My mother, Anne-Marie Hellqvist Hummel, has been doing Swedish genealogy research for 50 years. She is an expert in understanding Swedish Genealogy.
I wrote this blog while talking to my mothers and getting her input on what she saw as the most important aspects of Swedish genealogy. These are her suggestions for what a beginner Swedish Genealogist should look for.
Finding your Swedish ancestors is a real journey. Swedish records are excellent compared to many other countries, especially if you know what parish in Sweden your ancestor lived in and when they lived there.
Today is a wonderful time to start doing your Swedish genealogy research as so many records are available online; you usually do not have to travel to Sweden to find the records of your Swedish ancestors.
Here are some of our thoughts to help on your journey of finding your Swedish Ancestors:
Talk To Relatives in Sweden
If you have any relatives in Sweden, try to talk to them. In particular, the oldest relatives. For a lot of genealogical research, the key to doing genealogy research is talking to the most senior relatives and finding out all the information they know or remember. You can then write that information down on your family group sheets or a program like FamilySearch.
FamilySearch is a free program you sign up for and put in your relatives’ information on the program. As you put in the names of your relatives, you may even find people who have already completed the research on your family’s genealogy.
Today most Swedes speak some English, so the chances are that you will be able to talk and correspond to them in English instead of Swedish. The ability of the Swedes today to speak such good English is beneficial for those who are doing genealogy research.
If you do not have relatives in Sweden, talk to any other relatives you may know about your Swedish ancestors.
Find Out What Place In Sweden Your Relatives Lived
Swedish genealogy can be confusing as traditionally, a child took on the parent’s first name as their last name, such as Johansson, literally means Johan’s son. So one of the most important aspects of Swedish genealogy is to know the place where your relatives lived.
Swedish genealogy research requires that you look at the research location and the name of your ancestors. If you do not know the location in Sweden where they lived, such as the township, village, parish, and area, it will be hard for you to identify who your ancestors are. It is best if you know the farm or regions where they lived as then you can be sure this is your ancestor.
Just knowing they came from Stockholm is not enough. You need to understand what specific area or Parrish in Stockholm they lived. Knowing the parish or regions is the key to finding your ancestors.
Once you can find where your relatives lived in Sweden, you can start your research.
Swedish Records Where Held By the Parish
The parish kept all the Swedish records, especially those in the countryside and small towns. In a larger city as Stockholm, the Population of Sweden’s Database could have the documents if you could not find the Parish Records.
As part of the church law of 1686, the pastor was to keep a record of the Swedish population. The Parish priest would go from house to house, farm to farm, and family to family and record the family and household information.
You can find birth, marriage, and household survey records in the Parish records or the Household Examination Records. To learn more about this, you can read our blog on What Are Sweden’s Household Examination Records (Husförhörslängder)? by clicking here.
Many Swedish parish records are a wealth of information and are an excellent resource for finding out information about your relatives.
Records For Stockholm and Large Cities
Between 1664 and 1967, Stockholm was a county; as Stockholm was a larger city, it is much harder to conduct genealogy research unless you know the parish where your family lived in Stockholm.
In Stockholm, the area of Stockholm was divided up into a “rote,” which is an area or neighborhood. It is best to find your ancestor’s “rote” or neighborhood in Stockholm or the other larger Swedish cities.
It can be challenging to verify if you are working on the right family line if you do not know this information, as Swedish genealogy is based on knowing where your ancestors lived.
Alternately if you are going to travel to Sweden, you can go to a city like Stockholm or a larger Swedish city if you know your ancestors lived there, then you can go to the city archives, and they may help you.
Stockholm has a vast archive called the Stadtsarkivet, located a short distance from the city center. You can find the website of the Stadtsarkivet by clicking here. The problem is that only about 5% of their records are digitalized.
Use ArkivDigital To Find Your Family
Sweden has an outstanding genealogy program known as ArkivDigital. Each year you must pay for this program or go to the Genealogy library that already has the program.
ArkivDigital is a private provider of the Swedish Church Records in a digital format. They have over 90 million images and use easy-to-use software.
If you do not want to pay for a subscription, you can go to a Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many of the Family History centers also have ArkivDigital. It would be best to call them first to determine if they have the program.
Resources For Swedish Genealogy
For those who are just starting on the adventure of finding their Swedish Ancestors, we recommend the book A Practical Guide to Swedish Church Records for Genealogy and Family History By Geoffrey Froberg Morris. It is quite a good and extensive guide. You can find the book on Amazon by clicking here.
Starting your Swedish Genealogy can be a journey of discovery. You will learn a lot about your ancestors, family, and where you came from.
The Hummel Family is a website all about Family History research. Our Focus is on Swedish, German, English, Scottish, and American Genealogy. We also talk a lot about Asia and China as we had ancestors who spent many years in China.
You are welcome to join us and become part of our community by signing up for our FREE newsletter, The Hummel Family; sign up by clicking here.
What Is The Purpose of Genealogy?
Genealogy aims to study family, family history, and trace our lineage or ancestors. The purpose of genealogy goes far beyond our ancestors’ dates, names, and places. This is because as you do your genealogy, you begin to learn more about your family and yourself. Genealogy helps unite and link families together by discovering things you did not know about your family.
Are Swedish People Slavic? The Origins of Sweden Explained
Swedish people do not have Slavic origins but come from Northern Germanic people. Since the beginning of Sweden, Northern Germanic tribes settled n Central Sweden. The Svear and Götar tribes from Northern Germany joined together to form Svealand, now the central part of present-day Sweden.
By clicking here, you can learn more about Genealogy by reading our blog Are Swedish People Slavic? The Origins of Sweden Explained