Estate inventories are a great source of information for the genealogist. Not only can they contain a wealth of information about the personal relationships of the deceased, but they also give an excellent overview of how they lived at the time of their death.
There are two principal sources of information in Swedish genealogy research, other than Ancestry and myHeritage. Arkiv Digital is a paid service, and Riksarkivet (the Swedish National Archives) also have scanned estate inventories. Here, I’ll look at finding the estate inventory of one of my ancestors in Riksarkivet’s system. For Arkiv Digital, see How to Find Swedish Estate Inventories using Arkiv Digital.
The Subject – Catharina Andersdotter
Catharina died 28th February 1788 during childbirth, at the croft Enekullen, Iglabo, Ljurs parish, co. Älvsborg (Nårunga C:3 (1770-1799), p. 179 ). Note that Ljurs parish was an annex to Nårunga parish. She was 37 at the time and was survived by her husband and children. Here’s what to do to find her in the probate (estate inventory) records.
Finding the Right Court District Archive
Although we know which parish Catharina died in, we do not yet know which Court District (hundred; “härad“) this parish was located in. To find this, we need to do a general search – Rikarkivet’s website does not cross-reference the parish/church archives with the Court District archives. Off to Google we go, and we’ll use this search term:
Nårunga socken härad
You may not always get what you need this way, but with the search terms above, you’re likely to at least get on the right track. This is the result I got (with the bit we’re interested in underlined):
The Court District name is followed by the word “härad” so now I know that I need to search Riksarkivet for “Gäsene”. Pop over to The Digital Research Room. You may want to change the language in the menu at the very top of the screen. In the search box called Archive/parish I type in the name of the Court District and press Search. I get a whole page of results, and we’re looking for “häradsrätts arkiv” – which means the “Court Districts Court Archive”. Because it’s digitised, you could find it more quickly by looking for the little computer screen icon.
Click the link to access the archive proper.
Finding the Right Book
You’ll now get a long list of the different types of records held in the archive. The vast majority of these will not be digitised, but if we scroll down the list, we’ll reach the volumes in the archive labelled:
F II Bouppteckningar 1712 – 1947.
Note that the designation FII is not always the same across Court District archives, so if you’re doing a general search on the page, what you’re looking for is the word “Bouppteckningar“.
Click the little + to expand the folder and reveal the books that are in it. This list of books will have the volume number followed by the years the book covers. In our case, we’re looking for the period covering 1788, so I’ll head to volume 8, click the + again, and then select the book:
From here you’re on your own. You will need to click your way through the book until you get to the correct page for the estate inventory. It may be, though, that the person never had one done or that they were done significantly later. In such cases, it may also be worth examining the following volume in detail too.
A Note on Indices
There are, occasionally, indexes created for estate inventories, and you’ll usually find these under the C-labelled books in Court District archives labelled “Bouppteckningsregister“. For Gäsene Court District, however, these are only available for the period after 1889, haven’t been photographed, and will not help us here.
Depending on where your ancestor came from, you can also search the Estate Inventories for the Court Districts in co:s Härnösand, Lund, Uppsala, Vadstena, Visby, and Östersund by using the search function at Extended search > Inventory of estates. There are not notes on this search function that states how comprehensive it is, so I cannot say what, exactly, is included in the search. Arkiv Digital also has a similar index function that covers some of the same, and different, counties. Again, however, it is not a comprehensive index.
Now you can start doing the good stuff – reading the inventory! If you’re stuck on reading the preamble, check out How to Read the Preamble (or Ingress) of a Swedish Estate Inventory
Have you had any luck finding the right estate inventory at Riksarkivet? Or are you running into trouble? Let me know how you’ve fared in the comments.
The featured image of this post shows the road to Iglabo, 2011, accessed 14/10/2018 from Google maps.