Swedish/English Dictionary, 
Genealogy Terms

Svensk/Engelsk ordlista över släktforskningstermer

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På denna sida följer ett urval av släktforskningsord och uttryck med engelsk översättning

Se även / See also: Ordlista militära termer / Dictionary military terms  
och / and Ordlista gamla sjukdomsnamn / Dictionary - Names of diseases in earlier times 
eller / or Ordlista över ortnamn / Dictionary - Names of Places  

Svenska/Swedish Engelska/English
Adel Noble (of noble birth) / The nobility
Adelsman Nobleman
Amiralitetet The Admiralty (Navy)
Ana (förfader) Ancestor (forefather) / a person in an ancestor chart
Anor (förfäder) Ancestors (forefathers) / persons in an ancestor chart
Ansedel / personakt A personal record containing biographical data about an ancestor
Antavla Ancestor chart 
A chart where a specific person forms the starting point for a genealogical study of this persons ancestors.
Anförlust ???
A married couple normally have eight ancestors in the second generation, four on each side. However if two cousins marry they will partly have jointly grandparents. We have “lost” 2 persons in the second generation (6 instead of 8). This kind of situation in an ancestor chart is called “anförlust” in Swedish.
Arrendator Tenant farmer
Arrende Tenancy
Arv Inheritance
Arvsskifte Distribution of an inherited estate
Assessor Deputy judge
Barbarnsbarn Great-grandchildren
Barn Children
Barnbarn Grandchildren
Barnhus Orphanage
Barnmorska Midwife
Bataljon Battalion
Begravning Burial / funeral
Begravd i stillhet / begravd i tysthet

”Begravd i stillhet” or ”begravd i tysthet” means that it was a quiet funeral with only the closest family present.




A department called Bergskollegium handled the Government control of the mining industry. This department has had different names throughout the centuries but the name Bergskollegium was used from 1744.


Mining district


Mine-inspector. A bergmästare was appointed by the government and subordinated the Bergskollegium.

The bergmästare’s job was to supervise the mining operations within his jurisdiction on behalf of the government. More exactly, among a Bergmästare’s duties was inspections and examinations the mines and the mining industry, evaluation of mines, supervision of government forests and supervision subordinated mining clerks, supervise that mining regulations were followed etc.

Among his responsibilities was also to judge in disputes regarding mining matters in a special court of law called Bergstinget (Mining court of law). In the court the bergmästare had 7 assistants called nämndemän (A "nämndeman" is an appointed layman in a court of law – a lay assessor).

The criminal cases could vary, for example cheating with weighing, payments, fractions between miners, or thefts. Larger cases like manslaughter or arguments about proprietorship to forests used by the mines etc was handled by the Häradsrätt – the ordinary district court of law in the countryside.

A Bergsting session was held once a year, normally in May or June and was announced in the churches at the latest 10 weeks prior to the beginning of a Bergsting.

The special courts of law the Bergsting represented were abolished in 1851. From then the mining cases were handled by the ordinary courts of law.


Sweden was subdivided into 11 Bergmästardömen, and from the middle of the 18th century 12 bergmästardömen.

A bergmästardöme was a territorial area (jurisdiction) and the term itself could be translated into mine-inspector’s jurisdiction.

