Swedish Military Blogs

We receive many questions about Swedish military research at conferences and trade shows in North America. Many North Americans discover that one of their ancestors was in the Swedish military serving in the infantry, cavalry or as a båtsman in the Swedish Navy and wish to discover more about their ancestor’s military service.

ArkivDigital’s online library includes many military records from the 1600’s to the 20th century. In our blog, you will find articles about some of the military records in ArkivDigital as well as a few tutorials in how to research your Swedish military ancestor. Today we present a summary of the Swedish military blogs you can find in our English blog.

military recordsGeneralmönsterrullor – Värmlands regemente (S) 216 (1851-1855) Image 2300 (AID: v46609a.b2300, NAD: SE/KrA/0023) Link.

  • Military Rolls (1620-1723)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/military-rolls-rullor-1620-1723/ (Link)
  • Researching in the General Muster Rolls
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/research-soldiers-in-the-general-muster-rolls-example-jan-fras/ (Link)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/statistical-digest-of-the-swedish-army-system-grill/ (Link)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/general-muster-rolls/ (Link)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/general-muster-roll-column-headings/ (Link)
  • Naval (Flottan)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/navy-flottan-documents-an-overview/(Link)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/boatman-rolls-batsmansrullor-a-unique-source/ (Link)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/naval-ship-muster-rolls-skeppsmonsterrullor/ (Link)
  • Military Pension Records
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/soldier-pension-documents-pensioner-olof-ceder/ (Link)
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/more-military-pension-documents-in-arkivdigital/ (Link)
  • Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers’ Service Records
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/armys-pension-funds-list-of-qualifications-armens-pensionskassas-meritband/ (Link)
  • Great Northern War Documents
    http://blog.arkivdigital.net/swedish-soldiers-captured-at-poltava-what-can-one-discover-about-them/ (Link)

ArkivDigital

Military rolls (rullor) 1620-1723

Often in researching our Swedish ancestors, we discover an ancestor who was a cavalryman (ryttare) or soldier (soldat). Or even possibly an officer. We want to know more about our ancestor’s military life. The general muster rolls (generalmönsterrullorna) are an important source for military research. These begin in the late 1600’s and continue until the end of the 1800’s. You can find the general muster rolls in ArkivDigital by entering rullor in the search box. There you will see some earlier rolls of military records. There is an archive named “Rullor 1620-1723” In this archive, there are hundreds of volumes. So far, we have photographed the documents 1620-1659 and then some individual volumes after that. There is an ongoing project at the  Military Archives of Sweden to digitize these documents.

Below are some tips for searching in these records.

If your ancestor is an ordinary cavalryman or soldier, a little more searching is required before you find the correct source. Knowing that a cavalryman belonged to a cavalry regiment and a soldier belonged to an infantry regiment is a good start. That way you know which type of regiment to search. They are often grouped by the name of the regiment after county/province (län/landskap). If you have more information about him for example the name of his commander one can find some helps via a name register. If your ancestor was an officer, you can look for him directly in the name register (personregister).

In the series or archive “Rullor 1620-1723”, you will find 15 volumes called Personregister at the top of the volume list. If you hold your mouse over (i) or click once on the volume, you will get more information on which names are included in the volume. Let us say that we are searching for Lars Jakobsson who we know was a second lieutenant (fänrik) in the 1640’s, we will find a name register card for him.

registerlarsskooRullor 1620-1723 PersonReg:6 (1620-1699) Image 3015 (AID: v793063.b3015, NAD: SE/KrA/0022) Link.

The references point to the year and volume. In addition, we get references to other volumes where we can find more information about his military career. Thus in these records, we have a good summary of the military careers of all the Swedish military officers for most of the 1600’s. If in the upper right hand corner stands the number “1”, that means that there are more register cards for this person, something to think about.

