Sweden Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Sweden, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Birth/Baptism

Marriage

Death/Burial

Household Examinations

Tips[edit | edit source]

For more information about headings found in parish registers and household exam rolls, see the article Swedish Parish Register and Household Exam Roll Headings.

Parish Record Collections[edit | edit source]

We use birth, marriage, death, moving-in and -out, and household examination records the most. These are the main record types, but they do not represent the entire parish record collection. For a comprehensive list that shows all the record types see Sweden Church Records Types and Classification.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The origin of the Swedish Church Records (of the Lutheran State Church) dates back to the church law of 1686 which became effective in 1688. [1] Prior to this many parishes were keeping church accounts books which date back to medieval times.

Eventually the bishops of a few dioceses took the initiative to start keeping other church records. One such bishop was Johannes Rudbeckius in Västerås Stift who in 1622 decided that more records were to be kept for the parishes in his diocese. He is attributed for creating the earliest Household Examination record in the 1620’s. [2] This influence is why you can search the Household examinations in Dalarna and Västmanland back to the 1620’s compared to the rest of the kingdom that generally begin in the 1720’s. The oldest Swedish church record is a death record of 1608 – 1615 from the parish of Helga Trefaldighet in Uppsala diocese.

Areas of modern Sweden that historically belonged to Denmark such as Skåne and Jämtland often have church records dating back to 1646 when a similar law was passed by the Danes.

Church Law of 1686[edit | edit source]

The church law of 1686 stated that the parish priest was to maintain:

These 3 records are often called Ministerial books.

He should also maintain:

In early times the household examination record might just be a Communion record. After 1895 these were replaced by the Församlingsböcker.


But there was no centralized instruction as to how the books were to be kept. This became a concern for every diocese to regulate which lead to a wide diversity of record keeping all over the kingdom. For example, moving in and out records were not generally kept before the 1800’s. Starting in 1860 we see standardized printed forms in the church records yet even these vary diocese to diocese. It wasn’t until 1894 that standard forms were used kingdom wide for the church records.

In early times it is common that all 3 Ministerial records were kept in one book called the church book (kyrkboken). Often you will find other records there too such as the Sockenstämmoprotokoll (a record of parish decisions and affairs), and the Kyrkoräkenskaper (a parish financial record). In some parishes you might find a Konfirmationsbok (confirmation record) was kept. Eventually these records became separate books altogether.

All of the original church books before 1895 have historically been kept by the Regional archives (the Landsarkiv). When there are gaps in the record collections of a parish, it is most likely that the original records did not survive (although it is always good to check the parish records for the parishes in the same pastorat to be sure.)

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Extracts from Church Books (Utdrag ur Ministerialböcker)
Beginning in 1860 records of births, marriages, and deaths were extracted from all the parish church books in the province. These were compiled yearly and sent to the Central Bureau of Statistics (Statistiska Centralbyrån). They are a primary source of birth, marriage, and death information in Sweden in lieu of the original records. They identify names of parents and also provide place of residence. As they are extracts from the parish registers the information they contain is not as complete as the original parish register entry.

Births (Födelseböcker)[edit | edit source]

  • Names of person
  • Date of birth
  • Legitimacy
  • Names of parents
  • Father's occupation and residence
  • Sometimes age of mother, number of siblings and parents’ year of marriage.

Marriages (Vigsellböcker)[edit | edit source]

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Their ages
  • Places of residence
  • Date of marriage
  • Sometimes names of parents

Deaths (Dödsböcker)[edit | edit source]

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date of death
  • Age
  • Place of residence at time of death
  • Occupation
  • Cause of death.

Missing Records[edit | edit source]

If all the records for a parish begin at a later date for example 1800, either: 1- the original records have been destroyed or 2- this parish was created in 1800 and you should be searching in another parish record collection prior to 1800.
A good reference to see what happened is: Sveriges församlingar genom tiderna. This is available in book form and online at Sveriges församlingar genom tiderna.

You can see a listing of all the books and records belonging to a parish record collection by doing a search in the Swedish National Archive's online catalog called: Nationell Arkivdatabas.

If the local parish records were destroyed you might check with the Diocese archives (Domkapitel arkiv). These collections include many records from the parishes within the diocese such as diocese instruction, parish priest replacement, church residential properties, visits to the local parish by diocese officials, and donation records. The domkapitel was the diocese's central legal and administrative authority. They were government agencies until 2000 when the church and state were separated.

Among the visitation records you might find copies of local records such as the communion and household examinations and seating locations within the church. When a new priest or klockare (parish clerk) was chosen an electorial register was created which can offer detailed information about the land owners and farmers within the parish or pastorat. The Domkapitel Arkiv can also include records of divorces. The older part of the Domkapitel arkiv are stored at the Regional archives (the Landsarkiv).

References[edit | edit source]

  • Clemensson, Per and Andersson, Kjell. Släktforska steg för steg. Falköping, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, 2005
  • Norstedt Förlagsgrupp AB. Norstedts Engelska Ord. at www.ord.se
  • Kyrkbokföring, Släktforska steg för steg, p. 26
  • Wikipedia Community. Kyrkböcker. Wiki-Rötter, February, 2011