Genealogy Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2020-06-05

Swedish Genealogy Terms

Two Types of Genealogy Charts

There are two major ways to show the results of genealogical research. One is to draw up a Descendant Chart (Swe: Antavla) and the other is to draw up an Ancestor Chart (Swe: Stamtavla). An Ancestor chart is also known as a Family Tree.

Antavla - Ancestor Chart

Ancestor charts are family trees that start with a person in the present and show all relatives back in the time of the starting person. Each person in an ancestor chart (antavla) is called an “ana” in Swedish. The person with whom an ancestor chart begins is called the "proband" in Swedish. Usually, you start with yourself and research back in time, i.e. you look for your ancestors. The person you start from is called the proband. The result is presented in an ancestor chart (antavla). An ancestor chart is similar to a tree, hence the alternate name family tree. With each generation back in time, there are more and more branches. Each person in the chart is called an “ana” (ancestor) in Swedish. The personal details of each ancestor are collected in an ancestor record (ansedel). When researching backward in time, one searches for the parents of each ancestor. Siblings are recorded but no further research is usually done on them. For each generation back in time, the number of ancestors in each generation doubles. If we have 2 people in generation 1, we have 4 people in generation 2, 8 in generation 3, etc. In generation 10 we have 1024 people in that generation, so theoretically we can have in generation 10: (1024 + 512 + 256 + 128 + 64 + 32 + 16 + 8 + 4 + 2) = 2046 people. This is assuming that we have found all the people in the ancestor chart. However, it often happens that family branches merge, for example in the case of cousin marriage. They then have common ancestors and the number of family branches back in time is reduced. This is called pedigree collapse (anförlust).

Stamtavla - Descendant Chart

Descendant charts are genealogical charts that start with a person further back in time, a progenitor (stamfar), and show all his descendants up to the present day. Once an ancestor chart has been created, the research can be reversed, starting with a particular ancestor and researching all the descendants of that ancestor up to the present day. The results of such research are recorded in a descendant chart (stamtavla). The person you start from is called the progenitor (stamfar). Each person in a descendant chart is called a descendant (ättling). When a descendant chart is drawn up, all children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. are researched. A descendant chart is basically an upside-down ancestor chart. It starts with a person at the top and then branches downwards.

Svärdssidan - On the Male Line

When you talk about the “svärdssidan ” (literally meaning the “sword side”), it's the male line in lineal descent.

Spinnsidan - On the Distaff Side

When you talk about the “spinnsidan”, it's the distaff side of a family.

Patronymics

In Sweden, family names among the rural population began to be used to a greater extent at the end of the 19th century, i.e. people inherited their surname from their father. Previously, patronymics were used, i.e. the children's surname was formed from the father's first name with the addition of a son or daughter (-dotter). For example, if the father's first name was Nils, a son had the patronymic Nilsson and a daughter Nilsdotter. When family names became common also among the rural population in the second half of the 19th century, people usually adopted their existing “-son” names as their family names. It was also common to adopt a surname related to the town, village, or farm where they lived. More information on Swedish naming practices in earlier times

Mantal

Mantal was a farming property tax code. Originally (in the 17th century), a full mantal (1/1) was a farm with a yield large enough to support a medium-sized family and pay taxes. A farm on one (1) mantal was also called a landed property. Later, the mantal-set value of farms was reduced, partly by divisions due to the distribution of farms on inheritance and partly by changing the mantal- set value to make taxation fairer. In the 18th and 19th centuries, farms that were mantal-set to ½, ¼, or ⅛ could still usually support a family. A farm with a mantal-set value of 1 or more (e.g. 1 ¼) in the 19th century was a farm with a very high yield. In the fertile southern plains, a farm of 1 mantal usually had a much smaller area than, for example, a farm of 1 mantal in the northern forest regions. In other words, a farm on fertile land needed considerably less area to obtain a yield of 1 mantal than a farm in a barren forest area. In addition to the farmland, other yields could also be taken into account when calculating the mantle-set value. The archipelago also included sea farming, i.e. the farm's fishing waters. During the 19th century, the forest in the woodlands became increasingly valuable for a farm's yield. Mantal-set value was thus a measure of a farm's profitability, i.e. its yield, and was the basis for how much the farmer had to pay in property tax. Higher mantal-set value - more tax. Very small farms, such as crofts, had no mantal-set value. Farms that were assigned a mantle-set value used to be called “hemman” (homesteads). Farms with the same mantal-set value would pay the same amount of tax. In other words, the mantal was not a measure of area. In most parishes, the farm's mantal-set value is listed in the household examination rolls. For example, it may say 7/8 mantal or 1 1/4 mantal, etc.

