Name searching tips

The number of name searchable indexes in ArkivDigital continues to increase. Recently the Population of Sweden of 1975 and the military service card indexes were added. You can find these indexes by selecting “New Index Search” and then select the desired index under “Index source”.index search screen

There are two methods for searching: simple and advanced. Today, we will focus on the simple search which is more powerful than one might believe at first glance.

The key for all searches is not to write too much information. Begin with a broad search and then narrow the search.

One example: We will look for a woman named Berta Lungren. Select the index, Population of Sweden 1860-1930, and write in her name “Berta Lundgren” in the search field and click on “Search” (or press Enter). The result list shows 202 matches which feels like too many to search through.

berta lundgren

When I add her birth year to the search criteria, the number of matches is reduced to eight. Four of these refer to the woman I am interested in, born on the 3rd of March 1887 in Odensala. But if I look more closely in the match list, I see one that mentions the birth date as the 31st of March 1887 (which is her correct birth date). If I had entered her full birth date instead of only the year, I would have missed all the matches. Therefore, one should never write in more information than what is needed to get a good search result.

bertil 1887

It is also smart to search the same person using different information, for example only the last name and birth date or only the first name and birth date or only the first and last name (the last only works well with a name that is not common). These methods will increase the chances to find as many possible matches.

Now we will look at some more advanced search techniques.

There are a number of special search characters that can be used for searching.

An example: I want to search for a person named Anders Setterqvist, but I know that his last name can be spelled differently in the records: Setterqvist, Sätterqvist, and Zetterqvist. And sometimes quist is written as qvist. In addition, I have seen different birth years for him in the records.

One can write the following in the search box:
anders (zetterq* | sätterq* | setterq*) (1816 | 1817 | 1818)

The result will be a search of all these spellings and years. The vertical bar (|) means  “or” and the asterisk (*) is used as a wildcard showing all the names that include the letters preceding the asterisk. 

zetterquist

Following is a list of the special characters that can be used in ArkivDigital’s searches.

  • * (asterisk) An asterisk at the end of Bergl* will find Berglind, Bergling, Berglund, etc.
  • “ ” (quotation marks) = exact phrase For example “georg olof” will find Georg Olof but not Olof Georg or George Karl Olof.|
  • | (vertical mark) = or (See above explanation)
  • - (minus sign) = not - For example: -västra frölunda will find Östra Frölunda and Frölunda but not Västra Frölunda
  • + (plus sign) = and – For example: Lundqvist+Lundberg will find all posts which includes both names.
  • ~1 (tilde plus a number) after keyword = approximate search with numerical character difference – For example: appelqvist~1 will find in addition to Appelqvist, Appelquist, Appelkvist where one character or letter differs from the original keyword. If one increases number to 2 appelqvist~2, one will also find Apelquist.
  • ~1 tilde plus a number) after phrase = approximate search. An additional word may be found. (The first and last word in the phrase shall be mentioned). For example “sven filip”~1 finds also Sven Gustaf Filip and Sven Erik Filip. A search “sven filip”~2 will find in addition Sven Johan Olof Filip as well as Filip Sven.
  • ( ) parenthesis = searches for alternative spellings – For example aurora (concordia | conkordia | konkordia | koncordia) searches for all posts that includes Aurora Concordia, Aurora Conkordia, Aurora Konkordia and Aurora Koncordia).

These special characters work also with the Advanced search. The search possibilities are nearly infinite. All one has to do is try!

 Read original blog in Swedish.

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