View Full Version : Tracing military ancestors

10-10-03, 04:02
I know this has been mentioned before on Finngen but I'm wondering if there's an online (or via the FHC library films) way of researching an ancestor who was a soldier in Finland?

This particular ancestor was born in Pulkkila in 1688. His name was Pehr Larsson Gylle(n). Here's a note from my file:
"Found in 1734-1737 Rippikirjat for Liminka. Listed as No 88 Pehr Larsson Gyll and Brita Henriksdr. By 1745, Brita is listed under Torp section by herself. Her marks stop in 1747. Pehr does not appear with her. He must have died prior to 1745. Interesting to note: during same rippikirjat, I checked the Soldater section and No 88 was now occuppied by Phillip Johan Gyll and hustru Gertrud.

Found death record as follows in death records film:
"En gammal Såldat ifr Pulckila 56åhr"
end snip-

Was he born too long ago to be able to trace further?

Also, I know a soldier assumed a new name while in the military. Does this seem weird that Philip Johan became the new "No 88 Gyll"? I guess I assumed if in the military, they wouldn't have appeared in the rippikirjat as they were "off to war".

Gunnar Damstrom
10-10-03, 08:35
"Indelningverket", let's call it the "allotment" for lack of a better term was generally employed as the means of organizing the Swedish military after the 1683 Diet. In general the provinces accepted the allotment system for recruiting soldiers for the army. Ostrobothinia was long the exception, adhering to the old consciption system from the 1500's. "Indelningsverket" was accepted by the Ostrobothinian province only in 1733. According to "Indelningsverket" two or more farms were allotted to form an organizational unit, "Rote". The "Rote's" duty was to keep a soldier, provide dwelling (soldattorp) and some cultivated land for his family and to maintain his military equipment. In peace time the "rote" farmers could demand that the rotesoldier provide farm labor. If the rotesoldier was mobilized and went to war, the "rote" farmers were obligated to help his wife with subsistence. If the rotesoldier was killed or discharged for whatever reason, the rote was obligated to hire a replacement. No doubt the soldiers you are referring to belonged to Österbottens Regemente. The time period seems to coinside with the war Hattarnas Krig. During this Finland was once more occupied by Russian troupes. The Swedish military archives kept meticulous records of the "rotes", the "rotefarmers" and the "rotesoldiers". Was No 88 a "rotesoldier"? Maybe somebody else can direct you to the Swedish military archives.


10-10-03, 19:49
Thank you Gunnar for the very informative explanation!

That's what I like about this forum. There are so many people who have knowledge about a wide range of topics and are willing to share!

It's a great environment to not only search for ancestors but also learn a little about the culture along the way. :)

Gita Wiklund
10-10-03, 21:26
Hi Kevin,

This is contact information to the swedish military archive:

Postaladdress: Krigsarkivet, 115 88 Stockholm
location adress: Banérgatan 64
Telefon: +46(0)8 - 782 41 00
Fax: +46(0)8 - 782 69 76
E-mail: krigsarkivet%40krigsarkivet.ra.se


11-10-03, 00:13
Thanks Gita for the contact info. I'll send them an email and see what happens.

04-11-03, 02:29
Gita & Gunnar,

Thank you both for your suggestion/information on tracing military ancestors. Gita, I emailed the Krigsarkivet email address and got a response basically saying they couldn't help. They said they had musterrolls up to 1738 but they were missing until 1758. I sent another email since my Per Larsson Gyllen was still showing in the c.b. as a soldier in late 1730s/early 1740s.

Just received a response today from them:

KrA Diarienr: 422-2003/2190

In the musterrool from 1737 Per Larsson Gyllen i mentioned. He is recruted on the 18 of april 1734. In 1737 he is 27 year old.
The rote is in Överstelöjtnantens kompani in Uleåborgs norra härrad och i Limingo socken.

I think there's a typo as he was born well before 1710. The c.b. show him being born ~1688.

