Course #4: Advanced Swedish Research

Instructor: Jill Morelli, CG
Dates: March 14, 21, 28 and April 4
Times: 3:00-6:30 PM Pacific; 6:00-9:30 PM Eastern
(Each class is 3.5 hours long.)
Cost: $300

Swedish research is pretty easy, right? You don’t even have to know the language. Once you have your parish, you can move through the decades, using the household examination records to the early 1800s.

It gets a little more difficult in the 1700s, but by scrolling and using specialized databases, we can identify ancestors and their collateral relatives into the 1700s. BUT, if you have a gap in the records or record loss, or are at the end of the parish records, you may declare a “brick wall” and stop.

Well, not so fast! There may be a way to span the gap or to work beyond the birth, marriage, and death (BMD) records of your parish, to extend those generations.

Course Objectives

  • To establish a common understanding of the BMD records, household examination records, probate records, and how they can work together
  • To learn how to access and use the Arkivdigital (AD) website
  • To access and use mantals tax records (MTR) for indirect and direct evidence
  • To explore at least six (6) lesser known Swedish sites
  • To learn from numerous case studies which apply the knowledge gained


This is an advanced class. We will not spend class time finding a parish of birth or researching ancestors in the 1800s. If you have questions about your skill level, send the instructor a Facebook private message or an email to

Before the class starts, you should have:

  • Identified your Swedish parish(es) of birth.
  • Traced at least one line of Swedish ancestors into the early 1800s.
  • Procured at least a 1-month subscription to ArkivDigital (AD). We have arranged for new and past subscribers to receive a 1-month subscription at a reduced rate; the link will be sent to you prior to class start. If you do not want an AD subscription, the Riksarkivet has records, but not as many other cool features as AD.
  • Access to Excel or another digital spreadsheet. We will use basic copy/paste, column widening, and data entry (no need to understand formula or chart making).

Class Outline

Pre-Class Assignment:

  • Craft a great research question
  • Write a narrative of (at most) 300-500 words on your earliest Swedish ancestor or your person of interest. Cite using the standards of Evidence Explained, or if using AD, cite using Alt+1. This can be a printed report from your residential database or a link to a fully cited/linked Ancestry or FS family page (make sure I can access your data. Once I review and comment, you may delete my access.)
  • Tell me what you hope to discover by taking the course
  • Submit the Word document or the link to me 24 hours in advance of the first class. I will comment on it and return.
  • If you need a brush up on reading Swedish records, listen to the courses on reading the records at The Swedish Genealogy Guide, .

Class 1

  • Introductions
  • Break out session
  • Skill-building: “Using ArkivDigital”
  • Q & A and in-class exercise
  • Presentation: “Reading and Interpreting BMDs, Household Examinations, and Probate”
  • Case Study: “Parents for Sven Nilsson of Hishult Parish, Sweden”
  • Introduction: Homework/Scavenger Hunt #1

Class 2

  • Discussion: Scavenger Hunt #1/ Homework
  • Presentation: “Using Mantals Tax Records (MTR) to Solve Tough Genealogical Problems”
  • Q & A and in-class exercise
  • Skill-building: “Moveable Feast Days”
  • Skill-building: “Identifying Dissenters”
  • Q & A and in-class exercise
  • Introduction: Scavenger Hunt #2/Homework

Class 3

  • Discussion: Scavenger Hunt #2/ Homework
  • Skill-building: “Using the Excel spreadsheet for recording of MTR”
  • Q & A and in-class exercise
  • Skill-Building: “Three Swedish Sites (Perhaps) You Haven’t Heard of”
  • Guided Research/Case Study:
    “150 years of Record Loss: Identifying the Parents of Elna Johansdotter”
  • Introduction: Scavenger Hunt #3/ Homework

Class 4

  • Discussion: Scavenger Hunt #3/ Homework
  • Lecture: “Four More Swedish Sites You (Perhaps) Haven’t Heard of”
  • Q & A and in-class exercise
  • Case Study: “My Journey to Identify the Parents of Margareta Andersdotter”
  • Q & A and in-class exercise
  • Wrap up

Suggested Resources (not required)

Websites, Webinars, & Print Media:

Case Studies Using tax records to resolve the problems:

  • “Indirect Evidence and mtDNA Help Identify the Parents of Margareta Andersdotter of Hishult Parish, Halland län, Sweden,” Swedish American Genealogist, vol XL (June 2020): 2, 30-36. One of the few instances where DNA was used to provide indirect evidence in a Swedish problem.
  • “Swedish Records Merges Identities to Reveal Bengt Andersson’s Parents.” National Genealogical Quarterly, vol 105 (September 2017): 3, 199-210. Jill Morelli’s case study for her certification portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Books (three new ones!):

  • Johnson, CG, Robert W. & Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG. Husförhörslängder: Swedish Household Examination Records: Framing the Solutions to Your Swedish Ancestry Puzzles (Minneapolis: self-published, 2020). Devotes a chapter to each column on the examinations.
  • Morris, Geoffrey Fröberg. A Practical Guide to Swedish Church Records for Genealogy and Family History (West Jordan, Utah: The Swedish Genealogy Guide, 2020). A good overview of BMD records and how to read them.
  • Skogsjö, Håkan. Explore your Swedish Heritage: How to Search for your Swedish Origin in Church Books and Other Documents on the Internet (Lyrestad, Sweden: Arkiv Digital, 2020). Originally in Swedish, now available in English.