What does the abbreviation “E.M.” mean?

While the death record layout in the church books is fairly standardized after the mid- nineteenth century, there are often notes or abbreviations in the remarks section that you don’t see in every parish book. One example is in the death record for Erik Beder Johansson who died on January 25, 1921 in Ronneby parish in Blekinge county. In the special remarks column (särskilda anteckningar), there is a notation “E. m. född 1891”. The question is, “What does the abbreviation, “E.m.” mean? Also, many of the other death records in this parish have the same abbreviation in the remarks column.

em remarksRonneby (K) FI:9 (1912-1930) Image 1550 / Page 416 (AID: v115658a.b1550.s416, NAD: SE/LLA/13316)

The abbreviation, “E.m.” stands for “Efterlevande Make/Maka” or surviving spouse or in this case it means that the deceased’s surviving spouse was born in 1891.

You can find an English translation of the column headings by clicking here.

The contents in the above death record are:

  • Entry # – 11
  • Death date – January 25
  • Sex – Male
  • Deceased’s Occupation, Name and Residence – Bruksarbetare (Foundry man or mill worker) Erik Beder Johansson at N. 2 Häggatorp
  • Deceased’s birth date – 2 May 1892
  • Marital Status – Married
  • Cross-reference to page in congregation book – (page #) 993
  • Cause of death – Lungsot (Tuberculosis)
  • Burial date – January 30th
  • Special remarks – (E.m. född 1891) Surviving spouse born in 1891

You can find more information about the family on page 993 in the corresponding congregation book. Return to the archive for Ronneby and search for the congregation book that includes records for the year 1921 and go to page 993. There you will find a notation of Erik Beder Johansson’s death and also that his spouse, Lilly Sofia Olsson’s birth date is noted as the 28th of June 1891. The household record is shown below.

Em household recordRonneby (K) AIIb:14 (1910-1926) Image 990 / Page 993 (AID: v115633b.b990.s993, NAD: SE/LLA/13316)

Click here to read more information about Swedish church books.

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Swedish American Church Book Record Types

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many Swedish American church books from Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and a few from Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Below are the types of records that you will find in the various congregations However, the type of records that were kept and preserved varies by congregation.

  1. Congregation records or church registers (Församlingsböcker)
  2. Birth and christening records (Födelse- och dopböcker)
  3. Marriage records (Vigselböcker)
  4. Death and burial records (Död- och begravningsböcker)
  5. Catechetical records (Konfirmationsbok)
  6. Protocols (Protokoll)
  7. Accountings (Räkenskaper)
  8. Member reception records (Intagna medlemmar)
  9. Member dismissal records (Utträdda medlemmar)
  10. Anniversary documents (Jubileumsskrift)

Congregation Books (Församlingsböcker)
The congregation records or church registers include similar information to the Swedish household or congregation records. The type of information you may find includes:  the names of the household members, birth date, birth place, baptismal date, marriage dates of the head of the household, arrival date in America and arrival date in the congregation. Some of these books have alphabetical name indexes. These records are very helpful in identifying where a person came from in Sweden.

Omaha Congregation RecordCongregation book from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:1 (1868-1890) Image 74 / page 69 (AID: v883292.b74.s69, NAD: ) Link.

Birth and Christening Records (Födelse- och dopböcker)
The birth and christening records are somewhat similar to the Swedish birth and christening records. The contents do vary by congregation but they usually contain the child’s name, birth date, baptismal date, names of parents and names of baptismal witnesses.  Most of the time the mother’s married name and not maiden name is presented. These records are organized in chronological order often by baptismal date. Occasionally, there is a cross reference to the family in the church register or congregation record.

omaha birthsRecords of baptisms from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 21 / page 35 (AID: v883294.b21.s35, NAD: ) Link.

