Census Sunday - Abrahamsson Family of Östra Frölunda, 1908-1922

Husförhörslängd for Östra Frölunda, Stommen 1908-1915

*click to enlarge*

A little explanation of the "husförhör" for those not familiar.

Sweden in the early days did not have a census, per say. Lutheranism became the state religion in 1593, and for three centuries, all Swedes had to belong to the church. Since the 1850's, they have not even had to be baptized to be counted as members (I can imagine how this frosted my Great grandfather Robert Albin). Not until 1951 could they legally quit the church and stop paying it 1.1 percent of their annual income in taxes. The separation became complete at the turn of this century. The church still held a monopoly on funeral homes and graveyards (the reason the Abrahamssons although SDS are buried in the Östra Frölunda churchyard). The king of Sweden no longer has to be a Lutheran but the current king stated he was and would remain a man of faith. The "husförhörslängd" (household examination) was a record similar in format to a census but has so much more information than our census records. The parish was divided into smaller groups for each "husförhör", the meeting at which the people were asked questions about what they knew about the Bible, Luther's Catechism, etc. Each group met with the local parish priest at a predesignated home for the exam. The local parish priest was responsible to the bishop yearly as to the outcome. By the 20th century the household examination part was dropped but the parish still was responsible to account for all of the church members (which by law was everyone).

a gathering for the household examination

Frölunda Stommen 1908-1922 - The Abrahamsson household

My great grandfather Robert Albin is listed first as the head of the house, his occupation is "hemmansegare" (farm owner). "Gift" (married) 16 Jul 1881. The dates of each household member's birth and the place of their birth is also listed. In this time frame it would not longer be necessary but the priest notes "icke döpt" (not baptised) for all the children of Albin and Anna from Gustav on down which may indicate they live in a conservative parish or the priest himself marks them as a sign of his disapproval (note the underline). Hilma and Anna had been baptised which tells me the family converted to SDS sometime from 1885-1887. A name crossed out means they left the parish and if they returned they are again written in. To the far right is listed where they left to and when. Hilma left for the town of Borås where she received her education in 1910 and she returned to Stommen from Ultrishamn in 1915. Gustaf married and is now listed on page 110 of this same accounting. Here is where I saw for the first time that Seth also went to N. Amerika in 1912 and he returned the next year 1913. One of these days I am going to attempt to explore the hows and whys of his trip to N. Amerika. The sixth column "v" indicates all the adults have been vaccinated for smallpox. Anna's three children have not but would have been vaccinated before entering the US, most likely even before boarding the ship. In the notes column it tells Anna's husband's name, when he left and where to. Anna Karolina and her daughter Anna are listed occupation "hustru" (housewife). All three adult males, Robert, Gustaf and Seth have paid taxes to the church. Another slap in the face to Robert no doubt!

Loads and loads of information can be found on the Swedish parish records. Unfortunately only available by paid subscription. Oh those "fattig" Swedes! The Norwegians make their records available to all for free. My Norwegian maternal grandmother used to say. "The Swedes, deep pockets and short arms." Have you found that to be true?