Danish Military Levying Rolls (Lægdsruller)
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Danish Lægdsruller, What are they?
Lægdsruller are records of the males who could be enlisted for service in the army or navy. These rolls have many different uses. For genealogical purposes they are used mainly to follow the registered individual's movements, identify a birthplace, find which military unit they were assigned to, and when they completed their obligation.
In subsequent years there was an agency created by the government known as a lægdsvæsen to watch over its conscripts. It was important for the government to know how large a force it possessed in case of war. Therefore it became the states responsibility to keep detailed records of the male population in lægdsruller.
The word lægd comes from the Danish word sammenlægning or combination. Since 1600 the word has been used to indicate the number of farms that together would provide one soldier. The country's militia was established in 1701. At that time the land was divided into lægder of approximately 27.25 acres. Each lægd should in principle make a soldier available.
In 1788 the country's conscription rules were changed and the country was divided into 1,656 different lægder. Each lægd was virtually identical to a parish and from 1843, in the cities the same as a town. Each lægd was sequentially numbered within each county. This means that the first lægd in each county were given lægdsnummer 1 and so forth. Soldiers were no longer conscripted based on the lægds production of grain but rather on the lægds population.
Changes to the miltary obligation law of March 6, 1869 established 6 districts instead of the county sub-divsions or lægds. Here after the lægds were sequentially numbered in each of the 6 districts. After reunification in 1920 the 7th district (Sønder Jylland) was established.
The Registration Process
Tools for using the Lægdsruller
Where do you find the Danish Lægdsruller?
Statens Arkiver. Lægdsruller. Denmark: Statens Arkiver, 2008
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