Getting Started in the Swedish Church Books

Are you new to Swedish research? Swedish research is extremely rewarding because there are so many types of records and they are very complete. But before you begin, you must know your Swedish ancestor’s Swedish name, place or parish of origin in Sweden and a significant date such as a birth date. If all you know is that your Swedish ancestor’s name is Charles Johnson, you have a little more work to do before you jump the pond. For information on how to search for more details about your Swedish ancestor, click here.

But, let us say you are now successful and have discovered that your ancestor’s Swedish name was Carl Johan Johansson and he was born in Habo parish in Skaraborg county on the 10th of February 1819, you are ready to jump the pond and research in the Swedish records. Today, we will walk you through the steps for searching for Carl’s birth record and the corresponding household record in ArkivDigital.

We enter the application: app.arkivdigital.se and then select New Archive search. Since we know the name of the parish, we can enter, Habo, in the search box and the archive box for Habo will appear.

search habo

Click on Habo and you will see a list of all the volumes that are available for this parish. In this case, there are 122 volumes. Search for a birth book that includes the year 1819.

search habo birth book

You will see that there are two birth books that contain births for the year 1819:  C:10 Birth and Christening records 1801-1820 and C:11 Birth and Christening records 1801-1827. When one sees two books that cover the same period, it is always good to look at both books. They can often contain different information.

By looking further at book C:10 Birth and Christening records 1801-1820, we see that that there is a circle with an “i” before the words birth and christening records. This means information and if you put your mouse over the “i”, you will see the notation, “register till födelseböckerna” or register to the birth books.

hove birth register

When we look at this book, we see it is an index organized by first given name and then birth year. Note -you will not encounter this type of birth index in many parishes. But remember before the mid 1800’s, the information can vary by time and minister.

In browsing this book, we will find a page for Carl’s and you will find the information for Carl Johan in the section for Carl’s born in the year 1819.

carl birth index recordHabo (F, R) C:10 (1801-1820) Image 16 / Page 25 (AID: v34105.b16.s25, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

The information shown in the above index record includes:

  1. Second given name – Joh. or abbreviation for Johan
  2. Parents’ first names: Johan, Katrina
  3. Residence in parish – Sållarhemmet (line above the letter m represents a double m).
  4. Year – 19 or 1819
  5. Day of month – 10
  6. Month – 2 or February

The book C:11 Birth and Christening records 1801-1827 contains the actual birth records. It is always good to look in the front of the book and check for a table of contents. There may be multiple types of records in the volume and the table of contents will show on what pages the various types of records begin. In this case there is not a table of contents and the births are arranged in chronological order. Open the book and look for birth records for the year 1819 and then the month, February, and then the day, the 10th. Below is the birth record for Carl Johan.

carl johan birth recordHabo (F, R) C:11 (1801-1827) Image 109 / Page 213 (AID: v34106.b109.s213, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

The record contents are:

  1. Birth date – 10 (February 10, 1819)
  2. Baptismal date – 11 (February 11, 1819)
  3. Child’s given name – Carl Johan
  4. Parents’ names – Johannes Larsson and Kathrina Andersdotter
  5. Residence in parish – Sållarehemmet
  6. Baptismal witnesses – And. Carlsson och (and) D. H. dess hustru or his wife Stina at Skogshemmet
  7. Mother’s age – Between 25 and 30

The next step is to find out more information about the family by going to the household book that includes the year 1819. Now we return to the Habo archive and search for the household book that contains the year 1819. We find the book, AI:4 Household records 1814-1820.

search habo household book

The household books are organized by place name. In most household books you will find a place name index in the front or back of the book. Open the book and search for a place name index or ortregister. Then look for Carl Johan’s residence, Sållarehemmet, in the place name index.

habo place name indexHabo (F, R) AI:4 (1814-1820) Image 5 (AID: v20176.b5, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

The place name index states that the records for the place, Sållarehemmet, begin on page 206. Now there may be one page for the place or many pages, but the page number shown in the index is the start page for the search for the family. We now go to page 206.

hova household recordHabo (F, R) AI:4 (1814-1820) Image 110 / Page 207 (AID: v20176.b110.s207, NAD: SE/VALA/03256)

In this case we find the family on page 206. Below is the information that is shown for the family:

  • (Father) äg. (abbreviation for ägare) owner or landowner Johannes Larsson born on the 6th of May 1782 in Loco Loco is a Latin term meaning here or in Habo parish. Note – further research will show that the birth date is incorrect and is actually the 15th of May 1782.
  • (Mother) H. (abbreviation for hustru or wife) Catharina Andersdotter born on the 6th of May 1790 at loco or in the parish of Habo.
  • Son Anders born 9th of May 1813 loco or in Habo. There is also a notation that he has died.
  • Son Gabriel born on the 23rd of April 1816 loco or in Habo. There is a notation that he died in 1817.
  • Flicka (Girl) Stina Svensdotter born on the 15th of October 1803 in Ekebo. There is a notation that she moved here in 1816 from Ekereds torp and moved out in 1817 to V. Ekered. More research is required to check to see if she is just a worker or if she has some relationship to the family.
  • (Son) Carl Johan born on the 10th of February 1819 in loco or Habo.

Since there are no notations that the family has moved in or out, we can assume that the family is living at the same place, Sållarehemmet, in the subsequent household book. We can continue to trace Carl forward in the household books until his emigration.

Also, from this record, we have enough information, that we can look for birth records for other members of the household. Also, please note that sometimes the minister will note the incorrect birth date information in the household record such as was the case for the father, Johannes Larsson. If there is a discrepancy between the birth dates in the birth record or household record, you should always use the information shown in the birth record.

For more information about researching in the church books, go to the following links:

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

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U W X Y Z Å Ä Ö P U G W

In an earlier blog entry, we saw a family in Svenarum parish with 13 children and 51 unique given names.  (Link to blog entry.)

alphabet Väsby AI:20 (1871-1882) Image 230 / page 1035 (AID: v110050.b230.s1035, NAD: SE/LLA/13468)  Link

In Väsby parish, we find a family that gave their children names in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, there is not an image that shows all the children in the same household examination record.  The names of the children are as follows:

Son – Albin Bertrand Carl David, born 28 June 1865 in Väsby.
Daughter – Evelyn Femi Gotton Henriette, born 13 March 1868 in Väsby.
Son – Imri Johan Knut Lamuel, born 20 October 1870 in Väsby.
Daughter – Maria Nanna Othilia Persi, born 19 December 1872 in Väsby.
Son – Quintus Rurek Sten Thure, born 1 February 1877 in Väsby.
Son – Uno Witus Xeriph Yngvar, born 21 June 1878 in Väsby.
Daughter – Zebi Århild Ädla Ödevi, born 16 February 1883 in Väsby.
Son – Per Uno Gustaf Walentin, born 14 February 1888 in Väsby.

This blog was originally published in Swedish on February 25, 2015. Read the Swedish blog entry.

ArkivDigital