The card shows us that Lars Jakobsson Skoo was a second lieutenant in the Åbo regiment. Since Finland was part of Sweden at this time, records for the Finnish regiments are included in this material. He changes regiments and becomes a second lieutenant in the Björnborg regiment and if one looks at the next card, we see that he becomes a lieutenant (löjtnant). References at the top are for the year 1641 and volume 12. The next step is to search in the volume list for the 12th volume in the year 1641 or volume 1641:12.

search rullor

Check in the beginning of the volume to see if there is a register of regiments and companies.  After some searching, we find the right regiment and company and even Lars Jacobsson.

larsjohansson1641Rullor 1620-1723 1641:12 (1641-1641) Image 130 / page 8 (AID: v751076.b130.s8, NAD: SE/KrA/0022) Link.

To the right of his name is written, Gamble Ryttmästaren Jacob Nilssons son, hafuer tient i Tyssland för een gemen Ryttare, under Sal: Johan Muncks Comp. (Old calvary captain Jacob Nilsson’s son, who served in Germany as a regular cavalryman, in Sal: Johan Munck’s Company).

The officers are always listed first followed by the regular soldiers. In this case, on the right side you can see a list of soldiers. If your ancestor was a private or regular soldier, this is where you would look.

Read original article in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Russians who worked on the Göta Canal

Gota canal russiansGöta kanalbolag EII:8 (1813-1813) Image 67 / page 60 (AID: v89674.b67.s60, NAD: SE/VALA/02660) Link.

We previously published a blog about the Göta Canal Company’s archive in ArkivDigital. (Link to blog entry.)  In that blog, we pointed out a list of Russians in the pioneer company (pionjärkompaniet) who signed up to work on the canal so that they could return to Russia. You can find more information about these Russians who helped build the canal in several archival sources.

Approximately 60,000 men worked on building the canal between 1810 and 1832. The majority of these were Swedish soldiers from sixteen different regiments along with two naval companies. In addition a company of Russian deserters (pionjärkompaniet) also worked on the canal.

In the volume Göta kanalbolag EII: 8 on pages 58-65, you will find an inspection roll for the pioneer company (pionjärkompaniet). The roll was created at the mustering at Forsviks bruk on the 29th of May 1813. Above is an image of a page from the roll. The record shows the name, age and height of each person in the company. Occasionally in the remarks column are notes indicating if the person was ill or given special orders.

Even in the church books, you can find information about these Russians.The image below is a birth record from 1814 in the Bällefors C: 5 volume. In this birth book, you can find a number of children with Russian fathers.

ballefors birthBällefors (R) C:5 (1807-1852) Image 32 (AID: v28848.b32, NAD: SE/GLA/13073) Link.

Read blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Saltpeter Collector (Salpetersjudare) Important job for manufacturing gunpowder

saltpeter1Krigskollegium Artilleridepartementet F2a:2 (1764-1804) Image 212 (AID: v50440.b212, NAD: SE/KrA/0003) Link.

Occasionally at conferences in North America, a customer has asked,” I have an ancestor who was a salpetersjudare?  What is that occupation?” It is a saltpeter collector or sometimes referred to as saltpeter maker.

As the Swedish army increasingly used rifles and cannons, there was a great need for gunpowder. Gunpowder consisted of 75% saltpeter. Large concentrations of saltpeter were found in the soil under farm buildings and stables. Since saltpeter was so important in the production of gunpowder, it came to be that the soil under many farm buildings was declared to be royal property. In the beginning the farmers collected and delivered the saltpeter themselves, but soon a new profession was created, saltpeter collectors.

The saltpeter collectors traveled around to the farms and dug up the floors of the barns or stables and collected the soil and then boiled and seethed it for about six or seven days. Then the pure saltpeter was transported to the gunpowder factory where gunpowder was produced.

In the series Krigskollegium Artilleridepartementet, there are three volumes with muster rolls for the saltpeter collectors or makers (salpetersjudarna) from 1693 – 1805. These muster rolls are organized in the same way as the ones for cavalrymen and soldiers.

To search for these archives enter the search words: Krigskollegium Artilleridepartementet in the search box.

The image at the top of the page is the muster roll for the saltpeter collectors of Skåne and Blekinge counties. The mustering was held on the 29th of April 1778.

salpeter2Krigskollegium Artilleridepartementet F2a:1 (1693-1757) Image 92 (AID: v50439.b92, NAD: SE/KrA/0003) Link.

