Sweden Birth and Christening Records

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The church law of 1686 stated that the parish priest should keep record for “All children legitimate as well as illegitimate with their parents and godparents names (and the) birth and christening date.”[1]

In early accounts the birth and christening entries were often written in a “general church book” that contained all the birth and christenings, engagements and marriages, and death and burial records for a parish. Christening took place as soon as possible after the birth, often at home. Occasionally a birth entry is missing even though you have proved the family’s residence at the time of the birth. This might have been because the birth and christening was recorded on a random piece of paper but never entered into the church book. Other times the entry was recorded on the kladdböcker (a draft copy) before being cleanly written in the church books. In rare cases the birth and christening entries begin around the 1650’s. They became standard by 1688 although the earliest examples may not have survived. If the church accounts book (räkenskaper) pre-dates the birth and christenings you might find mention of a donation to the church when the child was christened.

By the 1800’s it is common to see the age of the mother included in the entry.

In a Swedish birth and christening record should find:

  • The given name(s) of the child.
  • The name of the father and mother (depending on the record keeping of the parish priest).
  • The date of the birth and christening (depending on the record keeping of the parish priest).
  • The parents place of residence
  • The names of the godparents (faddrar) who were invited to attend the christening.


  • Sometimes the parish book was kept on a parish basis, other times on a pastorat basis.
  • Often the mothers name is missing from the early accounts. Her legal representation was through her husband.
  • Sometimes the christening entries did not include a birth date.
  • When there are gaps between siblings in the records, check the death and burial and the church accounts records.
  • Occasionally one of the parent’s names might not match other entries within the same family. In these cases use other sources to prove or disprove relationship.
  • The woman holding the baby at the time of christening is often a close relative or friend of the mother.
  • The birthplace is usually recorded by the mother’s place of residence.
  • The word "oäkta” is referring to an illegitimate birth.
  • The word "Test." is a abbreviation for Testes which is latin for witnesses (also known as faddrar which is Swedish for godparents)
  • The term “nöddöp” is referring to an emergency christening performed by the midwife or any other confirmed person quickly after the birth.


  1. “Alle barns så ächtas som oächtas med dheras föräldrars och faddrars namn födelse och döpelse dag...”: Clemensson, Per and Andersson, Kjell. Släktforska steg för steg. Falköping, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, 2005


Clemensson, Per and Andersson, Kjell. Släktforska steg för steg. Falköping, Natur och Kultur/Fakta, 2005

Wikipedia Community. Dödbok. Wiki-Rötter, February 2011 See http://www.genealogi.se/wiki/index.php/D%C3%B6dbok

Swedish Wikipedia at: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopbok