Estonia Military Records

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Military Records

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Introduction

Military service records do not play such an immense role in Estonian genealogical research compared to various western-European countries; however, lists of those liable for military service are valuable.

Record Types

Conscription Lists

Conscription lists are lists of men being called up for military service. They serve as a census substitute for men.

Swedish Lists

The Swedish military included personnel from Estonia in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Estonians appear in many of their early conscription lists. In 1704, Swedish authorities drew up a list of all the men in Estonia for military purposes. The lists included all men, not just land owners. Unfortunately, few of the 1704 records exist.

Many of the Swedish conscription lists are available at the Family History Library on microfilm.

19th-20th Century

Drafting of selected groups began earlier, but as of January 1, 1874, all 21-year-old men were subject to military service. Conscription occurred each year in October. Conscription lists exist from 1874-1920. Initially, the term of service was 6 years active and 9 years reserve. The length of active duty was reduced to 5 years in 1876 and then varied between 3-5 years thereafter. Deferments were granted for only sons, sole breadwinners, etc. Over 50% of the draftees were not inducted. These lists offer detailed information, including: name of the draftee, birth date, religion, marital status, and literacy. Later lists include names of parents, siblings and their ages. Education was also recorded because it was an asset when being enlisted and occasionally even released men from serving. The records are located at the Estonian Historical Archive in Tartu.[1][2]

Many Estonian conscription lists are available online:

References

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Estonia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1994-2002.
  2. Must, Aadu. "The Sources of Estonian Family History." In Eestlaste perekonnaloo allikad. Estonia: Kleio, 2000.