Boatman Rolls (Båtsmansrullor) – a unique source

boatman1
Karlskrona station: Bohus 1. båtsmanskompani E9:8 (0-9999) Image 128 (AID: v33634.b128, NAD: SE/KrA/0510086Ö) Link.

For those who are interested in researching Navy seamen (båtsmän) in the late 1800’s, the boatman rolls (båtsmansrullorna) are a real goldmine.  In the late 1800’s, a little book was created for each sailor and these books contain much more detailed information than the general muster rolls thus allowing one to easily follow the sailor’s military career.

As an example as to what one can find in a boatman’s roll, we shall look at the roll for Gustaf Johansson Blå, boatman number 189 in Bohus första båtsmanskompani.  The record shown in the above image has two columns.  The first column provides basic information such as birth date and place along with enrollment and discharge dates.  Gustaf was born on the 19th of November in 1862 in Skee parish. In the second column, you will find a detailed physical description of Gustaf at the time of his enrollment.  In this case we see that Gustaf was 169 centimeters tall, had gray-blue eyes, light flax-colored hair, dark eye brows, and a few scars.

boatman2Karlskrona station: Bohus 1. båtsmanskompani E9:8 (0-9999) Image 129 (AID: v33634.b129, NAD: SE/KrA/0510086Ö) Link.

In the boatman rolls, a complete record of when and where the sailor served both on land and sea is recorded (see image above). In Gustaf’s case, 15 different service duties or assignments are noted. One gets to know for example that Gustaf’s career began with a recruiting course at a military school from the 23rd of September 1884 until the 13th of April 1885 and that from the 17th of October 1887 until the 13th of June 1888, he served as a boiler man on the small sailing warship, Balder.

boatman3Karlskrona station: Bohus 1. båtsmanskompani E9:8 (0-9999) Image 132 (AID: v33634.b132, NAD: SE/KrA/0510086Ö) Link.

On the last page of the boatman’s roll, any disciplinary actions were recorded. In Gustaf’s case there are two entries. On the 21st of July 1886 he was sentenced to four days arrest in the guard house for indecent behavior and on the 31st of August 1888, he was sentenced to two months in prison. The reason for the imprisonment was refusal to attend to his duties and disrespect shown toward his superior.

You can find the boatman rolls in ArkivDigital in the various archives for Karlskrona Station and Stockholms Station in the military archive.

Read original blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

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