Birth Record Reading Example

frossa birth recordForssa (D) C:1 (1682-1798) Image 59 / page 95 (AID: v55123.b59.s95, NAD: SE/ULA/10279) (Link)

Today, we will present a lesson in reading a birth record in the 1700’s. The above record is a birth record from 1762 in Forssa parish in Södermanland county. For many experienced researchers, this may appear to be clear and easy to read but for many new researchers this record may seem intimidating.

When looking at the birth records and the same can be said for marriage and death records one needs to become familiar with the minister’s format style for the record. In this case the minister has chosen the following format:

  1. Birth month
  2. Birth day
  3. Baptismal day
  4. Names of parents
  5. Name of the place of residence in the parish (e.g. farm, village, estate)
  6. Child’s Name
  7. Names of baptismal witnesses
  8. Entry number

In this case the child was born on the 12th of July 1762 and baptized on the 18th of July 1762. We know the year is 1762 because that is noted on the top of the page.

The minister has written the names of the parents: Per Andersson, h. Carin Persdotter. The abbreviation “h” is short for hustru or wife.

The place in the parish where the family lives is Stavsjöstugan. If you have difficulty in transcribing the place of residence, check to see if there is household book for that period and look in the place name index for a place that looks similar.

You will need the place name in the birth book to find the family in the household book. Below is the place name index for the corresponding household book You can see in the index at the bottom of the page that the household records for Stavsjöstugan begin on page 61. You will go to page 61 and then begin to look for the family.

The child’s name is Carin.

The names of the baptismal witnesses as written: Per Bengtsson i Spånga, dr. Carl Ericsson i Stavsjöstugan, hust. Maria Lars dtr i Spånga, pig. Cherstin Pers dtr ibidem.

The following abbreviations were used in recording the names of the witnesses:

  • i – in, at
  • dräng - farmhand
  • hust. –  abbreviation for hustru or wife
  • pig. – abbreviation for piga or maid
  • dtr – Often you will see “dtr” as an abbreviation for dotter or daughter in the name. The full names in this case are Maria Larsdotter and Cherstin Persdotter.
  • ibidem – Latin term meaning the same

The entry number 10 states that this was the 10th birth entry for the year.

You can see that one really doesn’t need to know Swedish to read the record. The record is primarily a table of names, dates and places. Yes, there are a few Swedish words but these words are used repeatedly in the church books so one just needs to become familiar with a few Swedish words to become comfortable reading the records.

ort name indexForssa (D) AI:2 (1757-1766) Image 5 (AID: v55102.b5, NAD: SE/ULA/10279) (Link)

Click here for more birth record reading examples.

ArkivDigital

Research in Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö (church books burned)

voxtorpimage1Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi FIa:25 (1850-1851) Image 20 (AID: v299119.b20, NAD: SE/VALA/01961) Link.

It is a great disappointment for a researcher to discover that many of the church books do not exist for the parish his or her ancestor came from. Sometimes there are gaps in the records or an entire series is missing. Sometimes, one knows the reason why the records no longer exist such as a fire but sometimes there is only a note saying the there are no records.

If your ancestors are from Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö parishes in Småland, you will be initially disappointed  because many of the church books were destroyed in a fire in 1869. A story is told that the minister’s maid was in the parsonage cooking pork over the open fireplace. Someone called out for assistance because a cow was calving. The maid ran to help and completely forgot about the pork and the open fire.  While the maid was helping with the calving, the fire spread and the parsonage and the church books burned. By luck a few books and household records from 1861 were preserved as well as the birth, marriage and death books for 1825-1860 for Värnamo parish.

But just because the church books no longer exist does not mean that one cannot research further. One should look for other documents. There may be some tax registers, court records and estate inventories that are available. It may take some time and it is not always easy to research in these documents, but with a little patience one can find some additional information.

Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö parishes are located in Östbo härad or district and it is sometimes said that “an accident seldom comes alone”.  There was a fire at the  Östbo district court in 1834.  This means that there are no estate inventories, court records or other documents in that archive that can be used.  Fortunately  for the court records, there are extracts or duplicate records. The court was required to make  extracts or copies of the original court records and submit it to the Göta Court of Appeals once a year.   In ArkivDigital’s online library, these are available only for the years 1603 to 1750 for Östbo härad (some gaps do exist).

What now remains for that time period are the tax registers/population registers (mantalslängderna). These were produced each year and while they are not as detailed as the household records, one can easily follow a family on a farm year by year. The more recent one comes in time,  the more information one finds in the population registers.

We hope to photograph the population registers and other documents for the parishes where the church books are missing. For some parishes we have already done this. In ArkivDigital population registers for Östbo härad are now available up to and including 1861. Actually, this is the only way one can do family research for Värnamo, Voxtorp and Tånnö parishes.

In ArkivDigital, you can find these populations registers:

  • 1686-1820 (gaps exist) in Jönköping läns landskontor.
  • 1758-1861 (gaps exist) in Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi.

To search in the Jönköping läns landskontor archive using the English interface:

  • Go to ArkivDigital search.
  • Select advance options.
  • Select archive type, country office.
  • Select Jönköping läns landskontor.

To search in the Häradsskrivaren in Östbo fögderi archive using the English interface:

  • Go to ArkivDigital search.
  • Select advance options.
  • Select archive type, district registrar.
  • Select Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi.

voxtorpimage3Häradsskrivaren i Östbo fögderi FIa:25 (1850-1851) Image 2770 (AID: v299119.b2770, NAD: SE/VALA/01961) Link.

The image above is the population register for Värnamo in 1850 showing Alandsryd Skattegård.  Anders Jönsson (born 1800) and his wife (hustru) born 1805 together with Johan (born 1837), Isak (born 1844), Anna (born 1833), Stina (born 1840) and farmhand (dräng) Johan (born 1832) are shown as living in the first section of the farm listing.  Following is the  lodger(inhyses), Jöns (born 1767) and his wife (born 1785). Seeing that Anders last name is Jönsson, it is possible that the lodger, Jöns, and his wife are his parents.

One can’t conclude that this is correct without researching more records. Maybe it’s his father, but Jöns wife is probably not the mother because she would have been only 15 when Anders was born. Maybe Jöns remarried or it may be Anders wife’s parents or even someone completely different. More research is necessary before one can resolve the mystery.

Link to blog in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

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