Step 1: Gather the existing clues
The first step to finding your Swedish roots is to find out about as much as you can about your Swedish ancestors by interwiewing relatives and look for useful documents. A good start is to put down every known ancestor’s name, birth parish, where your ancestor lived and a date such as birth, marriage and death or emigration date.
Are there any personal documents? Look in your drawers. You might find legal papers such as Flyttningsbetyg – the official exit permit issued by the pastor of the parish in Sweden from which the immigrant came. A Certificate of Naturalization is another useful document to find out when your ancestor emigrated from Sweden. Letters to and from Sweden may yield an old address in Sweden, which can be a valuable clue in determining the origin of your ancestor’s family.
The family Bible was usually handed down from father to son, and was often used to record important dates in the history of the family – births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials.
Step 2: Shortcuts to your Swedish roots
Sweden has kept excellent records of its citizens since the 17th century. People of Swedish descent can trace their family's history in Sweden and discover distant relatives, if they just know some of the basic facts about their families. But for many of us, the information we have in advance is scarce. Thankfully there are a couple of useful CD/DVD-records to help you find the way into the Swedish church records just by typeing your ancestors name and hit the search button.
The Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies has released a number of databases on DVD that facilitate the search for your Swedish family. The most important one is the Swedish Death Index.
The Swedish Death Index is a searchable database that is output on DVD and USB memory. Often you can find a relative just by knowing their name and mabye the year of birth or the parish and therefore the database is the natural first step to find new relatives for many swedish genealogists
Swedish Death Index 7 is the most recent version that covers the years 1860-2016. It contains approximately 13 million entries and is almost 100 percent complete with regard to name, date of birth and death, marital status, convocation and address.
A total of six different CDs containing all persons who were registered in Sweden in the end of 1880 (4,6 million people), 1890 (4,8 million people), 1910, (5,6 million people) 1970 (8 million people), 1980 (8,3 million people) and 1990 (8,6 million people). The full details are name, residential address, date of birth and birth parish (both including county). The databases contain computerized transcripts of household examination rolls, prepared by the parish vicar or clerk and sent to the government agency SCB (Statistics Sweden).
The CD-records includes information on name, birth year, birth parish and place of residence (county, parish and village/city) relationship to others in the same household and occupation and sometimes, notes about health or legal status.
For other useful CD/DVDs, visit The Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies online Bookshop
Step 3: Find Church Records online
You can find Swedish Church Records online using these sites:
- ArkivDigital (requires subscription)
- Riksarkivet (The National Archives)
- FamilySearch Historical Records
- Ancestry.com (requires subscription)
- MyHeritage.com (requires subscription)
Step 4: Ask for help
Anbytarforum is the Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies discussion forum and an integrated part of our site Rötter. Here you can get help from other genealogists when you have run into problems, or need help with reading difficult handwriting, need help with translation of Swedish texts, identify photographs, or any other question regarding your family investigation.
It is free to use Anbytarforum but posting in the forum requires an account. For posting in English we refer to the board "Discussions in English".