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Historical Swedish Maps from Lantmäteriet esp. related to farm tenure and land reform.

In anticipation of a possible trip to ancestral Sweden; I am seeking documentation (preferably in English, I do not read Swedish), to assist me in interpreting/translating ancestral farm maps and related land reform (e.g. enskifte and laga skifte) text found  on Lantmäteriet.  I contacted Lantmäteriet and was told they knew of none.

For instance I have found reference to what I hope may be one such resource: 

Fårad mark : handbok för tolkning av historiska kartor och landskap
by Niklas Cserhalmi; Sveriges hembygdsförbund.
but have not located a copy to buy or borrow in either Swedish or English.
Lantmäteriet has multiple databases and mutiple search approaches.  It is not clear to me the best search strategy for learning exactly what the leasing or ownership relationship my ancestors have to a particular farm or how it changed under land reform.
I would also consider paying a professional to perform such work, but I am unaware what is available or what it might cost.
One specific farm of interest is Johannes Jonasson at  Backegården under Örsbyholm manor, located in Jönköpings Län, Wästra Härad, Norra Ljunga Socken
Any comments,suggestions, and discussion appreciated.

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Replies to This Discussion

I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but I looked up the book Fårad mark to find out more about it because it really does look so interesting. I found two places where it can be purchased.


This next one stated at the end of the description of the book...The book can be ordered for 190 SEK (including VAT) in the Swedish Local Heritage Federation

I can read a very little amount of Swedish, definitely not enough to read a book like this, but it sounds like the first part of the book is made up of maps. It sounds as though it would be a wonderful book to read.

190 K is about $28

Hope this is helpful, Karin

Thanks!!  I'm on it.

The book does sound interesting. I looked in Melvyl (the University of California library catalog all campuses) which has now changed. They now participate in WorldCat. There were only four hits... Harvard, two in Sweden and one somewhere else. None in California. WorldCat is an out growth of OCLC and is an attempt to provide a worldwide catalog of libraries... it is by no means universal yet.  Certainly there are more copies in the world than 4.

I also searched the California Digital Library... nothing.  If it were not so new we could look at Project Runeberg for the full text but it contains only books old enough to be public domain by design. 

The Scandinavian Center at California Lutheran University does not seem have it. If they did, it should show up in WorldCat I think. They do have a set of books on Swedish geography which I will look into when I am out there for the Symposium next month. 



Lynn and Karin:   Thanks again to both of you.


 @Lynn  is Melvyl / Worldcat a public site or limited to those associated with U of C? 

@Karin   The first site said they would have the book "soon".  The second seemed to be a literary listing rather than a store, with only an email contact for the book.  I emailed that address last night, but have not yet received a reply.

Worldcat is a world wide catalog of libraries available to anyone. It show which libraries (they need to be members of Worldcat) have a book. Melvyl was similar and covered just the UC libraries (all of them). (It seems UC may have moved everything to Wroldcat.) The books of course, belong to the libraries. Some books can be borrowed on inter-library loan (see your local library, some cost, limited time) but rare books often are not availalbe except for in-library use.

If you will be traveling to Stockholm, here are a few notes. The royal library is there. Maybe they can help with enskifte information but if you have limited time, research is not what you want to do.  A prominent used book store is afew blocks away.

We loved staying at one of the four hostels (vandrarhem) in Stockholm... Långholmen. This reminds me on Alcatraz. It served as a prison for many years. Converted to a hotel and hostel it is imaculate. The private rooms are old prison cells with heavy wood and iron doors... many have private baths. We brought our own sheets and towels but you can rent on site. It is on a large wooded island (actually most of Stockholm is on islands) in the city, walking distance to the Tbanna (subway) stop. We took the high speed train from Arlanda airport to Centralstation and immediatly bought passes there for the public transportation systems. We did not want to drive and park in Stockholm if we could avoid it. The people at the tourist office were very helpful. We chose to by a temporary membership in STF, the tourist society that seems to manage the hostel system.  

