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Military Strategies and Tools for Swedish Family History
Sweden was founded in 1523 with Gustav Vasa as king. Since this time forward to the present, Sweden has continually had a military. During this time hundreds of thousands have served and have been an important part of the population. The many wars during the 17th and 18th centuries involved a significant portion of the male population. Many people with Swedish ancestry can trace their lineage back to an ancestor who served in one of the branches of the Swedish Military. Various records have been created and preserved for those serving in the military. These records may give information to help extend a line or they may give insight into the ancestor’s life and living conditions thus creating a richer family history record.
Research Strategy (1692-1901)Step 1: Military records are organized by regiment (by company for the Navy). Before beginning research in Swedish military records, you need to determine the branch of the military, the regiment, company and the soldier number for your military person. The first step is to find out these 5 things about your military person.
|Must Know||Why?||Resources to help find it|
|1. Branch of Military||Military records are organized by regiment within a branch of the military.||The occupational title of the man found in the church records will identify the branch.|
|2. Regiment||Military records are organized by regiment within a branch of the military.|| Grill's Books|
Maybe the Central Soldier Index
|3. Company number or name||Knowing the company will narrow down your search and save time.|| Grill's Books|
Maybe the Central Soldier Index
|4. Military number of the man||Knowing the man's number will save time in searching for your soldier as they are listed in numerical order.|| Grill's Books|
Maybe the Central Soldier
|5. Time period of service||The military man is generally only recorded in military records while in active service.||If he is listed with one of the military occupational titles in the church records,he is in active service at that time period. "Avsked" with a title indicates that he has been discharged and is no longer in the service.|
Occupational Title of Military Man
To find the branch of the military in which your ancestor served, note his occupational title used in the church records (christenings of his children, his marriage, his death, the death of his children or wife, household examination records). Compare the occupational title of your military man to the table below to determine the branch of the military.
|Occupational Title||Branch of military||Allotment Division|
|Artilleristen||Artillery/Army||Professional and enlisted men stationed in various garrisons in Sweden and coastal garrisons 1681-1793 (not part of the allotment)|
|Grenadier||Cavalry or Infantry/Army||Rusthåll/Rote|
Examples of military occupation titles in Church Records
Household Examination Record with Sold. (Soldat) Clas Nilss. Bohm. Sold. indicates that he was in the infantry. AD online Daretorp parish AI:1 1790-1812 b.75 s. 136
Birth Record of Gjertru daughter of Båtsm. (Båtsman) Måns Brink and wife Ingri Svensdotter. Båtsm. (Båtsman) indicates he was in the Navy. AD online Fridlevstad CI:4 (1766-1834) Bild 148/sid 285 (v95712.b148.s285).
Marriage Record of Ryttaren Åke Modig and pigan Elna Trulsdotter. Ryttaren indicates the groom was in the Cavalry. AD online Glumslöv EI:1 (1796-1861) Bild 7/sid 11. (v.109477.b7s11)
Sources: "Soldatforskning – några grundläggande källor”. Lars Ericson Wolke. SLÄKT Historiskt Forum NR 4 2010 page 29-31
Research of Soldiers, Sweden. Hans Högman. http://www.algonet.se/~hogman/swegen.htm “Find Your Ancestors in the Swedish Military Sources”.
Using Grill’s books
To find the name of the regiment in which your ancestor served, consult the set of books called “Statistiskt sammandrag af Svenska indelningsverket” (Statistical Digest of the Swedish Army System) commonly called “Grill”. During the years 1855-1858, Claes Lorentz Grill, an artillery officer, compiled two volumes containing four parts.
Volume one contains part 1 which includes: 1. An index of parishes in Sweden 2. A lengthy introduction to the allotment system, 3. Tables of the cavalry regiments Volume two contains parts 2 - 4. 1. Part 2 – tables of the infantry regiments 2. Part 3 – tables of the navy companies 3. Part 4 – tables of the extra units
Steps to finding regiment in Grill 1. In the index of parishes at the beginning of part 1 Volume one find your parish.