Anyway, would either of you please translate the last sentence? And based on the contents, do you think there is further research that can be done on him?

With many thanks for your insight!

Gita Wiklund
04-11-03, 08:57
Hi Kevin,

I´ll try to see if I can find any information that can help you.
So far I read at the finnish military archives site that information regarding those who served before 1812 must be sought from the national archive of Finland or from svenska Riksarkivet. Unfortunately It seems that most information in the finnish national archive consist of microfilm copies of the swedish material. (This information is not included in the english version of the site as far as I can see)

Military Archives (Finland) (http://www.sota-arkisto.fi/inet/englanti/index.html)


Gita Wiklund
04-11-03, 09:49
I´ll try to translate:

"The rote is in Överstelöjtnantens kompani in Uleåborgs norra härrad och i Limingo socken"

The rote is in the Lieutenant-Colonels company in the north judicial district of Uleåborg and in Limingo parish.

I used the following sites for the translation:

genealogy swedish-english (http://www.ddss.nu/ordbok.htm)

Military swedish-english (http://www.lindenberg.nu/gl/)


06-11-03, 19:06
I would like to turn the military question the other way around. That is, how do you trace miltary ancestors in the United States?

I found this site: 42nd Alabama Infantry (http://www.rootsweb.com/~al42inf/). There are the muster rolls from the 42nd Alabama Infantry during the Civil War. In E Company there is a private G. Portin.

Does anyone have any ideas how to find out who he was and where he came from?


06-11-03, 20:09
Hi Sune,
There are a couple of ways to trace an ancestor that you find served in the Civil War.

One way is to check if he applied for a soldier's pension. If he were married, his wife could have applied for a widow's pension. Then there is also the possibility of checking the Veteran's census taken in 1890. The majority of the Federal Census of 1890 was destroyed but you can sometimes find Civil War soldiers in the Veteran's census in 1890.

Two of my wife's ancestors were civil war soldiers. One soldier died in the war and I was able to obtain a widow's application from his wife and a dependent application that was filed on behalf of his young child.

The other ancestor didn't die in the war but I was able to obtain the widow's application for the wife. She applied for the pension 50 years after the war!

Typically, if the soldier served on the Confederate side, you must contact the state in which he lived when he applied for the pension. Same is true for the wife. If he served on the Union side, the file can be ordered through NARA.

Of course to find some of these details you would need to locate him in the census records (1850,1860, 1870, etc). If he didn't die during the war, that would give you a clue as to where he lived if he applied for a pension.

09-11-03, 04:43
I came across the following at the US National Archives & Records site. Hope it helps.
>Service in Union or Confederate Army or Navy
*The 1910 census (column 30) indicates whether the person was a "survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy." The answers are "UA" for Union Army, "UN" for Union Navy, "CA" for Confederate Army, and "CN" for Confederate Navy. These clues lead to military service and pension records; seeCivil War Records and Confederate Pension Records for more information.
*On the 1910 census, columns 30-32 are often "overwritten" with numbers eg 2-1-0-0 or 6-9-0-0
These are summaries used by the Census bureau tabulators in Washington, DC not the answers for columns 30-32.
*The 1930 census (column 31) indicates Civil War veterans with the abbreviation "CW".

09-11-03, 04:56
Sorry I left this off
The 1930 census (column 31) indicates military service in other wars with "Sp" for Sapnish American War, "Phil" for Philippine Insurrection, "Box" for Boxer Rebellion, "Mex" for Mexican Expedition, and "WW" for World War 1.


A-M Löfdahl
08-12-03, 12:08
My grandfathers brother Johannes Frilund was in the army the second time he emigrated to USA. On the back of a photo his brother writes that "it was taken just before christmas some days after Johannes came from the army". The photo was taken in Seattle. He emigrated to the states in 1913 and came back in 1921.
Is it possible to trace when and where he served?