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.

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