Sweden Birth and Christening Records

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<br>The earliest birth registers are not actually birth records, but instead, are christening records. According to the Lutheran belief, a new born child required a Christian christening as soon as possible after birth. The soul of an infant who died without receiving a Christian christening went directly to purgatory and the salvation of that child’s soul was placed in jeopardy. Christenings of babies took place in the first week of life and generally on the first or second day after birth. In the event that there was a complication with the birth and the child’s survival was in question, than an “emergency baptism” (''nöddop'') could be performed by the midwife, father, or any member of the household who had passed confirmation. If the child later strengthened, then a second christening was performed in the church with the minister officiating.  
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The church law of 1686 stated that the parish priest should keep record for “All children both legitimate as well as illegitimate with the names of the parents and godparents (and the) birth and christening date.”  The birth and christening records were kept sporadically from the middle of the 1600’s. It is not uncommon in the earlier records to have the birth date missing, or even the name of the mother. This depended upon the record keeping practices of the parish priest. <br>
  
In a Swedish record of christening/birth, the researcher can expect to find<br>• The given name(s) of the child<br>• Before 1800, the name of the father; after 1800, also the name of the mother<br>• The date of the christening; after 1800, also the date of birth<br>• The name of the farm or village where the parents reside<br>• The names of the witnesses invited to attend the christening (often relatives of the father or mother)
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By law the little child should be christened within 8 days. Otherwise the parents became burdened by duty to see that it was done. There was good cause for the parents to be anxious for the child’s christening to be as soon as possible. It was both risky and troublesome to have an unchristened child at home. In the event that there was a complication with the birth and the child’s survival was in question, then an “emergency baptism” (''nöddop'') could be performed by the midwife, father, or any member of the household who had passed confirmation.<br>
  
When working with Swedish Church Records of Birth &amp; Christening
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Witnesses to the christening were often relatives. They can be good leads to following the family if you are unsure where one of the parents is from. If family was not readily available the parents might ask a good friend or neighbor to the godparent. <br>
  
<u>'''REMEMBER'''</u>:
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In a Swedish record of birth / christening, the researcher can expect to find:<br>
  
• An interval between births of more than 4 years can indicate a missing child <br>• Babies were often home christened &amp; later christened in church <br>• The woman holding the baby at christening is often a close relative or friend of the mother <br>• An illegitimate child is indicated with the word, “''oäkta”''<br>• Ministers can make mistakes. User logic and reasoning when you come across inconsistencies in a record
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• The given name(s) of the child.<br>
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• The name of the father and mother (depending on the record keeping of the parish priest). <br>
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• The date of the birth and christening (depending on the record keeping of the parish priest). <br>
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• The name of the parents place of residence<br>
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• The names of the witnesses (godparents) who were invited to attend the christening (often relatives of the father or mother). <br>
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<u>'''REMEMBER'''</u>:
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• An interval between births of more than 4 years can indicate a missing child <br>
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• The woman holding the baby at christening is often a close relative or friend of the mother <br>
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• An illegitimate child is indicated with the word, “''oäkta”''<br>
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Sometimes you will find mistakes in the record. Use logic and reasoning when you come across inconsistencies. <br>
  
<br>
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==References==
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Swedish Wikipedia at: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopbok
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Släktforskning.. vägen till din egen historia, Elisabeth Thorsell and Ulf Schenkmanis, ICA Förelaget AB 1993
  
<br>
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[[Category: Sweden]]

Revision as of 23:01, 18 September 2008

The church law of 1686 stated that the parish priest should keep record for “All children both legitimate as well as illegitimate with the names of the parents and godparents (and the) birth and christening date.” The birth and christening records were kept sporadically from the middle of the 1600’s. It is not uncommon in the earlier records to have the birth date missing, or even the name of the mother. This depended upon the record keeping practices of the parish priest.

By law the little child should be christened within 8 days. Otherwise the parents became burdened by duty to see that it was done. There was good cause for the parents to be anxious for the child’s christening to be as soon as possible. It was both risky and troublesome to have an unchristened child at home. In the event that there was a complication with the birth and the child’s survival was in question, then an “emergency baptism” (nöddop) could be performed by the midwife, father, or any member of the household who had passed confirmation.

Witnesses to the christening were often relatives. They can be good leads to following the family if you are unsure where one of the parents is from. If family was not readily available the parents might ask a good friend or neighbor to the godparent.

In a Swedish record of birth / christening, the researcher can expect to find:

• The given name(s) of the child.

• The name of the father and mother (depending on the record keeping of the parish priest).

• The date of the birth and christening (depending on the record keeping of the parish priest).

• The name of the parents place of residence

• The names of the witnesses (godparents) who were invited to attend the christening (often relatives of the father or mother).

REMEMBER: • An interval between births of more than 4 years can indicate a missing child
• The woman holding the baby at christening is often a close relative or friend of the mother
• An illegitimate child is indicated with the word, “oäkta”
• Sometimes you will find mistakes in the record. Use logic and reasoning when you come across inconsistencies.

References

Swedish Wikipedia at: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopbok Släktforskning.. vägen till din egen historia, Elisabeth Thorsell and Ulf Schenkmanis, ICA Förelaget AB 1993