Interpreting Dates in the Swedish Parish Records

Every event in the Swedish parish records has a day, month, and year to show when the event took place (for example, when a christening was performed.) The challenge is to find the date and interpret it correctly. To help you with dates in the records, I’ve put together a few tips:



  • In Sweden they record time in the order of day, month, and year.



  • In the household examination records you will find the day and month are often written in a way that looks like a fraction in math with the day written above the month such as 15/4 to mean the 15th of April.



  • The month might be written Latin such as Maius instead of Maj.



  • The birth, marriage, and death records were usually kept in chronological order. Most times the year is only written once by the month of January.



  • Sometimes you’ll find the order was recorded by the liturgical year (the church year) that began with Advent instead of January.



  • The Swedish government transitioned from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar over a period of years. They started in 1700 (sometimes called the Swedish calendar), but switched back to the Julian in 1712 (oddly the month of February in 1712 had 30 days.) They continued with the Julian calendar until 1753.



  • On February 18, 1753 the Swedish government switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.



  • Sometimes you will find the date of event was written using a Feast Day instead of the Julian or Gregorian calendar. This is especially common in areas that used to belong to Denmark such as Malmöhus, Kristianstad, Halland, or Blekinge. For example the date of a marriage might be written as 5 p. Epiphania in 1773.



  • There are Fixed Feast Days like Christmas (on the same day every year) and Moveable Feast Days such as Easter (on a different day from year to year.)



  • Generally the Moveable Feast Days were on Sundays, and most christenings, marriages, and burials were performed on Sundays. So it’s more common to see Moveable Feast Days in the birth, marriage, and death records.







I hope these tips help you in your Swedish genealogical research.
Happy researching!

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