Swedish Family History for Beginners

November 3, 2018  - by 

Perhaps you’ve heard that Swedish records are some of the best resources in the world to find ancestors. It’s true! If you have Swedish ancestry, then you are among the fortunate. But how do you do Swedish genealogy? Here are some simple steps to get started.

Use FamilySearch Record Hints to Find Records Easily

If you have a FamilySearch Family Tree, finding your family member’s records might be a lot easier than you think. First, find out if your Swedish ancestors have any record hints:

  • Browse your family tree on FamilySearch.org, and find one of your Swedish ancestors. Click the person’s name to bring up his or her information and then again to pull up their full person page.
  • From their person page, look in the Research Help section for a record hint. (Research Help will be in the right sidebar. For smaller screens, click the 3-dot menu to the right of your ancestor’s name.)
  • If you find a record hint, click the hint, and then click Show Details. To compare the record to your ancestor’s information, click Review and Attach. Now check if the names, places, and dates match your ancestor’s information.
  • If the information matches, click Attach and finish the attachment process.

Each record you find could tell you more about your family, and new record hints will pop up as more Swedish records are added to the FamilySearch database.

Many Swedish record hints come from Sweden household examination books. Sweden parishes used these books to keep track of all the families in a parish. When using this type of record, keep in mind that the relationships in a household examination book might not be correct or obvious. Use birth and christening records to verify the relationships between your Swedish ancestors and their children as you’re doing your Swedish genealogy.

If there are no record hints for your ancestor, then what?

Search for Swedish Records Online

Many Swedish records are available for free online at FamilySearch.org and the Swedish National Archives. You can also find Swedish records on Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, and ArkivDigital.

To look for your ancestor’s birth, marriage, and death records, start at the FamilySearch Sweden page. Here you can search for your ancestors in all the indexed historical records. To begin searching, simply type your ancestor’s name in the search box.

To find the Sweden page from the FamilySearch home page, click Search in the main navigation menu at the top of the page. Find Europe on the research map, and click it. Then, in the pop-up menu, click Sweden.

If you’ve searched the indexed collections and can’t find your family members, don’t fret! More Swedish records are being indexed all the time to make them easily searchable. For now, you can also look through digitized parish records to discover your ancestor’s information.

Finding Unindexed Swedish Parish Records

There are many collections of Sweden parish records that can help with your family history, but many Swedish records haven’t yet been indexed. Fortunately, some good resources are available to help you find the records you’re looking for.

  • ArkivDigital: The Swedish records on ArkivDigital are organized by parish, and the database is very friendly. You can access ArkivDigital online for free at a FamilySearch family history center or go to ArkivDigital.net to learn more about their subscriptions.
  • FamilySearch: If you go to the FamilySearch Sweden Research Page, you can find the image-only collections at the bottom right of the page under “Image-Only Historical Records” and “Catalog Material.” If you need help here, read more about finding image-only records on FamilySearch.org.
  • Swedish National Archives: You can also search the Swedish National Archives for free online. Their site, Riksarkivet, is available in both Swedish and English, but you may need to switch the language manually at the top right corner.

The first step to finding your ancestor in one of these collections is knowing the name of the parish where your Swedish family member lived.

How to Identify Your Ancestor’s Parish

If you already have some basic information about your Swedish ancestor, you can usually identify the parish from a major event in the person’s life. Look for an event that happened in Sweden (for example a birth), and note the specific location of the event. (On FamilySearch.org, you can probably find an event on your ancestor’s person page.) If you see three or four place-names, they are usually in this order—farm, parish, county, and country.

Next, use the FamilySearch wiki to confirm which of these place names is the name of your ancestor’s parish. From the Sweden genealogy wiki page, type the place-names in the search box at the top right.

The FamilySearch wiki has a page for every Swedish parish, so one of the top search results will probably be the parish you’re looking for. (If you need a list of Sweden parishes in alphabetical order, check the Swedish Parish Listing.)

Strategies for Searching Parish Records

  • Use the place of residence and parish to look up your family member in the parish’s household examination books. Start by looking up a birth, marriage, or death entry (usually organized chronologically).
  • Find your family members in as many household examination books as you can to gather information about their life events. There may be a church book for each year of their lives.
  • Once you have found birth, marriage, or death information in the household examination books, be sure to verify the information in the parish’s birth, marriage, or death records. These records are more accurate and should be much easier to find now that you have approximate information for the events.
  • If your Swedish ancestor moved, you can use the parish moving records to follow the ancestor from one parish record collection to another.

Read more about the different types of Sweden parish records and what information each record can tell you about your ancestor.

Getting Help with Swedish Family History Research

For help with Swedish translation or Sweden research strategies, see the following resources:

If you have a family history center near you, it can also be a great resource for extra help with Swedish genealogy.

Enjoy the journey to find your Swedish ancestors!

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  1. I have just heard about Family Search. I am looking forward to finding out about you and my family.

  2. My name is Shahab. I’m here to search out my family relatives whose lived in SWEDEN. Please help me to contact with them. I have only some pictures of them but not having any contact or address. Thank you
    I know their names. because of some family issues they changer their contacts and address.

  3. I am looking for family name was walgreen in Sweden my great great gran father came from there
    And he son came to Newcastle in England and he change name from Walgreen to Wellgreen
    My gran father was born in new castle and he was John William Wellgreen I like to known if there any family there in Sweden still

  4. Hello
    I am looking for any family name Wellgreen
    Who live in Sweden as my great great father came from and he son William Wellgreen come to England and live in Newcastle so hope some one can help me fine any Wellgreen who live in sweden