Scandinavia Death Records

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Deaths/Burials[edit | edit source]

Some Scandinavian words for "death" and "burial" are:

  • Danish: døde, død, begravede
  • Norwegian: døde, død, begravede, jordet, jordfestet
  • Swedish: döda(e), död, avliden, begravning
  • Icelandic: dau ir, greftrun, begrafn
  • Finnish: kuolleet, haudatut, hauta

In the earlier records the burial date was recorded rather than the actual death date. This changed with the introduction of the printed format for Denmark, Iceland, and Norway in the 1812 to 1814 time period. For Sweden and Finland, as with the births, they tended more to record both the death and burial dates from an earlier time period. However, if only one date is given for this life event in any country's records and it is not specifically stated otherwise, then it is probably the burial date, not the actual death date.

In earlier records, the name of the person who actually died or was buried may not be given. Instead, entries might only be referenced to the male figure in that person's life, such as "Torger Pedersen's widow Maria," "Johan Larsen's little daughter," or "Ole Haakonson's wife."

Minimum information given in a death record should include the date of burial and the name of the male figure in the decedent's life, with reference to the person who was actually buried and how he or she is related to that male figure. Additional information could include the full name of the deceased, actual death date, age at death, residence, birth date, birth place, names of parents, names of surviving spouse or children, occupation, previous residences, cause of death, marriage date, moves from one place to another, etc.

The more generous information is generally more applicable to Swedish records than those of Denmark, Iceland, or Norway. For some time periods and in some areas of Sweden, the death record was actually more like a complete obituary than just a death entry.

Basically the burial was a graveside service with very few words being spoken by the minister. Extras such as the funeral sermon, candles being lit, bells being rung, or any other nicety that could have been performed cost extra money. Generally only those of a higher class status could afford to have any of the latter performed for their dead. In earlier days, people would be buried in the blessed or sacred ground that surrounded the church building. Those who were of very high class could even be buried under the floor and in the walls of the church, though this generally took place more in the cities rather than in the countryside.

Stillborn Children[edit | edit source]

A record of stillborn children or even those who died very shortly after birth might only be recorded in the burial or death records. In the printed format time period, there may be a separate page for them. In a pre-printed format, they will just be listed chronologically in the record. If there is a space of more than two to three years between the births of children listed on your family group record, make sure to check the death records for stillborns or those who died shortly after birth. Since only natural birth control was available in earlier days, births of children occurred as nature decreed.