In the church books and other Swedish historical records, we discover many ancestors and relatives who owned or worked on farms. One title one often sees is hemmansägare (home owner or owner of the farm). But what was the practical life like for a person with this title?
When we are talking about rural life in the middle of the 20th century, a useful source, Swedish National Agricultural Census of 1944, has been available in the All-in-one version of ArkivDigital for over a year. It has been somewhat difficult to search in the census but now a name searchable index also in the All-in-one version has been created to ease the search. You can search by the farmer’s name, place name and parish. To search, you do the following:
- Select New index search.
- Under index source, select Agriculture statistics 1944.
- Enter the search criteria and click search.
Here is an example. In the Population of Sweden 1950, you will find a Per Georg Eliasson born in 1882 shown as a hemmansägare at Stenviksstrand 1:10 in Ramsele parish in Västernorrland county. See image below.
By looking at the Swedish National Agriculture Census of 1944, one can get a better understanding of his life. His farm consisted of 139 hectares or about 343 acres. You will see that the division of the farm included 7 hectares of tilled land or fields, 17 hectares of pasture land and 96 hectares of woods.
In addition, the record shows that there was no tractor so horses were used to pull the farm equipment. The cows were milked by hand in the morning and the evening. Also, there was no running water in the house but there was electric lighting. However, a wooden stove was used for the cooking.
The census asked if certain agricultural tools and equipment were used on the farm such as a manure spreader (stallgödselspridare), potato harvester (potatisupptagningsmaskin) plus other tools.
By viewing the National Agricultural Census 1944 record, we have a much better understanding of hemmansägare, Per Georg Eliasson’s life on his farm at Stenviksstrand 1:10.
There are in total 44,000 farms throughout Sweden in the National Agricultural Census 1944 including many small farms as well as some city properties. Thus, you may want to search for persons who live on the outskirts of cities who you may not think of as farmers.
These census forms were filled out primarily by the farmers. Unfortunately, many had poor handwriting resulting in errors in the registration both for personal names and place names (parish name should be correct). Thus, one may need to be creative in the search and search for alternative spellings.