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

“Statistical Digest of the Swedish Army System” “Grill”

Many persons who research their family history discover an ancestor who was a soldier. When one finds a soldier ancestor, one wants to find out what additional information one can find out about this person in the military records or primarily the general muster rolls. But where does one look in the muster rolls?   Often the church book does not provide any information about which regiment or company the soldier served in.

In order to find an entry point in the general muster rolls, the publication “Statistiskt sammandrag af svenska indelningsverket” or “Statistical Digest of the Swedish Army System” by Claes Lorentz Grill (1817-1907) is a great help. Many researchers refer to this wok as the “Grill”.

“Statistiskt sammandrag af svenska indelningsverket”  was produced in four volumes during the years 1855-1858.

  1. ”Rusthålls-regementene” (1855)  – Calvary regiments
  2. ”Rothålls-regementene” (1856) – Infantry regiments
  3. ”Båtsmans-kompanierne” (1858)  – Navy companies
  4. ”Extra roteringen” (1857) – Extra districts

In ArkivDigital, you will find the four publications in the archive, “Printed literature”, where the volume names are Grill: 1-4.  Also, there is a parish register to the volumes and this is named, “GrillReg: 1”.

For each General Muster Roll archive (Generalmönsterrullor), there is a link to the actual part of the Grill applicable for that regiment. When you select the volume, the text will display the page numbers in the info box where you can find information about this particular regiment as shown in the picture below.

grillinfo

Example on using Grill
Let us assume that we are searching for a soldier who we know from the church records lived in Hinnäs in Stora Malm’s parish.

  1. Click on advanced search.
  2. Select archive type and select the printed literature archive.
  3. Search in the parish register: Tryckt litteratur GrillReg:1 volume.
  4. Search for Stora Malm and you will see “II 38” which directs us to page 38 in the volume Grill: 2.
  5. Open the volume for Grill: 2 and go to page 38. There you will discover that Hinnäs in Stora Malm parish belonged to the Södermanland regiment, Livkompaniet and is rote number 3. (See image below.)

storamalmTryckt litteratur Grill:2 (1856-1856) Image 240 / page 39 (AID: v792654.b240.s39, NAD: SE/AD/00001)  Link

We now have a starting point where we can begin to search for the soldier in the muster rolls for the Södermanland Regiment.

This article was previously published in the Swedish blog on March 13, 2015.  Read the Swedish version.

ArkivDigital