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The Kofoed-Family - Noble or Freeman?



An English language translation of C. F. Bricka's critic in the 1884 edition of Historisk Tidsskrift of H. R. Hiort-Lorenzen and A. Thiset's Danmarks Adels Aarbog 1884 edition. Note, this is a partial extraction pertaining to the entry on the Kofoed family of Bornholm.

To aid in the understanding of the following critic, I have gathered together the history - the provenance - of the putative 1514 letter under discussion:

Johan Christian Urne (1705-1787) was appointed the "Amtmand" (Prefect) over Bornholm in 1740. After his arrival on the island, he obtained a copy of the letter. Sometime between 1740 and 1756 he sent a copy of the document to Laurids de Thurah (1706-1759), who was living in København.

As a side note, Johan Christian Urne's brother, Joachim Frederik Urne (1708-1788), was married in 1741 to Ingeborg Margrethe Akeleye (1718-1782), the daughter of Anne Dorthea Pedersdatter Kofoed (c.1696-1754) - whose family is the subject of this critic, and thus the putative letter of 1514. At the very least, we can say that Johan Christian Urne was not a disinterested, unbiased observer.

In 1756 Laurids de Thurah published his "Beskrivelser" [Description] of Bornholm and its history, included in this document was the putative 1514 letter.

In 1786 a Christopher Giessing published a pedigree of the Kofoed family, which asserted that the Jens Koefoed of the 1514 letter was a Jens Madsen Koefoed (1481-1519) of Rønne, the son of a Mads Jensen Koefoed from Hasle. The pedigree names Jens Madsen Koefoed's wife, children, parents and siblings. Julius Bidstrup included this pedigree in his 1886 book "Familien Koefoed".

Three copies of the document can be found in Danish archives. One copy, in the Langebekske Diplomatarium, has an annotation written on the bottom of it stating the it is a copy of a document that was written in 1691 or 1692. The provenance of the document before 1691 (or more accurately 1756) is unknown to me, or as far as I know to anyone else.

In the following critic of 1884, Carl Frederik Bricka (1845-1903) lays out a case for the 1514 letter being a fraud. During the following century a number of other historians and researchers have agreed with Bricka's assessment. Including Jørn Klindt in his 1979 book "På spor of de første Kofod'er", who described the document as being bogus.




translated by:
Norman Lee Madsen

February 17, 2015


Historisk Tidsskrift,

[Historical Journal,]

Femte Række,

[Fifth Edition,]



udgivet

af

den danske historiske Forening,

ved dens Bestyrelse.

[published by the Danish Historical Association, by its Board of Directors.]



Redigeret

af

C. F. Bricka,

Foreningens Sekretær.

[Edited by C. F. Bricka, Association Secretary.]



Fjerde Bind.

[Fourth Volume.]



Kjøbenhavn.

Bianco Lunos Kgl. Hof-Bogtrykkeri.

1883-84.

[Copenhagen. Bianco Luno's Royal Court-Printing House.]




Litteratur og Kritik.

[Literature and Criticism.]



Nr. 8. H. R. Hiort-Lorenzen og A. Thiset: Danmarks Adels Aarbog. 1884. Anmeldt af Arkivassistent C. F. Brika. Sider 681-713.

[Nr. 8. H. R. Hiort-Lorenzen and A. Thiset: Denmark's Nobility Yearbook. 1884. Reviewed by Archive Assistant C. F. Bricka. Pages 681-713.]



[The following is a Danish to English translation of Carl Frederik Bricka's critic, pages 699-713.]


As the authors [Hans Rudolf Hiort-Lorenzen and Anders Thiset] have established and followed the principle of including only those families who either have ancestors known to belong to the Danish nobility before 1660 (those outside of marriage are understood to have forfeited noble rights) or the support of a Danish king's issued patent, we had to exclude several families that are recorded in older listings. Thus the family Koefoed. They indicate with the Koefoeds their reasons for this; however since this question had been discussed in this journal {1}, it perhaps deserves a more detailed discussion, whose outcome, however, on the whole will be the same as that which the authors had previously concluded.

Seemingly the Koefoeds' nobility is indisputable. They could present their patent of nobility, issued in 1514 by Lund's Archbishop, whose jurisdiction included Bornholm, which is the family's homeland, and their family tree also seems to be in good order; but closer inspection shows a number of weaknesses.

