Place Names in the Church Books

Place names in the church books can be names of farms, villages, parishes, counties, countries, abbreviations or even Latin terms.

At a recent conference in North America, the following question was asked: What are the birth places for Fredrik Leopold Hartung and members of his family as shown in the household record in Ystads Sankta Maria parish in Malmöhus county for the years 1882-1887?  Below is the record in question which is an example of a record with various types of place names.

hartungYstads Sankta Maria (M) AI:49 (1882-1887) Image 205 / page 1084 (AID: v111988.b205.s1084, NAD: SE/LLA/13489) Link.

Line 1 – Skomakeriarb. (Shoemaker worker) Fredrik Leopold Hartung’s birth place is Tyskland or Germany. In this case, the birth place is a name of a country. Tyskland is Swedish for Germany.

Line 2 – Hu (an abbreviation for hustru or wife) Charlotta Josefina Klein’s birth place is shown as YSM. This is an abbreviation of the parish, Ystads Sankta Maria. You will find her birth record at the following reference in ArkivDigital: Ystads Sankta Maria (M) C:11 (1827-1845) Image 42 / page 38 (AID: v112010.b42.s38, NAD: SE/LLA/13489).

Note – Her birth date is actually the 20th of April 1834 versus  April 4,1834 as shown in the household record. That will be another blog in the future to show how the correct birth record was found.

Line 3 – Son Carl Fredrik’s, porslinsmål. or abbreviation for porslinsmålare or porcelain painter, birth place is noted as ibm. Ibm is a Latin abbreviation for ibidem or in the same place. In this case, he was born in the same place that was noted above for his mother or Ystads Sankta Maria parish. You will find his birth record in ArkivDigital at the following reference:  Ystads Sankta Maria (M) C:17 (1863-1872) Image 187 / page 184 (AID: v112016.b187.s184, NAD: SE/LLA/13489)

Line 4 – Foster daughter, Charlotta Pettersson and her birth place is noted as YSP or Ystads Sankt Petri. Her birth record can be found in ArkivDigital at the following reference: Ystads Sankt Petri (M) C:8 (1877-1884) Image 30 / page 28 (AID: v111936.b30.s28, NAD: SE/LLA/13490).

In the above household record, we discovered place names in the following formats:

  • Name of a country
  • An abbreviation of a parish name
  • Latin term

ArkivDigital

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