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The Swedish Genealogical Word List shows Swedish words and their English translations for many words that are found in documents used to research Swedish ancestors. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Swedish-English dictionary. (See "Additional Resources" below.)
Swedish is a Germanic language like Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic. A major spelling and grammar reform was introduced in Sweden in 1917. The spelling section in "Language Characteristics" below, along with the English to Swedish Word list are designed to help you find the words you need.
|Q||R||S||T||U||V, W||X, Y, Z||Å|
|Q||R||S||T||U||V, W||X, Y, Z||Numbers|
Swedish is spoken in Sweden and parts of Finland. The Swedish language was used in official records of Finland until the end of the 1800s.
Variant Forms of Words
In Swedish, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who—whose—whom or marry—marries— married are examples of words in English with variant forms. The endings of a word in a document may differ from those in this list. Also, vowels sometimes have diacritical marks indicating a variant spelling of a Swedish word (for example the conjugation of a verb.) Note the following examples:
| profession |
Swedish has three additional letters not found in the English alphabet: Å (å), Ä (ä), and Ö (ö). Alphabetically, these letters come after z. The letter Å (å) was always used in Swedish as a letter of its own (unlike the Aa in Danish and Norwegian). Swedish dictionaries, indexes, the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog, and this word list use the following alphabetical order:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z å ä ö
| used for
| e |
g, gj, hj, lj, dj
ck, ch, g, gg, c, q
d, th, tt
hv, fv, ffv, f, w
k, kj, ch
skj, sch, sj, stj
ss, c, z
| spelled as
| enka |
Spelling rules were not standardized in earlier centuries. The following spelling variations are common.
b used for p
c used for k
d used for t
f used for v
g used for k
i used for j
x used for ks
q used for k
w used for v
e used for ä
u used for v
ch used for k
tj used for ki
skov spelled as schov
kvinna spelled as qvinna
This word list includes only words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Swedish-English dictionary. Several Swedish-English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library. These are in the Scandinavian collection. Their call numbers begin with 439.7321.
The following dictionary is also available on microfilm for use in Family History Centers:
- Ernolv, Carl. Svensk-Engelsk Ordbok [Swedish-English Dictionary]. Stockholm: Svenska Bokförlaget Norstedts, 1947. (FHL film 1,124,531 item 12).
- Björkman, C.G. Svensk-Englesk Ordbok [Swedish- English Dictionary]. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt, 1889. (FHL film 1,224,734). Swedish spelling was reformed in 1906. Since this dictionary was written in 1889, it shows words as they were spelled before 1906.
Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject Search of the Family History Library Catalog under SWEDISH LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES or in the Place Search under SWEDEN - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES - DICTIONARIES.
To find and use specific types of Swedish records, you will need to know some key words in Swedish. This section lists key genealogical terms in English and the Swedish words with the same or similar meanings.
For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Swedish words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined,and other words used in Swedish records to indicate marriage.