.

Click here to see a 1700’s birth record example.

Click here to see an 1800’s birth record example.

ArkivDigital

United States Naturalization Records in Nebraska Collection

We now have 118 archives in our Nebraska collection. Most of these archives are Swedish American congregation records but not all are church records. One interesting collection in the Nebraska archives consists of declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization and final papers for United States citizenship. These records are from the District Court of Polk County in Osceola, Nebraska.

The process for United States citizenship was generally a two-step process. After a person lived in the U.S. for two years, the person could file a “declaration of intention” to become a citizen. After three additional years, the person could file a petition for naturalization. After the petition was granted, the person was given a certification of naturalization and became a citizen. Click here for more information about the naturalization process.

These applications for citizenship primarily the “declaration of intention” are often used to help a person identify where their ancestor came from in Sweden. Below is the declaration of intention for Axel Theodore Norstrom.

declaration of intentionDistrict Court of Polk County, Osceola, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:1 (1907-1922) Image 47 / page 33 (AID: v896407.b47.s33, NAD) Link.

The “declaration of intention” includes such information as physical description, age, occupation, birth date and birth place, emigration place, often name of ship along with date of arrival and arrival port.

In the above record dated 18th of January 1909 we see that Axel was born in Skinnskatteberg parish in Sweden on the 10th of September 1863. He is now living in Stromsberg, Nebraska. The record states that he emigrated from Göteborg, Sweden on the ship, Arabic, and arrived in the port of Boston, Massachusetts on the 14th of October 1905. His last residence in Sweden is Malma. (Note – in the declaration of intention it looks like Malmo but as we do more research, we discover that the last residence in Sweden is in the parish of Malma in Västmanland county).

With the above information, we can jump into the Swedish church book records and verify the information on the declaration of intention. We can search for the birth books for Skinnskatteberg parish and look for his birth record in 1863. Below is his birth record.

norstroms birth recordSkinnskatteberg (U) C:11 (1862-1878) Image 26 (AID: v74059.b26, NAD: SE/ULA/11336) Link.

We can follow him in the household books from the time of his birth until his emigration. Below is the household record showing him emigrating from Malma parish in Västmanland county to America in 1905. You notice that his Swedish name is “Axel Teodor Norström” and the American version is ” Axel Theodore Norstrom”.

norstrom hfl emigration recordMalma (U) AII:2 (1902-1914) Image 150 / page 3 (AID: v263759.b150.s3, NAD: SE/ULA/11056) Link.

You can find the “declarations of intentions” in the District Court Polk County, Nebraska Archives in ArkivDigital by doing the following:

  • Select New Archive search.
  • Select county, Nebraska.
  • Select District Court of Polk County, Osceola, Nebraska USA archive.
  • Select the book with the years that you are interested in.
  • Each book contains a name register in the front of the book.

ArkivDigital

Södermanland’s Name Register Grows!

ArkivDigital continues to publish name registers for older church books for the benefit of family history researchers. The latest addition is a number of parishes in eastern Södermanland.

The new register includes birth, marriage and death records from the oldest times (primarily at the end of the 1600’s) till around 1860 and includes the congregations in  the Nyköping area: Bergshammar, Bogsta, Bälinge, Bärbo, Dillnäs, Frustuna, Gryt, Gåsinge, Halla, Husby-Oppunda, Kattnäs, Kila, Lid, Ludgo, Lunda, Lästringe, Nykyrka, Nyköpings Västra and Sankt Nicolai, Nyköpings Östra and Helgona, Ripsa, Runtuna, Råby-Rönö, Spelvik and Stigtomta.

The register will be expanded further in the future with the following congregations: Svarta, Sättersta, Torsåker, Trosa land, Trosa town, Tuna, Tunaberg, Tystberga, Vagnhärad, Vrena and Västerljung.

The register was created by the Nyköpings-Oxelösunds genealogy society and is published thanks to an agreement between the society and ArkivDigital.

ArkivDigital has linked all the register entries to the images in the church books. This means that a researcher can quickly go from the register to the original source by a single mouse click.

sodermanlands indexSearching in the name register Births part of Södermanland

Earlier ArkivDigital added a name register for about twenty parishes in western Södermanland, as a result of a cooperation with the Katrineholm-Flen-Vingåkers genealogy society. Also, in this register, there is a direct link between the register and the original church book. See earlier blog.

ArkivDigital has ambitions to publicize several person registers, both created by the company and those created by genealogy societies around Sweden throughout the years.

“We have already completed agreements with additional societies and hopefully it will be even more,” says Mikael Karlsson, managing director of ArkivDigital.

During the spring, ArkivDigital will be adding a searchable name register for the draft registration cards (stamkorten) with military information for several hundred thousand draftees during the first half of the twentieth century.

Read original blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Name Searchable Indexes in ArkivDigital

Swedish genealogy is becoming easier as new name searchable indexes become available in ArkivDigital. Most of these indexes are found only in the All-in-One subscription. The Population of Sweden 1950 index is found in both the base and All-in-One subscriptions. Today, we will review the name searchable indexes that exist in ArkivDigital as well point out the blogs that provide additional information.

You can find the name searchable indexes in ArkivDigital by doing the following:

  • Access  ArkivDigital
  • Select New Index Search
  • Select index source

indexsearchallinoneIndexes available in the All-in-One subscription

Population of Sweden 1950 – Name Searchable of persons living in Sweden in 1950
Available both in base and All-in-One subscriptions
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/name-register-searches-in-arkivdigitals-web-version/
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/advanced-searching/

Population of Sweden 1960 – Name Searchable index of persons living in Sweden in 1960
Only available in All-in-One Subscription
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/advanced-searching/

Population of Sweden 1860 to 1930 – Name index of household/congregation records between 1860 and 1930
Only available in All-in-One Subscription

http://blog.arkivdigital.net/population-of-sweden-1880-1920-grows-and-now-becomes-1860-1920/
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/ten-years-added-to-arkivdigitals-largest-name-register/
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/advanced-searching/

Swedes in US 1940 – All persons in 1940 United States Census who mentioned their birth place was Sweden
Only available in All-in-One Subscription
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/new-register-swedes-in-us-1940/

Inventory of estate – Searchable name index for estate inventories
Only available in All-in-One Subscription
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/digital-searchable-estate-inventory-register-now-in-arkivdigital/

Portrait collection – Personal photographs from three Stockholm photography studios
Only available in All-in-One Subscription
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/a-quarter-of-a-million-portrait-images/

Birth index – Index of births between 1666 and 1894 for Western Södermanland
Marriage index - Index of marriages between 1666 and 1894 for Western Södermanland
Death index - Index of deaths between 1666 and 1894 for Western Södermanland
Only available in All-in-One Subscription
http://blog.arkivdigital.net/registers-for-birth-death-and-marriage-records-1666-1894-for-vastra-sodermanland/

ArkivDigital

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.

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