Swedish Research on Riksarkivet

Carl Magnus Carlson was the second of four illegitimate children born to my 2nd great-grandmother Maja Stina Carlsdotter. The page on which Carl’s birth was recorded tells more than just that; Swedish records offer a wealth of related information.

Börstils kyrkoarkiv, Födelse och dopböcker ~
Book of births and deaths in the church archives from Börstil, Uppsala, Sweden 1861-1886

The pages shown here are among the thousands of records available at no cost on the Swedish National Archives site Riksarkivet.

There is a tiny learning curve to use the site, but even English-only speakers will soon find their way around, and the rewards are worth the investment of time.

In addition to records of births (födelse), marriages (vigselbok), and deaths (dopböcker); the husförhörslängder or household examination records give frequent snapshots of an ancestor’s life.

Another favorite are the in-och utflyttningslängder or moving in and out records, which tell not only when an ancestor moved from one parish to another, but also give information about emigration from Sweden to elsewhere in the world.

Be sure to use the Swedish alphabet when searching. Parish names that include umlauts etc. will appear only if the name has been entered correctly.

Records are digitized; they are much clearer than the microfilm versions I started with in the 1980s. I’m circling back these days to save better quality images and am often pleasantly surprised to learn new-to-me records have been added.

How quickly I’m drawn back into family stories! One or two images and voilà ! I can’t help searching for more and more.

Carl (mentioned above) was one of three illegitimate children born in Börstil, Uppsala, Sweden in early 1871. Each of these births was marked “oäkta”. Notice columns 7-10; civil standing for these children was determined at birth.

Maja Stina was listed as a single woman, aged 31 who resided at Hallonbacka in Börstil. Carl was born (födelse) on the 5th of January and baptized (döpelse) five days later. His baptismal sponsors (dopvitnen) and their occupations are listed in the last completed column.

To follow Carl and his mother, I looked for a husförhörslängder dated near Carl’s birth. The 1871-1875 index shows a list of villages in the parish. Since Maja Stina lived in Hallonbacka, I started on page (sida) 224 and found the family right away.

Maja Stina lived with her parents, a brother, two sisters, and four children. Brita Cajsa was called Brita Karin (most likely one of Carl’s baptismal sponsors) and like Maja Stina, she has two illegitimate children. Their brother Anders has taken the military name Hallberg, he is a sailor (sjöman). There are a few things to further explore, but to stay on track, I continued following Carl and his mother.

Carl and his older sister stay with his maternal grandmother during what appears to be a complicated period in Maja Stina’s life. She can be found on three pages in the 1876-1880 husförhörslängder as she moves about the parish. During this time, Maja Stina has two more illegitimate children and then later returns to her widowed mother’s home.

To continue my search, I viewed Hallonbacka in the 1881-1885 husförhörslängder and found numerous members of Maja Stina’s family recorded there. Nearly all of them moved from Hallonbacka to Mörkret where the record shows Maja Stina married to Karl Johan Andersson Molin. They had two children, Agnes and Henning. Karl’s and Maja Stina’s marriage was not a happy one.

The next husförhörslängder covers the years 1886-1890 during which Carl Magnus works as a farmhand (dräng), moving from one farm to another. His mother’s life had taken a dark turn; evidence points toward Karl Johan Molin being an abusive husband.

Carl left Sweden in May of 1890, settling in Chicago where his older sister had immigrated several years earlier. Another sister would join them in May of the following year.

Following Carl’s family of birth through archived Swedish records on Riksarkivet provided a wealth of information about him and his siblings, their mother, her siblings and their parents.

Have you had success using Riksarkivet?

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