Swedish parish birth records - Anna Abrahamson

Swedish parish birth records can hold so much information. Photos of the original records can be seen on the website of ArkivDigital. Take this parish birth record for example. July 31, 1885 Anna Abrahamson was born in Stommen, Östra Frölunda, Älvsborg (now Vastra Götaland) Sweden. 

I look at it first to verify a birth date but examining other bits of information presented and viewing it in the light of information I already have gathered, this document tells me LOTS about the Abrahamsson family of 1885.

Anna Abrahamson's parish birth and baptismal record
from Arkivdigital

*click on record to enlarge it for easier reading*

Year 1885 birth and baptismal book for Frölunda Parish

Going across the top headings one by one......
*Anna is birth #24 for the year
    more than halfway through the year this is obviously a relatively small parish
*born July 31
*baptized into the Swedish State Church August 10
    We know that the family converted to Seventh Day Adventist. Anna and her older sister Hilma were baptized into the state church, her following siblings were not. Therefore the family must have converted sometime after July 1885 but before Gustav's birth in September of 1887.
*Anna (2nd child of this union)
     If I had not known she had an older sister (Hilma) I now would have a head's up to search earlier birth records. 
*parents are Abrahamson, Robert Albin, farm owner and his wife Karlsdotter, Anna Karolina, who have been married 4 years
  Consulting a list of Swedish occupations of years past I learn the distinction in occupation is made between just farmer and farm owner. Albin owns his farm. The couple married young.
*they reside at Frölunda, Stommen which is found on page 23 of the household examination
   Household Examination books tell lots about a family but they can be hugh and tough for an English speaker to navigate. I now know exactly where to look.
*father is 25 and mother is 26 yrs old at time of the childs birth
   Swedish men did not tend to start a family until established. Many folks therefore did not start their family until approaching 30 or over, not in their teens as some cultures did. Robert is relatively young to have 2 children.    
*her sponsors or those present at her baptism are retired farm owner Karl Anderson and his wife Sara Brita Larsdotter of Skaremo, Häcksvik
 They are Anna's maternal grandparents. Close friends or family members, usually Aunts or Uncles but often grandparents, were chosen as sponsors. His occupation notes he is living on a farm which he previously owned but now he receives his livelihood from the person to whom the farm now belongs, usually a close relative such as a son or son in law. If I had not known the dates of their deaths, knowing they were alive in 1885 would significantly narrow the search.
*Anna Karolina as the mother was reintroduced into the church Sept 6th
   this is an old custom that American Lutherans would have a hard time wrapping their heads around today and ended most everywhere in Sweden after WWII. The mother was not present at her child's baptism. After the birth the mother was to stay indoors until she was "churched". The new mother according to popular belief (not doctrine) was considered "unclean".  Churching began with the Jewish faith and was regarded as a purification. The Virgin Mary was received and purified at the Temple 40 days after giving birth to Christ. The less educated Swedes (90% of the population mainly) continued to see churching as a purifying rite. The Swedish Lutheran church officially taught that the ceremony was gratitude that the mother had returned to the congregation healthy. Before the church service the new mother knelt up front at the alter and the pastor said a prayer of thanks. The mother then rose and shook the pastors hand while he said "The Lord guide you in His truth and fear, now and unto eternity, Amen." Near the end of the 19th century many of the "rules" or customs were relaxing yet some churches were more conservative and old fashioned in their beliefs than others.
* Anna was baptized by the local priest K. A. Johanson 

Anna's birth record has lots more information than just the date of her birth.  Information about the times and culture she was born into, information about her parents, grandparents, etc. It also generates in me more questions.
*Illegitimate births seem rarer in Östra Frölunda than in other areas of Sweden that I have looked at. Is this one of the more conservative parts of the country?
*Anna Karolina's parents, not Robert Albins parents were the sponsors. Had Edvard Julius and Charlotta already converted? Letters in the possession of cousin Ingemar dated earlier in the year 1885 seem to indicate that they had. Had Robert Albin converted but not yet his wife? Was she a willing convert?
*I noticed that other children on the page had two names which was the most common practice at this time. All of the nine Abrahamson children would have one name only. The reason if any

Well I guess that's the problem with being an amateur genealogist. The more you dig, the more you learn, but the more you learn, the more you question.
Oh well, the rain has stopped here in Chicagoland so I think I will move on to one of my other hobbys/passions and see how my hosta garden is doing.
What do you think?
Entering my Hosta garden

Until another time,

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