Abbreviations in the Swedish Church Books

The Swedish church books are wonderful records. Most of the time, one can follow one’s ancestor from birth to emigration or death in the church books using a combination of the vital records (birth, marriage and death), household/congregation books and sometimes the moving records.

At conferences and presentations, we receive many questions about researching in the church books and some will ask about abbreviations they have encountered in their research. One common question is what do the abbreviations “GB” and “NB” mean?

  • GB is the abbreviation for gamla bok or old book.
  • NB is the abbreviation for nya bok or new book.

Often in the household books/congregation books in the latter nineteenth century and twentieth century you will see these abbreviations in the moving in and moving out columns. In the record shown below, you see the abbreviation “GB 124” in the moving in column (Hitflyttad) and the abbreviation “NB 166” in the moving out column (Bortflyttad) for Anders Johansson and his family who are living at Torpet Stubben in Barkeryd parish in Jönköping county. This record is in the household book for Barkeryd parish for the years 1891-1899.

GB and NB exampleBarkeryd (F) AI:25 (1891-1899) Image 226 / page 212 (AID: v18935.b226.s212, NAD: SE/VALA/00025) (Link)

In this case, the abbreviation “GB 124” is stating that we can find the family in the previous household book on page 124 or in the household book Barkeryd (F) AI:24(1885-1890) on page 124 as shown in the image below.

previous GB exampleBarkeryd (F) AI:24 (1885-1890) Image 136 / page 124 (AID: v18934.b136.s124, NAD: SE/VALA/00025) (Link)

The abbreviation “NB 166” is stating that we can find the family in the subsequent household book on page 166 or in the book Barkeryd (F) AIIa:1 (1900-1905) on page 166 as shown in the image below.

second NB exampleBarkeryd (F) AIIa:1 (1900-1905) Image 176 / page 166 (AID: v168900.b176.s166, NAD: SE/VALA/00025) (Link)

ArkivDigital

RootsTech 2017

ad rootstechRootsTech held in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the largest family history event in the world and each year it continues to grow and attract more visitors. Over 30,000 family history researchers from around the world attended RootsTech 2017. There were more than 200 presentations on a wide variety of genealogy topics that attendees could select from. The exhibit hall was gigantic with more than 130 vendors displaying their products and services.

Conference Hall

Again this year, ArkivDigital, was an exhibitor and Kathy Meade, the North American representative, led two hands-on ArkivDigital computer workshops in the computer lab along with giving a vendor presentation in the demo theater.

Each day, there were a stream of visitors stopping by our booth requesting to learn more about our services and Swedish genealogy. Many sought assistance in discovering where in Sweden their ancestor originated, translation help on records as well as viewing short demos on how to search in ArkivDigital. But we sadly had to explain to a couple of people that Sweden and Switzerland were different countries.

Conference Hall 2

We wish to thank all our customers who stopped by the booth to say hello and told us how appreciative they are of ArkivDigital in making it possible for them to trace their family history and discover their Swedish heritage.

Click here to read an interview with Mikael Karlsson, the CEO of ArkivDigital, about RootsTech (only in Swedish).

Read more about RootsTech here.

ArkivDigital

Research Days in Washington

stephanie-and-annalenaThis past weekend Kathy Meade of ArkivDigital and Charlotte Börjesson, Olof Cronberg and Anna-Lena Hultman of SwedGen led two Swedish genealogy workshops in the state of Washington.

On Saturday a workshop was held at the Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and on Sunday a workshop was held at the Swedish Club in Seattle.

We were happy to meet all the Swedish-Americans who were excited to learn more about tracing their Swedish heritage. Many of the participants were thrilled to learn more about their personal history in the one-on-one sessions and view their ancestor’s records in ArkivDigital.

Over the years, we have heard many Swedish Americans say that they have royal ancestry but rarely can this be proved. But this weekend, one participant, Stephanie Anderson, was surprised and thrilled to discover that she is the descendant of a King of Sweden, Eric XIV. At the top of the page she is pictured with Anna-Lena Hultman of SwedGen who presented her with this exciting news.

ArkivDigital

Photographs of Released Prisoners

freed prisoner
Kriminalpolisen i Malmö FIa:7 (1882-1882) Image 154 / page 143 (AID: v97414.b154.s143, NAD: SE/MSA/00453) Link.

As a researcher, it is often easy to find many written documents about one’s ancestors. On the other hand, it is often difficult to know what they looked like or to find a portrait. If you happen to have an ancestor who was a criminal, you may be in luck. Many of the earliest Swedish photographs show prisoners.

You will find a number of volumes titled, “Portrait of released prisoners” in the archive Kriminalpolisen i Malmö. These volumes include portraits of prisoners released from prisons throughout Sweden for the period 1876-1910. You can find a name searchable register of the released prisoners on the Swedish side of our website by clicking here.

In the picture above we see the laborer, Carl Jakob Åström, who was released from Långholmen prison in 1882. While the photo is in black and white, a physical description of the prisoner is written to the left of the photo. Here we see that Carl has brown hair (här: brunt), blue eyes (ögon: blå), straight nose (näsa: rak), ordinary mouth (mun: ordinär), pale skin (hy: blek), 5.45 feet tall (höjd: 5.45 fot) and a strong body build (kroppsbyggnad: stark). On the top of the page you will find more details about Carl’s life along with information about the crime that he committed. In this case, it was his fourth time for stealing.

