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

Sven Anderson’s Life in Bucklin, Missouri

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many Swedish American church books from Kansas and a few from Missouri and Oklahoma. While the record types will vary by parish, the most common sets of records found in the books include:

  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)

The anniversary or commemorative booklets for a church celebrating a number of years such as 25, 50, 75 or 100 years in existence can be very interesting to browse. Many present a short history of the church and even occasionally biographical sketches and photographs of early settlers. These can be wonderful sources for learning about the lives of early Swedish American settlers in North America.

 

The Bucklin, Missouri, Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church 100-year commemorative booklet includes a number of biographies of early church members. One of the biographies is for Sven Anderson who emigrated from Nydala parish in Jönköping County in 1869. Below is a photo of Sven and his wife, Matilda.

photo of sven anderson

Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri, USA (MO) Vol:1 (1870-1970) Image 10 / page 7 (AID: v811754.b10.s7, NAD: )  Link.

 

You will also find a short biographical sketch of Sven’s life in the new country. The sketch includes birth dates, birth places, emigration dates and death dates for both him and his wife along with information about their children. It also states, “In 1870, they came to Bucklin, Mo, and bought 40 acres of land north of Bucklin in the rolling hills of Mussel Fork from the Railroad Co. Sven being a skilled workman built a 3-room frame house with fireplace. The barn was made of logs with a prairie hay roof.” Below is the image of the written biography.

sven andersson biography

Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri, USA (MO) Vol:1 (1870-1970) Image 10 / page 7 (AID: v811754.b10.s7, NAD:)

 

You can find the commemorative booklet for the Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church in ArkivDigital by doing the following:

  1. Select new archive search
  2. Click on county and select Missouri (USA) MO
  3. Select Bucklin Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church
  4. Select printed document 1870 – 1970

Below are links to additional blogs about the Swedish American church books:

Searching for a parish of origin in the Kansas church books

Swedish American Church books in Kansas

ArkivDigital

ArkivDigital and Swedish Genealogists’ Research Day in Portland, Oregon

portland_small

Three genealogists from Sweden and Kathy Meade of ArkivDigital led a one-day workshop in Portland, Oregon at Nordia House on Tuesday, September 20. The participants were given presentations about records in ArkivDigital, Swedish emigration and culture, historical maps and other Swedish genealogy topics. In addition, many participants received individual assistance with their personal research.

It was wonderful to meet so many Swedish-Americans in Oregon. Among the many areas where the participants’ Swedish roots originated included Skåne, Halland, Småland, Värmland, Närke, Dalarna and Jämtland.

The SwedGen Tour 2016 continues with stops in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday, September 24 and in Seattle, Washington on Sunday, September 25. There is still time to register for these events.

Click here for program and registration information for the program in Tacoma.

Click here for program and registration information for the program in Seattle.

Visit our North American event calendar.

ArkivDigital

Rosenstein and his Wife 1803

manskog drawingMangskog AI:6 (1786-1789) Image 84 / page 97 (AID: v12112.b84.s97, NAD: SE/VA/13359) Link.

The household examination records are a treasure for the Swedish researcher. These records were updated yearly and contain much detail about each household member. Using the household records along with other church book records, one can often trace a person’s whereabouts from birth to death or birth to emigration.

But occasionally as you browse through a book, you may be surprised to see a drawing or an image that will cause you to smile or even laugh.  Above is an image in the Mangskog household book (1786-1789) titled, “Rosenstein och hans Fru 1803” or “Rosenstein and his wife 1803”.

One wonders why the minister drew the picture of this couple or maybe his children found the book and made the drawings. You will find more delightful drawings in this book. Take a look on the following pages: 9, 12, 21, 42, 49, 61, 78, 135, 146 and finally the horses on page 152.

See blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Household record search and reading example

In a previous blog, we searched for the birth record of Elin Andersdotter who was born on the 13th of July 1841 in Västra Torsås parish in Kronoberg county.  In the birth record, we discovered her parents were Anders Nilsson and Ingrid Magnisdotter and that they resided at a place in the parish named Långasten.

Today, we will search for the family in the household records. Each pastor was required to take a yearly accounting of all members in his parish and test them for their religious understanding. In order to do this accounting, the minister made lists of all the people living in the parish, household by household. These records were kept in large books and each volume covers a series of years.  The number of years vary by parish and time. Many of these books begin in the late 1700’s but they do exist earlier for some parishes. By using the household records and congregation books, one can often trace a person from birth to death or birth to emigration.

search for household record

To search for the household records for 1841:

  • Return to the archive for Västra Torsås as shown in the above image.
  • Search for a household records volume that includes 1841.
  • Highlight the book Västra Torsås AI:6 1840-1847.
  • Double click and open the book.
  • Look for a place name index (ortsregister). This is usually in the front of the book but sometimes is in the back. Not all household records books have an index. In those cases you will need to page through the book to locate the place.

place name indexVästra Torsås AI:6 (1840-1847) Image 8 (AID: v21256.b8, NAD: SE/VALA/00453) Link.

  • Search for the Elin’s residence, Långasten, in the place name index and you see that the records for this place begin on page 396 and 401 as shown in the above image.
  • Go to page 396 and begin your search for the family.

household imageVästra Torsås AI:6 (1840-1847) Image 409 / page 396 (AID: v21256.b409.s396, NAD: SE/VALA/00453) Link.

You will find the family on page 396. In the first column on the top line is the place name, No. 69 Långasten. The first column shows the family member names living in the household during the period the book covers.

