Sweden Engagement and Marriage Records
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According to the church law of 1686, a record should be kept “recording the names of couples intending to marry and the names of their parents”. Historically the process to get married meant, meeting with the priest, going through the engagement process, and the wedding day.
The engagement and marriage records generally begin about 1688, but there are examples of earlier records. In early accounts the engagement and marriage entries were often written in a “general church book” that contained all the birth and christenings, engagements and marriages, and death and burial records for a parish. The engagement and marriage entries might be listed according to the chronological date of thelysning (public banns), or the vigseldag (wedding day).
A typical marriage entry should include:
- The full names of the bride and groom
- The residence of the bride and groom (often not recorded in the cities)
- The amount of the Morgongåva
- In exceptional cases the names of the parents
- Sometimes you will see information about the Giftoman or Förmydaren (a legal representative for the bride)
You may find engagement certificates called “lysningssedel or lysningsattest” mixed among the engagement and marriage records. These papers might include the name of the giftoman, refer to any special permission that was granted for the marriage, mention the “giftomans samtycke” (his agreement), or include reference to a probate. A widow or widower could not remarry until the assessment and divisions of their previous “estate” were legally resolved.
In some cases the lysningssedel replaced the engagement and marriage book.
Historically the single woman was never of independent legal status, the giftoman would have to agree to a marriage and then marry her away. The giftoman was usually the bride’s father. If the father was deceased, then usually the oldest brother would fill this role. Once married, the womans legal representation was by her husband. Only widows had independent legal status.
- There was no standard organization to earlier “general church books”. Sometimes the book is divided into sections, other times the entries were recorded chronologically as the events took place.
- In the case when they are recorded chronologically, you will have to find the engagement and marriage entries mixed among the birth and christenings and death and burials.
- Sometimes the engagement and marriage information was recorded in the same entry. Other times they are not and you should look for both.
- “Alle brudefolck med dheras och föräldrarnas namn…”: Clemensson, Per & Andersson, Kjell. Släktforska steg för steg. Falköping, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, 2005
Clemensson, Per & Andersson, Kjell. Släktforska steg för steg. Falköping, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, 2005