Bevis Evidence
Beväring Conscript (soldier), recruit
Biskop Bishop
Bisittare Assessor, member of a district court of law
Bonde Farmer
Borgmästare Mayor
Bouppteckning Estate inventory proceeding
Bouppteckningsdokument Probate records / estate inventory
Bror Brother
Brorsdotter Niece
Brorson Nephew
Brud Bride
Brudgum Groom
Bruk (ex: järnbruk eller papperbruk) Mill/works, for example ironworks or paper mill
Bruksarbetare Laborer at a mill/factory/works.
Ironworks: ironworker / foundryman
Paper mill: millman
Brukspatron Works proprietor
Foundry (ironworks) proprietor
(Paper) mill owner
Brylling/fyrmänning Third Cousin
Bröllop Wedding
By Village
Båtsman (motsv soldat) Seaman/deck hand (Navy personal provided by the Allotment System)
Böter Fine (legal)
Det stora nordiska kriget The Great Nordic War (1700 - 1721)
Dombok Court records (court of law)
Domprost Cathedral Dean (church)
Domsaga The territorial district of a Häradsrätt.
Domstol Court of law
Dop Baptism/Christening
Dopvittne Sponsor / Godparent
Dotter Daughter
Dragon Dragoon: Dragoon was formerly mounted infantry. They traveled on horseback to the battlefield but they fought as foot soldiers. As mounted infantry they were very mobile units. It happened that dragoons fought as cavalry in battles. However, this was a type of warfare they weren't trained for and could end up in disaster. During the 18th century the dragoons were more and more used as cavalry and therefore also trained as cavalry. Finally it was only the name that separated them from other cavalry. During the 19th century dragoons was a term for heavy cavalry.
Drottning Queen
Dräng Farm hand
Dödsboken Death records
Dödsfödd Stillborn
Döpa Baptize/Christen
Egendom Property / estate
Egendomsägare Owner of a property / estate.
(An older Swedish spelling is: Egendomsegare)
Eriksgata An Eriksgata was a King’s first tour of the country after being crowned
Faddrar (vid dop) Witnesses (at baptism)
Far Father
Farbror Uncle (father's brother)
Farfar Grandfather (father's fathers or paternal grandfather)
Farfars far Great-grandfather (on the father's side - paternal)
Farmor Grandmother (father's mother or paternal grandmother)
Faster Aunt (father's sister)
Fattig Poor
Fattighus Workhouse/poorhouse
Fattigjon Pauper
Fideikommiss Entailed estate
Filare (yrke) Filer. A "filer" was a craftsman working for example in a workshop filing off or smoothing parts made of steel or iron with a file. Casting shops weren’t able to cast parts with 100% precision in the past. In order to fit different parts together filers were needed to file off or smooth the parts in order to achieve the required precision.
There were also other types of filers; for example, filers sharpening sawblades.
Fiskare Fisherman
Fjärdingsman Parish constable (UK) / 
Sheriff's Deputy (US)
A fjärdingsman was a deputy and didn't have the right to act in police matters on his own. He always had to act on orders by the länsman. See also länsman.
Flottan (örloggsflottan) The Navy
Flottare  Floater / Log driver.
Log driving or floating was a way of conveying timber or logs from the locale of lumbering to sawmills and pulp mills downstream using the current of a river. The people employed to do this were called floaters or log drivers.
Flottning  Conveying timber in floats, log driving
Flytta Move. "Flytta från" = move from. "Flytta till" = Move to. 
Flyttbetyg Moving certificate 
Forskning Research
Fort/Borg Fortress
Fotsoldat Foot soldier
Fregatt Frigate
Friherre/Friherrinna Baron/Baroness
Frånskild Divorced
Furir Sergeant
Fru Mrs.
Fröken Ms.
Fånge Prisoner
Fältväbel Sergeant major
Fängelse Prison
Född Born
Födelse Birth
Födelsebevis, födelseattest Birth certificate
Födelseboken Birth records
Födelseort Place of birth
Församling/socken Parish. See socken
Föräldrar Parents
Gallärflottan Galley Feet
Garnison Garrison
Generaldirektör Agency Director (US)
Generalmönsterrulla               General-muster roll
Gesäll Journeyman
Gesällprov Qualifying piece of work for an apprentice to become a journeyman in a guild
Gift (som i civilstatus) Married
Gods (slott etc) Estate, Manor
Godsägare Landed proprietor, landowner, estate owner, land lord
Grenadjär A form of infantryman (Grenadier)
Greve/Grevinna Count (Earl in the UK) / Countess
Grosshandlare Wholesale dealer, wholesaler
Gruva (järngruva) Mine (iron mine)
Gruvarbetare Miner
Gästgivare Innkeeper
Gästgiveri Inn
Hammarsmedsämbetet (Skrå) The guild for hammersmiths
Handelsman Merchant
Hantverkare Craftsmen / artisan
Hembygdsgård Local history center (US) / Village hall (UK) / Community centre
Hemmansägare Farmer, freeholder, owner of a homestead
Hemvist Residence
Herr Mr.
Herrgård Country estate, Manor
Hertig/Hertiginna Duke/Duchess
Hovrätt Circuit court of appeal (Regional court)
Hovrättsråd Judge of appeal
Husar Light cavalryman
Husförhör Household examination
Husförhörslängd Clerical survey or household examination roll
Hustru Spouse, wife
Hytta (järnbruk) Smelting house
Håll och stygn Pneumonia
Härad Civil district within a court, it's jurisdiction.
Häradsdomare A honorary title of the oldest nämndeman in a häradsrätt (district court of law)