Hemman - Homestead

"Hemman" is an older Swedish term for an agricultural property (homestead/farmstead/freehold) recorded in the Crown's land register with a certain mantal-set value. In the 16th and 17th centuries, a homestead usually corresponded to a farm of such a size that the farmer could support himself and his family and a few farmhands and maids from the yield of the land and pay the taxes due on the property. Such a homestead was defined as one (1) mantal. See about mantal above. As a result of homestead distributions due to inheritance (hemmansklyvning), the number of farming units per farm increased. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was therefore not uncommon to have four or more separate farms on a “hemman”. In addition to the original meaning of “hemman”, in more popular contexts “hemman” has been used synonymously with a farm (even in more recent times). The word has then been used to mean both a whole farming unit and a part thereof.

Räntmästare - Treasurer

Räntmästare is an older Swedish term for an official who was in charge of the finances of a public administrative unit and presided over its office, which used to be called a “räntekammare”.

Abbreviations

Abbreviation Meaning (D) Södermanlands County (County Code) fs Församling - parish sn Socken - parish Vnrl Västernorrlands län (Västernorrland County) (Y) Västernorrlands County (County Code)

Terms Expressing Kinship

Swedish Terms Expressing Kinship Top of Page
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Genealogy Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2020-06-05

Swedish Genealogy Terms

Two Types of Genealogy Charts

There are two major ways to show the results of genealogical research. One is to draw up a Descendant Chart (Swe: Antavla) and the other is to draw up an Ancestor Chart (Swe: Stamtavla). An Ancestor chart is also known as a Family Tree.

Antavla - Ancestor Chart

Ancestor charts are family trees that start with a person in the present and show all relatives back in the time of the starting person. Each person in an ancestor chart (antavla) is called an “ana” in Swedish. The person with whom an ancestor chart begins is called the "proband" in Swedish. Usually, you start with yourself and research back in time, i.e. you look for your ancestors. The person you start from is called the proband. The result is presented in an ancestor chart (antavla). An ancestor chart is similar to a tree, hence the alternate name family tree. With each generation back in time, there are more and more branches. Each person in the chart is called an “ana” (ancestor) in Swedish. The personal details of each ancestor are collected in an ancestor record (ansedel). When researching backward in time, one searches for the parents of each ancestor. Siblings are recorded but no further research is usually done on them. For each generation back in time, the number of ancestors in each generation doubles. If we have 2 people in generation 1, we have 4 people in generation 2, 8 in generation 3, etc. In generation 10 we have 1024 people in that generation, so theoretically we can have in generation 10: (1024 + 512 + 256 + 128 + 64 + 32 + 16 + 8 + 4 + 2) = 2046 people. This is assuming that we have found all the people in the ancestor chart. However, it often happens that family branches merge, for example in the case of cousin marriage. They then have common ancestors and the number of family branches back in time is reduced. This is called pedigree collapse (anförlust).

Stamtavla - Descendant Chart

Descendant charts are genealogical charts that start with a person further back in time, a progenitor (stamfar), and show all his descendants up to the present day. Once an ancestor chart has been created, the research can be reversed, starting with a particular ancestor and researching all the descendants of that ancestor up to the present day. The results of such research are recorded in a descendant chart (stamtavla). The person you start from is called the progenitor (stamfar). Each person in a descendant chart is called a descendant (ättling). When a descendant chart is drawn up, all children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. are researched. A descendant chart is basically an upside-down ancestor chart. It starts with a person at the top and then branches downwards.