Read the blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

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

Burial Costs

Burial costsOrusts och Tjörns häradsrätt FII:18 (1850-1853) Image 248 / page 491 (AID: v13493.b248.s491, NAD: SE/GLA/11080) Link.

The estate inventories (bouppteckningarna) are a wonderful source for finding information about a deceased’s heirs and the names of guardians for children not of legal age. This information in found in the ingress or preamble of the estate inventory.  When one browses through the estate inventory, one can form a deeper understanding of one’s ancestor’s life by viewing their possessions such as two spoons, four pigs and a clock or other items.

At the end of the inventory, the deceased’s debts (skulder) are listed. In addition, the burial costs are usually included. Sometimes, if you read carefully, you can recreate the burial event as if you were present.

In the estate inventory for Samuel Andersson as shown in the above image, you can discover what was served to the funeral guests at Orust in 1850.

“5 kannor brännvin, 1 kanna konjak, 1/2 kanna vin, kaffebönor och socker, pudersocker och skorpor, malt, korn och råg, 2 kalvar, smör, fläsk och ägg. Allt tillagat av kokerskan”.

5 pitchers of brandy, 1 pitcher of cognac, ½ pitcher of wine, coffee beans and sugar, powdered sugar and biscuits, malt, barley and rye, veal, butter, bacon and eggs. Everything prepared by a cook.

We wish to thank Lisbeth Zachs for this tip.

Link to blog entry in Swedish.

Read more about estate inventories.

ArkivDigital

Art in the Old Documents

lifeinsuranceimageKarlskrona rådhusrätt och magistrat FIIa:143 (1934-1934) Image 4080 (AID: v495505.b4080, NAD: SE/LLA/10122) Link.

Many of us researching our family history have browsed through thousands of pages of old documents searching for tidbits of information about our ancestors.  But sometimes, a document or image catches our attention. It can be an unusual name, the minister’s handwriting or a beautiful picture.

The image above comes from a 1934 estate inventory record in Karlskrona and shows the top part of a life insurance policy from the Fire and Life Insurance Company, SVEA.

Another fine image is found in the Träslöv’s parish church archive in the HV:2 series which include attachments to the banns and marriage book.

baptismal certificate
Träslöv HV:2 (1760-1889) Image 362 (AID: v93549.b362, NAD: SE/LLA/13420) Link.

This example is a baptismal certificate for Johan Edward Bernhard, son of Emil Johan Johnson and Anna.  He was born in Rumford, Rhode Island, USA on the 1st of May 1888 and  baptized on the 17th of June 1888. The certificate was preserved because the parents moved back to Sweden and lived in Träslöv.

Below is the image of the parent’s marriage certificate. The couple was married on the 20th of November 1886 in Rhode Island.

marriagecertificate
Träslöv HV:2 (1760-1889) Image 361 (AID: v93549.b361, NAD: SE/LLA/13420) Link.

Whenever you find a document or image that catches your interest, pause for a  moment and reflect. Just a little image or note can give you a better understanding of the times when your ancestors lived.

Link to the blog in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

“Statistical Digest of the Swedish Army System” “Grill”

Many persons who research their family history discover an ancestor who was a soldier. When one finds a soldier ancestor, one wants to find out what additional information one can find out about this person in the military records or primarily the general muster rolls. But where does one look in the muster rolls?   Often the church book does not provide any information about which regiment or company the soldier served in.

In order to find an entry point in the general muster rolls, the publication “Statistiskt sammandrag af svenska indelningsverket” or “Statistical Digest of the Swedish Army System” by Claes Lorentz Grill (1817-1907) is a great help. Many researchers refer to this wok as the “Grill”.

“Statistiskt sammandrag af svenska indelningsverket”  was produced in four volumes during the years 1855-1858.

  1. ”Rusthålls-regementene” (1855)  – Calvary regiments
  2. ”Rothålls-regementene” (1856) – Infantry regiments
  3. ”Båtsmans-kompanierne” (1858)  – Navy companies
  4. ”Extra roteringen” (1857) – Extra districts

In ArkivDigital, you will find the four publications in the archive, “Printed literature”, where the volume names are Grill: 1-4.  Also, there is a parish register to the volumes and this is named, “GrillReg: 1”.

For each General Muster Roll archive (Generalmönsterrullor), there is a link to the actual part of the Grill applicable for that regiment. When you select the volume, the text will display the page numbers in the info box where you can find information about this particular regiment as shown in the picture below.

grillinfo

Example on using Grill
Let us assume that we are searching for a soldier who we know from the church records lived in Hinnäs in Stora Malm’s parish.

  1. Click on advanced search.
  2. Select archive type and select the printed literature archive.
  3. Search in the parish register: Tryckt litteratur GrillReg:1 volume.
  4. Search for Stora Malm and you will see “II 38” which directs us to page 38 in the volume Grill: 2.
  5. Open the volume for Grill: 2 and go to page 38. There you will discover that Hinnäs in Stora Malm parish belonged to the Södermanland regiment, Livkompaniet and is rote number 3. (See image below.)

storamalmTryckt litteratur Grill:2 (1856-1856) Image 240 / page 39 (AID: v792654.b240.s39, NAD: SE/AD/00001)  Link

We now have a starting point where we can begin to search for the soldier in the muster rolls for the Södermanland Regiment.

This article was previously published in the Swedish blog on March 13, 2015.  Read the Swedish version.

ArkivDigital