The Roteman database
Roteman contains records about everyone living in Stockholm from 1878 to 1926. Even a short stay generated a record with personal details, including information about household and family, geographic connections and various comments on health, crime, military service and poor relief. A sizable part of all Swedes living during the fifty-year period, and a number of foreigners, passed through the system at some point, so the database is of national and, indeed, international significance.
The records are stored in about 30.000 ledgers, one per house (property) and time period. A person could remain in the same ledger for years or decades, with accumulated changes. Households and families are structured in the tax record manner, with a head of household, his immediate family, servants, workers and sub-tenants. Each ward (rote) in the city kept its own ledgers, and cooperated closely with parishes, poor relief boards etc. but there was no central office or coordination. Thus, linking persons and households moving between wards, out to other parts of Sweden and coming back, becomes a major challenge, with large variations in spelling and original information quality.
About 40% of the database was transcribed using a simplified method, where some links, relation codes and qualitative fields were left out. The most important of these gaps will be restored in the SwedPop project. The project will also add standardized codes for geographical entities and occupations, as well as causes of death with standard ICD10H codes.
In total, the database contains about 6.3 million main records with 4 million sub-records, linked to about 1.3 million individuals. Production, refining and dissemination has been an ongoing project at the City Archives since 1977, with transcription completed in 2016. The complete database, or processed samples, is available to research as well as to the general public. In the current project “City Faces”, financed by the Swedish Science Council, Roteman records are linked to photographs (portraits) which are matched through image recognition.