Sweden Church Records, 1308 – 1940 Images Published on FamilySearch
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This collection consists of digital images of microfilms of Swedish church records held by the Family History Library. Microfilming of the records began in the 1940s, with conversion to digital images beginning in 2006. These records contain accounts of baptisms, marriages, burials, household examinations, and other records kept by the clergy. It also includes records that supplement these events, as well as lists of person moving in and out of the parish, confirmation, communion attendance, and accounts of the church’s income and expenses, as well as other records.
In 1608 the archbishop of Uppsala, Olof Mårtensson, asked the clergy to begin recording baptisms, betrothals, and marriages. In 1622, Johannes Rudbeckius, bishop of Västerås instructed the ministers in his diocese to begin examining the members of their parishes to determine their knowledge of the catechism and record their names, birthdates, marriage dates, and to update these records regularly.
The earliest records are handwritten in narrative style, and all events were recorded chronologically. After a few years, the records were grouped by event and recorded in separate books. The National Archives of Sweden uses a specific classification schema to identify the content of each book. Clerical surveys are designated as volume A, births, volume C, marriages as E, deaths as F. More information about this schema is available here. After the records were microfilmed some changes were made to the classification by the archive. Because of this, the information on the titleboard image may not match the description of the record in the online Historical Records collection or in the Family History Catalog. The information used to create the descriptions was provided by the National Archives of Sweden from their online catalog.
The earliest record in the collection is a copy of a letter from 1308 wherein Ingeborg Jonsdotter made a donation of land to Sånga church in Stockholm County. The most recent records are church accounts (räkenskaper) for 1940 from Alva parish in Gotland. These generally have limited value because of the genealogical richness of other contemporary records. However, the earlier ones may contain worthwhile information. As of February 2010, there were a few images that were not yet available online. To learn more about the Swedish church records, please see the article on Swedish Church Records.
The Swedish church records are a wonderful resource for family history. As you search these records you will find that there is a great diversity of formats which was influenced by time period and the church authorities. In this collection you will find:
Husförhörslängder, Archive code: AI. These are the household examination records. By law the parish priest had to meet with everyone in his parish once a year. The purpose of these visits was to assess their gospel knowledge, and note when they last took communion. During the visit he would record thier names, place of residence, their age or birth information, and moving information, along with other notes. To learn more about this record type see: Household Examination Records
In - och Utflyttningslängder, Archive code: B. These are the parish moving in and out records. By law everyone had to be recorded in a home parish. When you moved to another place, you had to report where you where going to. After getting to the new location, you were supposed to notify the priest of your arrival. To learn more about this record type see: Swedish Moving In and Out Records
Födelse- och dopböcker, Archive code: C. These are the records of all the births, and christenings that were performed within a parish. The content will vary depending on who was keeping the records. In these records you will find the dates of birth and christening (depending on the format), name of the child, the father, the mother (depending on the format), the place of residence, and the names of godparents. To learn more about this record type see: Swedish Birth and Christening Records
Lysning- och vigselböcker, Archive code: E. These are the records of all engagements and marriages that were performed within a parish. In these records you will find the dates of engagement, banns, and marriage (depending on the format), the names of the bride and groom, the current place of residence of the bride and groom, and maybe other information. To learn more about this record type see: Swedish Engagement and Marriage Records
Död- och begravningsböcker, Archive code: F. These are the records of all deaths that happened, and burials that were performed in a parish. In these records you will find the date of death and burial (depending on the format), the name of the deceased, the last place of residence of the deceased, the age at the time of death, and the cause of death. To learn more about this record type see: Swedish Death and Burial Records.
Räkenskaper, Archive code: L. These are the parish accounts books that record donations and expenditures. Usually when a christening, marriage, or burial was performed a donation was given to the parish. If there is a gap in the birth, marriage, or death records this can be a source to see if any of those events took place. To learn more about this record type see: Swedish Church Accounts Record.
Potentially Other Records. As you search these parish records you might find other record types mixed in. If you are unsure what record type you are looking at, you can post a query on the FamilySearch Forums: Sweden for assistance.
How to Use this Digital Collection
To use these digital records you must know the name of the parish that your ancestors lived in. As these records are written in Swedish, you will need to learn some vocabulary and get familiar with the style of handwriting. You will find that each record has its own unique format. Usually there is a table of contents to find the section you need. To learn more about Swedish research strategies see the Strategies and Steps section on the Sweden page of the FamilySearch Wiki. Other tools such as Swedish Genealogical Word Lists and Handwriting Courses will help you to use this collection.
Searching This Collection
There are two ways to search this collection. One is to view the images (browse), and the other is to search the indexed records. The browse works by selecting the geographic location you are interested in, first by county, then by the name of the parish (församling). Once you have selected a parish, you will be presented a list of available volumes. Select one, and the image viewer will open and display the first image. You can move through the images by using the naviagation arrows or entering an image number in the image number field. Please note that image numbers and page numbers are not the same.
Please be aware that browseable images are presently available at all Family History Centers or, if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can view them after you sign in with your LDS Account.
Before you search the indexed collections, familarize yourself with how the search functions work. Read "Searching the Indexed Records" in the article, FamilySearch Historical Record Collections. You should also be aware of some additional unique considerations when searching idexed record collections from Norden.
When searching indexed collections, be aware that in August 2011 the instructions for indexing names in these collections changed. Prior to that time the instructions were to "write what you see." This meant that if the scribe recorded the surname Jonsdotter as Jonsd., Jonsdt., Jonsdtr, or Jonsdr., you have to search using each possible variation. The change allowed indexers to record abbreviate names in full, when they were certain what the abbreviation stood for. This will allow users to make fewer searches, and get better results.
When the change was implemented projects in Södermanland, Uppsala, and Örebro were underway, and Jönköping and Kalmar had just started. If you are searching for a baptismal or death record you may also want to search without using a patronymic surname. The indexing instuctions are to not record a surname for an individual where none is given, even if the father is identified.
Citing Your Sources
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. As these records are available from several sites, the source citation should clearly identify the original source. If your genealogical database allows it, the unique information specific to the provider of the image or record should be included in your source details, and not be included as if it were the original source.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation examples refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. Each identifies the geographic location of and name of the parish, the volume, page, and entry number where the information was found.
Identifying the collection using the title of the Historical Records collection (for example, Sweden, Jönköping Church Records, 1581-1935; index 1633-1860) obscures the actual source of the information, and is not recommended.
Examples of Source Citations for This Collection
- Sweden, Jönköping. Värnamo församling. C I Födelse- och dopböcker. Huvudserien 1, 1825-1854, p. 175 #7. Baptism of Johan August Andreasson.
- Svenska kyrkan. Värnamo socken, Jönköping. Födelse- och dopböcker, C I:1 (1825-1854): 175 #7
- Svenska kyrkan. Värnamo socken, Jönköping. C 1 (1825-1854):175 #7
The first sample is cut and pasted from the browse hierarchy displayed on Historical Records. The second sample provides the same information with some non-essential elements removed. The second and third samples use the same authority as found in the Family History Library Catalog with the county name added. This is important as there are several places in different counties in Sweden that have the same name. In the second sample the name of the record series is omitted for brevity. The second and third samples also omit the name of the principal in the record as it more appropriately belongs in citation detail.
Links to Record Collections by County
Examples from this CollectionBirth and Christenings