Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: ), is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund. At , Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.7 million. Sweden has a low population density of , with the population mostly concentrated in the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population lives in urban areas. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested.
Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Goths/Geats and Swedes/Svear and contributing to the sea peoples known as the Vikings. Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. The empire grew to be one of the great powers of Europe in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, remaining a largely neutral nation. The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden played a role in humanitarian efforts during World Wars I and II, taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe. With the ending of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union, but declined NATO membership.
Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy, with the Monarch as the head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349 member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the Government, chaired by the Prime Minister. Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. It has the world's eighth-highest per capita income and ranks highly in numerous comparisons of national performance, including quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality, prosperity and human development. Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995, but declined Eurozone membership following a referendum. It is also a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
How places in Sweden are organized
Prior to 1634, Sweden was divided into provinces. In 1634 the provinces were replaced by counties. although the regions remain in informal use. The counties have been relatively stable since then, although a couple of county mergers took place in 1997 and 1998. The standard at WeRelate is to title Swedish place pages according to the county they belonged to in the early 1900's, with also-located-in links to the current county if it is different.
In the context of Geneaology, Swedish place names are typically recorded in the following fashion: "Location, Parish, Municipality, County, Sweden", where "Location" is a village, town, farm or in bigger cities the name of the block. The exception is Gotland, where the municipality and county (and indeed the region) is one and the same, so there you write "Location, Parish, Gotland, Sweden". You may also encounter a shorthand, especially when it's implied that the location is Sweden of just writing "Parish (X)" where X is a letter signifying which county the parish is located in.
A project is underway to put places into their proper municipality. If you have some knowledge in this area, please help!
All places in Sweden
Further information on historical place organization in Sweden
The most useful source of information for Swedish geneaology are the church records, recording births, deaths, marriages and migrations. They were stipulated by law in 1686, and lthough there are missing records they often stretch to the early 18th century, and in some cases as far back as the 16th century.
Images of these books are available online with subscriptions from
* Arkiv Digital - High resolution color imaging of most of Swedens church records. * Ancestry.se - Black and white images of the Utah microfilm copies of Swedish church records. Often very poor quality. This same database is also available from Genline, but that subscription is for unknown reasons slightly more expensive even though Ancestry.se owns Genline.se.
There are efforts to make the records available in textual form so they are searchable. These databases are very incomplete, but can still be useful starting points when looking for people:
* FamilySearch - Note though that Familysearch seems to have a lot of women with patronymic last names like "Andersson", when they should be "Andersdotter". * Släktdata - In Swedish