Marriage Records (Vigselböcker)
The marriage records are an important source because it is the one source where the female’s maiden name is shown. The contents in the marriage record usually include the names of the groom and bride, date of the marriage and the places where the bride and groom are from. These records are organized in chronological order.

omaha marriageRecords of Marriages from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 59 / page 173 (AID: v883294.b59.s173, NAD: ) Link.

Death and Burial Records (Död- och begravningsböcker)
The death and burial records sometimes called “Records of Funerals” show the deceased’s name, death date, burial date, age, sometimes names of nearest relatives and cause of death. Unfortunately, abbreviations may be used in names such as “P. A. Swanson” versus the complete name and married women are often noted as “Mrs. Charles Eklund”.  These are organized in chronological order usually by the funeral date. Occasionally, there is a cross reference to the family in the church register or congregation record.

omaha burialsRecords of Funerals from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 98 / page 291 (AID: v883294.b98.s291, NAD: ) Link.

Catechetical (Konfirmationsbok)
The catechetical records provide names of the persons confirmed. Most of the time, these are only list of names but occasionally, the birth date and the names of the parents of the confirmed will be shown.

Protocols (Protokoll)
The protocols are administrative records for the parish. They contain minutes of administrative meetings and decisions relating to parish matters.

Accountings (Räkenskaper)
The account books will include records of financial transactions such as cash books, bookkeeping records and real estate transactions.

Member reception records (Intagna medlemmar)
These records record new members of the parish usually stating the name of the person, date of admission and the place where the person came from.

Member dismissal records (Utträdda medlemmar)
These records record the names of members who leave the parish. Usually, you will find the name of the person, departure date and where the person is going to.

omaha dismissalRecords of Dismissals of Members from Omaha Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Nebraska, USA (NE) Vol:4 (1894-1916) Image 85 / page 247 (AID: v883294.b85.s247, NAD: ) Link.

Church anniversary document (Jubileumsskrift)
In many congregation archives you will find a church anniversary document celebrating a number of years in existence such as 25 years, 50 years, 75 years or 100 years. These documents usually present a short history of the church or a church organization such as a singing group or other group within the church. Sometimes in addition to the history of the church, biographical information and photos of members of the church are included.

Other documents (Övriga handlingar)
You may find other documents dependent upon the parish such as church school records, tomb or cemetery records, historical notes, church constitution, and attachments to migration records, newspaper clippings and other types of documents.

More information about Swedish American church books:
Searching for a parish of origin in the Kansas church books.

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Stockholm City Church Book Registers

Researching in the larger cities can often be both difficult and time consuming. For those who research in Stockholm city, there is now a welcome addition in ArkivDigital, name registers for many of the Stockholm city church books.

During the fall, ArkivDigital had added church registers for the parishes in Stockholm city. We have published registers for birth, marriage, death books as well as household and moving in/out books. The registers are found in the archives for the respective parishes (in the form of images and currently the registers are not searchable by name). The types of registers and years covered vary by parish.

The registers that we have photographed are typewritten and were created by the Stockholm city archives. In addition to these registers, you will find in many of the Stockholm city parishes older, handwritten name registers that were created by the respective parish.

Stockholm city registerA page out the Klara parish death book register for the years 1748-1860. The register is organized alphabetically and gives a reference to the volume and page number where you will find the complete record. Link.

The information given in the above death register includes the deceased’s name, occupation or title, death date, burial date, church book volume and page number.

In the example for Mathilda Erica Lindberg (enclosed in a red box), the following information is shown:

  • Name – Mathilda Erica
  • Title – Maid (piga)
  • Death Date – 13 July 1848
  • Burial Date – 16 July
  • Church book volume – FIa:9
  • Page number – 15

Thus, one just needs to return to the Klara parish archive and search for the volume FIa:9, open the book and go to page 15. There you will find the complete death record as shown in the image below.

stockholm death 2Klara (AB, A) FIa:9 (1848-1860) Image 12 / page 16 (AID: v87412.b12.s16, NAD: SE/SSA/0010) Link.

Read the original blog in Swedish by clicking here.

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