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Depending upon the time period and the commonness of your ancestor's first and patronymic surname, Swedish tax lists or Mantalslängder can be used to prove continued residency, help singularly identify men with the same name, prove relationships, fill in for burned or missing church records, and extend a pedigree beyond the beginning of parish registers.
Some Swedish tax lists begin as early as 1620. Others don't begin until the mid 1650s. They are arranged by härad within the county.
Each parish is then listed within the pages the härad covers in that year's list. The parishes are not necessarily in alphabetical order, but as the record keeper took them, or rather copied them into the official book. There may be a page at the beginning of that year's tax list showing which page number
each härad and/or each parish begins on.
It is noted the Mantalslängder are being put online at the Swedish Genline site - so those with a subscription or access to that could search them there. Digital copies of mantalslängder from 1642 to 1820 are available at SVAR, a subscription website that is part of Riksarkivet, the Swedish National Archives. Otherwise, the lists from early to @1860 have been microfilmed by FamilySearch.org and are available to search at the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or, via order to the more than 4,500 FamilySearch Family History Centers around the world. To find the FHL film number for each year's list, go to www.familysearch.org >name of county>taxation.
On the first page for the subject heading of taxation for each county, the FamilySearch Catalogatalog lists the names of all the härads which belong to that county, then the parishes which belong to each härad. Then comes the listing for the tax years. For each year, a film number is given, then, in parentheses, the page number on which that härad's tax lists begin for that year. From 1658 to @1705 each extant years' list was microfilmed. From @1705, lists were filmed and/or are only available every 5 years. It is possible the Swedish National Archives still has the original yearly lists from 1705, if indeed they were taken. (INSERT COPY OF CATALOG ENTRY)
If there are no page numbers listed for individual parishes within the härad, just look very carefully from the first page of the härad thru the double sided book until you find your parish. A new parish listing could begin at the top, middle, or bottom of a page. Once you locate your parish, note the names of the parish immediately before it, and immediately after it. That is because the parishes were generally located in the same order in each year's tax list - so you can more easily find it after the initial search.
The tax list for an annex parish could also be "tucked" inside that of a larger parish, so watch carefully for the names of the parishes. The farms and villages within each parish are then listed in the order the record keeper visited them, not necessarily alphabetical order.
The information given in the tax list varied somewhat from time period to time period and area to area, but, the following pieces of information are generally found in all the lists, going across in columns. The first page of the härad must often be referred to to make sure you know what is being asked for or marked in each column.
In early time periods, only the name of the person responsible for the tax was recorded. All other pieces of information were recorded via slash marks or numbers in the respective columns going across the page, as below:
, *From 1652-1841 eligible taxables (ages 15-63) were listed (either by name or slash mark) under the name of the farm or residence where they were living at the time the roll was taken. *
From 1841-1887 taxables aged 18-63 were listed. *Soldiers were exempt at all times, though their wife and children were taxable. *Nobility and their servants were exempt until 1810 and may or may not be listed.
- Supplemental tax lists could act as a clerical survey in some time periods i.e. listing the names and birthdates of everyone in the household, not just the person responsible for the tax. (INSERT TAX LIST HEADING EXAMPLE):
1) The name of the farm or village area
2) The name of the person responsible for the tax for that piece of land and eligible taxables in his/her household
3) A slash mark indicating that person's wife was alive and of taxable age
4) A slash mark or number indicating how many sons o
f taxable age were residing there that year
5) A slash mark or number indicating how many daughters of taxable age were residing there that year
6) A slash mark or number indicating how many dränger (male farm laborers) the tax payer was responsible for
7) A slash mark or number indicating how many pigör (female farm laborers) the tax payer was responsible for
8) A slash mark or number indicating the number of renters, lodgers, or charitable cases the tax payer was resonsible for
9) Summation column
The items above represent the major columns used in the tax lists from 1620-1860. Columns for sons-in law, parents, sisters, daughters-in-law, and miscellaneous other items may also have been added to the tax lists in some areas of the country for some time periods. Some areas and time periods may also break the columns down into various age groupings, or add other columns for the government's desired purposes.
There is also generally a "remarks" column. This could contain anything from the notation that a person was "sickly" or had a broken leg, and was therefore not taxable that year, to the notation that "Per Larsson's old father Lars Anderson from XYZ parish has come to live with him," to the notation that "Måns Arntsson of XYZ parish married Sissa, daughter of Anders Bengtsson and moved onto her farm." (INSERT EXAMPLE)
Because these notations are not carried over from year to year, it is advised, once you begin a tax list or equivalent search, to read every available year's list for a wide time period. As you come forward in time, in addition to the name of the person responsible for the tax, the first and sometimes patronymic surnames of the male and female farm laborers in the household begin to be listed. Then, the first names of the sons and daughters of the taxpayer began to be listed. Finally, the name of the taxpayer's wife began to appear. Sometimes not until the mid 1800s would there be anything other than "h" for Hustru (wife) listed for her. (Insert example of complete family listing) In early times, if a widow was the person responsible for the tax, her first name might have been listed, or, the notation "Per's Encka" (Per's widow) might just have been given.
Some tax lists have supplemental pages to them, which almost act like a clerical survey record in the information that they give. If, in the FHL listings you see two page numbers listed for a particular härad, the second one is often the supplemental page. (INSERT FHL EXAMPLES)
Names of all family members, as well as birth dates and other pieces of information have been found in supplemental lists. It is advisable to search them when available.
The date a tax list was taken or at least compiled can be genealogically important. Look for that, as well as the signatures of the parish councilmen who affirmed the list was a "true record" at the end of the list. That information has also sometimes been found on the very last page of the lists belonging to that härad.