How to use the Swedish Death records
Among the most important genealgoy records are the Death records. So let’s have a look at how to read them.
First, some background. Like most records used for family history, the Swedish Death records were kept by the Church of Sweden. They can look a little different, depending on when and where they were written. This is typical for Swedish church books. Luckily, the content is quite similar after all. The name, the date of death and a home address are in most Swedish death records. And the newer records are the easiest to read, so you’ll be able to ease into it.
You can usually find information about the death also in the Household records. But the Death records rank higher. If there are any discrepancies, go with what’s in the Death record. Sometimes a Death record is missing or incomplete. In that case, you can always look for an Estate inventory. Most of the time, they will list the date of death and the next of kin.
Below is a page from the death records in Karlstorp Parish, Jönköping County, 1872-1894. Use this link to access the record and zoom.
1. Date of death and date of the funeral
One of the most important colums is the date of death. In this record it’s written as Döds-, Death, followed by Månad, Month, and dag, day. The handwritten record might have it as Död, Dead.
The burial date is noted under Begrafnings-, Burial. Notice that this is an old spelling. In contemporary Swedish the f has been replaced by v. Other version of the word are begrovs or begravd, meaning (was) burried.
2. Full name, occupation and settlement
The next section identifies the person. In this column you will find the name, occupation, and home address. The main header is De aflidnes, The deceased’s (plural).
The text is long and detailed, but you will find similar texts in other records. The example in this blog post aboth Birth and Christening records is almost the same.
In this record it says Namn, stånd, embete, yrke, nationalitet och trosbekännelse (om främmande), samt för minderåriga, föräldrars namn, yrke och hemvist. This means “Name, social class, office, profession, nationality and confession of faith (if foreign), and for minors, name of the parents, profession and settlement.”
The age is noted in this column. Ålder vid dödsfallet, Age at death. Under it is År, Year. And as before Månad, Month, and dag, day.
4. Marital status
The marital status is also noted. The header lists the alternatives: Ogift, gift, enkling, enka. Unmarried, married, widower, widow.
5. Cause of death
The cause of death is listed under Dödsorsak, Cause of Death. Unfortunatelly this is not included in all death records, but most will have it.