Searching for estate inventories in ArkivDigital

The estate inventories (bouppteckningar) are one of the most important records for genealogists. These records can prove genealogical relationships as well as listing the names of the deceased’s heirs. Also, the estate inventory lists all the assets and debts of the deceased enabling one to get a better understanding of one’s ancestor’s life.

ArkivDigital has estate inventories for all of Sweden from the earliest times (early 1700s and even a few from the 1600s) up to 1950 and for many counties up to 1960.

In order to find an estate inventory, you need to know the parish where the person died and the district or city court that the parish belonged to. Today there are three primary methods for searching:

  1. National estate inventory index search.
  2. View photographed estate inventory register.
  3. Searching in the volume.

National estate inventory index search
ArkivDigital is currently building a national estate inventory index for all of Sweden. Currently it is mostly complete for older times but is less complete for the latter 1800s and forward. To find out what district and city courts and years have been indexed, go to the following link: https://www.arkivdigital.se/online/register/bouppteckningar

To illustrate how to access the national estate inventory in ArkivDigital, we will search for the estate inventory for Jan Hindrik Wiväg who died April 2, 1847 in Älvsbacka parish in Värmland county.

  1. Go to app.arkivdigital.se.
  2. Select index source.
  3. Select the index, estate inventory, under index source.
  4. In this case, we will use simple search and enter Hindrik Wiväg in the search box and click search. One could have entered Jan Hindrik Wiväg.
  5. There are two matches in the result list.
  6. Select the one for Jan Hindrik Wiväg.

national estate inventory search

After you selected a match on the result list, you will see an index record as shown below and you can click on the link that will go directly to the estate inventory.

jan hindrik estate inventory

Photographed estate inventory registers
If you don’t find the person in the national estate inventory index, look for a photographed estate inventory register for the court. We will look for the estate inventory for Elna Larsdotter who died February 9, 1838, in Slöinge parish, in Halland county. In order to find out what court district, Slöinge parish belonged, you go to archive search and enter Slöinge in the archive holder search button. Open the archive and scroll down to estate inventories. Click on that and search for estate inventory registers. You will find one that covers the years 1684 to 1848. Open volume and search for Elna Larsdotter. The names are listed by surname in alphabetical order. You will find an entry that gives the year, volume and page number.

estate inventory photographed register

In this case, the entry states that you can find the estate inventory in volume 32 for the year 1838 and on page 185.

Then return to the archive Årstads häradsrätt and look for volume 32, open the volume and go to page 185.

elna larsdotter ei

Searching in the estate inventory volume
If you haven’t found the estate inventory by an index search and no estate inventory register exists, you will need to go the volume beginning with the deceased’s death date and browse forward. You may want to search up to two to three years after the date of death. In the latter 1800s and 1900s, there is a very strong likelihood of finding an estate inventory record but one must be patient and persistent in browsing through the volumes.

Estate Inventories for the nobility
Most of the estate inventories are found in the district and city courts but there are exceptions. The estate inventories for the nobility were given to the Court of Appeals (hovrätten) up until 1917. You will find the estate inventories for Götaland in the Göta hovrätt, for Svealand and Norrland in the Svea hovrätt and for Skåne and Blekinge in the Hovrätten för Skåne och Blekinge.

Click here for more information about estate inventories.

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Review an estate inventory ingress or preamble

The Swedish estate inventory records provide both genealogical information as well as information that will help you gain a deeper understanding of your ancestor’s life. The estate inventory is divided into two main sections: the ingress or preamble followed by the inventory, a detailed listing of all the assets and debts for the deceased person.

The ingress or the preamble is a key section for the genealogist. This section provides information about the deceased and names the heirs. This section can be helpful in proving family relationships as well as tracing the whereabouts of heirs.

The types of information, that you will usually find in the ingress or preamble include:

  • Date the estate inventory was performed
  • Deceased’s name and place of residence
  • Deceased’s date of death
  • Names of heirs
  • Names of guardians for children not of legal age and for heirs who may be living in another country
  • Names of the married daughters’ spouses

Below is an image of an estate inventory with key items numbered. Following the explanations of the key items are a transcription and an English transcription of the record.

ingressVästra häradsrätt (F) FI:50 (1870-1872) Image 1022 / Page 2019 (AID: v78036.b1022.s2019, NAD: SE/VALA/01635)

  1. Date the estate inventory was performed – 15 November 1872
  2. Place where estate inventory was performed – Esprilla Söregård
  3. Name of deceased – Wife Sara Larsdotter
  4. Deceased’s date of death – 1 October (1872)
  5. Heir – Spouse Widower – Peter Johansson August
  6. Heir – Son from first marriage – Johan who is probably living in North America
  7. Son’s guardian – Samuel Nilsson from Esprilla Westregärd
  8. Heir – Daughter from first marriage – Charlotta
  9. Daughter’s husband – Corporal J. A. Kron

