This database contains indexed birth records from the Sweden, Church Records collection with SCB-records for the years 1870 to 1941.
A 1686 royal decree in Sweden required ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sweden to record births, marriages, deaths, and other happenings on a parish level. Records in this database were created by Statistics Sweden (SCB), a government agency established in 1858 that extracted and transcribed birth, marriage, and death information from parish record books from 1860 to 1941, including these birth records.
Using the Records
Users can search by child's given name, birth date, birthplace, father's name and birth date, and mother's name and birth date. The child's surname is not included in the records.
Records may also include:
- mother’s maiden name
- marital information on mother
The records contain the child's birth parish and county. Use the birth location field to search for the birth parish. As you begin typing a parish name in the search field, you may get better search results by selecting one of the options provided in the drop-down list. Records do not include the village, farm, or croft location.
If you'd like to search with greater control and accuracy, you can check the box for "Exact Only" for any of the search fields. By checking this box, you will only receive matches that exactly match all of the search terms you enter. To get the most out of an exact search, you should probably start with only one or two broad search criteria (e.g., a first name and birth date). If you get too many results, add more criteria to narrow your search. If you get too few results, drop one or more of your search criteria to broaden your search. Continue this process until you gradually hone in on the record for which you are searching.
When searching for exact matches only, you can use wildcard searching. Wildcards are special symbols (the asterisk "*" and the question mark "?") which are used in searching to represent some number of unknown letters in a word. Wildcards can be effective search tools if you are searching for words or names with alternate spellings:
An asterisk * represents zero or more characters (e.g., a search for An*a might return Anna, Anita, Anastasia, etc.).
- Any use of the asterisk requires at least three non-wildcard characters (you cannot search for A*, but could use An*a).
- A single character is represented by question mark ? (e.g., Mar?a equals both Maria and Marta, but not Martha).
The data in this index has been transcribed from the original documents. If you would you like to submit an alternate transcription for a record, click on the child's given name, birth place or parent's name field in the Ancestry Index panel below the image and follow the instructions.
How to Continue
When you have found a birth in the SCB records the next step is to try to find the child and its parents and siblings in the household examination or parish book. You can browse these records in the Sweden, Church Records, 1500-1941 collection. Household examinations are available for all of Sweden until approximately 1897 and parish books are available for northern Sweden until approximately 1925 in accordance with the Swedish confidentiality act.
If you have ancestors in southern Sweden where no parish books are currently available, and the person you found are born after 1897, you can use the information in the birth record to try to locate the births of the child’s parents in this collection. When you find that information you can use it to locate the family in the household examination book.
The birth record sometimes tell you the name of the place where the family lived when the child was born which makes it a bit easier for you to find the family in the household examination or parish book.
About Swedish Names
Researchers should know some characteristics of Swedish names and that many Swedes changed their name after emigration.
The patronymic naming system, which is based on the father’s name, was common in Sweden up to the end of the 19th century, with between 90 and 95 percent of the population using it. If the father’s name was Sven Johansson, for example, his son’s name might be Magnus Svensson (Magnus the son of Sven). Similarly, a daughter might be named Kerstin Svensdotter (Kerstin the daughter of Sven). When a woman married, she did not adopt her husband’s name; she kept her own patronymic.
Surnames, or family names, were used by the nobility, the clergy, and some townspeople. Members of the nobility adopted family names, some of which could be traced back to coats of arms. However, less than 1 percent of the population was nobility.
Many of the clergy adopted names with Greek or Latin endings such as -ander (meaning “man” or “man from”) or -ius (“coming from” or “of”). Examples of names used by the clergy are Fallander and Morelius.
Many townspeople took family names called "nature names." These "nature names" would usually consist of two parts, such as Dalberg: Dal means “valley” and berg means “mountain.”
Soldiers were given names while in the military, where patronymics did not provide enough differentiation among the troops. Military names sometimes reflected a personal quality like Rapp (“quick”), a military term, a regimental preference, or could be associated with the place where the person served. When they left the service, some soldiers kept their military name, while others returned to using their patronymic.
When emigrants moved to a new country, they often changed their names. If they immigrated to English-speaking countries, the name was often Anglicized. Examples of name changes are
- Andersson — Anderson (the double s becomes one s)
- Bengtsson — Benson, Bentson
- Johansson — Johnson
- Sjöberg — Seaberg or Seeberg
In addition, married women would adopt their husband’s surname.
It is important to understand that the name and spelling of a name for the same individual can differ in the various records. You will always want to compare birth dates and other family information to verify that you are tracing the correct person.
While these records are in Swedish, the records themselves are mostly tables of dates, names, and places. There are some key words that are used repeatedly in the church books, and researchers only need to become familiar with these terms.
Find resources in our Swedish Research Center.