Sweden Birth Record Search Strategy 1600-1859

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1. Parish Registers.

Beginning about 1500, churches required their clergy to keep christening (or baptism) records. The records give the names of the parents and the child and include birth dates. Information found in a christening depends on how detailed the minister made his record.

What you are looking for?
Church christening records were the best source for determining when a person was born.

Why go to the next record?
Sometimes, because of gaps in church records caused by missing or destroyed records, you may not be able to find a christening record. In this case, use a parish clerical survey, to find birth or christening information.

2. Clerical Survey: Church records
The church ministers kept clerical survey registers. Clerical survey registers give the names of children, parents, and grandparents. These records usually give the dates and places of birth, marriage, and death of the parents and children.

What you are looking for?
In the absence of church christenings records, a clerical survey can often provide birth or christening dates. Clerical survey were taken annually, and the information was provided by each member of the family. Information from clerical surveys should be considered secondary information.

Why go to the next record?
For many parishes, clerical survey record were not kept prior to 1750. If you are researching in a parish before 1750 with no available clerical survey, search the tax lists.

3. Parish Census Records: Church records
Clerical surveys (husforhorslangd) were kept consistently by 1750. The survey often states the person's date of birth and birth place. Earlier surveys may only list the year of birth or give the person's age as it was the year the survey book began. Clerical surveys can help identify all the members of a family and allow you to see how the family changes through time. Because the major purpose of the clerical survey was to list the results of a person's yearly catechismal examination, early surveys may only include those members of the family who had reached confirmation age (12-15).  The jurisdiction for clerical surveys is parish-church.

4. Tax List: Taxation
Tax lists (mantalslangd) can help identify memebrs of a family who were between the ages of 16-63. Often no birth place is listed. Families are listed by farm or village and parish. After 1800 the year of birth is often given. This record is found under the jurisdiction of county-government.

What you are looking for?
In the absence of church christening records and the parish clerical surveys, it can be necessary to use the tax lists. Taxable persons were those between the ages of 15 and 63. Soldiers were not taxed, but their wives were. A person may not be on a tax list because he/she was under 15 years of age or older than 63 years, or had an exemption for illness or another reason in a particular year.

Why go to the next record?
The pre-1800 tax lists may only give the ancestor's name and age or in some cases, only the name.

5. Muster Rolls: Military records
Military records (muster rolls) may list the birth date and place of every soldier. The patronymical surname is sometimes given. If an age is listed, an approximate birth date can be calculated. The length of service and the name of the predecessor is sometimes given. This record is found under the jurisdiction of country-government.

What you are looking for?
For some soldiers the muster rolls can be a source for learning the soldier's date of birth. Often only the soldier's age is given, but some rolls record the date of birth. The possibility of learning birth information makes searching the muster roll worthwhile.

Why go to the next record?

Not all muster rolls record a date of birth, some only record an age.