Could - so we would begin the criticism - in Denmark, anyone other than kings issue certificates of ennoblement? With the exception of the Dukes of Slesvig, which of course occupy a peculiar position, no subordinate seems to have had such a right. Ever since the beginning of the 15th century, when the first Danish patent of nobility can be found, there is not known to be a single such a letter issued by any Danish secular magnate, and one is without undoubt entitled thereof to conclude that the cause of this is their lack of jurisdiction. When you see the opposite alleged {2}, I should as soon think that this has occured by confusing "Skjoldebrevene eller Vaabenbrevene" [coat of arms certificates] with "Adelsbrevene" [patents of nobility]. For example, in 1418 wherein Mr. Anders Ovesen (Hvide) of Bjørnholm bestowed the brothers Svenning and Mikkel Andersen the right to carry their mother's shield and helmet; but this is no patent of nobility, for these were the brothers of King Erik himself {3}. While the older charter contains nothing on the acquisition of nobility, there is Christian II's clause (nr. 28), which reads: "Item skulle vi ikke give nogen ufri Mand den Frihed og Frelse, som Riddere og Svende har, uden al Rigens Raads Samtykke, uden nogen forhverver det saa ærlig paa Marken, at han er det vær" [Item, we should not give any unfree man that freedom and salvation that knights and squires have, outside of the realm's council's consent; no recruit is so honorable in the field, though he be worthy of it] {4}, and this determination is repeated unchanged in the following king's charters [5]. Which seems to imply that at least from the beginning of that 16th century the exaltation of noble status was the right which belonged exclusively to "Landsherren" [the governor], for it would be pointless to require that in order for him to act that he should be in conformity with the entire "Rigsraad" [Council of the Realm], if others on their own account could do the same. Arguing against this is by no means the circumstance that Marshal Tyge Krabbe in 1535, on the battlefield, ennobled Niels Kuntze {6}, since Tyge Krabbe here was just acting as marshal, an executive on the absent king's behalf, who at that time would immediately have encouraged in others the desire to compete. That the high clergy regards - of the lower clergy there can not be any question - that it is a priori unlikely that the former had been freer, and just as the king's patents of nobility sometimes appear to have been given at the request of one or another knight, therefore it can be said the same of those from bishops {7}.

Had it stood in their power even to write such a certificate, they had not needed to ask the king to prepare it. A somewhat different position, it would seem as though the head clergyman, Lund's archbishop, took what was either had been done previously, with greater rights in this respect, or he arbitrarily encroached upon them. We see him in 1468 give to Oluf Bagge "Frihed og alle ægte Børn med Skjold og Hjelm, saasom fribaarne Mænd pleje at have" [Freedom (for himself) and all his legitimate children, with shield and helmet (i.e. coat of arms) such as freeborn men care to have] {8}. The condition of this certificate is unfortunately not good; thus making it difficult to judge the full meaning, and get to obtain an exact knowledge of what it truly states. This, in any case, differs both from the "Adelsbreve" [patents of nobility] and from the "Skjoldebreve" [coat of arms certificates], that we otherwise know about is obvious.

The second example, which we have, that the archbishop presumably issued a patent of nobility, is one given to Jens Koefoed by Archbishop Birger Gunnersen on the 14th of June 1514, which was one year after King Christian II had signed his charter. Whereas the king, giving in to the tough Standsfølelse [Charter of Rights] brought forward by the nobility {9}, had relinquished the right to elevate the noblity, how could a sexton's son from Halland, who sat on Lund's archbishopric chair, feel unconcerned about exercising this privilige! No, rather we must look for another explanation, since we can see in this an odd situation, that the only archbishopric patent of nobility, that we know of, and bishopric patent of nobility, that we know of, are given to Bornholmers {10}. It might help to explain this as follows, the archbishop only on the land's periphery - with its peculiar conditions, dare engage in exercising that right, which he knew elsewhere would meet with opposition; but rather we would think, that the letters were not patents of nobility, but they were certificates which conferred "Frimand" [Freeman] status {11.

On Bornholm there existed a singular class of people, the so-called "Frimænd" [Freemen] who probably could almost be said to form a sort of transition between the nobility and the peasantry. Although they did for a time make the assertion of belonging to the rank of nobility, but the government was by no means willing to readily acknowledge this assertion, as it demanded proof of their nobility. As was asked by Christian III and Frederik II {12}. The reign of Christian IV seems to have had an even dimmer view of the Freemen, for in a royal letter from 1605 they are referred to as "en Part Knaber og fri Bønde" [a party of squires and free peasants] who had acquired noble hunting rights, "uanset at yde ikke ere saa fribaarne eller og udaf den Herkomst, de dennem saadan Rettighed og Herlighed billigen kunne tilegne" [regardless of none being freeborn or from proven breeding, that they should acquire such entitlement and glory] {13}.

