Swedish Genealogical Word List

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This list contains Swedish words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Swedish-English dictionary. (See the "Additional Resources" section below.)

Swedish is a Germanic language, as are Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic. Most differences between modern and old Swedish are simply a matter of spelling. Carefully study the Spelling section in "Language Characteristics" below. This will help you find the words in this list.

Swedish is spoken in Sweden and parts of Finland. The Swedish language was used in official records of Finland until the end of the 1800s.


Variant Forms of Words

In Swedish, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who—whose—whom or marry—marries— married are examples of words in English with variant forms. The endings of a word in a document may differ from those in this list. Also, vowels sometimes have diacritical marks in different forms of the same word. Note the following examples:

   man 	man 	yrke 	profession
   mannen 	the man 	yrket 	the profession
   män 	men 	yrken 	professions
   männen 	the men 	yrkena 	the professions

Alphabetical Order

Written Swedish has three letters not found in English: Å (å), Ä (ä), and Ö (ö). Alphabetically, these letters come after z. Swedish dictionaries, indexes, the locality section of the Family History Library CatalogLook this term up in the glossary., and this word list use the following alphabetical order:

   a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z å ä ö


Spelling rules were not standardized in earlier centuries. The following spelling variations are common:

   ä 	used for 	e
   i 	used for 	j
   j 	used for 	g, gj, hj, lj, dj
   k 	used for 	ck, ch, g, gg, c, q
   t 	used for 	d, th, tt
   v 	used for 	hv, fv, ffv, f, w
   tj 	used for 	k, kj, ch
   sk 	used for 	skj, sch, sj, stj
   s 	used for 	ss, c, z


   änka 	spelled as 	enka
   mjölnare 	spelled as 	miölnare
   kärr 	spelled as 	tjärr

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This word list includes only words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Swedish-English dictionary. Several Swedish-English dictionaries are available at the Family History LibraryLook this term up in the glossary.. These are in the Scandinavian collection. Their call numbers begin with 439.7321.

The following dictionary is also available on microfilm for use in Family History CentersLook this term up in the glossary.:

Ernolv, Carl. Svensk-Engelsk Ordbok [Swedish-English Dictionary]. Stockholm: Svenska Bokförlaget Norstedts, 1947. (FHL film 1,124,531, item 12).

Björkman, C.G. Svensk-Englesk Ordbok [Swedish- English Dictionary]. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt, 1889. (FHL film 1,224,734, item 1). Swedish spelling was reformed in 1906. Since this dictionary was written in 1889, it shows words as they were spelled before 1906.

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the Family History Library CatalogLook this term up in the glossary. under SWEDISH LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES or in the Locality section under SWEDEN - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES.

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To find and use specific types of Swedish records, you will need to know some key words in Swedish. This section lists key genealogical terms in English and the Swedish words with the same or similar meanings.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Swedish words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined,and other words used in Swedish records to indicate marriage.

   English 	Swedish
   banns 	lysning
   birth 	födda, födde, född, födelse
   burial 	begravning
   child 	barn
   christening 	döpta, döpte, döpt, döpelse, dop
   clerical survey 	husförhörslängd
   confirmation 	konfirmation
   death 	döda, döde, död, avliden, avsomna
   father 	far, fader
   female 	kvinnkjön, kvinna
   household, examination roll 	husförhörslängd, förhör
   husband 	man, make
   index 	register
   male 	mankjön, man
   marriage 	vigda, vigde, vigd, vigsel, gift, gifte, giftermål, bröllop, brudfolk
   military 	militär, soldat
   mother 	mor, moder
   moving in 	inflyttning
   moving out 	utflyttning
   name, given 	förnamn
   name, surname 	efternamn
   parents 	föräldrar
   parish 	socken, församling, kommun
   probate 	boupptekning
   wife 	hustru, maka
   year 	år