Following a Person from one Danish Military Levying Roll to the Next

Following a Person from one Danish Military Levying Roll to the Next

On this Second Sunday of Advent 2018 we shall follow Lucas Christensen, born 1794 in the rural parish Særslev as a son of Christen Lucassen.1 The family lived in Særslev a few years, but then moved to Hårslev Parish. Lucas’ story is good for demonstrating the procedure of following a værnepligtig person from one military levying roll to the next. If you have not read my first post in this series about military levying rolls, I recommend that you do so, because some basic terms are explained in that entry.

Once again, we need to identify the basic information:

  • Year of registration
  • Residence at the time of registration
  • Number of the lægd and name of the county

Before 1849 a person was first registered shortly after the baptism

Lucas was born in 1794, baptized on 16 February, so he was first listed in the military levying rolls shortly after his birth, meaning in 1794.

Residence at the birth

The family lived in Særslev Parish, Skovby Hundred, Odense County.

Number of the lægd and name of the county

The Danish county borders were changed in 1793. Before then, Særslev Parish belonged to Rugård County, and the military levying rolls for Særslev are in fact filed under Rugård County until 1810.  The Danish National Archives has a booklet with an overview of the county and lægd number for each parish over time. You can see and download the booklet here:

The image below is the overview for Særslev Parish at Funen (there are two parishes named Særslev in Denmark).

To find Lucas Christensen in 1794 we need to look in the roll for lægd 8 under Rugård County.

Main rolls and supplementary rolls

Two kinds of rolls were kept between 1789 and 1870: Main rolls (Danish: hovedruller) and supplementary rolls (Danish: tilgangsruller). Supplementary rolls only list new værnepligtige men in the lægd. They were new either because they reached the age of the first registration, or because they moved to the lægd after being listed in another lægd.

Main rolls contain all værnepligtige men who resided in the lægd when the roll was made. Main rolls were first made every year, from 1795 to 1849 every three years, from 1849 to 1861 every six years, thereafter every ten years until 1871. These are general rules and local variances occur. After 1871 main rolls were no longer kept.

At the website Sall Data, you can see which year contains a main roll by looking at the color of the font in the drop-down menu with years. Years written in blue contain main rolls.

Supplementary rolls were not kept in years with main rolls. In years with main rolls, new værnepligtige persons were listed at the end of the main roll for each lægd. This is best demonstrated by an example, so let us have a look at Lucas Christensen in the military levying roll for 1794, which is in fact a main roll. Notice that below the roll is the remark “Denne pakke indeholder flere amter!” It means that this specific roll covers more than one county. It is important to beware of this remark, because the book starts with Odense County, which also had a lægd with number 8 in 1794, but there we will not find Lucas, because we need to look under Rugård County.

Lægd number 8, Særslev Parish, starts at image 341, but I prefer to look through the entries backwards when looking for a newborn, because they are usually listed at the end of the roll for each lægd. By looking backwards through the entries, I find Lucas at image 350 under entry C 214. the date of his baptism is listed at the righthand side and correlates with the details in the parish register. The letter C represents the year 1794. At this point the letter is not important, but merely reminds us that Lucas is new in this roll, because only new værnepligtige persons in a lægd were assigned a letter.

Lucas’ next listing is in the next main roll. If Lucas did not move away from the lægd or was deleted from the roll, he would continue to be listed in the next main roll for the same lægd. The first main roll after 1794 is from 1797. In the main roll for 1797 we find Lucas in lægd 8 at image 333. Here he is assigned two numbers. The first one is his old number, 214, and the second one is his new number, 159. The new numbers are consecutive, but the old ones sometimes skip some numbers, because some værnepligtige persons moved away from the lægd or were deleted for other reasons. Each time a new main roll was made, all værnepligtige persons, who still lived in the lægd, were transferred to the new roll from the old main roll and the supplementary rolls made after the previous main roll.

Removal referrals in the Danish military levying rolls

Lucas’ entry in the roll for 1797 was crossed out, because he moved away from the lægd. The registrar was a bit sloppy, because he only wrote 11 G as the removal referral and that is missing a number at the end, namely the entry number in the new lægd. Anyhow, we will still manage to find Lucas.

The number 11 refers to the new lægd.

The letter G is the year of Lucas’ removal. It represents year 1798. You can look up which year each letter represents at page three of the before mentioned booklet. We shall now look for Lucas in lægd 11 in the roll for 1798. It is a supplementary roll. Lægd 11 starts at image 137. Since the registrar did not write the entry number, we must look through the names one by one until we find Lucas. I found him under entry G 384. At the righthand side it says “F:L: 8_159.” It means that he arrived from lægd 8, entry 159, which correlates with the entry number in the 1797 roll.

Following a person from one military levying roll to another

We can now follow Lucas from main roll to main roll until a new removal is listed or he is deleted from the roll. To illustrate how the entry numbers relate to each other, I have copy-pasted from the rolls until 1804.2

1794 - LÆGD 8

1797 - LÆGD 8

1798 - LÆGD 11

1800 - LÆGD 11

1804 - LÆGD 11

I have not looked for Lucas after 1804. It could be good practice for you to do so.

Remember to correlate with other sources

Since Lucas was listed in lægd 11 from 1798 to at least 1804, he must have lived there at the 1801 census, but which parish did lægd 11 cover? The website can help you find the name of the parish on the basis of the lægd number. Choose the menu item ”find sogn – by” (English: find parish – town) and then the relevant year, county and lægd number. As shown below, lægd 11 covered Hårslev Parish, so that is where Lucas moved to in 1798.

The 1801 census for Hårslev Parish shows the family in the house called Grevelshøÿhuset.3 Lucas’ residence was listed as Grevelshøÿhuset in the military levying rolls, so the information correlates.


A værnepligtig person can be followed through time by using the military levying rolls. Remember that the new entry number from the previous roll must be the same as the old entry number in the next roll.


Source references

  1. Særslev Sogn, Skovby Herred, Odense Amt, Parish Regisers, Minister's Book of births marriages and deaths 1791-1800, 1797, "Dom Setuag," "fød mk;" digital images, ”1791-1800 FVD (EM),” Sall Data ( : accessed 30 November 2018).
  2. Rugård Amt, Lægdsruller, year C/1794, Hovedrulle, lægd 8, entry C 214; digital images, Sall Data ( : accessed 30 November 2018). Ibid., year F/1797, lægd 8, old entry C 214, new entry 159; digital images, Sall Data ( : accessed 30 November 2018). Ibid., year G/1798, lægd 11, entry G 384; digital images, Sall Data ( : accessed 30 November 2018). Ibid., year J/1800, lægd 11, old entry G 384, new entry 310; digital images, Sall Data ( : accessed 30 November 2018). Ibid., year B/1804, lægd 11, old entry 310, new entry 246; digital images, Sall Data ( : accessed 30 November 2018).
  3. Hårslev Sogn, Skovby Herred, Odense Amt, Folketællingen 1801, page 161, family 51; digital images, Sall Data ( : accessed 30 November 2018).
  4. The image at the top of the blog post shows Særslev Church and was taken by Bococo - CC BY-SA 3.0,