Sometimes you will find more information about a person who was a saltpeter collector. In the above image you see in the third row Anders Erichsson from Lerdala parish in Skaraborg county. He was born in 1699 and became a saltpeter collector in 1721. On the right side there is a note giving more information about him.

Siuk af et hug i wänstra knäet och bewitnades af des Cammerater at wara oduglig. Recommenderas till afskied, medan han och intet kunnat giöra något arbete för åhr 1726.

Disabled by a stab in the left knee and testimony by his comrades stated that he was unfit. Recommended for discharge, meanwhile he wasn’t able to work in 1726.

Read blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

7 million images have been added during 2015!

Produktkatalog

Estate Inventories (Bouppteckningar)
During the year, our major project to photograph all of Sweden’s estate inventories for the period 1901-1960, continued. We have added many estate inventories for various years in different counties.  You can read a status update of our estate inventory project in this blog entry.

Court Records
We have now completed projects for photographing the prison lists for all of Sweden from the Office of the Chancellor of Justice and also the Supreme Court protocols. The prison lists from the Office of Chancellor of Justice are available for the period 1750-1825 and the Supreme Court protocols are available for the period 1694-1800.

Documents concerning World War II
A number of records concerning Sweden during the Second World War had been added:

  • Spy and espionage documents from “Stockholms rådhusrätt 1850-1947, Avdelning 5, Avdelningen för spionmål”.
  • Air crashes from ”Flygstaben: Centralexpeditionen”.
  • Beredskapsverket” which consists of the Swedish military defense readiness official military history work. The main material is found in “Beredskapsverket, Avdelning 1”. In “Beredskapsverket, Avdelning 13”, are documents concerning the operations Save Denmark (Rädda Danmark) and Save Norway (Rädda Norge).
  • Documents from the C-byrån, which covered secret intelligence outside Sweden’s borders.

Older military records
Military pension documents from several archives have been added, which we have described in two blogs:

Before the general muster rolls began in the 1680’s, the collection “Rullor 1620-1723” was the primary source for military research. During 2015, we have added the volumes for the years 1620-1647 to ArkivDigital’s online archive.

Records outside of Sweden
The biggest project outside of Sweden during the year was the photographing of the Swedish American congregation church books in Kansas. Most of the volumes are now online but it won’t be until the beginning of next year before the project is complete. An overview of the Kansas collection is found in this blog entry.

During the spring, church books from several Swedish congregations outside of Sweden became available in ArkivDigital.

Concerning other records outside of Sweden, we want to also mention that we have begun to add documents from the seamen homes in Åland,Finland: Mariehamn seaman house and Vårdö seaman house. This project will be completed in the beginning of 2016.

Read blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Navy (flottan) documents – an overview

boatmandec1Rullor flottan 1635-1915 Ib:70 (1810-1810) Image 250 (AID: v390213.b250, NAD: SE/KrA/0503036) Link.

ArkivDigital has photographed many documents which include information about naval (flottan) employees. This blog gives a short overview of the sources that are available in ArkivDigital.

To research a person who served in the Navy (flottan), one begins by looking at what is available in the archive, Rullor flottan 1635-1915. The seamen (båtsmännen) have their own series of records, Rullor båtsmanskompanier (volumes IV: 1-79). In this series, you will find different types of records regarding the seamen including the general muster rolls. The seamen muster rolls are organized in the same manner as the muster rolls for soldiers. (Link to blog about general muster rolls.) In these muster rolls, one can follow a sailor’s career from enlistment to discharge.

In the archive, Rullor flottan 1635-1915, there are many other types of records. The archive is divided into a number of diverse record series such as: rolls for companies in Karlskrona, Stockholm and Göteborg (Rullor Karlskrona, Stockholm och Göteborg), rolls for non-commissioned officers (Underofficersrullor), rolls for the company of young sailor boys (Rullor skeppsgossekompanier), rolls of seaman companies (Rullor matroskompanier), rolls of the companies in Finland (Finska rullor), rolls for navigators and civil workers in the pilot service (Lotsrullor) as well as a large number of various rolls for officers and crew at the Stockholm station.

botsman1201secondRullor flottan 1635-1915 XII:16 (1791-1791) Image 113 (AID: v398912.b113, NAD: SE/KrA/0503036) Link.

