National registration in Sweden
Sweden has one of the oldest national registrations in the world
In 1686 the law came that the Church had to keep official Church records. There were, of course, Church records before that but now every minister had to keep records in his parish. Read more about the Church records in Sweden in the links to the right.
Parish is the smallest unit when we talk about keeping the Church records.
The second smallest is when some parishes could and still does share a minister, an Incumbency. For example: It was common in the Province of Västergötland that an incumbency was made of two or more parishes. The head parish had the term as mother (moder) and the others as annex. It wasn't unusual that the Church books of the mother parish also included the annex parishes Church records.
Third unit is the Court of Law in Swedish Härad. As a genealogist your are most intressted in the estates inventories, which you can find in this archive. Here you find out how rich or poor your ancestors where.
Fourth unit is the County in Swedish län. The historical Counties in Sweden is from 1634. When we talk about doing genealogy, it's always in the old Counties in Sweden we talk about. Each parish belong to a specific County.
You have to be accurate to place the parish in the right Swedish County. This because as like you in U.S. we have parishes with the same name, in different Counties. For example: Parish with the name Näs are in three different Counties, Gotland (I), Skaraborg (R) and Jämtland (Z). You also have to be careful of the spelling, one mistake and you are in a different parish and County, for example. Hällestad in Skaraborg (R) instead of Hällstad in Älvsborg (P).
Merge of Swedish counties (län)
Since 1994 Sweden is divided into twenty-one first-level administrative regions known as Counties, and each County is further divided into municipalities (or kommuner). Counties and the municipalities in each County are shown on the map.
1994 the three Counties Göteborg & Bohus, Skaraborg and Älvsborg merge into one large county - Västra Götaland. At the same time Kristianstad and Malmöhus Counties merged into Malmö County.
The Swedish municipalities are adminstrated like U.S. Counties. Our län take care of the healthcare.
National registration of today
Since 1th July 1991 the The Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) take care of the national registration of the population of Sweden. The church today only have records of the members. All the original books of Church books, Court of Law and others are kept at the National Archives (Riksarkivet). Each area of Sweden have their own Riksarkiv. For example: former Counties Bohus & Göteborg, Skaraborg, Älvsborg have an archive in Gothenburg.
Province (Landskap) is an older unit then the Counties in Sweden. They had an administration function from middle age to 1634. That year they were replaces by the Counties (län). Today the Provinces are historical, geographical and cultural regions. They have no administrate functions, but remain historical legacies and cultural identification.
Swedish taxSwedes pay tax of their income in the order: to the Swedish church (if they are members of the Swedish church, former the State church), their multicipality, the County and the State of Sweden.
Swedish Genealogy Links
- Federation of Swe Genealogical Societies
- Sweden Archives and Libraries
- Hans Högman - Genealogy in Sweden
- ArkivDigital - Swedish Genealogy
- Society SwedGen
- History of Sweden
- Swedish Historical Maps
- Provinces of Sweden
- Parishes and Court of Law of Province Västergötland