Research in Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö (church books burned)

voxtorpimage1Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi FIa:25 (1850-1851) Image 20 (AID: v299119.b20, NAD: SE/VALA/01961) Link.

It is a great disappointment for a researcher to discover that many of the church books do not exist for the parish his or her ancestor came from. Sometimes there are gaps in the records or an entire series is missing. Sometimes, one knows the reason why the records no longer exist such as a fire but sometimes there is only a note saying the there are no records.

If your ancestors are from Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö parishes in Småland, you will be initially disappointed  because many of the church books were destroyed in a fire in 1869. A story is told that the minister’s maid was in the parsonage cooking pork over the open fireplace. Someone called out for assistance because a cow was calving. The maid ran to help and completely forgot about the pork and the open fire.  While the maid was helping with the calving, the fire spread and the parsonage and the church books burned. By luck a few books and household records from 1861 were preserved as well as the birth, marriage and death books for 1825-1860 for Värnamo parish.

But just because the church books no longer exist does not mean that one cannot research further. One should look for other documents. There may be some tax registers, court records and estate inventories that are available. It may take some time and it is not always easy to research in these documents, but with a little patience one can find some additional information.

Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö parishes are located in Östbo härad or district and it is sometimes said that “an accident seldom comes alone”.  There was a fire at the  Östbo district court in 1834.  This means that there are no estate inventories, court records or other documents in that archive that can be used.  Fortunately  for the court records, there are extracts or duplicate records. The court was required to make  extracts or copies of the original court records and submit it to the Göta Court of Appeals once a year.   In ArkivDigital’s online library, these are available only for the years 1603 to 1750 for Östbo härad (some gaps do exist).

What now remains for that time period are the tax registers/population registers (mantalslängderna). These were produced each year and while they are not as detailed as the household records, one can easily follow a family on a farm year by year. The more recent one comes in time,  the more information one finds in the population registers.

We hope to photograph the population registers and other documents for the parishes where the church books are missing. For some parishes we have already done this. In ArkivDigital population registers for Östbo härad are now available up to and including 1861. Actually, this is the only way one can do family research for Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö parishes.

In ArkivDigital, you can find these populations registers:

  • 1686-1820 (gaps exist) in Jönköping läns landskontor.
  • 1758-1861 (gaps exist) in Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi.

To search in the Jönköping läns landskontor archive using the English interface:

  • Go to ArkivDigital search.
  • Select advance options.
  • Select archive type, country office.
  • Select Jönköping läns landskontor.

To search in the Häradsskrivaren in Östbo fögderi archive using the English interface:

  • Go to ArkivDigital search.
  • Select advance options.
  • Select archive type, district registrar.
  • Select Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi.

voxtorpimage3Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi FIa:25 (1850-1851) Image 2770 (AID: v299119.b2770, NAD: SE/VALA/01961) Link.

The image above is the population register for Värnamo in 1850 showing Alandsryd Skattegård.  Anders Jönsson (born 1800) and his wife (hustru) born 1805 together with Johan (born 1837), Isak (born 1844), Anna (born 1833), Stina (born 1840) and farmhand (dräng) Johan (born 1832) are shown as living in the first section of the farm listing.  Following is the  lodger(inhyses), Jöns (born 1767) and his wife (born 1785). Seeing that Anders last name is Jönsson, it is possible that the lodger, Jöns, and his wife are his parents.

One can’t conclude that this is correct without researching more records. Maybe it’s his father, but Jöns wife is probably not the mother because she would have been only 15 when Anders was born. Maybe Jöns remarried or it may be Anders wife’s parents or even someone completely different. More research is necessary before one can resolve the mystery.

Link to blog in Swedish.

ArkivDigital