Household Exam Roll Headings

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Records that show the structure of a family are key to family history. These records show relationship between individuals that help you to form the basic structure of a family group. Usually people see familial structure in records such as the Household Examination Records, Mantals (tax records), Probates, and other documents. In Swedish research, the records that show family groups are generally considered a secondary source. The actual birth, marriage, or death information needs to be verified in a primary source such as the birth and christening, engagement and marriage, or death and burial records. To find records that show family structure, you must know 2 things:

1. The approximate time when the family was living together 2. The name of the jurisdiction associated to the record type you want to search. For example: if you want to see the family in a household examination you need to know the name of the parish the family was living in (knowing the name of the farm or village is helpful too.)

Sometimes finding the estimated residential year or place of residence can be a challenge. In situations like this, you must turn to other records for clues. The easiest way to do this is to find a member of the family on a record of event (such as a birth, marriage, or death.) After finding the record of event, you have an established time and place to search associated records.

Remember the entire kingdom of Sweden was organized into jurisdictions long before records were being kept. The majority of the population is recorded on many records that show family structure. The highest ranked record for showing family structure are the household examination rolls. They were used for religious and later demographic purposes. Time Period: 1600s – 1894 or later (depending on the parish and diocese.)

The Household Examination Record (Roll) was the form used to record the results (grade) of each confirmed person's religious knowledge and actions as determined by a yearly meeting with the minister.

The person might have been asked to demonstrate their ability to read, or recite memorize passages from the Bible, from the Lutheran Catechism, or other religious material. They might have been asked about their daily prayers, their attendance at religious meetings, how many times they partook of the sacrament in the preceding year, and so forth.

A person is listed on this record under the name of the village, farm, sub-farm, military district, or quarter of the city where they resided at the time the examination was done - generally the fall of each year. In most instances a record of event (birth, marriage, death or equivalent) will contain that place name.

It must be kept in mind that the earliest household examination rolls may not contain the name of every family member, as the purpose of the form was basically to record the results of a person's religious examination. That examination was only given to those members of the parish who had been confirmed. Confirmation could have occurred between ages 12 to 18 - sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later.

The questions asked in the examination were somewhat similar throughout Sweden. However,the format and column headings found in each household examination roll used countrywide were not standardized until well into the late 1800s. Even within a diocese, some differences in the column headings for the same time period have been found.

Because the household examination roll is such a crucial part of Swedish research, examples of those column headings, with English translations, have been created and can be viewed by clicking on the links/time periods below.

Since it was felt the officials within each diocese (stift) might have been able to influence the forms used i.e. they might be more standard within a diocese, the examples used were taken from records found within each named diocese.

Please note: The time frame listed on each example reflects the time frame that particular column heading format and wording was used - NOT the time frame for individual household roll books. Each individual book might have covered a 5, 10, 15, or perhaps even 20 year time period, depending upon the size of the parish. In larger population areas, it might have taken 2 or more household examination roll books to record the populace. Instances of overlapping time frames and/or books only covering 1 or 2 years have also been found. If there was just a change of a word or phrase between time periods, that has been added in parentheses in the affected column.

To choose the books used for the examples, time was taken to look at each parish listing for a whole county within each diocese to find the very earliest book and the very latest time period book to provide the widest range of column heading examples. If one parish within a diocese had books covering from the 1600s to the 1900s without a break, or very few gaps, that parishes' books column headings were chosen as the ones to be translated.

References Clemmensson, Per & Andersson, Kjell. Släktforska Steg för Steg. Natur och Kultur, Falköping 2005

Norstedt Förlagsgrupp AB. Norstedts Engelska Ord. at

Category: Swedish Church Records