Image: Parish Index in Grill
The parishes are arranged alphabetical followed by an alphabet letter in parenthesis. The letter designates the name of the county. (For a list of the counties with their assigned alphabetical letter click here). Next will be a Roman numeral which indicates the part number in Grill’s books. The number following the Roman numeral is the page where this parish in found in the particular part indicated. Example: Folkärna is in (W) county which is Kopparberg county part two (Volume 2) page 29. It is also found in part four (Volume 2) page 10.
2. Once you know the volume number, part number and page number in Grill’s books turn to the page. Here you will find the name of the regiment, company name and/or number, Soldier number of individual. (Note: Grill’s books are reliable only after 1858. Before 1858 company numbers may vary. Also the books were compiled before the spelling reform and will contain the old spellings of places.)
Example: Skärsta parish (Jönköping county) is found in volume two, part two, page 148 By turning to page 148 the name of the regiment is written across the top of the page. Find Skärsta parish on the left of page. Here we see all the names of the rotar that supplied soldiers. These farms were named Gestra, Rudu, V. Bosgård, N. Bosgård, Edsqvarna, Krubbarp, etc. Some rotar supplied more than 1 soldier. Each soldier was given a number and the soldier number (or numbers) follow the name of the rote. This particular parish was responsible to supply 38 soldiers to the Jönköping regemente. Notice the columns to the right. All the companies in the regemente are listed. In the column labeled “N:o 1 Lif-Kompaniet” the number 38 is written. All 38 soldiers were serving in this regiment. The numbers in the righthand columns indicate the company name and/or number.
Image: Skärsta parish on page 148
The navy was not divided into regiments but was divided into companies with each company assigned to a naval base. For example here we see that the parish of Onsala in Halland County was assigned to supply 13 sailors to the “Norra Hallands (1:a) Båtsmans-Kompani which belonged to the Karlskrona navy base. Name of Company is given at top of page. The Naval base (instead of regiment) is given just below the name of the Company . Again the rotar or rusthåll that supply the sailors are listed along with the sailor numbers. Onsala supplied 13 sailors (numbers 1 through 13). Valda parish supplied 9 sailors (numbers 14 through 22).
Image: Onsala parish page 52 (Part III)
Source: Släktforskarna och Krigsarkivet, En vägvisare till de militära källorna. Meddelanden från Krigsarkivet XIX. Page 51 ”At hitta rätt kompanie”.
Translations of above article
When someone doing Swedish genealogical research finds an ancestor listed as a soldier in the household examination record new opportunities are opened but also some problems. As a rule only the title (type of military service) is given in the household examination record – that means “soldat” (foot soldier), “ryttare” (cavalryman), batsman (sailor) or the like. To find a soldier in the regiment archive only with the help of the title is possible but will take a very long time. It is therefore, simplier to find out which regiment and company to which the soldier belonged.
Thanks to the artillery officer, Claes Lorentz Grill (1817-1907) there is a simpler way. During the 1850’s he wrote “Statistiskt sammandrag af svenska indelningverket eller tabellariska förteckningar öfver arméens boställen samt öfver samtlige rusthåll och rothåll i riket” (Statistical summary of the Swedish Allotment System or Table lists over the military residences and the units supplying men for the military) commonly referred to as ”Grill”. At the first glance it appears rather complicated with many tables and columns but it is very easy to use when the system is understood.
“Grill” consists of four parts (indicated by Roman numerals) which came out separately during the years 1855-1858. They were later compiled in two volumes which the first volume consisting of part I and the other consisted of parts II-IV. Part I contains a lengthy introduction to the allotment system, the history, the organization, recruiting, discharging, and many other things – very interesting reading. Later follow the tables of the cavalry regiments (rusthållet).
In the second volume is part II about the infantry regiments (rotehållet) and part III covers the navy (båtsmanshållet) . Finally comes part 4 which covers the extra units called at times of war and special needs.