District court judge.
He was the chairman of a häradsrätt (district court of law). The häradshövding was the only member in the häradsrätt with a law degree. The others are called nämndemän (
lay members of a court).

Häradsrätt District court of law in the countryside. This court's jurisdiction was a Härad.
A “häradshövding” was the chairman of a “häradsrätt”. The “häradsrätt” was manned by the “häradshövding” and a board of 12 lay members called “nämndemän”. Since they were 12 members they were also called “tolvmän” (tolv = twelv).
The häradsrätt convened three times per year, the so-called ”lagtima ting” (the regular court sessions) in spring, summer and fall. Each court session could last for one or more days depending on the number of cases they had to handle. For urgent matters there was also “urtima ting“ (extra court sessions).
The Häradsrätt was r
eplaced by the Tingsrätt in 1971.

Courts in the cities were called Rådhusrätt.

Indelningsverket (militära) Allottment system (the old system of organizing and financing the Swedish armed forces)
Infanteri Infantry
Jordbruksarbetare, jordbrukare Peasant
Järnbruk Ironworks / Iron foundry
Järnmalm Iron ore
Katolik Catholic
Kavalleri / rytteri Cavalry
Klart skepp (mil) General quarters (naval term)
Klockare Parish clerk
Knekt (soldat) Soldier
Komminister/kaplan Assistant parish minister, assistant vicar (rector) (Church)
Kommun Municipality
Konfirmation Confirmation
Kontrakt/Prosteri (kyrkan) Rural deanery (Church)
Kontraktsprost Rural Dean (Church)
Krig War
Krigsarkivet Swedish Military Record Office / 
War Archive
Krigsfånge Prisoner of war
Krigsmakten The armed forces
Kronofogde County Police Commissioner (UK) /
Enforcement Officer (US)
Kung King
Kunglig Royal
Kusin Cousin
Kyrka Church
Kyrkbokföring Parish regestration
Kyrkböcker Church records / Parish register
Kyrkogård/begravningsplats Cemetery
Kyrkoherde Parish minister in Church of Sweden - a Lutheran Church. Vicar (UK), parish priest, rector, reverend, pastor
Kyrkvaktmästare Verger, sexton 
Källa (informationskälla) Source of information
Kärande (i domstol) Plaintiff (in legal proceedings)
Kön (man/kvinna) Sex (male/female)
Lag Law
Lagman Chief judge in court of law
Landsarkiven Regional/Provincial archives
Landsfiskal District police superintendent (and public prosecutor)
Landshövding County Governor
Landskap Province
Lantarbetare Peasant
Lantmätare Land surveyor
Legosoldater/legoknektar Mercenaries
Linjeskepp Ships of the line
Lysning Bann
Lytt Crippled, disabled
Läkare Physician
Län County. The Swedish County (Län) have a role more similar to the State in the USA compared to the role of the US County. However the Swedish Counties doesn't have the independence of the States in the USA.
The US County is better compared to the Swedish “Kommun” (Municipality) rather then to the Swedish county (län).   
See also The subdivisions of Sweden into Provinces and Counties
Länsman Chief Constable (UK) /
Sheriff (US)
A länsman was a local police officer and had the authority to act as a police and proceed with police work. See also "fjärdningsman" (deputy).
Lärling Apprentice
Lönskaläge Illicit relations between unmarried persons
Lösdrivare Vagrant

