General Muster Rolls

soldier recordGeneralmönsterrullor – Hälsinge regemente 703 (1863-1863) Image 440 (AID: v374522.b440, NAD: SE/KrA/0023) Link.

The general muster rolls (generalmönsterrullorna) are the primary records  one uses to research Swedish soldiers who served in the military between the 1680’s and 1880’s. The muster rolls were kept by the respective regiments between every three to five years. In these rolls, you will find information about all soldiers and officers, regiment by regiment, company by company.

In the general muster roll, one can follow  soldiers and officers from the time they entered the service until their discharge. Types of information you will find in the muster rolls include: soldier’s name, both their soldier name and earlier name, birth date or age, number of years in the service, height and marital status. One learns if the soldier was promoted and sometimes one learns about commendations.  At the end of the soldier’s career, the reason for his discharge is often stated.

The above image gives information about the soldier, Jonas Käck, who served in the Hälsinge regiment in 1863. He served for the rote, Sörfly, in Hanebo parish in Gävleborg county. He was previously named Jon Jonsson and was born in Hanebo parish in Gävleborg county on July 9, 1818. He entered the military on December 10, 1840. At the time of the 1863 muster, he was 44 years old and had served in the military for 22 4/12 years.  He was 6 feet and 1.5 inches tall.

The general muster rolls for both the allotted  (indelta) and enlisted (värvade) Swedish regiments are available in ArkivDigital’s online library. You can find these records by:

  • Access ArkivDigital online
  • Select advanced options
  • Select archive type, military

An alternative search method is to enter “generalmönsterrullor” in the search box and click search.

Click here to read article about the general muster rolls in Swedish.

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Birth record search and reading example

At many conferences in North America, many will stop by our booth and state that they have Swedish ancestry but are intimidated by the Swedish records because they are in Swedish. We explain that the church books are mostly tables of names, dates and places with headings and terms that are used repeatedly. Once one becomes familiar with the commonly used words, one finds it can be easy to work with the records even though one does not speak Swedish.

Today, we will search for a birth record and show that most of the record contains names, dates and place names. In order to search for a birth record, one needs the child’s Swedish name, birth parish and the birth date. Our search will be for the birth record of Elin Andersdotter born on the 13th of July, 1841 in the parish of Västra Torsås in Kronoberg county.

To begin the search, go to ArkivDigital and click on Search Archive. There are several methods for searching:

  • One method is to just enter Västra Torsås in the search box and click search. You will need to type in the Swedish characters.
  • Since we know the county, you can select advanced options and select county and then Kronoberg. You will now see a list of all the archives for Kronoberg county. Scroll down until you find Västra Torsås and then highlight the entry.
  • On the right side, you will see a volume list for Västra Torsås as shown in the image below.

search window

  • Search for the birth and christening records book that includes the year 1841.
  • Select the birth and christenings volume:  Västra Torsås C:5 (1815-1848).
  • Double click to open the book.
  • Search for a table of contents in the beginning of the book. Many volumes include multiple types of records.
  • In this volume, you will find a table of contents (Innehåll) (see image below).

birth contentsVästra Torsås C:5 (1815-1848) Image 3 (AID: v29905.b3, NAD: SE/VALA/00453) Link.

The table of contents shows the following entries:

  • Födelse- och dopbok 1815-1843 or birth and baptism book
  • ”              ”       ”             1844-1848
  • Lysnings- och vigselbok 1815-1848 or banns and marriage book
  • Död-och begravningsbok 1815-1848 or death and burial book

On the far right side, you will see the page numbers for each record type. Since we are looking for a birth record in 1841, we see that the birth records between 1815 and 1843 begin on page 5 and end on page 430. We now need to look for the birth records for the year 1841. One can estimate a page number and go directly to a page and then page forward or backwards until you find the records for 1841. Once you find the year 1841, then you search for the birth date, July 13th.  You will find Elin’s birth record on page 407.

elin birth recordVästra Torsås C:5 (1815-1848) Image 207 / page 407 (AID: v29905.b207.s407, NAD: SE/VALA/00453) Link.

