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Widow Pensions from 1775 to 1845

Lene Dræby Kottal
Widow Pensions from 1775 to 1845

A Danish widow pension fund, Den almindelige Enkekasse, was founded on 30 August 1775. The fund replaced a pension fund for military personnel, of which membership was voluntary. From 1775 army and navy officers and officials appointed by the King were obliged to pay to the new pension fund. The fund was also open to others. In this post I demonstrate how to use the index to these records.

The index was made by the family researcher Børge Fogsgaard and is searchable at his website. You can search for either indskyder (the person who made the deposit) or hustru (wife). Under the menu item Enkekassen (widow pension fund), choose either Søg indskyder or Søg hustru to find the desired search form. Deposits to this fund could be made from 1775 to 1845 and the fund paid the last pension in 1915. Although it was open to everybody, you should not expect to find an average farmer ancestor in these records. My fifth great-grandfather Johan Christian Dræbye was a judge, so I decided to search for him. The list of results includes a policy number, which is a link to the full entry in the index. The full entry for Johan Christian Dræbye is shown below.1

Widow Pension Fund: Index Entry for Johan Christian Dræbye

The entry lists when and where the husband and wife were født (born) and død (died). The line with the notat (note) says that their dåbsattest (baptism certificate) are kept in the files. The files have not been digitized, but must be accessed at the Danish National Archives.2 Anyhow, the index can not only be used to find information about pensions; it is also a great shortcut for finding birth and death dates of notable ancestors.

Beware that the date listed as birth date is often the baptism date; and the death date is often the day after the death date, meaning the date the pension was first paid out. Furthermore, there may be incorrect information in either the index or the pension file, so always find more evidence for the birth and death, before drawing any conclusions on that.

You can use wildcards in the search. Percent % replaces more than one letter and underscore _ replaces one letter.

Happy hunting!


Source references:

  1. "Enkekassen," database, Børge Fogsgaard, Søg indskyder (http://www.fogsgaard.org/index.php/2013-11-01-14-49-57/sogindskyder : accessed 26 April 2019), policy number 9912 for Johan Christian Dræbye.
  2. You can hire me to find the record for you; or if you ever come to Denmark, you can go to the Danish National Archives in Copenhagen to see the pension file yourself. Always order at least a week in advance, because some files are kept at a distant storage location. The indexed pension files are extracted from these record series: Den almindelige Enkekasse, Inskriptionsprotokoller [list of pension policies], 1774-1847; Rigsarkivet, Copenhagen. Den almindelige Enkekasse, Indskudssager [documents related to each policy], 1778-1846; Rigsarkivet, Copenhagen. Den almindelige Enkekasse, Reskripter og kongelige resolutioner [royal resolutions], 1775-1848; Rigsarkivet, Copenhagen. 
  3. The image at the top of the post: Free to use from Pexels.

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