Saturday, February 28, 2015

Reading Swedish Records, Estate Inventory

Using Bouppteckning to find the parents of Inga Sunesdotter (1761-1803) in Asarum

David A Anderson

               Handwriting in Sweden from the early 1800s can be challenging to read.  One of the best ways to improve your skills in deciphering the words is to take known words, cut them out of the document with a snipping tool and save them in a folder with that word as the image name.  I started doing that with a Bouppteckning, or estate inventory, for a Johannes Nilsson who lived, at least most of his life, and died in Asarum, Blekinge. 
              In the first three Husförhörslängd for Asarum we find Bond. Johannes Nilsson and his wife Inga Sunesdotter living at No. 92, Per Nils Hoka, along with their four children: Thore, b 1793; Pehr, b 1795; Elizabeth, b 1798 and Carin, b 1800.[1]  We learn from those three sources that Johannes Nilsson is born 1772, 6 Junii and Inga Sunesdotter is born sometime in 1761.  The location(s) of their births is not given.  A search of the birth records for Asarum does not list a Johannes Nilsson on 6 June 1772.  There is a birth for an Inga in 1761 who could be the Inga we are looking for[2], but without knowing for sure that Inga was born in Asarum we can’t with 100% certainty say this is her birth record.
              From the records we learn that Inga dies 15 Sep 1803 at Per Nils Hoka[3] and Johannes dies there a year and two months later on 16 Nov 1804[4].  They leave their orphaned children behind.
              The Bouppteckningar (estate inventories) for Asarum are found in the Bräkne häradsrätt (district court) files and are accessible on Arkivdigital.   Inga’s Bouppteckning is found[5] as is Johannes’s.[6]  Although ultimately information found on Inga’s Bouppteckning would have lead me to the names of her parents, it is thru Johannes’ Bouppteckning that I started putting the clues together that allowed me to identify with certainty her parents.
              We know Johannes Nilsson

lived in Per Nils Hoka  and that he and Inga had four children (barn)  
whose names are: Thore ,

 Pehr ,

Elizabeth, or Lisbet  

  and Karin, or Karna .
From these examples we can see what various letters look like in the rest of the document and therefore begin to read it with a lot more confidence.  This is exciting stuff!  We read a bit further and find the word . 

That has to be barnans, or the children’s, and it is followed by:

!  Whoa! 

That’s moder broder, which is the mother’s brother, or uncle!  But wait, there is more, and it’s a name:   which is

followed by:  
which is telling us that the children’s uncle lives in some place that’s hard to read. 
We’ve seen the given name before, and it is Thore, but what’s the surname?  The first letter of the surname, and of the place he is from, is a bit strange and really doesn’t look like any letter we might be familiar with in 2015.  However, looking elsewhere in the preamble to Johannes’s Bouppteckning we find words that also have that letter as the beginning letter, and they are:  
and .[7] 

The first word is “?amt” while the second is “?lutat”. 
By now, for those of us who do not even speak much Swedish, but have looked at a lot of church records are thinking that the two words are ‘samt’, (also, or and) and ‘slutat’ (ended, end, the end), which makes that weird letter an ‘s’!  We then re-evaluate Thore’s surname and can now plainly see the name “Sonnasson”, and he is from some place that is: “Södra???rnö.” 

              One of the biggest benefits to using the newer photographic images of the Swedish church records on Arkiv Digital is the fact that many of the Husförhörslängd now have indexes or tables of contents that aren’t found in the older microfilmed records.  Turning to the “Ortregister”, or place name register, in the Husförhörslängd for 1799-1803, AI:2 (Arkivdigital, Image 4), we find the only one place with “Södra” and “rnö” in it, and that is Södra Sternö, found on pages 99-101.  Looking on page 99 we find house No. 62, Södra Sternö, and Bonden (farmer) Thore Sunasson, his wife, and three children.  Further down the page easily over looked is the name Gårdman (house man) Sune Thorsson who was born in 1730.[8]  This could be Thore’s father, and by default Inga’s as well.  Looking in Asarum AI:1, pg 75 we find Thore Sunesson, his family, and Sune Thorsson and his wife Elisabeth Mattsdotter who was born 1731.  A notation indicates that Elisabeth Mattsdotter has died in 1796.  Now we have a name of a possible mother for Inga and Thore!

              Looking in Asarum’s Husförhörslängd AI:3 on page 111 for House No. 62, Södra Sternö, we again find, as expected, Thore Sunesson’s family and again Sune Thorsson who was born in 1730.  A note indicates that Sune has died in 1804.
              Searching for specific people in Bouppteckningar takes a while since they aren’t indexed and not in strict chronological order.  Eventually the Bouppteckning for Sune Thorsson was found in the Bräkne Häradsrätt record.  [9] 
There are at least two children mentioned.  One is Thore Sunasson who lives in “Södra Sternnöö” and a daughter Inga who was married to Johannes Nelsson who lives in Pehr Nils Hoka.
              Going back to Asarum’s birth records for 1761, the year Inga was born we find birth number 24.  In the image you can see the place name “Sternö”, and by now you can also pick out two names that confirm that Sune Thorsson and Elisabeth Mattsdotter are the parents of the Inga Sunesdotter who married Johannes Nilsson:


[1] Asarum Hfl AI:1 (1794-1798), pg 107; AI:2 (1799-1803), pg 139; AI:3 (1803-1807), pg 168; all accessed via Arkvidigital,  20 Dec 2014.
[2] Asarum CI:2 (1745-1767), Fodde, pg 379, 1761, no 24, Inga; Arkivdigital, Image 195.
[3] Asarum CI:4 (1791-1813), Dödde, pg 797, 1803, no 69, Inga; Arkivdigital, Image 408.
[4] Asarum CI:4, pg 807, 1804, no 105, Johannes; Image 413.
[5] Bräkne-Häradsrätt FII:5 (1799-1805), beginning on pg 1373; Image 723.
[6] Bräkne-Häradsrätt FII:5, beginning on pg 1823; Image 959.
[7] Images are from Johannes Nilsson’s Bouppteckning found in: Bräkne häradsrätt FII:5 (1799-1805) Image 959 / page 1823 (AID: v156930.b959.s1823, NAD: SE/LLA/10008)
[8] Asarum AI:2 (1799-1803), pg 99, No. 62, Södra Sternö; Arkivdigital, image 105.
[9] Bräkne Häradsrätt FII:5 (1799-1805), pg 1455; Arkivdigital, Image 766.
[10] Last image from: Asarum CI:2 (1745-1767) Image 195 / page 379 (AID: v95383.b195.s379, NAD: SE/LLA/13008)