In the archive, Rullor flottan 1635-1915, one not only finds information about the seamen but much more. The archive includes records series for various workgroups such as carpenters and other tradesmen. One workgroup that has its own series is the pilots (lotsarna) or navigators in the piloting service The image above is from a lotsrulla from the year 1791.

In addition to the archive, Rullor flottan 1635-1915, there are a number of other archives and records that provide information about the Navy (flottan).  Below is a list of the most important sources found in ArkivDigital.

Seaman Records (Båtsmansrullor): In the late 1800’s, a little book was created for each seaman and these books contain much more detailed information than the general muster rolls thus allowing one to easily follow the seaman’s career. You can find the boatman rolls in ArkivDigital in the various archives for Karlskrona Station and Stockholm Station in the military archive. Read more here. These records are now completely available in ArkivDigital.

Naval Ship Muster Rolls (Skeppsmönsterrullor)The Naval Ship Muster Rolls (Skeppsmönsterrullor) offer information about a ship’s sailings as well as who served on the vessel. These records are found in the following archive, Flottans arkiv: Amiralitetskollegiets med efterföljares kontor, Arméns flotta, loggböcker, rullor m.m.: Sjöexpeditioner, skeppsmönsterrullor 1689-1873Read more here.

Service Records (Meritförteckningar): In the archive, Meritförteckningar flottan, you can find detailed information both about officers and non-commissioned officers. You can follow each person’s military career including information such as education, promotions, peace time activities together with completed expeditions and other trips.

Pension documents (Pensionshandlingar): In the archive, Flottans pensionskassa, you will find records for the personnel who received a pension (gratial).  Read more here.

Read blog entry in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

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

Research Soldiers in the General Muster Rolls – Example Jan Fräs

gmbookcoverGeneralmönsterrullor – Dalregementet 123 (1841-1845) Image 20 (AID: v372940a.b20, NAD: SE/KrA/0023)  Link.

The primary records for researching soldiers and officers from the 1680’s to the 1880’s are the general muster rolls. Earlier we wrote two blogs about the general muster rolls:  General Muster Rolls and General Muster Roll Column Headings. Today, we will show you how to follow a soldier’s military career in the muster rolls.

The general musters were usually held every three to five years. The muster rolls are organized by regiments and companies within each regiment. Each military rote within a company has its own number and sometimes it is called the soldier number. In the church book or household record, often the only information you will see for the soldier is the village or torp and parish where he lived. In order to locate the regiment and company the soldier served with you can use the publication “Statistiskt sammandrag af svenska indelningsverket” or “Statistical Digest of the Swedish Army System” by Claes Lorentz Grill or “The Grill”. You can find more information about how to use “The Grill” in ArkivDigital by clicking here.

1841-1845muster rollGeneralmönsterrullor – Dalregementet 123 (1841-1845) Image 3750 (AID: v372940a.b3750, NAD: SE/KrA/0023)  Link.

In this case, we shall follow the military career of Jan Fräs in the general muster rolls. He was a soldier at rote number 41 in Gustaf’s company in the Dal Regiment (Dalregementets). The above image is showing him in the Dal Regiment’s general muster roll for 1845. In the image we see that he enrolled in the military on the 21st of December 1841. He is 27 years old, has served in the military for 3 ½ years, is approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall and that he is married (gift). This record gives his patronymic name, Jan Andersson. In the far right hand column, there is a note that he was present and approved at the general muster.  (Note pr. is an abbreviation for the Latin word praesens meaning present.)

1849 Muster RollGeneralmönsterrullor – Dalregementet 124 (1849-1852) Image 1580 (AID: v372941a.b1580, NAD: SE/KrA/0023) Link.

The above image is from the general muster roll for 1849. This is also a good example showing the detail you can find in the rolls. This one has more detail than the one in 1845. In the 1845 roll, the soldier’s name, Fräs, is only shown in the rote name column but in this roll, we find out where the rote was located: Fagerbackens by in Stora Tuna parish in Falu county. In the text below Jan Fräs’s name, we find information about his birth date and birth parish.

förut kallad Jan Andersson född i St. Tuna Socken af Fahlu Län den 18 December 1818. Antagen den 21 December 1841.

