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Swedish Population Registration

Early Registration Husförhör Mantalslängder
  Population Statistics  
Early Registration before 1700

is the land registry started in 1540. It lists the owner of every taxable piece of land for taxation purpose, unfortunately mostly only by first name. The family is not registered but the size of the farm is registered here for the first time.

from hjonelag (=family) and längd (= list, register). These were created when needed but with long intervals. They usually list only the owner by first name. The family is not registered but sometimes the number of persons in the family and servants are specified. More below under mantalslängd.

see below

= taxation registers. Created when extraordinary taxation was needed, e.g. the two Älvsborgs Lösen. Contents are similar to hjonelängd.

Some church registers / diaries
In some parishes various diary-like books were kept recording births, marriages and deaths. These are usually available along with the other church books.


Sweden has since late 17th century had a rather unique system for registration of the population. The church laws of 1686, valid from 1688, ordered that all priest should conduct yearly examinations of "all" inhabitants regarding their knowledge of Christian faith and ability to read and understand read passages - a procedure called husförhör
The results were recorded in large books named husförhörslängd each covering a period of 5-10 years. Those books included all persons and were continuously updated whenever some important event occurred for a person such as births, marriages, deaths, vaccination, movements, work permits, legal events, illnesses or handicaps. Therefore these books contain a wealth of information about every person from birth to death and are of course (one of) the most important sources for Swedish genealogy. Check these guides on how to find and read those.


A process called mantalsskrivning (man = man, tal = number, tally, skrivning =writing) was implemented early to regulated by a law of 1894. The register is called a mantalslängd (längd = list, register). The responsibility is then transferred to every head of household or apartment building owner. The registration reflects the home address and personal situation as of Nov 15.

A:  Early
From about 1630 until 1938 separate registers were created to enable collection of a tax per person (healthy adults except those who were exempt) mantalspenning. The procedures were regulated by law in great detail and fines imposed on negligence or giving incorrect info.
Most of these registers are preserved in the Swedish archives. A project at SVAR is in progress 2004-2005 to scan all those for the years 1642-1820. They will be available on line by subscription.

B:  1812
New law about mantalsskrifning and skatteskrifning (Population and tax registration)

C:  1861
New law about mantalsskrifning and skatteskrifning.
A short summary:
All persons should be registered. Registration period: mid-Nov to Dec each year but it was performed in one day in each place by a special government official. The priest, länsman / stadsfiscal, fjärdingsman, sexmän or rotemästare should be present..
Public servants were recorded at the place of service, except those working outside Sweden who were registered in St Nicolai parish in Stockholm. Seamen were registered in the home port of the ship except if they own real estate in which case they are registered on the estate. Students were registered in their home parish - not at the school/university. People in hospitals and prisons were registered in the last registered place.
The church books must be updated before the registration day. Non-state church societies hand in lists of their members. Transfer certificates in the last year must be delivered to the parish office before Nov 9. Changes between registration day and year's end were reported by the parish priest before Jan 15 the next year. All land owners and employers hand in lists of all household members / employees.
Registered info (as applicable): Name, birth date, occupation, reduced work capacity due to illness or disability, real estate owned, rent collected (from whom and amount), ship cargo capacity, engine, personnel. Each farm (hemman) or factory, shop etc is registered separately, incl reg-nbr in jordaboken. Information could be given in writing on a special form or verbally. 
The complete document was handed to the parish priest who should compare all info to that in the church books and, on the first Sunday in March next year, call a allmän sockenstämma (open parish meeting) where the info should be checked and approved.
(SFS No 45 1861-07-21) (I have the full text)

D:  1894
New law about mantalsskrifning and skatteskrifning
From 1888 the presence at husförhör was no longer mandatory and its importance is soon reduced. The associated registration of all inhabitants is gradually replaced by the mantalsskrivning process

E: Stockholm 
In Stockholm this was from 1878 performed by the organization named rotemannainstitutionen. The need for this came from the industrialization and the increasing "mobility" of the population. 
The city was divided in 16 rotar (rote = area), eventually expanded to 35. A roteman was responsible for registration in each rote. Each building / city block had its own mantalsbok
The system was abolished in 1926.
Many of those registers have been transcribed and published on CD:s along with a lot of other material from the period.

Misc info
When you find the note "u.m." in the notes column in a HFL this means utom mantal i.e. the person was not recorded in the mantalslängd and therefore exempt from taxation.

published by the Swedish Tax office RSV (Swedish only) 
Current system
RSV (Riksskatteverket = "Swedish IRS"), the gov't office responsible for it since 1991. (Swedish only)

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Last updated by F Hae 2005-05-20 17:01 © Fredrik Haeffner, 2001-5