52 Documents in 52 Weeks #13: Swedish Probate Records

Swedish genealogical records have a reputation for being quite fabulous. I remember long before I found my Danish and Swedish branch of the family tree thinking that I would love to have some family to trace in those records.

Now I do and I have. Do I speak-read-write Swedish? NO! Are the records indexed? For the most part, NO!

How do I manage to find anything? Don’t let limits of a foreign language stop you from delving into records. I (1) use Google translate (2) get help at the Family History Library (3) find distant cousins on My Heritage and (4) join Facebook groups where there are many native speakers who kindly give tons of help.

Swedish probate records are similar to American records with the exception, in my view, that the deceased is much more likely to have had a probate of estate in Sweden than in the United States.

Today’s document is the probate of my 5X great grandmother, Sara Brita Krook who married Anders Molin. Their life stories have been topics of my writing in the past, but today’s focus is on Sara’s probate.

Right from the beginning, you need to know that Sara and Anders at least separated by 1786 when she was living in southern Sweden and he was in Marstrand, about 200 miles away. I have been unable to find where he went after that. Sara is called “widow” in 1812 when she died. I suspect that Anders probably did predecease her since the males in the Molin family seemed to live into their 50s or early 60s and Anders was born in 1739.

However, the end of their marriage brought a huge change in living style for Sara, born into a solid upper middle class family with social status. Anders was a master mason, so he was an appropriate match in status to Sara. After they split up, Sara is recorded sneaking into the poor house to have not one, but two, illegitimate sons and that was after the birth of her first illegitimate son soon after Sara and Anders went their separate ways.

Back to the probate records! From this background, you can surmise that Sara left little in the way of an estate when she died and you would be correct.


Sara Brita’s Probate 1812, Page 1


Sara Brita’s Probate, Page 2


Sara Brita’s Probate, Page 3

Sara Brita’s oldest son, Hans (Nicholas), the only one of her children who was a child of Anders Molin, filed the probate report. Pages 1 and 2 are the inventory of her possessions with the values. The total value of her estate was only 16 of whatever the currency was at the time. (The modern krona was adopted until 1873.) However, 16 of anything isn’t going to be worth a whole lot.

The important page for me is page 3, which lists her heirs – sons J.P. (Johan Peter), Jöns Abraham, Johan Jacob and Hans Molin. Note that they are all using the Molin surname, even though the fathers of Johan Peter, Jöns Abraham and Johan Jacob are unknown.

This list of her sons is the latest record I have of her son Jöns Abraham, born in 1786. I have been able to track the other children, but Jöns has remained elusive. This is proof that he was still living in April 1812, so the search for him will go on.

Many thanks to my Swedish cousin, Krister, who doggedly read through probate indexes in southern Sweden until he located Sara Brita who had been living in Andrarum.

Remember, don’t be afraid to tackle records just because you don’t speak the language in which they are written. There are many kind genealogy souls out there ready to give a helping hand.

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