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.
Rullor 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.
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.
Rullor 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.