It seems clear that the freemen, though they had made themselves a certain type of nobility, by no means considered themselves as standing on an equal footing with the true, ancestral noblity {14}, neither for its part provides to them their own classification {15}. Over time, as we get down towards the middle of the 17th century, the separation between them becomes even sharper, and there was surely no one who regarded the Freemen as being of the nobility, even they themselves {16}.

A royal certificate from November 26, 1565 prohibits anyone on Bornholm to use any aristocratic freedoms, "uden han skjelligen kan bevise, at han er ægtefødt af Adelen, eller og haver af fremfarne Konninger forhvervet Frihed" [without his legitimately proving that he is truly born of nobility, or has in the past received royal freedom] {17}. It has to be considered that it is the archbishopric conferred ennoblement which Frederick II did not wish to have recognized {18}, and there is certainly every good reason to retain this right, one understands the terms as meaning that in order to be recognized, the Bornholmer noble must either prove his descent from the old noblity or produce an patent of nobility issued by a Danish king. Another interpretation is that if he is to have standing, that he must prove that he is either the true son of a noble father, or even is ennobled himself by a king. This last explanation one dares to accept. By demanding proof of being "ægtefødt af Adelen" [legitimately born of nobility] the regulation establishes a greater demand than simply requiring certification that he is the legitimate son of one who purports to be noble; it requires that his father also has been rightfully a nobleman, in other words, requiring genuine proof of ancestry, declaring the family's noblity. If this could not be done, it says, one must present a noble certificate issued, mind you, by a king, "af fremfarne Konger" [of bygone kings], meaning either by the predecessor of Christian III or one of the previous monarchs. But since the regulation thus refers back to a time prior to Christian III's accession to the throne, consequently a time when the country had Archbishops, it does nevertheless determine that the submitted claim required that patent of nobility must have been granted by the king to be valid. This invalidates the archbishopric certificate of ennoblement.

We turn to the patent of nobility from 1514 for Jens Koefoed, for although its significance by virtue of the above evidence is of reduced value, it is nevertheless of interest to investigate further, especially as it definitely seems to speak against the recently voiced presumption that it is not a patent of nobility. Thurah's writings {19} declares the following:

"Vi Byrge, med Guds Naade Ærkebiskop i Lund, Sverriges Fyrste og Pavens Legat, gjøre hermed vitterligt, at vi af vor synderlig Gunst og Naade have taget, annammet og undfanget, og nu med dette vort aabne Brev tage, annamme og undfange os elskelige Jens Koefoed, hans Hustru, Børn og Hion {20}, Tjenere og Gods, rørendes og urørendes, udinden vor biskoppelige Hegn, Værn, Fred og Beskjærmelse, besynderligen at ville haandhæve, forsvare og dagtinge til al Rette. Og saasom bemeldte Jens Koefoed, der hidtil har været ufri og en Almuesmand, haver ladet sig finde udi denne Tog og Fejde som en brav og tapper Helt til at slaa paa vores og Rigens Fjender og forsvaret vores Land, saa have vi hannem for saadan hans tro Tjeneste og Tapperhed bevilget og samtykt, saasom vi og hannem med dette vort aabne Brev bevilge og samtykke, at han herefter skal være en fri Adelsmand, og have derfor givet hannem dette paategnede Adelsvaaben, som er et blaat Spænde udi et rødt Felt og to Horn oven i Hjelmen, hvilket adelige Vaaben han, hans Børn og Afkom skulle nyde og beholde. Og skal han, hans Børn og Efterkommere, saafremt de sig saaledes forholde, som han for dennem gjort haver, naar noget Rov og Bytte efter Krigen deles, tage lige Lod af det bedste som andre Rigens Adelsmænd. Thi forbyde vi vore Biskopper, Riddere og andre Adelsmænd udi vore Lande fornævnte os elskelige Jens Koefoed paa saadan hans Adelsfrihed at hindre eller udi nogen Maade Forfang at gjøre. Til ydermere Stadfæstelse have vi ladet hænge vores Sekret her neden under dette Brev. Anno Domini 1514 den 14. Dag Junii."

