In this post I’ve gathered everything you need to know about geography and place names in Sweden for your family history. Bookmark this page and come back, because this page is continously updated.
Historical geographical terms
Get a good start by reading about the words used. If you want to know how Sweden was organized geographically, in a way that’s relevant to your family history, this is the place to start. Geographical Terms in Sweden
To identify the address in an ordinary parish record, read 9 Things to Learn from the Swedish Household Records
Counties and provinces
Read about the background to counties. Here’s also a list of the present and historical counties in Sweden, complete with all posts related to them each of them. Län – Swedish Counties
In this post are all the Swedish provinces. Landskap – Swedish provinces
When you don’t know where they came from
If you’re not sure where your ancestor came from, have a look at this post with statistics for Swedish emigrants. Researching your family in this way takes time. Depending on the information available, it might still be the quickest route. Where Did My Swedish Ancestor Come From?
Learn more about a location in Sweden
Do you know the place name and want to learn more about the name or the location? Check out points six to ten in 10 Free Tools for Swedish Genealogy
- Ortnamnsregistret (The place name register) is a database of Swedish place names. It is entirely in Swedish.
- Svenska ortnamn med uttalsuppgifter is a book in Swedish on the same theme.
- Fornsök (Ancient search) is a map based search engine for historic artifacts. Including stories in Swedish.
- Historiska kartor (Historical maps) is a database of maps. More on that below.
- Eniro is a phone book service. It has a map with an option to show historical aerial photos. This gives you the chance to see the traces of long gone buildings. My fourth great grandfather lived in a croft that was likely abandoned in 1880. Searching for the name marks it on the map. The aerial photo from the 1960s shows an opening in the forest in the same spot!
I’ve expanded on some of the above in separate blog posts.
When you know where your ancestor lived, there’s a good chance to find maps from the 19th, 18th, or even the 17th century. Many maps from property divisions are available through Historiska kartor mentioned above. If your ancestors lived in the country, it’s likely that they were affected by land reforms. Both maps and text documents describing them can be found. Laga Skifte – How Sweden Changed Through Land Reforms
Do you have the name of a place in Sweden and want to know what it means? Here’s a post for that with translations. Place Names in Sweden
Free download for place names
Organize the Swedish place names in your research in this free fillable PDF. It has room for names for settlements, parishes, counties, provinces and notes.
Get it here!
Geography is important for Swedish genealogy. So take your time and learn about counties, place names and how to find a farm on the map. All you need is right here on this page. Use the free download to help organize the place names in your research. And make sure to bookmark this page and return for updates.