Hostels cater to a wide audience. In Stockholm, judging by the breakfast visitors at Långholmen, they were mostly middle age. We paid less than 500 SEK per night in 2005.  You do the housekeeping. If you don't want the hassle, they also have hotel accomodations in the same building.


Many of the pages seem to be an accounting. Can you briefly explain what it is? 

I wish I had an easy way to capture images of the original script and paste them here. Perhaps with many eyes, we could get a better translation. The pages need someone who understands the legal processes.

Here are two words...   do you have a translation?



They are the column names and seem to be "in" and "out" [credits and debits] of something to do with land.

Here are my attempted transcriptions and translations for two of your pages.

+++++++ page 157

Johannes Jonasson, flyttar sin källare, murad af Sten och? hwälfd med träd 

inrättas med 6. Ök?-dagswerken   ......

Grafves ??och?? Muras samt Täckes med 20-Karle-dagswerken


Johannes Jonasson

, moving his cellar, walled by Stone and? välfd with wood
done with 6 work days......
Dug and walled and covered with 20-days labor. 

+++++++ page 159

                                1849 d?????  ?????????

Arfvodes_Räkning för År 1848.  och 1849    werkställdt, Laga

Skifte i Örsbyholm, upprättad i enlighet med de, i 31.88. af

förrättnings - protocollet anförda, grunder-


Fee Accounting executed for Year 1848 (and 1849) , Laga
Skifte in Örsbyholm, prepared in accordance with the, in 31.88. of 
official protocol cited, grounds-


That 88 is probably a legal paragraph mark, now that I look at it again. 


Thank you Lynn,  you do much better than I at reading and translating the handwriting.

These are very helpful and consistent with  the Laga Skifte process.  

Inrösningsjord  - -   I believe this term refers to cultivated or arable land.

Afrösningsjord  - -  I believe this term refers to land not good enough to grow crops.

Laga Skifte was all about reforming the scattered fragmented small parcels of land a person farmed all around the farm/village into 1 or 2 collected parcels by trading land among farmers such that they all ended up with land equal in productivity to what they had before.  I believe only Inrösningsjord, presumably inside the fence, was included in the exchanges and Afrösningsjord, lands presumably outside the fence, were exempt.

I believe the columns are about accounting the land area and productivity of parcels so that they could be reallocated more rationally and fairly.  Because of the reallocations SOME farms were necessarily assembled some distance from the village, and farmers so affected had to move their family, their buildings and all out to the newly created farm.  I presume the Laga Skifte map and records, document all the land parcels before and after reallocation.  I presume in a way sufficient, that (if you can read it) you can tell on the map where a farmer's original land was, and where his new farm is.  I of course am interested in learning those facts for Johannes Jonasson.  Your reference to moving his cellar corresponds with what another person told me some time ago, i.e.  that Johannes "was one of the lucky ones he only had to move his earth cellar".  I believe Johnnes died in 1849, maybe during the reallocation process... and I cannot find corresponding land notes in his boupptechning that would seem to match up with the Laga Skift document.  I wonder why his widow did not inherit his land.

I am able to capture screen shots, but I'm not familiar with how to post them here.

I am currently trying to translate a Swedish thesis that uses the historic maps with a focus on farmer's buildings, but google fails to translate near enough of the terms to make sense of it.

Thanks again Lynn.


I'm looking at your post again and wondering if you purchased the book. I love old maps and would be interested if it's possible to understand without a knowledge of the language. Have you had success locating maps from Landmäteriet? I find it very confusing also.

Linda:   No I have not obtained the book, as I understand it is not available in English.  I have made only some small progress with help from a friend in Sweden.  I know that "my" Johannes Jonason was not the one who was to moove his earth cellar.  My ancestor died in the process and was represented by another who also died, and was represented by a third.   But I see that interest in the maps is increasing and I am hopeful that a full English explanation may come along.

Locating the maps is not so difficult if you use Google or Bing to translate the explanations for searching on the website.  Reading the maps and the documentation is the hard part.



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