The tables for the cavalry and the infantry regiments are arranged in the same manner, but sometimes use different meanings. The Cavalry’s unit responsible to supply a cavalryman was the rusthåll while the comparable unit responsible for the infantry soldier was the rotar. The cavalrymen were in Skvadroner (Squadrons) and the infantry were in companies. Hereafter companies and rotar will be used while talking about both the cavalry and the infantry.
The tables begin with a short description of the regiment, when it was created, name changes and reorganizations, and how many men were serving Thereafter follows an enumeration of all the officer’s residences listed after the officeräs rank, with the name of the residence, the size and where it was located. Furthest to the right in the table if information about which rank and company the residence belonged to before 1833.
Under the heading “Nummerstyrkans Förläggning och Indelning i Kompanier” comes the pages wich are of real interest for the genealogist. Her are listed all the rusthåll and rotar within the regiment. All the rotar from a specific parish are readily shown together. The parishes in turn are organized by härads and by län. The rotar are mentioned by name and number. Furthest to the right on the table is a column for all companies within the regiment. For each parish is given how many rotar there are in a respective company. As a rule all the rotar in one parish are in the same company, but sometimes they can be divided between two companies.
Last for each regiment where the company headquarters lies is given, where each respective company should gather before departure together with where they meet and drills take place. Finally is given in which area the regiment’s drafted soldiers are mustered.
NAD (Nationell Arkiv Databas) http://nad.ra.se/
Using NAD to find military units for a soldier. NAD can be used to obtain regiment name and also name and/or number of company for army and cavalry units in each parish. (NAD gives company name or number for sailors) NAD does not give the individual soldier numbers within the parish. There are, however, only 100 to 200 soldiers in a company so knowing the company narrows your search down to that number.
1. Go the the website http://nad.ra.se 2. Click on “Orter”. 3. Type in the name of the parish. 4. Click on Sök (search). 5. Click on the blue link for Kyrksocken (Number 1). 6. Here under “Historik” you will find a jurisdiction box and at the bottom the military units (Militär indelning) are given for the parish.
Image: Example in NAD of Kristdala parish
Here we see this parish supplied cavalry men, Infantry men, and also sailors.
Central Soldier Index (Centrala soldatregistret) http://soldat.dis.se/
This free online database is an index of soldiers who served between the years 1682-1901 and were part of the new allotment system. The database is not comple for the entire time. Many of the men who served in the navy are not included.
This index will give you the regiment and the company number for you military man if he is included in the index. This will help you go directly to your soldier in the general muster rolls and other military records.
Soldiers in the index database are assigned a number. For example KR-07-0884-1869-1848-SkGu. The key is as follows:
KR = abbreviation of the regiment (Kronoberg Regemente)
07 = company number (7th company)
0884 = cottage number of the regiment (see explanation below)
1869 = year he started as a soldier
1848 = year of birth
SK = first two letters of his military surname
Gu = first two letters of his first (given) name
The cottage number of the regiment is the same as the military man’s regimental number. Men can be found by either regimental number or company number in the general muster rolls.
Source: The Central Soldiers Register. http://soldat.dis.se/ About the database.
Military Strategies and Steps 1692-1901 (New Allotment System)
- Find branch of military, regiment, company number, service man's number, and time period he served.
- Find military man in every general muster rolls from enlistment to discharge or death.
- Find military man in additional military records besides the general muster rolls.
General Muster Rolls (Generalmönsterrullor)
General Muster Rolls are the basic documents used in genealogical research for Swedish soldiers. These records were kept from the 1680’s to the 1880’s and listed the unit’s entire staff and an account of equipment, horses, etc. The name comes from the record being written in connection with the mustering or inspection of the entire regiment at the drill location. A muster was to be held every third year (later every 5 years). In wartime, however, much longer gaps occur and some General Muster Rolls have been in the field for the entire regiment or the portion which was at the battle field.