"Mantal" was a property tax code and every farm who had to pay taxes was assigned a "mantal". In the beginning (1600’s) one "mantal" meant a farm with a annual yield large enough to support the farmer's family and their farm hands.

In the forest provinces in northern Sweden a farm of 1 "mantal" had to be big to produce a yield corresponding to 1 "mantal". In the plains in southern Sweden, with a better climate and a richer soil, a farm could be a lot smaller than in the north and still produce a yield of 1 "mantal". So “mantal” is not a value for the size of the farm but rather it’s capability of yielding a good crop. Farms with the same “mantal” paid the same amount of tax.
Not all farms could produce a yield corresponding to 1 "mantal" but was still able support a family. It was common with farms of ½ "mantal or 5/8 "mantal" etc.  Throughout the centuries the “mantal” rating has changed into lower values. Farms have been split up between siblings due to inheritance and the tax code has been adjusted to that in order to get a fair taxation.
Farms in the 1700’s and 1800’s with a “mantal” rating of ½, ¼ or 1/8 could still support a family. A farm in the 1800’s with a “mantal” rating above 1 (1¼ for example) was a farm with a large yield. So, the “mantal” rates have changed over the years. Sometimes you will find the “mantal” rate for a fram in the Household Examination Rolls (Hfl).

Mantalsskriven Registred for tax/census purposes
Mantalslängd Tax/census records
Masugn Blast furnace
Medborgerligt förtroende [one's] civil (civic) rights 
Medelpad Province of Medelpad
Menig Private soldier
Militärtjänstgöring Military service
Mor Mother
Morbror Uncle (mother's brother)
Morfar Grandfather (mother's fathers or maternal grandfather)
Morfars far Great-grandfather (on the mother's side)
Mormor Grandmother (mother's mother or maternal grandmother)
Moster Aunt (mother's sister)
Murare Bricklayer
Måg Son in law
Målsman Guardian
Mästarbrev A craftsmans diploma or certificate
Mästersmed Master smith
Mönstring (mil.)  Muster, inspection, review, enrollment
Namn Name
Nationalitet Nationallity
Nattvard The Holy Communion
Nämndeman Courts in Sweden don't have a system with juries. Instead there are a judge and a number of "nämndemän". The "nämdemän" are appointed laymen. They are not chosen by random, you have to apply and be approved by the local council / county council (a position of trust). It is not a profession but something that's done beside the nämndeman's ordinary profession.
Unlike a juryman the "nämndeman" actually is a member of the court and take an active part in the trial. Together with the judge they set the sentence. They can ask questions to the prosecuted.
In courts of appeal there are more professional lawmen (jurists) then "nämndemän". However, in district courts and city courts the "nämndemän" are in majority.
Officer Officer
Ofärdig Crippled, disabled
Ogift Unmarried / single
Okänd fader Father unknown 
Orlovssedel In former days employees weren’t normally employed until further notice but for 1 year at a time. That is, they were signed up for a 12 months period at a time. At the end of the 12 months period the employer could renew the contract for another 12 months. During the 12 month employment period an employee could not leave his position to take up another job. The only time he could take up another employment was at the end of the 12 month employment period. That’s why the employee needed a certificate from his former employer stating that he was free to take another job. This certificate was called orlovssedel. The orlovssedel also contained some sort of “service record” and also information if he was in debt to his former employer.
Ort Place
Oäkta barn Illegitimate child
Pappersbruk Papermill
Pappersmassa Paper pulp
Pastor Parish minister
Pastorat Parish
Pastorsexpedition Parish office
Patronymikon Patronymic
Piga Maid
Polis Police
Poliskonstapel Police constable / Police officer / Patrolman
Predikstol Church pulpit
Prins Prince
Prinsessa Princess
Proband Proband or subject
The person you start with when you do genealogical table where you start with a specific person and do a genealogical research backward in time tracing this person's ancestors.
Profoss Provost / Flogmaster (military)
Prost Rural Dean (church)
Prosteri/Kontrakt (kyrkan) Rural deanery (church)
Protestanter Protestants
Präst Clergyman, Vicar (UK), Parish Minister.  Priest (catholic).
Pastor, Reverend.
Prästgård Vicarage (UK), parsonage (US), rectory, minister's house
Rakt nedstigande led (släktskap) A lineal (direct) descendant of... (kinship)
Rakt uppstigande led (släktskap) In lineal (the direct line of) ascent (kinship)
Regemente Regiment
Rekrytering Recruitment
Religion Religion
Repslagare Rope-maker
Residensstad County seat or County capital
Riddarhuset The House of Nobility
Riksarkivet The National Archive
Riksdag The Swedish Parliament
Riksdagshuset The Riksdag (Parliament) building
Riksdagsman/Riksdagsledamot Member of the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament)
Rulla Record, roll
Rådhusrätt City courts of law before 1971 when they were replaced by the Tingsrätt. It was the borgmästare (mayor / chief magistrate) that was the chariman (judge) of the Råshusrätt.