Transcription
År 1872 den 15 November blef på begäran Laga boupptekning förrattad Esprilla Söregård efter Hustrun Sara Larsdotter derstädes som alfed den 1 ocktober sistlidene och efter sig lämnat såsom arfvingar sin Kära Maka nu mere Enkomannen Peter Johansson August och med sitt första äktenskap 2ne barn: Sonen Johan, som troligen vistas i Norra America, hvars rätt bevakades af hans gödman Samuel Nilsson i Esprilla Westregård, och Dottern Charlotta gift med Korporalen J.A. Kron i Hökhult Assaregård som var tillstädes. Enkomannen uppmanades, att uppgifva Egondomen såden den vid den aflidens befans, och foretogs i följande ordning:

English translation
On the 15th of November an estate inventory was performed at Esprilla Söregård for the deceased wife Sara Larsdotter who died on October 1 and is survived by her dear spouse now widower Peter Johansson August and from her first marriage two children: Johan who is probably living in North America and whose rights are being protected by the trustee Samuel Nilsson from Esprilla Westregård and a daughter, Charlotta, who is married with Corporal J. A. Kron from Hökhult Assaregård who was present. The widower was summoned to account for the estate or property which follows:

Click here to read more about estate inventories.

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Certificate of Poverty (Fattigbevis) in Stockholm City

certificate of povertyStockholms rådhusrätt 1:a avdelning EIId:31 (1903-1904) Image 150 / page 8 (AID: v494721.b150.s8, NAD: SE/SSA/0145a) Link.

In the Stockholm city court archives (Stockholms rådhusrätts arkiv), you will find volumes named certificate of poverty (fattigbevis) in addition to estate inventories (bouppteckningar). For individuals who didn’t have any assets at the time of their death, the heirs would submit a certificate of poverty (fattigbevis) to the court.

The above image is an example of a certificate of poverty for Johan Albin Haughton who died on the 7th of February 1903 at the age of 31 years, 2 months and 9 days. His widow submitted a certificate of poverty.

Boet uppgafs af den aflidnes enka under edlig förpliktelse, att detsamma vid dödstillfället befans i ett sådant skick, att begrafningsomkostnaderna och skulder öfverstego tillgångarne.

Under oath, the widow of the deceased stated that the deceased’s estate at the time of his death was in such a bad state that the burial costs and debts exceeded the assets.

The primary difference between an estate inventory and a certificate of poverty is that there is no detailed inventory of the assets and debts in a certificate of poverty other than a statement noting that the debts were greater than the assets. However, the largest benefit for a researcher is that the heirs of the deceased are named like they are in an estate inventory. If you can’t find an estate inventory for a person, you should investigate or determine if a certificate of poverty was preserved.

The certificates of poverty for Stockholm city court are found in these archives:

  1. Stockholms rådhusrätt 1:a avdelningen. Certificate of poverty (Fattigbevis) for the years 1756-1924 are included in the EIId series.
  2. Stockholms rådhusrätt, bouppteckningsaved. Certificate of poverty (Fattigbevis) for the years 1925-1933 are included in the E3 series.

In both archives, you will find special name register volumes for the certificates of poverty. In some of the certificate of poverty volumes, you will find in addition a separate register for the actual volume/actual year.

Read more about the certificates of poverty.

Read original blog entry in Swedish.

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Estate Inventory more than 300 pages!

bouppteckning ingressÅkerbo och Skinnskattebergs tingslags häradsrätt FII:5 (1912-1912) Image 220 / page 8 (AID: v748972.b220.s8, NAD: SE/ULA/12685)
Link to image.

Upon a person’s death an estate inventory (bouppteckning) was created. This document consists of an ingress or preamble which gives information about the deceased and the names of the heirs. Following the preamble is the inventory listing all the deceased’s assets and debts. The estate inventory is a wonderful document for proving genealogical relationships as well as helping one gain a better understanding of one’s ancestor life.

The number of pages within an estate inventory varies greatly from only a couple of pages to sometimes hundreds of pages. One example of an extensive inventory is the estate inventory for the wholesale merchant, Adolf Ferdinand Hagström from Svarthäll in Kung Karl’s parish. His estate inventory totals 305 pages.

Adolf Ferdinand Hagström died on the 20th of August 1909 at Sofiahemmet in Stockholm at age 55. His death is recorded in the death book for Kung Karl’s parish.  Only a month earlier his wife, Augusta Charlotta Andersson died. The couple had no children and the heirs of Adolf’s estate were his mother and his siblings. The above image shows the ingress or preamble naming Adolf’s mother and siblings as the heirs.

When one browses this estate inventory, it is almost like venturing more than 100 years back in time and touring his house room by room. Since he was a wholesale merchant, the estate inventory also details the merchandise he had in stock. Below is an image showing some of the liquor that was in stock. Lots of aquavit!

branvinÅkerbo och Skinnskattebergs tingslags häradsrätt FII:5 (1912-1912) Image 690 (AID: v748972.b690, NAD: SE/ULA/12685) Link.

