Anyone researching Swedish ancestry faces a few challenges. Assuming that you were not born and raised in that country, you probably have some difficulties with the language and the geography. One free web site won't help your language skills very much, but it will help a lot with the geography.
The Swedish Gazetteer is an online database of more than 57,000 places within Sweden. The site will display maps of Sweden with a bulls-eye drawn on any one of those 57,000 locations. If you find an old record stating that an ancestor was born in Loshult, this site will tell you where that place is. In fact, the Swedish Gazetteer states that Loshult is the name of a church in the municipality of Osby, County of Skåne. However, the name Loshult can also refer to an area in the municipality of Ljungby, Kronoberg County.
This site supports two types of searches, appropriately called "Simple Search" and "Advanced Search. The Simple Search is just that: one fill-in box appears. You can enter the name of any place in Sweden into that fill-in box, and 2 or 3 seconds later a very brief listing of the place appears, along with a map of Sweden with a dot and a surrounding circle pinpointing the place's location.
The Advanced Search contains three fill-in boxes: location name, municipality, and county. This would be good for common names that may have been used in more than one location, such as our previous example of Loshult. If you happened to previously know that the Loshult of your ancestor is in Kronoberg County, the Advanced Search could save some time by quickly identifying the correct one.
With both forms of search, you may use wild cards: * for any number of characters, and ? for any ONE character. This is especially useful if you are unsure about the Swedish spelling, i.e. Sarek*.
The Swedish Gazetteer is part of the National Atlas of Sweden. It is primarily financed through government funding and, to some extent, income from the sale of gazetteer and atlas products. It is available at no charge to anyone with web access.
To read more, or to use the Swedish Gazetteer, go to http://www.sna.se/gazetteer.html