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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Swedish congregations in Oslo and Berlin

Berlin ParishSvenska Victoriaförsamlingen i Berlin OI:3 (1926-1941) Image 4510 (AID: v793345.b4510, NAD: AD/BERLIN/0001) Link.

We have previously posted blogs about the Swedish congregations in Copenhagen and Paris: Svenska Gustafskrykan in Copenhagen and Svenska Sofiaförsamlingen in ParisWe also have records for Swedish congregations in other countries, namely Svenska Victoriaförsamlingen in Berlin, Germany, along with Svenska Margaretaförsamlingen in Oslo, Norway.

Both congregations were established in the beginning of the 1900’s. The birth books for the Oslo congregation begin in 1911 and the marriage and death books begin in 1912. In Berlin, the birth books begin in 1902 and the marriage and death books begin in 1903. For Berlin, there are also congregation books along with moving in and out registers which are missing for Oslo.

In addition to the common record types, we have photographed other types of documents for both the Berlin and Oslo congregations. An example of one is the Svenska Victoriaförsamlingen in Berlin OI: 3 volume which contains documents about church taxes from 1926 to 1941. Among the documents included are letters from church members who believe they do not have to pay a tax. The image above shows a letter from a woman who married a German man and thereby became a German citizen. Since she was required to pay a German church tax, she wrote that she no longer wanted to pay taxes to Victoriaförsamlingen.

Read the blog entry in Swedish.

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