The assets of the estate were 1,135,609.69 Swedish kronor and the debts were 536, 306.61 kronor resulting in the net value of estate being 599, 308.08 kronor. See image below.

net valueÅkerbo och Skinnskattebergs tingslags häradsrätt FII:5 (1912-1912) Image 3230 (AID: v748972.b3230, NAD: SE/ULA/12685) Link.

Learn more about Swedish estate inventories.

Read original article in Swedish.

Other Sources
Adolf Ferdinand Hagström’s death record
Kung Karl F:3 (1895-1909) Image 790 / page 73 (AID: v72960.b790.s73, NAD: SE/ULA/10669) Link.

Congregation book showing Adolf Ferdinand Hagström’s residence at time of death
Kung Karl AIIa:6 (1907-1920) Image 1250 / page 570 (AID: v261754.b1250.s570, NAD: SE/ULA/10669) Link.

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Introduction to the Certificate of Poverty (Fattigbevis)

The certificate of poverty (fattigbevis) was an application by a deceased’s surviving relative requesting to waive the performance of the estate inventory (bouppteckning) because the deceased’s estate was of little value or worthless. This certificate has genealogical value because it usually lists the immediate relatives. The certificate of poverty usually contains the following:

  1. Information about the deceased – name, age and death date
  2. Names of immediate surviving relatives
  3. Statement requesting waiver of the estate inventory
  4. Signatures of applicant and witnesses

fattigcertificateStockholms rådhusrätt 1:a avdelning EIId:29b (1899-1899) Image 460 / page 40 (AID: v554426.b460.s40, NAD: SE/SSA/0145a)  Link

Above is an image of a certificate of poverty that shows the deceased’s son, Alfred Gottfrid Sundgren, is living in Omaha, Nebraska.

You will find certificates of poverty for Stockholm for the years of 1756 to 1910 on ArkivDigital.  Click here to read more about certificates of poverty and how to search for these records on ArkivDigital.

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Estate Inventory (Bouppteckning) Reading Example

Many persons with Swedish ancestry who don’t speak Swedish have commented that they feel comfortable researching in the Swedish church books but the estate inventories seem so much more intimidating because there is much more Swedish text.  Yes, it is true that they contain much Swedish text but they provide such a wealth of information, it is worth the time to learn how to better understand these records.

The Swedish estate inventories (bouppteckningar) provide genealogical information and help one gain a better understanding of one’s ancestor’s life. The estate inventory details the assets and debts of the deceased.

The estate inventory is divided in two primary divisions: the ingress or preamble and the inventory of the deceased’s assets and debts. In this blog we will look at the ingress or preamble. The ingress provides genealogical information such as the name of the deceased and names of the deceased’s heirs. Many times the ingress can be helpful in solving genealogical mysteries such as proving genealogical relationships or locating the whereabouts of an heir.

In most estate inventories, the format of the ingress is similar.  You will generally find the following information:

  1. Date the estate inventory was performed.
  2. Name of the deceased.
  3. Place of the deceased’s death.
  4. Date of deceased’s death.
  5. Names of heirs.
  6. Name of guardian for minors or persons who emigrated.

Below is an image the ingress or preamble of an estate inventory followed by a transcription and an English translation.Estate Inventory Karl Johan Ögren Aska, Dals och Bobergs domsaga FII:2 (1909-1909) Image 140 / page 3 (AID: v513944.b140.s3, NAD: SE/VALA/01625)
Link

Transcription
År 1908 den 19 December förrattades bouppteckning efter Husägaren Karl Johan Ögren från Säby ägor hvilken aflidit därstädes den 23 sistlidne September och såsom sterbhusdelagäre efterlämnat sonsöner: Gustaf Robert Ögren i Jamestown, N. Y. Nord America och Karl August Ögren äfven boende i Jamestown. Båda myndiga.

Deras rätt bevakades enligt fullmakt af Kyrkoherden David Johansson i Örberga.
Boet upgafts under edlig förpliktelse av sonhustrun Änka Klara Ögren samt antecknades och värderas i följande ordning.

Translation
On the 19th of December, 1908, an estate inventory was performed for homeowner, Karl Johan Ögren who lived at Säby ägor. He died there on September 23. The co-heirs of the estate were the grandsons: Gustaf Robert Ögren in Jamestown, New York, North American and Karl August Ögren also living in Jamestown. Both were of legal age.

Their rights (of inheritance) were protected by a power of attorney by Pastor David Johansson in Örberga.
Under oath, the estate inventory was conducted in accordance with the law by the daughter-in-law, Widow Klara Ögren.  The recording of the inventory and value of each item follows.

In this case, we learn that the heirs were living in Jamestown, New York, a place where many Swedes settled.

Click here for more information about estate inventories including a short Swedish-English glossary of commonly used words in the estate inventories.

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