Äldre Geometriska Historical Maps of Sweden
During the 1600's the kingdom of Sweden was in a period of territorial expansion. The government needed to pay for the “costs of war.” The government decided to assess the farms and natural resources for taxation. To accomplish this, all the farms and villages would be surveyed to create detailed maps. These maps show places of residence, locations of mills, and other economic interests. It was also hoped that abandoned farms or lands could be revitalized and active farms could be expanded.
Either way the goal was to increase tax revenue. Before 1645 the kingdom of Sweden included Tornedalen in the North, Finland to the East, and Småland in the South. By 1660 the kingdom expanded to include Bohuslän, Skåne, and Blekinge. The maps were bound into books, which became a tax record known as visual jordeböcker.
It should be noted, that not all villages and farms were mapped, but between 1630 and 1690 about 12,000 maps were created. These maps have been scanned and are available through Riksarkivets website at: Sveriges äldsta storskaliga kartor - databasen GEORG. The database is called: Sveriges äldsta storskaliga kartor – database.
How to find Äldre Geometriska Historical Maps of Sweden
1. Go to http://riksarkivet.se/geometriska (using Firefox.) Although it says "In English" in the upper right hand corner, you need to run this search in Swedish.
2. Click on Visa kartsamlingar (1st paragraph down from the big banner image)
3. Choose the Province that you need by clicking on the words visa kartsamling that is out to the side of the Härad that your parish belonged to.
- If you don’t know what Härad that the parish you are working in belonged to, see the film notes for your parish in the Catalog/frameset_fhlc.asp FamilySearch Catalog.
- Riksarkivet chose to organize these links by Province which predates the County structure. If you do not know what province you are working in, click on the County page at: Counties of Sweden Each County page in the FamilySearch Wiki says what Province that the area belonged to.
4. By clinking on visa kartsamling, another window opens up that shows the beginning of the maps (or a book that the maps are in.)
To search the map collection:
- Use the arrows pointing left or right (with an underline below them) that are in the upper left corner of your screen to move 1 page at a time.
- You can zoom in or out by using the + or – symbol. Click (and hold down) and drag the image to move it around the screen.
- The written text on the map has been transcribed to the text on the left side of the screen.
- Click on the floppy disk symbol to save a copy of the map to your computer. It will download as a DjVu file because DjVu is the viewer used for the image database.
From the main page at Riksarkivet Geometriska you can choose to search the locations or the text on the maps using different tools such as:
Will show the coordinates for the places of residence, farm names, mills, or churches in Google Maps
Sök i kartans orginaltext och visa på karta
As all of the text on the maps have been transcribed, you can search the text on the maps for places or even people’s names.
More information about these maps can be found in the book: 1600 –talets jordbruklandskap, en introduktion till de äldre geometriska kartorna, by Riksarkivet, edited by Mats Höglund.
Höglund, Mats, 1600-talets jordbrukslandskap, Alfa Print AB, Sundbyberg 2008
Ångström, Karl-Ingvar and Johansson, Björn, Kart-forskning Sverige Släktforskarförbunds Handböcker 3, Svärd & Söner, Falköping, 2011
Wikipedia Community, Jordebok, Swedish Wikipedia 2012