Swedish Money, Weights, and Measures for Family History Research

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As you look for your Swedish ancestors in various records, you will come across references to monetary and weight amounts or measurements. These amounts or measures are often overlooked by people who are focused on creating family structure. Although they are not key to creating family structure, understanding these amounts or measures can richly enhance a family history.

Monetary Systems[edit | edit source]

The present monetary system in Sweden with krona and öre (100 öre to one krona) did not begin until 1873. Before that time the money units were riksdaler, skilling and runstycke or öre. The riksdaler was divided into 48 skilling, and a skilling consisted of 12 runstycken.

There were different kinds of riksdaler with different values for different periods – riksdaler specie, riksdaler riksgäld and riksdaler banco.
The currency picture is quite confusing through the ages in Sweden, and without a special study of the subject it is difficult to make out. The practical approach for the researcher is to compare the value of the whole estate with some tangible and easy to understand property like pigs, sheep, oxen, horses, and cows. That will give us some idea of the value of the estate—such as, grandpa was worth 6 oxen!

Weight Measurements[edit | edit source]

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Linear Measurements[edit | edit source]

  Mil    Swedish "mile" equal to 1 mil = 10 kilometers. 

Area (Land) Measurements
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  Tunnland   A land area unit of measure 1 tunnland = 1.22 (US) acre.

  Mantal   Technically, a unit of land productivity rather than actual area and therefore can vary in surface area. Created for taxation purposes. Often divided into fractions.  

Researchers will encounter both tunnland and mantal in geographic descriptions of rural land as in C. M. Rosenberg's Geografiskt-statististikt handlexikon over Sverige (a gazetter, in Swedish from about 1883). 

References[edit | edit source]

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