Sweden: The Parish (Socken)

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Sweden is divided into 2600 parishes and each parish was formerly responsible for the recording of the vital records of each parishioner. The parish is referred to in Swedish as a 'socken' or 'forsämling', which means congregation. The smaller units within the parish are called villages (byår) or farms (gård). The parish was the basic unit for record keeping in Sweden. In 1991, the responsibility for the keeping of the vital statistics for each individual was transferred to a civil authority.