Hospital Records for the County Hospital of Östergötland 1838–1895

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In Sweden in the middle ages it was the church which supplied medical care either through hospitals or helgeandshus. In Östergötland, there were two middle age’s hospitals: one in Skänninge, which started in 1268 and one in Söderköping, which started in 1277. The first appearance of a helgeanshus in Östergötland is in 1330 in Söderköping. Others followed in Skänninge, 1331, Linköping, 1342 and Vadstena, 1401. There was a large increase in the number of hospitals in the 18th and 19th centuries. Most often, hospitals ended up with “impossible cases” but avoided social outcasts such as prostitutes and alcoholics. In the modern sense, there were no hospitals until the beginning of the 19th century. Before 1750, medical care was usually financed by charitable organizations, church, or guilds.
The term hospital was reserved for those places that provided care for the mentally ill. From the end of the 19th century, these were referred to as “sinnessjukhus”  and in the 20th century as mental hospitals. Hospitals treating venereal diseases were called “kurhus”.

County Health Council

The health councils were started in 1862 with the new law that gave municipalities the possibility to work together to create collective health councils. Östergötland created a health council including all its municipalities. In 1862, Östergötland had four hospitals: in Norrköping, Linköping, Söderköping and Vadstena. Finspång and Kisa got medical care in the 1870s. In 1872, however, Norrköping left the Östergötland’s Health Council and did not rejoin until 1967 (for which reason, hospital records from between 1872 and 1966 can be found in Norrköping’s archive).

The County Hospital as it looks today.
The County Hospital as it looks today
County Hospital

The first provincial hospital was built in Östergötland in 1777 in Linköping. The hospital was built on the original medieval hospital’s site. The building is still present, squeezed between modern apartment buildings. A permanent hospital was opened in 1848 in the old military barracks.
The hospital has different fees for different patients depending upon their personal wealth, and correspondingly different care levels. As an example, in 1896, first-class treatment cost 75 öre per day while second-class treatment was 40 öre. Private rooms cost between three and five crowns and two-person room cost between 1.5 and 2 crowns per day.
A new hospital was opened in September, 1895, an extension epidemic sicknesses was built in 1910 and another for tuberculosis in 1929 (which became the central hospital building later). A children’s unit was added in 1930, the result of a donation from the Östergötland’s Children Union. After a state decision in 1960, the central hospital became a regional hospital and in 1971 the main block was built. Today research and medical training are conducted at the University Hospital. The first students were admitted in 1986, with the first graduations in 1992.

The database contains 22 170 records with information about:

  • Admission date
  • Identity number
  • Profession
  • Name (divided into given names and family names)
  • Gender
  • Birth date
  • Age (year, month, day)
  • Residence
  • Class (self paying or not)
  • Room number
  • Illness (the name of the illnes: the name of the illness is missing between 1886–1895)
  • Admission number
  • Health state upon discharge (four categories: healthy, improved, incurable or dead)
  • Notations
Transcription to Database

The county hospital records cover the period 1838–1895, volumes G4a:1–34. Hospital records are hospital patient’s care notes.
The transcription from the original tomes to the on-line databases has maintained the notation, spelling, etc. of the original documents. The exception is that dates have been written in the modern style, to be more compatible with on-line searching. All transcription was done directly from the originals and the Region Archive of Östergötland, supplied all the fines registers. ArkivData in Norrköping have carried out digitalization of the originals.

References to the Database

Region Archive of Östergötland, Hospital Records for the County Hospital of Östergötland , 1838–1895, volumes G4a:1–34. Linköping University Electronic Press,


Ahnlund, Hans-Olof och Hallqvist, Lars. Norrköpings lasarett 200 år. Från curhus till länssjukhus. En jubileumsskrift. Linköping: Östra hälso- och sjukvårdsdistriktet, Östergötlands läns landsting, 1985.

Hellström, Sven (red.). Linköpings historia, del 3, Tiden 1567–1862. Samhällsliv och kulturliv. Linköping: Kommittén för Linköpings historia, 1976.

Hellström, Sven (red.). Linköpings historia, del 4, Tiden 1863–1910. Linköping: Kommittén för Linköpings historia, 1978.

Johannisson, Karin. Medicinens öga. Sjukdom, medicin och samhälle – historiska erfarenheter. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1990.

Nilsson, Hans (red.). Norrköpings historia. 1900-tal. Linköping: Centrum för lokalhistoria, Linköpings universitet, 2000.

Olofsson, Lars. Det lilla lasarettet mitt i stan. Länslasarett i Linköping 1782–1895. Linköping 1989

Olofsson, Lars. Från länslasarett till regionsjukhus. Länslasarettet i Linköping 1895–1960, del 2. Linköping 1994.

Schött, Harald. Östergötlands läns landsting 1863–1912. Linköping 1921.

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