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

Smothered by the mother

Sometimes, when one is browsing in the old church books, one sees a notice that makes one stop and think. One tries to imagine what life was like during that time and especially some of the feelings our ancestors experienced. For example – the pain a couple must have felt losing their small children. But then there are others types of notes in the records which note events that are more tragic.

arvik-1Arvika landsförsamling (S) CI:7 (1809-1827) Image 37 / page 61 (AID: v4798a.b37.s61, NAD: SE/VA/13011) Link.

The above image is a birth record from 1811 from the Arvika city parish (Arvika stadsförsamling). The record is the birth record for a daughter, Anna Lena, who was born on the 25th of September. Her parents were the miller, Nils Mattsson and his wife Lena Åsberg. But on the right, the priest has crossed out Anna Lena’s name and written “förqvafd vådl. av modern 17/12 1811” or smothered accidentally by the mother on the 17th of December 1811. This is also mentioned in the death record.

mattson-and-lenaArvika landsförsamling (S) CI:7 (1809-1827) Image 134 / page 255 (AID: v4798a.b134.s255, NAD: SE/VA/13011) Link.

17/12 dog och den 22/12 begrovs. Gateqvarn. Flickan Anna Lena Nilsdotter, f.1811 21/9. Föräldrar: Mölnaren Nils Matsson och hustru Lena Åsberg. Vådeligen af mdren förqvafd i sömnen.

The above death record states that the girl Anna Lena Nilsdotter living at Gateqvarn died on the 17th of December (1811) and was buried on the 22nd of December (1811). She was born on the 21st of September 1811 and her parents were the miller, Nils Mattsson and his wife Lena Åsberg. The cause of death was smothered in sleep accidentally by the mother.

We may never know the actual reason for this tragedy. But it is probable that there can be many different reasons that this small child died. Another question is how do we interpret the term, vådeligen or accidental. Was it an accident, or was it something else?

There exists an absolution register (absolutionslängd) for the period 1625-1650 from Östra and Västra Göinge in north Skåne. In this register, the dean has listed those who have received absolution (the priest gives absolution to a person for his/her sins) and many of the notes concern cases where a child has died. What is especially interesting in this record in this book is that the name for the both the man and woman is noted. During this period, it was rare to see a woman’s name.

1632-recordÖstra Göinge kontrakts prostarkiv (L) FIV:1 (1625-1650) Image 13 (AID: v103010.b13, NAD: SE/LLA/13583) Link.

The above note dated on the 22nd of June 1632 Kongens (The king owned the farm that the couple lived on).

Söffren Jepsön i Önnestad
Karine Nielsdatter. Pige 9 Ugier.
til fattige 10 mk

Söffren Jepsön in Önnestad
Karine Nielsdatter. Young girl 9 weeks
(donation) to the poor 10 mk (mark)

Read the original article in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Elfva-Bengtan from Skårby

elfva1

elva2Skårby CI:4 (1825-1862) Image 193 / page 375 (AID: v111804.b193.s375, NAD: SE/LLA/13350) Link.

In the 1842 death book for Skårby parish in southern Skåne, the priest included some additional information in Elfva-Bengtan’s death record.

Den så kallade Elfva-Bengtan i Skårby socken, som från urminnes tider lär hafva bott i en af henne uppförd jordhydda på gränsen emellan Willie, Kattslösa och Skårby Socknars ägor vid Snöftarp, och som i flera decennier blifvit skjutsad omkring i Skårby Socken från gård till gård, dog i Torpet Grekland den 26te och begrofs den 30de Januari. Hennes ålder är okänd; men sjelf har hon längesedan uppgiwvit sig hafva hunnit öfver 100 år. 84?

The person known as Elfva-Bengtan in Skårby parish, who as long as one can remember was said to have lived in one of her dugouts on the border between Willie, Kattslösa and Skårby parish grounds near Snöftarp, and who for several decades was pushed around from farm to farm, died at Torpet Grekland on the 26th and was buried on the 30th of January. Her age is unknown, but she herself for a long time stated that she was over 100 years.  84?

These few lines give us a picture of Bengta’s difficult life. Imagine how much more we could learn if more priests had noted more than just the name and age in the death record. It appears that the priest was questioning her age and that might be the reason he wrote “84?” at the end of the notation.

Read original blog in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Catechetical records in the diocese of Lund

As part of the Peace Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, Skåne and Blekinge were ceded to Sweden from Denmark. There was a transitional period where the population could continue to use the Danish language before Swedish was required as the official language. The catechetical records are an important source for reviewing the transition from the Danish language to Swedish.

By 1683, the transitional period was mainly over and the Swedish language had been introduced in practically all of  Skåne and Blekinge. In particular this is clearly shown in the court books. But we even see this in the church books especially in the catechetical books.

In the catechetical records, you will see the person’s name, age, notations about their religious understanding and in some records the language they spoke. These records show the transition from Danish to Swedish. Also, in some records, there will be a notation of the person’s place of birth.

You will find the catechetical records for the diocese of Lund (Skåne and Blekinge) in the respective parish archive noted as Kat.1 catechetical records.

lund catecheticalStrövelstorp Kat:1 (1692-1780) Image 11 / page 457 (AID: v115908.b11.s457, NAD: SE/LLA/13377) Link.

In the above image we see the following:

In Kärra number 1 in Strövelstorp parish in Skåne, the following persons live there in 1721:

Påhl Jönsson, born in Höja, 53 years old
wife Elina, born in the same place (Höja), 29 years old
son Jöns, born in Strövelstorp, 24 years old
son Pär, born in the same place (Strövelstorp), 22 years old
maid  Bengta, born in the same place  (Strövelstorp), 20 years old

In Kärra number 2 lives:
Pär Pärsson, born in Ausås, 76 years old
daughter Sissa, born in Strövelstorp, 55 years old

This record is particularly interesting because there is a column on the right, Tungsmåhlet, which states what language the person speaks. All at Kärra number 1 and daughter Sissa at number 2 speak Swedish, but Par Pärsson speaks Danish. He is 76 years old and was born around 1645 which was during the Danish period.

The original article was published in Swedish on April 17, 2014. Read original article in Swedish.

ArkivDigital