Sweden Death and Burial Records
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The 1686 kyrkolag stated, ”(to record) the name of the deceased who was buried in the church or churchyard”. Death and burial records generally begin about 1688 but the oldest Swedish death and burial record goes back to 1608 in Helga Trefaldighets parish in Uppsala county.
In earlier church books death information was often written in the same book as births and christenings, and engagements and marriages. The record was usually kept in chronological order by the date of death or the date of burial.
In death and burial entries you should find:
- The name of the deceased
- Place of residence at the time of passing
- Cause of death (not always recorded in the earliest examples). Discovering the cause of death can add interesting detail to your ancestor's life story.
- Occasionally you might see the names of the parents. It’s common to see the name of the father mentioned with a deceased child.
Other Records Associated to Death and Burial
Some death records are called a personaliebok (or they may be in addition to the death and burial records.) In these books you will find a longer description written about the deceased similar to a modern obituary. If personalie books were kept for the place your ancestors are from, you may find more information about the life of the deceased, the occupation, marriage (-s) and their children.
The purpose of the graveregister is to keep track of who is buried, and where they are buried in the church yard. Traditionally “the place” to be buried is the churchyard. Yet the churchyard has a limited space to the property, which has been used for centuries. The solution is to reuse burial plots. This practice is still done today. A burial plot is reused after about 20 years unless someone has paid for perpetual upkeep. When the change is made, the previous gravestone is replaced with the new one. With this said, it’s not unusual that very few old grave stones have survived. The Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies (Sveriges Släktforskarförbund) has created a database called Gravstens – Sök with information from about 35,000 gravestones from around the country.
Where can you find Swedish Death and Burial Records?
You can access Death and Burial Records through the Family History Library, or at
FamilySearch Centers, in FamilySearch, SVAR, Arkiv Digital, Ancestry.com, along with the National and Regional Archives in Sweden.
Databases Associated to Death and Burial Records
- The Swedish Death Index 1901-2009 (Sveriges Dödbok 1901-2009)
Approximately 70% of all the deaths for this time period are included in the database. The source to create the database is the death and burial records. There are a total of 7, 880,000 entries. This database is on DVD available through Sveriges Släktforskarförbund. This database along with earlier versions are available at the Family History Library. For more information about the death databases available at the Family History Library click here.
- Buried in Sweden (Begravda I Sverige)
The source to create this database is the gravregisters from all over the kingdom. There are
5, 300,000 entries in the database. This database is on DVD available through Sveriges Släktforskarförbund.
- “The aflednas namn som i kyrckian eller på kyrckiogården äre begrafne…” Släktforska steg för steg, page 47
Clemensson, Per and Andersson, Kjell. Släktforska steg för steg. Falköping, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, 2005
Wikipedia Community. Dödbok. Wiki-Rötter, February 2011 See http://www.genealogi.se/wiki/index.php/Dödbok