Unless this document is bogus, as it must be proven that it is not a fake document. The individual expressions and whole phrases absolutely do not fit the official language, that which was used in the early 16th century. One considers a word such as "Almuesmand" being used at that time in that kind of official document! And then declaring Jens Koefoed to now be "en fri Adelsmand" [a free nobleman], which J. E. Larsen {21} already has highlighted as outlandish, when the word "Adel" [noble] was otherwise only first to be found used in 1523. Only wonder that the astute legal historian has not detected the fraud. Tangibly complete impossibilities in a letter from 1514 are such phrases as he "har ladet sig finde udi denne Tog og Fejde som en brav og tapper Helt til at slaa paa vore og Rigens Fjender" [having taken upon himself in this campaign and feud, like a worthy and courageous hero, to strike upon our and the kingdom's enemies] and the excellent permission for him and his descendants to, "naar noget Rov og Bytte efter Krigen deles" [when there is plunder and pillage after a war is divided] then to "tage lige Lod af det bedste som andre Rigens Adelsmænd" [take a just portion of the best like the other noblemen of the realm]. In conclusion charges the Archbishop solemnly, but anachronistically: "vore Biskopper, Riddere og andre Adelsmænd udi vore Lande" [our bishops, knights and other noblemen in our lands]; even the date, expressed not by a saint or feast day, as we would expect, but simply by the day of the month and without reference to its place looks suspicious. -- And now the historical situation! What is the campaign and feud in which Jens Koefoed has behaved so manly? 1514 was a year of peace and likewise the preceding year. The nearest one can think of is the feud with Lübeck, especially since the term "vort Land" [our land], meaning Bornholm, would thus be reasonable; but in 1511 the Lübecker's navy, when it lay for a few days off the island, had no opportunity to make landing {22}, and also a battle on the island would hardly have, particularly from Danish side, been considered a campaign. -- Whoever made this legal document, had not carried out the work with an expert hand. He would otherwise not have had the archbishop speak in such a kingly style, so that, the opening and the conclusion removed, one thinks that it is the kingdom's secular ruler doing the talking. Yes, there was much that he should not have done, first and foremost not have had the archbishop, but rather the king issue the certificate. But we must not lament all this; precisely because fraud wrought so coarsely, is so much easier on the eyes.

The supposed original of this interesting legal document is - of course - not known. Thurah having received a copy from the then Prefect of Bornholm, Christian Urne. Two other transcripts, written with hands from the 18th century, are inserted in the Langebekske Diplomatarium in the Geheime Archive. The first begins: "Vi Biskop Børge, med Guds Naade Dannemarkis og Sverriges Høvding og Pavens Legat" [We Bishop Børge, with God's grace Denmark's and Sweden's governor and the Pope's legate] but then proceeds, with insignificant deviations, just as above. It must be noted that only is it here that finally is it stated that the archbishop had attached his seal "udi en Buddik her neden unde" [as an anointment here under] and that the attribution simply reads: "af vort Hus udi Roskild" [from our house in Roskilde] without specifying the year and day. This dating Langebek has crossed out and instead wrote: "af Lunde Biskopssæde Anno 1514 den 14. Dag Junii" [from the Lunde Bishopric in the year 1514 the 14 day of June]. His source may have been the second transcript that begins just like the first, but whose date is similar to the above mentioned. At the foot of the first transcript is found the following notice with another hand: "Originalen af dette, saa og paa de Gaggers og Baggers er bleven ungefær A. 1691 eller 92, da nogen Frihed paa Godset paa Borringholm blev disputeret, af Sigr. Albert Hartwigsen leveret til sal. Hr. Landsdommer Pasberg" [The original of this, on the Gagge and Bagge families has been around since the year 1691 or 92, because some liberty to their estate on Bornholm was in dispute, was delivered by Mr. Albert Hartwigsen to the deceased Chief Justice Mr. Pasberg]. Moreover, Langebek added the following comment: "NB. Stilen i dette Nobilitationsbrev lader noget fordægtig. I det ringeste har den, som har udkopieret det af Originalen, ikke ret kunnet læse gammel Skrift; Ærkebiskoppens Titel alene røber Urigtigheden, ej at tale om andet." [Note: The style of this patent of nobility leaves one feeling dubious. At the very least whoever has copied the original was not quite able to read the old handwritting; the Archbishop's title alone reveals errors, not to mention the other things.]

Yes, certainly, something dubious! And what can then be said about the strange mismatch between the various copies, the Thurahske and Langebekske, if we for the sake of brevity must designate them? With one of them one could find an explanation, if one took refuge in the otherwise not very reasonable hypothesis that the original was in Latin {23}: but even then there is enough left, against which one stands perplexed. Might the person who fabricated the document, having made various drafts, as his early exceeding slight knowledge of the past grew {24}, and these several attempts were possibly preserved?

