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Danish Military Levying Rolls as Substitutes for Lost Church Books

Lene Dræby Kottal
Danish Military Levying Rolls as Substitutes for Lost Church Books

Record loss does not necessarily mean that we are unable to document the births of our ancestors. Danish military levying rolls can be used to document birth dates and birthplaces when the parish registers (aka church books) were lost.

Using Danish Military Levying Rolls to Document Births of Sons

The pre-1814 parish registers for Gimlinge parish in Sorø county were lost in a fire in 1850.1 The snippet below shows a family residing in Gimlinge in 1801, namely "Kristofer Pedersen," his wife "Ane Knuds Datter," and their three children:

  1. "Peder Kristofersen," 8 years old, born about 1793.
  2. "Lars Kristofersen," 4 years old, born about 1797.
  3. "Birthe Kristofers Dt," 2 years old, born about 1799.2

A family in the 1801 census of Gimlinge parish, Denmark

Since these three children were born before 1814, the parish register with their birth records were lost in the 1850 fire. Sons of the peasant class were listed in the military levying rolls at birth from 1789 to 1849. The military levying rolls for Gimlinge parish provide birth details for Kristoffer Pedersen's two sons, as shown in the snippets below:

  1. "Christopher" Pedersen's son Peder, born in Gimlinge in May 1793.3
  2. "Christopher" Pedersen's son Lars, born in Gimlinge on 27 October 1797.4

Christopher Pedersen's son in the 1793 military levying roll

Christopher Pedersen's son in the 1797 military levying roll

Online Availability

Danish military levying rolls from 1789 to 1931 have been digitized and are available online. Only a small part of them have been indexed, so in most cases a page-by-page examination of the rolls is needed. You can read my introduction on how to use the military levying rolls, or you are welcome to book a planning call for a customized research project, if you want to hire me to find your Danish ancestors in the military levying rolls.

The Danish National Archives have digitized thousands of records, so it is still possible to do research in Danish records, although the archives are temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Maybe you can be inspired to continue your research by reading my overview of some of the Danish genealogy records, which are available online.


Source References

  1. S. Nygård, Danmarks Kirkebøger: En oversigt over deres væsentligste indhold indtil 1891 [Denmark's church books: An overview of their primary contents until 1891] (Copenhagen, Denmark: The Danish National Archives, 1933), p. 14, entry for Gimlinge.
  2. Folketællingen 1801 [census], Sorø Amt [county], Gimlinge Sogn [parish], page 48, Gimlinge By [town]: family 45; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=25963#25963,2893991) > image 7 of 17.
  3. Generalkrigskommissariatet angående Udskrivningsvæsenet [the superior military levying authority], lægdsruller 1789-1931 [military levying rolls], Antvorskov Amt, tilgangsrulle [entry roll], year A/1793, lægd [area] 6 (Gimlinge Sogn): entry a13; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?epid=16481031#17278,739582) > image 35 of 146.
  4. Generalkrigskommissariatet angående Udskrivningsvæsenet, lægdsruller 1789-1931, Antvorskov Amt, tilgangsrulle, year E/1797, lægd 6 (Gimlinge Sogn): entry E160; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?epid=16481031#17293,742259) > image 45 of 298.
  5. Thanks to Movidagrafica Barcelona for making the photo of the burning book available free of charge through Pexels.


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