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Danish County Records: Letter of Guarantee for a Removed Reserve Soldier

Lene Dræby Kottal
Danish County Records: Letter of Guarantee for a Removed Reserve Soldier

Odense County Office left a record series called Amtspas, attester, kautioner, plakater og lister (county passports, certificates, letters of guarantee, public announcements and lists). The title does not directly state that it regards the military, however, county passports were permissions for reserve soldiers to reside in another county.

County passports were used from 1788 to 1860.1 The amtmand was the only person who had a right to issue county passports. The reserve soldier had to find someone who was willing and able to take his place during war, if needed. That person had to sign a letter of guarantee called kautionsbevis or simply kaution in Danish (example shown below).

A letter of guarantee for a removed reserve soldier in Denmark 1818

  • Following that the reserve soldier Hans Nielsen Seeden of Odense County’s 11[th] military levying area entry no. 49 can be granted permission, by the county authorities against guarantee, to reside outside the county in Copenhagen, I the undersigned vouch and sign for that the person I am placing this guarantee for will show up at the set time, at all times needed and when requested; just as I also oblige myself, as guarantor, to fulfil that which is ordered by the order of 20 June 1788, section 6, which is hereby by my hand’s signature confirmed.
  • Kierteminde on 14 August 1818 [signed] Johan Johansen
  • That the beforementioned Johannes [sic!] Johansen, citizen and butcher in this town, and married to the reserve soldier’s sister, himself has signed this guarantee with his name, and that he is trustworthy of entering into this same [guarantee agreement], is attested under [my] hand and seal. Kierteminde on 14 August 1818. [Signed] Schou.2

Apart from the clues about the reserve soldier’s residence, these records also provide clues about his associates, although not all letters of guarantee list the guarantor’s relationship with the reserve soldier.

This example is from Odense County. If you want to find this type of record from other counties, search the catalog of the Danish National Archives3 for words such as amtspas and kaution, but beware that kaution also refers to guarantees related to debt.



  1. Jørgen Green, Slægtsforskning i lægdsruller, søruller og i hærens og søværnets arkiver [Family research in military levying rolls, navy levying rolls and in army and navy record collections] (Denmark: Forlaget Grifo, 2009), page 60, the paragraph named "Kig også i amtsarkiverne" [Also look in the county collections].
  2. Johan Johansen kaution for Hans Nielsen Seeden, 14 August 1818; filed in box F-70: “1815-1820 Amtspas, attester, kautioner, plakater og lister," collection AB004: Odense Amt; The Danish National Archives, Odense, Denmark. This image shows only the front of the document; beware that it also has writing on the back. To find this record series in the catalog of holdings of the Danish National Archives, see Rigsarkivet, “Daisy,” database (https://www.sa.dk/daisy/arkivserie_detaljer?a=odense+amt&b=amtspas+attester+kautioner+plakater+lister&d=1&e=2019&heid=11432160&henid=11432160 : accessed 28 November 2019), arkivskaber: odense amt, arkivserie: amtspas attester kautioner plakater lister.
  3. Rigsarkivet, “Daisy,” database (https://www.sa.dk/daisy/daisy_forside : accessed 28 November 2019).
  4. The image at the top of this blog post shows part of another letter of guarantee, see Rasmus Hansen kaution for Christen Hansen, 8 March 1819; filed in box F-70, collection AB004. This document is detailed in the description of the reserve soldier's destination, as it says he was permitted to go to Rønsøe Farm near Frederiksværk at Zealand. His relationship with the guarantor is not recorded, but it says that the guarantor was a farm owner in Fraugde, so there are clues for further research of their connection.
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