The major column headings on this household record are:

  • Födelse  –  Birth
  • Flyttningar – Moving (Moves in and out)
  • Läser  –   Read
  • Nattvardsgång -  Communion
  • Husförhör – Household examination
  • Omständigheter – Special circumstances or special remarks

Under the birth (födelse) column you will see the sub-columns, dag, år and ort which respectively mean day, year and place. In these columns, you will find the birth dates and birth places for each member of the household. In this case you notice that only the birth year is shown for the father while complete birth dates are shown for the rest of the family.

Below is a list of all the household members’ names and birth dates:

Name                                      Birth Date
B. M. Anders Nilssson           1798  (B. is an abbreviation for bonde or famer; M. – husband)
H. Ingjerd Magnisdotter      13 April 1797 (H. is an abbreviation for hustru or wife)
o ä D. Stina Johansdotter     11 March 1820 (Ingjerd’s illegitimate daughter)
o ä S. Magus Olsson               28 April 1845 (Stina’s illegitimate son)
S. Nils Andersson                     7 November 1827 (S. is the abbreviation for son)
D. Ingrid                                  28 January 1830 (D. is the abbreviation for daughter)
D. Catherina                            24 December 1838
D. Elin                                       13 July 1841

Usually, you will find the name of the parish in the birth place column. Sometimes, it will be a village name or sometimes the county name or a country. But in most cases, it is the parish name. In this case there is no entry and that usually but not always means the birth was recorded in the same parish as the household record so in this case, Västra Torsås. We do know that is true for Elin’s birth record. To search for the birth records for other members in the family, we should first look for their birth records in Västra Torsås.

The moving in and moving out columns (flyttningar) are very important columns. The columns indicate if the person has moved into or out of this place during the period the household records book covers or in this case 1840-1847.  The moving in columns include the year (år) and from location (ifrån) and the moving to columns are year (år) and to place (till).

You will notice that there is an entry in the moving to column for Stina Johansdotter and her son Magnus Olsson. It states that they moved to a place that is shown on page 373 in the same book in 1848. Also, you will note their names are crossed out. A cross out indicates a person has moved or died.  In order to find them at their new residence, go to page 373 in the same book. You will find them at the following reference in ArkivDigital:  Västra Torsås AI:6 (1840-1847) Image 386 / page 373 (AID: v21256.b386.s373, NAD: SE/VALA/00453) Link.

There are no entries in the moving in or moving out columns for the other members of the household. Since there are no notations of a move, we can assume that they lived in the same place, No. 69 Långasten, in the previous household records book and in the subsequent one.  We can trace the family both backwards and forward by looking for the place, Långasten, in the place name index in the previous and subsequent household records books and look for the family in the same manner as we did in this book.

The last column, Omständigheter or special circumstances, can offer some additional information about your ancestor. In this case, you will see the following noted for Stina Johansdotter:

Transcription
Lysn. d. 6/5 48  med Torp. Jöns Svensson

Translation
Banns of marriage date 6 of May 1848 for marriage with Torpare (Crofter) Jöns Svensson

Click here for more information about household records plus a record example in the Swedish genealogy section of our website.

ArkivDigital

Passenger Ship Manifests

Passenger ship manifests for emigrants leaving from Göteborg (1869-1935), Malmö (1874-1939) and Stockholm (1869-1940) ports are available on ArkivDigital.  Within these records you will find the name of the ship, departure date, name and age of the emigrant and often the emigrant’s birth place or last place of residence in Sweden as well as final destination.

Many emigrants purchased their passenger tickets from shipping agents. Legislation from 1869 required these shipping agents to hand over these passenger lists to the police department in the port city.  Passengers who purchased first and second class tickets are not found on these lists as well as well as passengers with third class tickets who did not purchase their ticket from the shipping agent.

An example of a manifest is shown below.
manifest example

Göteborgs poliskammare (-1900) EIX:10 (1876-1876) Image 1900 / page 375 (AID: v479734.b1900.s375, NAD: SE/GLA/12703)  Link

The above manifest shows Svante Wik from Väring parish in Skaraborg county departing from Göteborg on July 21, 1876 on the ship named Rollo destined for Hull, England. He gave his final destination as Parsons, Kansas.

You can find these records in the police archives in ArkivDigital.  To search for these records on ArkivDigital online, click on advanced search in the search window and select police archives and in the list you will find the following entries:

Göteborgs poliskammare (-1900)
Poliskammaren i Malmö
Överståthållarämbetet för polisärenden 1 (ÖÄ): Äldre poliskammaren  (Stockholm 1869-1904)
Överståthållarämbetet för polisärenden 2 (ÖÄ): Poliskammaren (Stockholm 1905-1940)

advancedsearchpassenger

You can find an article, Introduction to Swedish Passenger Ship Manifests, on our website that gives mores information about the manifests as well as heading translations.

ArkivDigital

Swedish Church Book Tutorials

Swedish GenealogyThe Swedish church books are usually the first Swedish records that one uses when tracing one’s Swedish roots. These records are a “gold mine” because they are so complete and contain such detailed information. In many cases, one can trace a person’s life in the church books from birth to death or birth to emigration.

We often hear from many people who have Swedish ancestry but don’t speak Swedish, that they are intimidated by the Swedish church books because they are in Swedish. But there is no need to be. The church books consist primarily of tables of names, places and dates. Yes, there are Swedish words but these words are used repeatedly. Once one becomes familiar with the commonly used words, researching in the church books becomes relatively easy.

On our website, you will find a section titled, Swedish Genealogy. In this section, you will find record examples and translations for birth, marriage, death, household examination and moving records and much more.

Introduction to Swedish Church Books
Birth Record Examples
Marriage Record Examples
Death Record Examples
Household Examination Record Examples
Moving in and Moving out Records

Death record example

Image above: 1700s death record example. Go to page.

Kathy Meade, ArkivDigital USA