Courts in the countryside were called Häradsrätt.

Rådman District court judge
äldre benämning på en tjänsteman som hade hand om en förvaltningsenhets ekonomi och förestod dess kontor
Rättare Farm foreman (larger farms, manors etc)
Rättegång Legal proceedings in a court of law
Rödsot Dysentry
SCB utdragen Civil registration

(pl. sexmän).
A position of trust in a parish (socken) before the 1862 municipal reform. There were six men of trust in the board of sexmän, therefore the name (sexmän = six men). The sexmän supervised: that church decisions were carried out, that the church as well as the parsonage was maintained, church discipline, etc.

Sjukdom Disease
Sjukhus Hospital
Självmördare / Självspillning A person who has committed suicide.
People who had committed suicide (or been executed) weren’t allowed to be buried at the church cemetery (consecrated earth). Instead they were to be buried by the “bödel” (executioner/hangman) somewhere else. If the suicide was committed due to mental derangement, someone other than the executioner was allowed to bury the dead, however not at the church cemetery.
From 1864 the Church agreed to bury suicides at the cemetery, but the funeral ceremony had to be "i stillhet" (quiet). However, from 1894 this type of burial could be performed the same as any other burial.
”Begravd i stillhet” or ”begravd i tyshet” meant in those days that there was no
bell ringing at the funeral (quiet funeral). A funeral without bell ringing was considered to be degrading.
Sjömän Seamen, Sailors
Skarprättare, bödel Executioner, hangman
Skatt (ex: inkomstskatt) Tax
Skattefrihet Exemption from land dues to the crown
Skild Divorced
Skomakare Shoemaker
Skomakarmästare Master shoemaker
Skogsvaktare Forest ranger or forester
Skrå Guild
Skräddare Tailor
Skräddarmästare Master tailor
Slott, Borg Castle
Släkten Högman The Högman Family
Släktforskare Genealogists
Släktforskning Genealogy
Släktforskning Genealogical research
Släktforskningslitteratur Literature on Genealogy
Släktföreningar Family Societies
Småbrukare (mindre jordbruk) / Lantbrukare Small farmer / Peasant
Smed / Mästersven Smith, after 4 years as an apprentice, i.e. journeyman)
Smedsdräng Apprentice smith, smith's henchman
Snickare Carpenter
Socken/församling A geographical area served by a church, an ecclesiastical unit. In other words a parish
(the church socken). 
Prior to 1862 all parishes were referred to as “socken” in Swedish. However, after 1862 they are called “församling”. So, socken = församling = parish.
Socken (lokalt styre) The worldly (secular) socken - A geographical area for local administration. 
A local administration council (sockenstämma) ran the "socken". 