In research of army soldiers and officers it is best to search General Muster Rolls first so that you get a picture of the scope of the person’s military service. Be sure to get all muster rolls that your military man was in rather than just one. Thereafter, this information may be supplemented and extended with a variety of other military documents.
Four copies were made of the General Muster Roll.
- One copy was sent to the “Krigskollegium” in Stockholm and is now found at Krigsarkivet. This collection of the General Muster Rolls is the largest and the best preserved.
- Another copy went to “landshövdingen” and is now found in the provincial archives (Landsarkivet).
- One copy was kept by the regimental commander. This copy is now part of the regimental archive (regementsarkiven) kept at Krigsarkivet.
- One copy was divided out to the company captains. This copy is now part of the regimental archive (regementsarkiven) kept at Krigsarkivet.
Organization of the General Muster Rolls
- Within each general muster roll the soldiers were listed company by company.
- Higher ranked officers, the so-called regimental officers, are listed in the beginning of the GMR (Major down to Colonel).
- The first and second lieutenants plus the captains were called company officers. They were listed in the beginning of their respective company. The non-commissioned officers are accounted for in the beginning of their respective companies. The lower ranks are listed among the men.
4. Information in the general muster rolls varied greatly from one regiment to another and from one time period to another time period.
- Originals are available at Krigsarkivet (The Military Archives) in Stockholm, Sweden (part of the National Archive http://www.riksarkivet.se/).
- The copy that went to the “landshövdingen” is kept at the various provincial archives (Landsarkiven).
- General Muster Rolls are available on microfilm at the Family History Library and the Family History Centers.
- General Muster Rolls are also available on the subscription website “Svar” (http://www.svar.ra.se/).
- Many General Muster Rolls are available at the subscription website ArkivDigital (http://www.arkivdigital.se/).
Space for image
(Generalmönsterrullor livregemente till häst Södermanlands Compagnie - Used by permission of Krigsarkivet.)
Here we see the first and second lieutenants listed at the beginning of the general muster rolls for their company.
Following are three general muster rolls for three centuries. They show how information expanded through the centuries.
Space for image
Kronobergs-regemente 1697 General Muster Roll Bild 109-sid95 ArkivDigital
1. Härad / District
2. Sochn (Socken) / Parish
3. Nummeris – Indelning / Number in the allotment system
4. Nummeris – Regements / Number in the regiment
5. Nummeris – Compag. (Compagni) / Number in the company
6.Knechtar Namne / Soldiers names
7.Blef knecht åhr / Year became soldier
8.1693 åhrs General Munstring annotation / The notes from the year 1693 General Mustering
9. 1697 åhrs dito / The year 1697 ditto (notes from General Mustering)
Space for image
Västgöta-dals-regemente 1767-1773 Arkiv Digital Bild-232-sid 442
The column headings for the above muster are:
1.Nummer Regements / Number in the regiment
2. Nummer Compani / Number in the company
3. Rotarnas namn / Name of the “rote”
4. Soldaternes namn, beskaffenhet och födelse ort, med the sedan 1749 års General Munstrings skedde förändringar / The soldiers’ names, condition and birth place with changes that have taken place since the General Mustering in the year 1749.
5. Ålder Age
6.Tienste år / Service years
7. Gift eller ogift /Married or unmarried
8. 1749 åhrs General munstrings Annotioiner / Annotations from the General mustering in 1749
9. Närvarende munstrings anmärkningar / Notes from the present mustering
Space for Image
Västgöta-Dals-regemente 1872-1875 (Arkiv Digital Bild 622)
1. Regements Nummer / Number in the Regiment
2. Kompani Nummer / Number in the Company
3. Roternes namn och belägenhet / Name of the ”rote” and location
4. Manskapets förra och nuvarande namn, födelse ort och tid, antagnings-datum samt sedan sista General-Mönstring med detsamma skedde förändringar. / Military man’s previous and present name, birth place and date, admission date and any changes that have occurred since the last General Muster.
