Cradled in Sweden by Carl-Erik Johansson: Book Review

Cradled in Sweden by Carl-Erik Johansson has been in my reference library for quite some time. Recently, I began reading through it again and realized that, in spite of being written in 2002 and in spite of the author’s stated goal for the book to guide researchers through Swedish records held on microfilm in the FamilySearch Library, this book is a necessary handbook for those researching Swedish roots.

Yes, the book was written during the childhood of the internet, long before ArkivDigital was founded, but it still is invaluable.

Contents

  1. The Language
  2. The Country
  3. Names of Places
  4. Names of Persons
  5. Archives
  6. Fixed and Movable Feast Days
  7. Handwriting
  8. Emigration Records
  9. Parish Registers
  10. Clerical Survey Records
  11. Census Records and Land Records
  12. Court Records
  13. Military Records
  14. Genealogical Associations, Magazines and Printed Books
  15. Chronology
  16. List of Swedish and Finnish Army Units
  17. Swedish Army Units
  18. Swedish Probate Records and Indexes
  19. Mormon Congregations (GRENAR) in Sweden 1852-1950
  20. Some Diseases and Causes of Death
  21. Money, Weight and Measure
  22. Pedigree Chart Numbering
  23. Genealogical Associations in Sweden
  24. Addresses to Local Tax Authorities
  25. Alphabetical Index of All Parishes in Sweden
  26. Word List
    Bibliography

Quite a few years passed from my discovery of a Swedish mother for my 2X great grandfather, Frits Wille Oskar Emil Jensen and learning that my Swedish 3X great grandmother was Johanna Elisabeth Molin from Öved, Sweden.

Once I knew that, my first foray into Swedish records were the church books. If I owned Cradled in Sweden at that time, I would have immediately opened to Chapters 9 and 10.

Chapter 9 gives the history of parish registers vs. civil registration and provides an in-depth look at examples of the many available records, right down to what each column entry means. Chapter 10 covers the clerical survey records (often called the household examination records, which were updated yearly by the minister. These records are even more valuable than a typical census record because of the amount of detail they include. In addition to naming each person in the home plus their exact dates of birth, the minister “examined” each person in terms of their religious knowledge. Not only are the levels of religious knowledge and understanding identified, the marking system used to “grade” the quality of knowledge is explained (e.g. differentiation between knows well” and “also knows by heart.” Social behavior grades are also noted. The chapter ends with some farmer occupational definitions.

Chapter 7 discusses various handwriting styles used through time. My strong point isn’t reading records from the 1700s! This chapter gives examples of various cursive choices for lower and upper case letters along with examples of names written in the old style.

When finding the date an event took place, it isn’t always evident exactly when it happened because some church books identify dates by the church calendar, which includes fixed and movable feast days. When did Jubilate 1777 happen? Well, Jubilate is the 3rd Sunday after Easter. Easy to find in Chapter 6.

Chapter 13 is excellent for those wanting to find a soldier in the family.

The chapter titles provide an excellent overview of many of the types of Swedish records that are available. In 2024, instead of traveling to Salt Lake City and pulling the microfilm out of the drawer, researchers would head to ArkivDigital, the subscription site, and to excellent digital images of the desired records.

It could be argued that Chapters 14 and 22 are outdated. In terms of addresses, I have to agree. However, I sample searched a number of the societies and associations and found almost all are still in existence. Much better than the street addresses in the book are their websites, packed with links and contact information, usually by e-mail.

Other goodies found in this book – list of military surnames, span of years found in each probate district, explanation of all the records kept by the minister, a detailed explanation of the various types of archives in Sweden and, last but not least, Chapter 25 lists every single parish in Sweden.

There is so much handy information in this 2002 book that it is worth purchasing, especially given the reasonable price.

I love, love, love this book! If you have Swedish ancestry, it should be in your personal book collection. New, hardcover 2002 editions of the book can be purchased for as little as $20.00.

One thought on “Cradled in Sweden by Carl-Erik Johansson: Book Review”

  1. I wished I had known about this book at the beginning of my Swedish research. I used the book Your Swedish Roots, which worked well because of I was using Genline for my research.

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