Before 1862, the church "socken" and the administrative "socken" encompassed the same territorial area. However, the worldly "socken" was replaced by an administrative subdivision called "kommun" (municipality) in that year.   
Sockenstämma Local administration council
Soldattorp Soldier croft/cottage
Son Son
Spinnsidan (av en släkt) The distaff side (of a family)
Stad City or town
Stadsfiskal (åklagare) Public prosecutor
Stamfar First ancestor / progenitor / forefather
The person you start with when you do a pedigree (descendant chart) where you start with a specific person and do a genealogical research forward in time tracing this person's descendants.
Stamtavla Pedigree / Descendent chart
A chart where a specific person forms the starting point (progenitor/ancestor) for a genealogical study of this persons descendants.
Stadsarkiv City Archives
Statare Agricultural labourer receiving allowance (payment) in kind
Statsminister Prime Minister
Statssekreterare Under-secretary of State
Sterbhus Estate of a deceased person
Stift (kyrkostift) Diocese
Stånghammare Tilthammer / Helve hammer
Stämmning (i domstol) Summons / subpoena (legal)
Svarande (i domstol) Defendant (in legal proceedings)
Svenska kyrkan Church of Sweden
Svensk adel Swedish nobility
Svenska stormaktstiden The Swedish Great Power period
Sveriges Riksdag The Swedish Parliament
Svåger Brother-in-law
Svägerska Sister-in-law
Svärdsidan (av en släkt) The male line (of a family)
Syskon Sibling / Brothers and sisters
Syskondotter Niece
Syskonson Nephew
Syssling/tremänning Second Cousin
Syster Sister
Testamente Will ( last will and testament)
Tingsrätt /Tíng District court of law. Replace the older Häradsrätt as well as the Rådhusrätt in 1971.

(pl. tolvmän).
board of 12 lay members in the district court (häradsrätt) called “nämndemän”. Since they were 12 members they were also called “tolvmän” (tolv = twelve => twelve men).

Torp Crofter's holding or cottage/croft.
See also "torpare" below.
Torpare Crofter, tenant farmer
The tenant had to do a certain number of a full days' work per year on the landowner's land or estate as a payment for the tenancy. In British English the term is crofter but in the USA a "torpare" is best compared with a renter farmer.
Trolovad Engaged to be married
Trädgård Garden
Trädgårdsmästare Master Gardener
Tullen Customs
Utfattig Destitute
Valuta Currency
Vanför Crippled, disabled
Vapensköld Coat of arms (escutcheon)
Vigsel Marriage
Välborne / Högvälborne the Honorable xxxx / the Right Honorable yyyy.
The title "the
Honorable" was carried by younger sons of counts (earls in the UK) and by children of barons plus by ladies-in-waiting (hovdamer), members of the Supreme Court (högsta domstolen ) and by certain government officials etc.

The title "the Right
Honorable" was carried by counts (earls in the UK) and barons etc.

In other words, born of noble family.

The masculine form is Välborne / Högvälborne and the the feminine form is Välborna / Högvälborna.

Vällärd Scholar
Värnplikt National service (mil.)
Värnpliktig A person liable for military service, a military (national) serviceman, conscript. A draftee.
Värvning (mil.) Enrolment, enlistment
Yrke Occupation, profession
Åbo Tenant farmer with a conditional, inherited lease
Åklagare Public Prosecutor / District attorney
Ålderman Alderman
Ägare Owner / proprietor
(An older Swedish spelling is: Egare).
Äktenskap Marriage
Äktenskapsbrott Adultery
Ärkebiskop Archbishop
Ättling Descendant / a person in a pedigree

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Copyright © Hans Högman, granskat 2016-12-22 09:51