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Sweden > Historical Maps of Sweden
In most Swedish records you will find references to place names. These places names show where people lived. With this information, you can find the place on a historical map (a map that was created close to the time period that your ancestors lived in.)
It's really exciting to see the place where your ancestor lived on a map that was created about the same time they lived there. The information you see on the map can be used in your research strategy or to enhance your family history. A huge amount of historical maps have survived in Sweden. The maps were created for a variety of reasons including real estate maps for taxation, surveying boundaries, and road development.
The largest collection of historical maps were created to asses or move property boundaries (mostly associated to farming.) Sometimes the property was owned; most often before the mid 1800's it was only leased. But this depends on where you are in the country. Sweden is slightly larger than the state of California and has a great diversity of land usage. The majority of arable land is in southern Sweden, with regional mining, and vast forests in the west and north. Historically, the good arable farm land was under the control of manorial estates (either by nobility or the crown.) Each owner of an estate would divide up the estate into smaller lots to maximize productivity. Then the lots would be leased. Each lease holder had financial obligations such as taxes and other fees associated to the lease agreement. These contracts were often transferred within a family, usually going to the oldest son. It was in the estate’s best interest to try to do this as fairly as possible (each lot having good land and poor land.)
The problem was that trying to be fair, transferring contracts and the increase of population, only complicated the structure of boundaries. These reasons, combined with the ambitions of the king and government in the 1600’s set the stage for land usage reform beginning in the mid 1700's. The land reforms were supposed to streamline farm production which in turn increased tax revenue.
The royal lantmäteri (land surveying office) was founded in 1628. Its duties included geometrical measurements, and the creation of maps. The maps were created by a Lantmätare (surveyor) and his team.
- Scales on Historical Maps
- Historical Maps Word List
- Lantmäteriet Website
- Krigsarkivet Website
- Sveriges äldsta storskaliga kartor - databasen GEORG (by Riksarkivet)
Types of Historical Maps
Find the time period you need on the table below to see what historical maps are available. Use the links in the Tools area when you do the actual searching. As you search the Lantmäteriet website, you will find that the selection of maps varies from place to place. Along with the maps mentioned below, there are small scale maps, large scale maps, road maps, property assessment maps, maps for taxation, household and property division, and lots of supporting documents.
Number of Maps (Approximately)
Äldre geometriska kartor
|1628 - abt. 1700||12,000|
|Late 1600's - 1750||23,967|
|1750's - 1820||37,888|
|1803 - 1827||4,354|
|1828 - 1926||63,582|
|1600's - early 1800's||35,000|
Ångström, Karl-Ingvar and Johansson, Björn, Kart-forskning Sverige Släktforskarförbunds Handböcker 3, Svärd & Söner, Falköping, 2011
Wikipedia Community, Storskiftet, Swedish Wikipedia 2012
Wikipedia Community, Enskiftet, Swedish Wikipedia 2012
Wikipedia Community, Laga skifte, Swedish Wikipedia 2012
Gernandt, C.E., Nordisk Familjebok "Skifte af jord", Halmstad 1904 – 1926