Svärdssidan - On the Male Line

When you talk about the “svärdssidan ” (literally meaning the “sword side”), it's the male line in lineal descent.

Spinnsidan - On the Distaff Side

When you talk about the “spinnsidan”, it's the distaff side of a family.

Patronymics

In Sweden, family names among the rural population began to be used to a greater extent at the end of the 19th century, i.e. people inherited their surname from their father. Previously, patronymics were used, i.e. the children's surname was formed from the father's first name with the addition of a son or daughter (- dotter). For example, if the father's first name was Nils, a son had the patronymic Nilsson and a daughter Nilsdotter. When family names became common also among the rural population in the second half of the 19th century, people usually adopted their existing “-son” names as their family names. It was also common to adopt a surname related to the town, village, or farm where they lived. More information on Swedish naming practices in earlier times

Mantal

Mantal was a farming property tax code. Originally (in the 17th century), a full mantal (1/1) was a farm with a yield large enough to support a medium- sized family and pay taxes. A farm on one (1) mantal was also called a landed property. Later, the mantal- set value of farms was reduced, partly by divisions due to the distribution of farms on inheritance and partly by changing the mantal-set value to make taxation fairer. In the 18th and 19th centuries, farms that were mantal-set to ½, ¼, or ⅛ could still usually support a family. A farm with a mantal-set value of 1 or more (e.g. 1 ¼) in the 19th century was a farm with a very high yield. In the fertile southern plains, a farm of 1 mantal usually had a much smaller area than, for example, a farm of 1 mantal in the northern forest regions. In other words, a farm on fertile land needed considerably less area to obtain a yield of 1 mantal than a farm in a barren forest area. In addition to the farmland, other yields could also be taken into account when calculating the mantle- set value. The archipelago also included sea farming, i.e. the farm's fishing waters. During the 19th century, the forest in the woodlands became increasingly valuable for a farm's yield. Mantal-set value was thus a measure of a farm's profitability, i.e. its yield, and was the basis for how much the farmer had to pay in property tax. Higher mantal-set value - more tax. Very small farms, such as crofts, had no mantal-set value. Farms that were assigned a mantle-set value used to be called hemman” (homesteads). Farms with the same mantal-set value would pay the same amount of tax. In other words, the mantal was not a measure of area. In most parishes, the farm's mantal-set value is listed in the household examination rolls. For example, it may say 7/8 mantal or 1 1/4 mantal, etc.

Hemman - Homestead

"Hemman" is an older Swedish term for an agricultural property (homestead/farmstead/freehold) recorded in the Crown's land register with a certain mantal-set value. In the 16th and 17th centuries, a homestead usually corresponded to a farm of such a size that the farmer could support himself and his family and a few farmhands and maids from the yield of the land and pay the taxes due on the property. Such a homestead was defined as one (1) mantal. See about mantal above. As a result of homestead distributions due to inheritance (hemmansklyvning), the number of farming units per farm increased. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was therefore not uncommon to have four or more separate farms on a “hemman”. In addition to the original meaning of “hemman”, in more popular contexts “hemman” has been used synonymously with a farm (even in more recent times). The word has then been used to mean both a whole farming unit and a part thereof.

Räntmästare - Treasurer

Räntmästare is an older Swedish term for an official who was in charge of the finances of a public administrative unit and presided over its office, which used to be called a “räntekammare”.

Abbreviations

Abbreviation Meaning (D) Södermanlands County (County Code) fs Församling - parish sn Socken - parish Vnrl Västernorrlands län (Västernorrland County) (Y) Västernorrlands County (County Code)

Terms Expressing Kinship

Swedish Terms Expressing Kinship Top of Page