Part 5 – Searching Danish Military Records

I am omitting some of the steps I took to complete the records of the  family of Johannes Jensen and Johanne Elisabeth Molin, but I used a combination of Danish census records and parish records. However, from those records, I found multiple records concerning Johannes.

1834 Census – Johannes Jensen, 25 years old, soldier boarding in a home; born in Copenhagen.


1840 Census – Johannes Jensen, 30 years old, soldier, unmarried; born in Copenhagen.

1845 Census – Johannes Jensen, 35 years old, soldier, married with family; born in Copenhagen.

1850 Census – Johannes Jensen, 40 years old, soldier, married with family; born in Copenhagen.


I’ve only posted the 1834 and 1850 censuses so you can see what they look like.  Johannes lived in Copenhagen at least until the 1850 census. Sometime between 1850-1855, Johannes retired from the military and the family removed to Saeby, a small village way up in the northern coast of Denmark, near Aalborg.

The family may have traveled by boat, but if they took the land route, it was a long trip. I haven’t found the reason for retiring to that area, but I suspect that Johannes may have had duty there at one time and liked it.  Johannes died in Saeby on 9 April 1865, aged 54.


From the census records (Danish censuses had a standard reporting date of 1 February), Johannes’s age consistently gave a birth date either in late 1809 or early 1810 in Copenhagen. The 1834 census gave is age as 25, but the other soldier boarding in the home was also reported to be 25. It is very possible Johannes was not in the home when the census taker came around and the head of household gave the names of the two soldiers and said they were both “about 25. ” While I was busy searching census records, I was also scouring church registers for a baptism record for any Johannes Jensen with or without middle names born about 1805-1812 in the Copenhagen area, but the few that I found were not mine.

During the time I was reading census and parish records, I decided to take a trip to Salt Lake City, as the Family History Library has films of Danish military records. Since I speak no Danish, I knew I would need a lot of help from the Scandinavian help desk. The military record search ended up taking several trips to Salt Lake in 2011 and 2012 plus I had to hire a researcher in Copenhagen to visit the State Archives to retrieve some records that had not been filmed.

Since Johannes had attained the rank of sergeant, I was hoping that I would be able to find some military records that would give me his exact date of birth.  One of the first sources I read was the “Index to Non-Commissioned Army Officers 1757-1860 Eberle-Jorrs,” FHL film #41,968. These records are in the form of 3 x 5 index cards with only basic information on each about one man’s military details.


The card on the left has his name on top. Below his first name is “Tamb” which I believe refers to him being a drummer. Underneath Jensen in parentheses is an abbreviation of some place. 7 B refers to the 7th Battalion. On the bottom, “stabstambour” is drummer and there is a date that appears to be 1851. Under that is “Arrestfor” and “Saby.” “Arrestfor” is an abbreviation for “arrestforvarer” or one who takes care of the prison. “Saby” could well be a misspelling of “Saeby.”

The card on the right has a birthplace of Copenhagen (Kobenhavn) and notes that he was a fiddler and in the 10th Battalion. However, neither has an exact date of birth.

I decided to assume for the time being that both of these cards referred to one man and that man was my Johannes Jensen. It fit with the census information and I was believing more and more that the military records were going to lead me to Johannes’ birth date and then to his baptismal record and parents’ names.

Next, I read films which contained records about the 7th Battalion from 1834-1860 (FHL #42,169 and #42,170). There was one and only one Johannes Jensen on the 1834 list of the 1st Jydske Infantry Regiment. This Johannes had last been in Skanderborg County, although it was abbreviated as “Skandby” and I didn’t know where that was. (Many thanks to the terrific FHL staff who cover Denmark.)


Johannes is the 5th man from the bottom of the list. An assignment, enlistment or transfer date was shown as 14 Sept 1834. The men listed at the bottom were apparent newcomers and there was less information listed for them than for the men listed above. I still had no exact date of birth, but this was my first experience with the laegd roll numbers. These numbers are similar to draft numbers in our military, but the laegd numbers change over time. In 1834, Johannes’ laegd number was 63-27-4.  I spent many hours and days reading roll after roll – literally hundreds of pages –  of military districts in Skanderborg County looking for Johannes. It turned out that apparently when the particular roll was taken, the man with number 63-27-4 was out of the district so his number was skipped! Not really surprising since every attempt I made to get closer to answers had a stumbling block.


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