5. Lefvads-år / Age
6. Tjenste-år vid annat Regemente / Years of service with another regiment
7. Summa Tjenste-år / Total years of service
8. Längd – fot / Height – feet
9. Längd – tum / Height – inches
10.Gift eller ogift / Married or unmarried
11. Sista General-mönstrings Anteckningar / Notes from the last General Muster
12 Närvarande General-mönstrings Anteckningar' / Notes from the present General Muster
Ericson, Lars. Källor för Soldatforskaren. Kronobergs Genealogiska Förening. Första upplagan 1988.
Additional Military Records of the Army and Cavalry
FHL = Family History Library, SV = Svar, AD = ArkivDigital, KA = Krigsarkivet, LA = Landsarkiven
|Name of Record||Why Use this Record?||Access|
| Payrolls of officers in Swedish Army. Includes register of regiments (all ranks) and commanders
Time span: 1636-1791
| Avmönsterrullor Karelska dragonregementet
| Army inspection, approbation and muster-out rolls of the Karelian Finnish Dragoon Regiment.
Time span: 1768-1809
| Avmönsterrullor Livregementets dragoner
| Army muster rolls of the Royal Dragoon Regiment (Uppsala, Stockholm, and part of Gävleborg counties)
Time span: 1793-1820
| Avmönsterrullor Karelska Jägarkåren
| Inspection, general muster rolls, muster-out rolls of the Karelian Finnish Rifle Corps in the King's Service.
Time span: 1795-1808
| Army muster-out rolls of the Finnish Artillery Corps of Mikkeli County
Time span: 1808
Book of letters
| Contains letters to the Military High Command, specifications, memorials, etc.
Time span: 1629-1723
| Similar record to General Muster Rolls but kept between the General Muster Rolls. Also include peacetim works. Could give additional information about soldier and also knowledge of work projects during peace time and injuries incurred during project.
Time span: 1820-1901
| Contains orders and instructions to Army commanders, capitulations and contracts, including officers and regiments from Finland.
Time span: 1634-1684
General Muster Rolls
| Often the soldier's patronymic surname is not known. General muster rolls often will give the soldier's surname. Also use for interesting family history information that can be found such as height, and other miscellaneous facts.
Time span: 1685-1885
|KA, LA, SV, FHL, and AD (not all regiments)|
|| Contains various transactions, correspondence, applications and accounts etc. of the Army Pension Fund
Time span: 1757-1880
Records of military peacetime projects
| These are a more detailed account of the military peacetme works. Family history information about dates, projects, equipment, injuries, etc.
| Likvidationer "Namnserien"
Liquidation Name series
| Contains salary settlements and other accounts of Army officers (Finland included)during the Great Northern War. Heirs are often named. Also a number series available -- arranged by numbers instead of names.
Time span: 1699-1721
| Likvidationer "Regementsserien"
Liquidation regiment series
| Contains salary settlement accounts of claims by Swedish army officers, their heirs of assignees of units existing after the Great Northern War (Finland included).
| Likvidationer för pensioner, stipendier och brudskattedonationer
Liquidation for pensioners, stipendiary accounts, and bridal tax revenues.
| Contains claim and salary settlement accounts of militaray pensioners, stipendiary accounts, bridal tax revenues.
| Likvidationer för värvningar
Liquidation for enlisted men
| Contains claim and salary settlement accounts of voluntary enlisted military men.
Time span: 1620-1744
| Likvidationer och inlösta fordringar
Liquidation and claims
| Contains final parliamentary liquidations and claims of Swedish oficers
Time span: 1719-1766
| Likvidationer, löneavräkningar för Krigskollegium
|| Contains claim and salary settlement accounts for army and supply personnel in the War-office.
Time span: 1620-1745
Merit and service records
| Contains transactions of the Army Pension Fund and includes merit, seniority, and service records of commissioned and non-commissioned officers of Sweden and Finland and enlisted soldiers of Germany,Pomerania, Baltic States in Swedish military service.
