You may have noticed that there are a lot of headstone photos being collected in Sweden. If you don’t understand Swedish, these photos may be too baffling to transcribe—and if you’re like me, you don’t like having to skip a photo just because of something as silly as a language barrier.

Thankfully, one of our Swedish users has sent in a few tips to help non-Swedish speakers so we can skip fewer headstones and learn something new about Sweden’s graves.

There are a few acronyms to be aware of:

Here, här vilar is written out.

  • H.v.: This stands for här vilar, which in means here rests.
  • F.: This stands for född, which means born. It’s equivalent to née in English. In English, to indicate a maiden name (the name someone is born under), you would write someone’s current first and last name, then née and the maiden name (ex. Laura Jameson née Smith would be a woman who, when she was born, was named Laura Smith). In Sweden, född is used the same way, with född in place of née (Laura Jameson f. Smith). (Trivia for English speakers who didn’t already know, née is French for born, so its use in English is identical to the Swedish word: född and née are the same idea, just communicated with different sounds.)
Axel was a medical officer; Frida’s maiden
name is Nordin.

In the comments on an earlier post, Transcribing Tips & Tricks, a Danish-speaking user also gave a few pointers on Swedish words (Danish and Swedish have several linguistic similarities).

  • Hustrun (and variations) means wife.
  • Makan (and variations) means companion or spouse.
  • Familjegrav indicates that the headstone actually marks a family plot, not one particular head (it sounds a lot like family grave if you say it right). These family plots are very common in the photos that have been collected.
  • A big long word in front of a man’s name probably indicates his profession. (This is why I like to keep Google Translate open when I’m doing transcriptions in languages I don’t know. It increases my chances of not skipping a photo.)

This familjegrav lists individuals;
some don’t.

If you have any other tips about Swedish graves, post them in the comments below. If you have tips about your local graves’ quirks, please email them to kristy.stewart (at) and I’ll put together a post about your area. It’ll help everyone learn something new, and it will get the photos transcribed and searchable more quickly (and more accurately). Do graves in your country (or local area) tend to be grouped into family plots, like the Swedish familjegrav? Is there a tradition of using family mausoleums? Unique ways of formatting names? We’d be happy to have whatever tips or tidbits of information you’d like to share with us.

All photo examples are taken from Norra begravningsplatsen in Sweden.