Västernorrland County, Sweden Genealogy
|Sweden Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Guide to Västernorrland ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
- 1 How to Do Research in Västernorrland, Sweden
- 2 History
- 3 Knowing Your Locality
- 4 Districts
- 5 Parishes
- 6 Patronymics and Naming Customs
- 7 Church Records
- 8 1. Online Digital Records for Church Records
- 9 2. Microfilms of Church Records for Sweden
- 10 Reading the Records
- 11 Search Strategy and Tips
How to Do Research in Västernorrland, Sweden
Most of your genealogical research for Västernorrland will be in online church records. Methods for locating and reading them are given here.
Västernorrland County was created in 1654 by combining Härnösand County and Hudiksvall County. In 1658 Jämtland and Härjedalen were ceded to becoming part of Trondheims County. They were reunited with Västernorrland in 1660. In 1762 the County was divided into two parts. The southern part became Gävle County. The northern part continued to be Västernorrland County with Sundsvall as its capital until 1778 when Härnösand took over this role. The County letter for Västernorrland is: Y
Knowing Your Locality
To search effectively, it will help if you know the farm, parish, and county where your ancestor lived. The Wiki articles Gather Family Information, Tracing Immigrant Origins, and Finding a Place of Origin in Sweden describe many strategies you can use to find this. Sweden 1951 Place Names Register and the Swedish Parish Pages list in this Wiki will give you searchable lists of places, particularly parishes and the farms within those parishes.
The map below is based on 1890 county/parish boundaries.
Click here to see parishes by number.
Note: For parishes with an asterisk (*), see Jämtland County.
Patronymics and Naming Customs
Most Swedish surnames are patronymic. Patronymic surnames changed with each generation. Also, Swedish surnames can be changed for a variety of reasons. Understanding surname changes is more important in Swedish research than in United States or Great Britain. To prepare yourself to cope with these changes, carefully study Sweden Names, Personal.
Church records from the county of Västernorrland contain the following types of records. Click on the Swedish name of the record to link to important facts and clues that can be found in each record.
- Clerical surveys (Husförhörslängder)
- Registers of birth, marriage, and death (födda, vigda, döde)
- Move-in and move-out lists (in- och utflyttede)
- Confirmations (konfirmation)
- Church accounts (räkenskaper)
Household Examination Records (Husförhörslängder)
The Household Examination Records are a key source in Swedish genealogical research, not found in many other countries. Perhaps their greatest value is that they gave detailed data organized in families for each year. This is particularly helpful in sorting out the duplication of names created by the use of patronymics. The contents of a Household Examination Book varied according to time, place and the minister. As you search the books you might see:
1. Online Digital Records for Church Records
The easiest way to access the Swedish Church Records is through the internet, using these sites:
- FamilySearch Historical Records,
- Ancestry.com ($),
- MyHeritage.com ($),
- Arkiv Digital ($), and
- SVAR , ($). The SVAR translation app incorrectly reads Västernorrland as Tennessee.
Four of these sites require a subscription for access. (ArkivDigital, Ancestry.com, and MyHeritage.com are available at a FamilyHistory Center near you free of charge.)
FamilySearch Historical Records Online Databases for Sweden
The original copies of the church records before 1895 are preserved by the Naional and Regional Archives in Sweden. FamilySearch has partnered with The National Archives of Sweden to create indexes of the Swedish church records. For more detail on the contents and coverage of these records, see: Sweden Church Records, 1308 – 1940 Images Published on FamilySearch.
- 1501-1940 - Sweden, Västernorrland Church Records, 1501-1940; index 1650-1860 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1501-1940; index 1650-1860 - Sweden, Västernorrland Church Records, 1501-1940; index 1650-1860 at FamilySearch —images by parish.
- 1611-1920 - Sweden Baptisms, 1611-1920 at FamilySearch — index.
- 1630-1920 - Sweden Marriages, 1630-1920 at FamilySearch — index.
- 1649-1920 - Sweden Burials, 1649-1920 at FamilySearch — index.
Ancestry.com Online Database for Sweden
Västernorrland Index and Images
- 1880-1893 - Sweden, Selected Indexed Household Clerical Surveys, 1880-1893, index and images, ($). To browse this image set, select Västernorrland County, the parish, the records type, and the year range in the search boxes in the right sidebar.