Previously named Jan Andersson born in Stora Tuna parish in Falu county on the 18th of December 1818. Enrolled on the 21st of December 1841.

In the 1852 general muster there is no new information presented. It is noted that he was present at the muster. The 1856 muster roll indicates that he was not present because he was sick in the hospital “sjuk på sjukhuset”. See image below.

sick at the hospita

Generalmönsterrullor – Dalregementet 125 (1856-1856) Image 1820 (AID: v372942.b1820, NAD: SE/KrA/0023) Link.

Jan was not at the muster in 1859 but he was at home. A doctor’s certificate dated the 9th of May 1859 was attached to his record in the general muster roll showing that he was still recovering from pneumonia and therefore was not able to be present. See text and image below.

Att Soldaten No 41 Fräs vid Gustafs compagnie af Kong. Dal-Regementet, hvilken genomgått en lunginflammation, ännu icke är så tillfrisknad att jag anser honom kunna inställa sig vid samlingen för Jernvägs Commenderingen, intygas. Barkgärdet den 9 Maij 1859.

doctor's certificateGeneralmönsterrullor – Dalregementet 126 (1859-1863) Image 1610 (AID: v372943b.b1610, NAD: SE/KrA/0023) Link.

In the 1863 muster roll, we see the end of Jan’s career as a soldier. The notation in the last column states,”Begär och får afsked för intygad sjuklighet. Tjent väl.”  He requested to be discharged because of ill health and was granted an honorable discharge.  See image below.1863 General muster rollGeneralmönsterrullor – Dalregementet 126 (1859-1863) Image 5930 (AID: v372943b.b5930, NAD: SE/KrA/0023) Link.

Link to the original blog in Swedish.

ArkivDigital

Pension Documents for Soldiers – Pensioner Olof Ceder

PensionairKrigskollegium Krigsmanshuskontoret D:37 (1845-1848) Image 2270 / page 193 (AID: v777326.b2270.s193, NAD: SE/KrA/0014) Link.

If you are interested in military history, you will find a wealth of records in ArkivDigital’s online library.  The most common records for researching Swedish soldiers are the general muster rolls but there are many other records.  Some soldiers received a pension (gratial). You will find many documents in the Krigskollegium Krigsmanshuskontoret archive concerning pensioners. Of special interest, are the volumes titled, Underhållsprojekt. In these records, you will often discover the reason why the soldier received a pension.

The above image was taken out of the collection for the 1848 underhållsprojekt or support project for Hälsinge for the soldier, Olof Ceder. (See above image). We can read the following information about him.

Soldaten Olof Ceder, om hvilken läkarebetyg af den sista December 1847 innehåller: att han som 1843 erhöll afsked för svagt bröst och andtäppa, är i så hög grad beswärad af nämnde åkomma, som äfven förenat sig med giktvärk i lederna, att han deraf hindras att gå längre väg; hans hörsel- och synförmåga äro äfven i hög grad försvagade, hvarigenom han är urståndsatt att genom kroppsarbete förtjena sitt uppehälle. Med Juni månad år 1845 slutade hans expectancetid, hvadan han till underhåll är berättigad från den 1sta Juli 1845. Afskedad vid Generalmönstring den 28de Juni 1843.

Translation
The physician’s certificate for Olof Ceder dated December 1847 states: that he was discharged from military service in 1843 because he was suffering greatly from a weakened chest and difficulties breathing combined with arthritic joints that made it difficult for him to walk.  In addition he was suffering from both hearing and vision losses whereby he was no longer capable to work to earn a living.  In June 1845, he was granted authorization to receive support beginning the 1st of July 1845.
Discharged at the general muster on the 28th of June 1843.

The numbers in the bottom right of the record include his age, 48 years and 8 months, time spent in the military service, 28 years, and his pension amount, 8 riksdaler.

To find these records in ArkivDigital, go to the search window.

  1. Select advanced options.
  2. Select the archive type: military archives.
  3. Select the archive: Krigskollegium Krigsmanshuskontoret.
  4. Click on the volume underhållsprojekt for the desired year.

search window pensions

Read original article in Swedish.

ArkivDigital