Does Sweden Have Census Records? Tips To Finding Your Swedish Family Roots

Sveriges Befolkning Records

I have many Swedish ancestors, and one question I asked is, “does Sweden have census records?” This question is important because in conducting family history research, census records can give you essential information.

Sweden does not have a census collection or records as we have in the United States. The Sveriges Befolkning Records is usually translated from Swedish into English as Sweden’s Census Records. Technically speaking, the Sveriges Befolkning Records is not an official census record. The data was collected from the local Swedish Lutheran parish’s household examination records and not by a census bureau or another government organization.

Once the parish collected the Sveriges Befolkning records, the data was sent to the government agency for statistics in Stockholm, Sweden. The Sveriges Befolkning Records are usually for the years 1860 – 1910, 1930.

Sveriges (Sweden’s) Befolkning Records

In comparison to U.S. census records, there are no census records found in Sweden. In Sweden, population registration was done through what is known as the household examination records or (husförslängd). There is also an annual Mantal tax (mantalslängd) and the real estate tax on farms (jordeböcker).

A census is defined as a count of the government’s population primarily for democratic or taxation purposes. Oxford dictionary defines the census as:

“an official count or survey of a population, typically recording various details of individuals.”

Oxford Dictionary

A census is about collecting data on a country through an official count and data collection and analysis, usually by a government agency. Though the Sveriges Befolkning Records did collect information, it was not a collection process as the U.S. Census records where the U.S.Census Bureau sent out census takers to ensure all data was properly collected.

We can assume that most of the information collected in the Sveriges Befolkning Records was correct and complete. Still, if there was a family outside the parish or unknown to the Swedish Lutheran Church’s local parish, they could have gotten left off these records. This was compared to the U.S Census Bureau goes door-to-door with census takers to collect the data despite anyone’s religious or other affiliations.

In Sweden, each year, the parish priest of the Swedish Lutheran Church would visit each home in his parish to test the individual’s knowledge of the catechisms. In addition to testing their knowledge of the catechisms, the priest would collect the birth, death, and marriage dates and list out what families had moved in or moved out of the parish.

You can find out more about this by reading our blog What Are Sweden’s Household Examination Records (Husförhörslängder)? by clicking here.

Over time the focus of the parish priest’s visits became less focused on the doctrine of the Swedish Lutheran church but more on the counting of the Swedish population. The Swedish Lutheran Church kept the records of the Swedish population until 1991.

This is where there is a bit of a problem calling these records a census because we really do not know if some priests in some areas of Sweden skipped or did not talk to families that did not go to church. Other families may not welcome the priests to come into their home for data collection or recite the catechisms. We have no way to know if these family records were ever recorded.

Sveriges Befolkning Records 1860 – 1910. 1930

Despite the data collection process for the Sveriges Befolkning Records, the records are filled with some very good genealogical information. This information usually includes:

  • 1860 – 1910, 1930 Sveriges Befolkning Records – These records contain records on all people living and registered in Sweden (and the parish that took the records) during the time the records were taken.
  • Personal Information – you can find personal information in the records as the person’s name, place of residence, parish, year and parish of birth, occupation, and household affiliation. Sometimes the person gathering the information may put in other information they considered to be important or relevant.

Sveriges Befolkning Records Information

Sweden’s household examination information extracts began in 1860 by the local parishes in Sweden. The 1880 household examination extracts were keyed into a database which is called Sveriges Befolkning Records 1880. Similar databases are also available for 1890 1900 and 1910. The Sveriges Befolkning Records data was produced by the Federation for Swedish Genealogical Societies or Släkforskarförbund.

Here is some basic information on the Sveriges (Sweden) Befolkning Records:

  • The information was obtained from the household examination records and was prepared by the Parish vicar or parish clerk for the local Swedish Lutheran Church. This is very different from how a U.S. Census was conducted.
  • Once the record was prepared then it was sent to Stockholm to the Statistiska Centralbyrån government offices. The Statistiska Centralbyrån is the Swedish government agency that operates under the Ministry of Finance. One of the functions of this agency is to gather the statistics in Sweden.
  • The original database is in the Swedish language but you can find the English version on a CD or even online in what is called the “Swedish Census.”

Even though these records in English are listed as a Swedish Census, a more correct term may be a Swedish household statistical record. This is because these records are not a census as we would know of censuses as conducted in the United States or other places.

Two of the more important Sveriges Befolkning Records are for 1890 and 1900. Here is some basic information on each of them. Many of the information here would also apply to all Sweden’s Sveriges Befolkning Records

Sveriges Befolkning Records 1890

Here is some information on the Sveriges Befolkning Records 1890:

  • Information on all people registered in a Swedish parish at the end of the year, 1890.
  • Individuals are grouped into families and households.
  • Information on each person usually contains a name, year of birth, occupation or title, family status, place of residences, and birth.
  • Sometimes the recorder would have added additional notes as to the health, legal status or other facts they thought were important.
  • Information on 4.8 million people.

As children who were living at home were not generally recorded with their surnames, you can try to find these children by searching for their parents or other known siblings.

Sveriges Befolkning Records 1900

The Sveriges Befolkning Records 1990 are similar to the records that were found in the Sveriges Befolkning Records 1890. Here are a few interesting facts about the Sveriges Befolkning Records 1990:

  • Database if all people who were registered in Sweden at the end of 1990.
  • Registration was for about 5.2 million people.
  • As the 1890 Sveriges Befolkning Records, the database was comprised of the household examination rolls. This data was prepared by the Parsh vicar or clerk and then sent to Statistiska Centralbyrån government agency in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • This record would including information similar to the Sveriges Befolkning Records 1890.

Sveriges Befolkning Records and Your Genealogy Source Listings

When finding information on the Sveriges Befolkning Records for your genealogical research, it would be good if you could list the name of the record in both Swedish and English. The reason is so there is no confusion as to where or how you obtained your genealogical sources.

This is always a very good practice when working with information that was in another language. If others wanted to check your source they can easily know where to go or how to find the source if you list both the Swedish and English names.

Where To Find The Sveriges Befolkning Records

There are several places online where you can find the Sveriges Befolkning Records. Here are some of the places you can look to find the information:

  1. FamilySearch – FamilySearch has the records from 1880-1930. As they get more records they may add some years to this. You can find out more about the FamilySearch records by clicking here.
  2. MyHeritage.com – MyHeritage has some records from 1840-1947. You can find out more about their records and how to access them by clicking here.
  3. Risarkivet or SVAR Census Records – This is a Swedish government website and they have the records for 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1930. The website is in Swedish but you can go to the “other languages” tab at the top right-hand corner to translate it into English. You can find out more by clicking here.

The work and dedication of these Swedish Lutheran Parish Priests to collect this data year after year, has made the finding of your Swedish ancestors easier than it would have been if they had not been so diligent in recording the information of the individuals and families in their parish. Their records are a valuable tool to help you discover your Swedish ancestors.

Related Questions

Why Do So Many Swedish Last Names End in Son?

When doing your Swedish family history research, one of the most important things you need to understand is how Swedish last names work. Many Swedish last names have the ending of “son or “sson” as they are patronymic names.

You can discover more by reading our blog Why Do So Many Swedish Last Names End in Son? by clicking here.

What Are Some Things You Discover By Doing Your Family History?

By doing your family history you can learn about new family members you did not know about. You will learn about the history of the place where your family once lived. And finally, you can discover about the traditions and culture of the country your ancestors once lived.

You can find out more by reading our blog 3 Things You Discover By Doing Your Family History by clicking here.

Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I live in Hanoi, Vietnam. I love to share with you about my family history and the many parts of the world our ancestors have lived.

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