With detailed and continuous information on almost 1,450,000 individuals and their families over nearly 300 years, the parish register databases are some of the world's most information-dense demographic databases. Using the church records of birth, baptism, marriage, family formation, migration, occupation, housing, and death, it is possible to follow individuals and families over generations in time and space.
Swedish historical parish records are very rich in information, which makes them a gold mine for historical demographic research. Event registers were kept for births and baptisms, banns and marriages, deaths and burials and, mainly from the 19th century, migrations.
Catechetical examination registers (husförhörslängder) constitute a dynamic source, unique for Sweden. The parishioners were to be included in the catechetical registers as soon as they were born or had informed the minister about their in-migration. A volume of a catechetical examination register covers a period of about 5–10 years, during which the information about the parishioners was continuously updated.
When an event took place, like birth, marriage, death or migration (in, out, or within the parish), the information was entered into the register.
Content in databases
The parish register database at CEDAR/DDB holds detailed population data on the individual level from Swedish parishes in four different regions with different demographic and social characteristics. Data are collected from the complete Swedish parish registers, which until 1990 served as the official system of civil registration, accounting for all individuals present within a parish over time. The database contains individual level data from Catechetical examination registers/ parish registers, as well as registers for births and baptisms, banns and marriages, deaths and burials and migrations.
The database includes demographic and socio-economic variables, place of birth and death, place of residence, occupational information and causes of death coded into international standards. A high-quality linkage makes it possible to follow individuals over the life course and over generations.
Mainly due to legal requirements, data from the parish registers are divided into two separate databases. Data from all parishes until 1910 are included in the database POPUM. Parishes with data that stretches until 1950 and forward are included in the database POPLINK, surrounded by a high level of security. This database includes data that according to the GDPR is defined as personal data or data that are subject to other restrictions.
New in current version
In January 2023, new versions of the POPUM and POPLINK databases (version 6.5.1) were launched. News for this version is that two additional parishes, Arvidsjaurand Arjeplog, have been added. Another improvement are the new versions of the population tables cause of death and occupation. The population table Income is completely new and contains information from the income and tax lists for Lövångerparish.