- 1451-1943 - Sweden, Church Records, 1451-1943, index and images, ($). To browse this image set, select Västernorrland County, the parish, the records type, and the year range in the search boxes in the right sidebar.
- 1860-1941 - Sweden, Indexed Birth Records, 1860-1941, index and images, ($). To browse this image set, select Västernorrland County, the parish, the records type, and the year range in the search boxes in the right sidebar.
Sweden Including Västernorrland
- 1783-1991 - Sweden, Emigrants Registered in Church Books, 1783-1991, index and images, ($)
- 1611-1920 - Sweden, Select Baptisms, 1611-1920, index, ($).
- 1901-2006 - Sweden, Births from the Swedish Death Index, 1901-2006, index. ($)
- 1630-1920 - Sweden, Select Marriages, 1630-1920, index, ($)
- 1649-1920 - Sweden, Select Burials, 1649-1920, index, ($)
- 1840-1860 - Sweden, Selected Indexed Death Records, 1840-1860 and 1878-1942, index, ($)
MyHeritage.com Online Databases for Sweden
- 1880-1920 - Sweden Household Examination Books, 1880 - 1920, index and images, ($).
- 1611-1920 - Sweden, Baptisms, 1611-1920, index, ($)
- 1630-1920 - Sweden, Marriages, 1630-1920, index, ($).
- 1649-1920 - Sweden Burials, 1649-1920, index, ($).
ArkivDigital Online Databases for Sweden
These lessons will teach you how to use ArkivDigital:
Here are links for registering, direct link to Västernorrland records, the main search page, and a library of instructional articles on Swedish genealogy methods.
- SVAR digital archives for parishes in Västernorrland . The SVAR translation app incorrectly reads Västernorrland as Tennessee.
2. Microfilms of Church Records for Sweden
Microfilms of the original records used for developing the online databases are also available for research. You will find additional records that have yet to be digitized. Currently, they are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you.
To find a microfilm:
- a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Sweden, Västernorrland .
- b. Click on "Places within Sweden, Västernorrland " and a list of towns and cities will open.
- c. Click on the town or city you wish to search.
- d. Click on "Church Records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- e. Choose the correct event and time period for your ancestor.
- f. Some combination of the icons shown below will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record.
Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.
Reading the Records
- You do not have to be fluent in Swedish to read your documents. Genealogical records usually contain a limited vocabulary. Use the Swedish Genealogical Word List to translate the important points in the document. This interactive dictionary allows you to enter a word in the search box and receive the translation: Swedish Historical Dictionary Database, SHDD.
- Online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
- Reading Gothic Handwriting for Swedish Genealogy, Lesson 1
- Spelling and Phonetics for Swedish Genealogy, Lesson 2 — Names, dates, and key genealogical words
- Reading Gothic Handwriting for Swedish Genealogy: Put It All Together, Lesson 3
- Reading Scandinavian Gothic Handwritten Records Lesson 1: Scandinavian Gothic Letters
- Reading Scandinavian Gothic Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Names, Words, and Dates
- Reading Scandinavian Gothic Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Handwritten Records
- Birth and Christening Records for Swedish Genealogy
- Instructions, document examples, and translations are given for Reading Swedish Birth and Christening Records 1717, 1752, 1771, 1792, 1803, 1834, 1854, and 1894.
- Dates are frequently written using feast days. These charts will enable you to convert feast days to more normal dates:
Search Strategy and Tips
- First find the birth and baptism record of your ancestor. Once you know his date and place of birth and his parents' names, you can locate the family in the Household Examination Records.
- Search every Household Examination Record that your ancestor appears on (from birth to death). You will pick up valuable clues along the way, find children who died young, and establish correct family member relationships.
- All birth, marriage, or death dates found in Household Examination Records need to be verified in the actual birth, marriage, or death records.
- Pay attention to relationship titles, occupations, military status, and remarks. See word list for Vocabulary for Household Examination Records.
- Dates are written in the European order of day, month, and year.
- The Family History Library created a basic key words list to help with reading the column headings (for when they exist in the actual records.) This copy has been given out at the Nordic Reference Counter for many years. To print your own copy see: Swedish Parish Register and Household Exam Roll Headings