A census (mantalslängd) is a count of the population taken by the Swedish government primarily for taxation and military purposes. It is not really a census record but a tax list or verification over the taxed or assessed property in the community. No regular census records are found in Sweden, as the population count was made by the parish ministers with the help of the clerical survey records (husförhörslängd).
Swedish census records can be a helpful source because they were taken before church records were kept. You can sometimes use census records to extend your pedigree chart beyond what is recorded in church records. The earliest census records in central Sweden are from the 1620s. They have been microfilmed up to the 1860s. The Family History Library has the Swedish census records that have been microfilmed. They are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under:
SWEDEN, [COUNTY] - CENSUS
Searching Census Records
When searching census records, remember:
- After 1652, only people between the ages of 15 and 63 were listed. The earliest records sometimes only contain the given name of the head of the household, while other family members are listed as numbers in columns.
- After 1841, people between 17 and 63 were recorded. After 1887, the ages were 18 to 63.
- Soldiers did not have to pay taxes, so only their wives and children are listed.
- Until 1810, noble families and their servants were also exempt from paying taxes and are usually not recorded.
- Spellings of names and places may differ from that in other records.
When you find your family in one census, search that same location in the earlier and later census records for other family members.
A good guide to the census records is:
Lext, Gösta. Mantalsskrivningen i Sverige före 1860(Census Records in Sweden before 1860). Göteborg, Sweden: Göteborgs Universitet, 1968. (FHL Book 948.5 X2l.)
Another source with information specificaly for census is:
Johansson, Carl-Erik. Cradled in Sweden.