Time span: 1751-1849
| Contains merit and service records of officers, non-commissioned officers of various Swedish and Finnish regiments.
| Military accounts and army lists of Greater Sweden, including Finnish units and German enlisted soldiers, with a card index.
Time span: 1537-1630
| Various collections of muster rolls, inventory of regiments and commanders including areas belonging to Sweden during Stormaktstiden. Availability varies greatly from one regiment to another.
| Contains pension applications of Swedish widows of military officers, and civil administrators.
Time span: 1711-1827
| Use these accounts records when you have an officer or a non-commissed officer during this time period to learn about your officer or if he died you may learn about his next of kin (wife, children).
Time span: 1654-1723
| Rekryteringsrullan och Inmönstringsrullan
Recruitment and enrollment rolls
| May find information about the soldier, such as his patronymic surname, date and place of birth. May also find certificates (minister, employer, doctor's) presented at recruitment.
Time span: Mainly after 1800
| Roterings och utskrivningslängder
| This record lists all men 15 years of age and older within the parish and farm or village. This record can be used in a similar manner and as a substitute for the mantalslängder.
Time span: Mainly 1620-1680
|KA, SV, FHL,|
| Rullor 1620-1723
| This is the most import source about soldiers during this time period. Use for early soldiers
Time span: 1620-1723
|KA, LA, SV, FHL|
| Rullor fr o m 1724
Rolls starting from 1724
| Use as a complement to the General Muster Rolls. May cover possible gaps in the General Muster Rolls.
Time span: 1724-
|KA, LA, SV, FHL|
| Find the sickness or disease the soldier had and the type of treatment they received.
Time span: From the 1800's on
| Learn the terms of agreement between the soldier and the rote (or rusthåll) at the time the soldier was recruited)
|KA, AD for some regiments|
| Stora Nordiska Kriget
The Great Northern War
| Contains records of prisoners of the Great Northern War and exchanges of prisoners. (Regiments of Finland included.)
| Could find out type of misdemeanor and the punishment received
| Strödda militiehandlingar
Various military transactions
| Contains various military transactions, muster rolls of officers and men, some army units also stationed in Finland, Estonia etc., salary settlement accounts of prisoners, personnel having returned to Sweden or other specifications.
Time span: 1536-1633
| Strödda militiehandlingar indelningsverk och utskrivningslängder
Various military transactions, allotment, and conscription book
| Contains army classification, levying rolls, etc. of Sweden and parts of Finland.
Time span: 1500-1600
| Ståndrulla för indelta armén
| Territorial reports of army units in the allotment system
| Letters of requests to the Army High Command, usually by the widiw of a soldier who was killed in war or taken prisoner, to receive the soldiers salary. Here you may learn about the wife and/or family as well as what happened to the soldier. There is a card index
Time span: 1656-1684.
Soldier crofts inspections
| Learn about the croft where your soldier served. These inspections give deficiencies and faults of the croft and how and when they were to be corrected. More detailed for officers' homesteads.
|KA, LA, AD for some regiments|
Table for Navy
|Name of Record||Why Use this Record?||Access|
| Arbetsinrättningarna i Karlskrona och å Kungsholmen
Workhouse institution of the navy in Karlskrona and Kungsholmen
| Use these records if you have a person that was sentenced to hard labor.
Time span: 1805-1833
|FHL, KA, SV|
General muster rolls for the naval companies
| Often the sailor's patronymic surname is not known. Muster rolls often will give the Sailor's surname. Also use these records for interesting family history information.
Time span: 1658-1912
|FHL, KA, SV, AD|
| Diverse mönsterrullor
Miscellaneous muster rolls
| Use these muster rolls if you have a sailor who was a volunteer, or was a hired sailor, was sick, was a cabin boy, etc.
Time span: 1677-1798
|FHL, KA, SV|
| Diverse rullor
| Rolls containing information about military and civil personnel as surgeons, and barber-surgeons
Time span: 1709-1884
|FHL, KA, SV|