How to Find Swedish Estate Inventories in Arkiv Digital

In an earlier post I demonstrated how to find estate inventories in Riksarkivet.  Here, we’ll focus on how to find an estate inventory in the paid service, Arkiv Digital.

The Subject – Catharina Andersdotter

For my example, I’ll use the same person as in the earlier post. Catharina Andersdotter died during (or from) childbirth on 28th February 1788 at the croft Enekullen, Iglabo, Ljurs parish, co. Älvsborg (Nårunga C:3 (1770-1799), p. 179 [212]). Note that Ljurs parish was an annex to Nårunga parish. At the time she was 37 years old, and she was  survived by her husband and children.  Here’s how I would go about finding her estate inventory in Arkiv Digital.

Check the Index First

Arkiv Digital’s index of estate inventories is quite a bit broader than the one available at Riksarkivet and covers more counties.  It is, however, not comprehensive, so if you cannot find what you’re searching for here, then continue on with a manual search (see below).

Search AD EI

To use the estate inventory search,

  1. Click the New Index Search button in the top left.
  2. Under Index source select Inventory of estate.
  3. Click the + to expand the Name field under Advanced Search and type in the first and last name of the person you’re searching for. You may also want to try this without using the last name, and with some variations on the first name if at first you get no results.
  4. Next, expand the Estate inventory menu, and type in the range of years you think the inventory was taken in.
  5. Finally, click the Search button and the results will appear on the right.  The person we’re searching for here can easily be identified by the name and the listed location even if the Index has the name of the croft wrong.  It’s not Engkullen, but Enekullen.
  6. Click the record to open up further details, and then click the underlined link to the estate inventory.  It will take you directly to the correct page in the relevant book of inventories.

Finding Estate Inventories without the Index

Given that we know the parish where Catharina died, that’s where we’ll start.  In the online app:

  1. In the top left, click the button to do a New archive search.
  2. Under Archive type in the name of the parish, in this case “Ljur”.
  3. Click the Search button.
  4. The parish archive for Ljur will appear on the right-hand side of the screen, so click that to open the archive and see a list of all the books in it.

If you scroll down in this list you’ll see that some books have the names of another parish – Nårunga.  Ljur was an annex to Nårunga, meaning that it was a subordinate parish.  But there are other archives listed here too, and if you do a quick scan for the words “Estate inventories” you’ll soon find three other archives being referenced.  These are the Court District archives (“häradsrätt“) and you want the one that covers the date range in which Catharina died.  That’s Gäsene häradsrätt.  Click that line, and then Open archive to go there instead.

Exploring the Court District Archive

There are different types of volumes available here, and our first port of call should be to look for Estate inventory registers.  These are indexes typed up over the last century and normally kept with the archives: Arkiv Digital have photographed them. As with the archive itself, open up the volume of Estate inventory registers that covers the period we’re after – BouReg:1 (click the line, then click Open volume).

This one is arranged alphabetically by last name, so we want to search for Andersdotter.  Note that these “registers” are frequently arranged in different ways, sometimes by first name, sometimes separating men and women and so on.  If the order doesn’t immediately make sense, either look at the beginning of the book for a description, or flick through a few pages until you’ve worked out the arrangement.

Leaf your way through the volume until you hit the “Andersdotter” section – it’s bound to be long, it’s a common name, and then locate the subject of the search. My Catharina shows up on page 11:

CA EI index

We’ve got the surname on the left, then the first name, followed by relationships, if any.  Most likely this has been taken directly from the estate inventory.  The location, if known, follows, and finally, the reference you need to find the inventory proper. Here, it’s 1788:1011.  It’s a year followed by a page number.  Again, different version of these indices may have different ways of referencing the books to go to, but most frequently, in my experience, this is the arrangement you’re likely to find. You may also find direct references to the volume number, e.g. FII:8.

The last thing to do is go back to the archive view of Gäsene häradsrätt:

  1. On the far left of the screen, click the name of the archive (Gäsene häradsrätt) to open it up and show all the volumes.
  2. Find the volume that covers 1788 and click it.
  3. Click Open volume.
  4. Using the navigation bar at the top, click the drop-down, scroll down, and select page 1011.

That’s it! You found the estate inventory, and now the real work can begin.  See How to Read the Preamble (or Ingress) of a Swedish Estate Inventory for what to do next.

Have you got stuck trying to find an estate inventory, or have you had success finding them?  Tell me about your experience in the comments.


The featured image of this post shows the spine of Gäsene häradsrätt FII:8 (1785-1789), accessed 14 Oct 2018 at Arkiv Digital.


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