The content and format of the birth records do vary by time and minister.  The format for this book is the following:

  • Column 1 – Child’s name
  • Column 2 – Birth date
  • Column 3 – Baptismal date
  • Column 4 – Parents’ names and residence followed by the names of the baptismal witnesses
  • Column 5 – Mother’s age

Record Transcription
Elin   13 14  Föräld. B. Anders Nilsson H. Ingrid Magnisdotter i Långasten   44
                      Vittnen Nils Petersson, Bengt Abrahamsson i Sjöby  H. Nil
                      la Nilsdotter i Källhult Pig. Maria Simonsdtr. i Sjöby

Record Translation
The child, Elin, was born on July 13, 1841 and baptized on July 14, 1841. Her parents were farmer Anders Nilsson and his wife Ingrid Magnisdotter residing at Långasten. The baptismal witnesses were Nils Petersson, Bengt Abrahamsson at Sjöby, wife Nilla Nilsdotter at Källhult and maid Maria Simonsdotter at Sjöby. Elin’s mother age is 44 years old.

As you can see this record contains primarily dates, names and place names. The only Swedish words in this birth record are:

B.              abbreviation for bonde or farmer
Föräld.     abbreviation for föräldrar or parents
H.              abbreviation for hustru or wife
i                 at, by
Pig.           abbreviation for piga or maid
Vittnen    witnesses

You can find more birth record examples on our website by clicking here.

In a future blog, we will show you how to locate Elin with her family in the household examination book for the year 1841.

ArkivDigital

Christmas 1814 – Birth Record Reading Example

All of us at ArkivDigital wish you much success in your genealogy research and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

In this blog, you will find a record reading example for a birth record on Christmas Day 200 years ago. It is for a female child, Märta, born on Christmas Day in Arvika landsförsamling in Värmland county in 1814.

Christmasimage

Arvika landsförsamling CI:7 (1809-1827) Image 49 / page 87 (AID: v4798.b49.s87, NAD: SE/VA/13011) Link

The format of this birth record is divided into five columns. The first column gives the birth date, December 25th and the second column the baptismal date, December 26th.

The text section gives the residence, names of the child’s parents and the names of the baptismal witnesses.

Transcription of Main Text
W. Sund: Par: Drängen Brynte Persson och pigan Anna Hindriksdotter, Testes – Per Bengtsson och Nils Andersson samt Hustrurna Karin Persdotter och Maria Andersdotter från V. Sund.

Translation of Main Text
Västra Sund: Parents: Farmhand Brynte Persson and maid Anna Hindriksdotter, Witnesses – Per Bengtsson and Nils Andersson along with wives Karin Persdotter and Maria Andersdotter from Västra Sund.

The next column states the age range for the mother and in this case the mother’s age is between 25 and 30 years.

The last column on the right gives the child’s name, Märta. The letters, “o:ä” are an abbreviation for oäkta or illegitimate child. Note, in this record the name of the father is given whereas in most cases during this time period the father’s name is not shown in the birth record for an illegitimate child.

Additional Tips
Notice that the residence, Västra Sund, is abbreviated as W. Sund for the child’s birth residence and V. Sund for the witnesses’ residence. The letters and V and W were often interchanged. Often a place name that begins with Västra (West) will be abbreviated with a W or V as shown in the above record. 

It is important to note the place name where the child’s family lived because you will need that to locate the family in the corresponding household examination book. In this case, you will find the mother and child at the following reference near the bottom of the page: Arvika landsförsamling AI:8 (1811-1816) Image 119 / page 113 (AID: v9544.b119.s113, NAD: SE/VA/13011).  Link

You will often find Latin words in Swedish church books especially in the earlier years. In this birth record, there are two Latin terms:

  1. Par. – an abbreviation for the Latin word, parentes or parents in English
  2. Testes – witnesses

See more birth record examples.

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