However, declares the Adelsaarbog [Nobility Yearbook], the objections to the certificates authenticity and Archbishop's jurisdiction to issue the "tabe deres Betydning overfor det Faktum, at en Sønnesøn af den adlede Jens Koefoed, der selv hed Jens Koefoed og i Aarene 1588-1620 var Landsdommer paa Bornholm, hyppig i Kongebreve tiltales 'os elskelig Jens Koefoed, vor Mand, Tjener og Landsdommer', hvilket saa tydelig som muligt betegner Manden som Adelsmand" [lose their meaning facing the fact that a grandson of the ennobled Jens Koefoed, who also is named Jens Koefoed and in the years 1588-1620 was chief justice on Bornholm, was frequently in the royal documents addressed 'our beloved Jens Koefoed, our man, servant and chief justice', which as clear as possible represents the man as a nobleman]. While the term "os elskelig" [our beloved] does not appear to be convincing that the royal letter's author deemed the subject part of the nobility {25}, it follows from this a truth utterly undoubtedly the term "our man and servant". But neither is more said of this. One goes a step further, when one thereof concludes, that he really had been a nobleman, a step which one admittedly normally is fully entitled to do, but in certain cases may also be going too far. One such case is precisely here, where fact stands against fact; where it might be premature in advance to hold the titles as the most convincing. Opposite the fact of the "frequency" in the royal letters of Chief Justice Jens Koefoed being given noble title, stands the other fact that Koefoeds both before and after that time belonged to the Freeman's class. Thus in 1572 they were among the freemen who made the assertion of being in possession of noble freedom and rights {26}. Although the government, observed as of old, was not willing to admit the correctness of that assertion in its general and later even specifically denied it, however, it is not impossible that the inconsistency with this individual man may have recognized what the in principle he did not wish to admit; but far more likely is however, I think the explanation that the chief justice's noble title, which in the chancellery in Copenhagen actually used by mistake an incorrect title for a man who occupied what in most parts of the country was a position reserved for nobles {27}, and that error, once entered in some of the Chancellery lists and forms, was obstinately kept there. Behind the author's expression that Jens Koefoed "hyppig" [frequently] was addressed as a nobleman, is probably that it is not always the case, perhaps not even frequently; but nevertheless one dares to in the absence of stern order, which apparently has reigned in the Danish Chancellery course of business, building on an existing formula even though it stands in variance with another.

While the Adelsaarbog claims Chief Justice Jens Koefoed's nobility, it did not attach any importance to the pursuit of the question of the present generations noble descent, since he [Jens Koefoed] died childless, and since the currently flourishing branch descends from Peder Koefoed, who died in 1648 as mayor of Rønne. This man [Peder Koefoed] was, say the authors [Hans Rudolf Hiort-Lorenzen and Anders Thiset], not noble, for as his seal he used a "Bomærke" [estate mark]; this circumstance casts doubt as regards to his being a descendent of the 1514 "adlede" [ennobled] Jens Koefoed. It is certain that family's pedigree {28} of the older members, is in need of a critical audit {29}. It is possible that the authors are correct in that they comprise different families; but surely it is also conceivable that the use of "Vaaben" [coat of arms] or of "Bomærke" [estate mark] has alternated, so that some of the family have used the one and others the second. It is the wish that today's intense genealogical examination might be for the good of this relationship, so that it might be correctly stated. Here it must be quite left out of the narrative.

The "uadelige" [non-noble = commoner] Peder Koefoed in Rønne {30} was the father of Captain Jens Koefoed, the family's most famous man. For his exploits in the Swedish war, which have preserved his name fresh in memory right to our time, there is no reason here to dwell on this. He himself has described the events in which he took action {31}, and he was not a man of modesty who forgot to highlight his own part {32}. From his father he could therefore not have inherited nobility, and whether or not the father had been a nobleman, the fierce son by virtue of his birth did not have this status. His mother Elisabeth Madsdatter Ravn, probably a "Raadmandsdatter" [alderman's daughter] from Rønne {33}, was a commoner. Alone this circumstance is sufficient to decide the question of the contemporary Koefoeds nobility, since the regulation of June 19, 1582, as is well known, has the determined that children only inherited nobility when both parents were nobles. The abundance of evidence sweeps away every trace of doubt in regard to the said Captain Jens Koefoed's nobility or non-nobility, one can finally refer to a couple of documents, both dated Rønne the 18th of September 1661 and containing the oath to Frederik III as hereditary lord. The first begins: "Vi underskrevne Adelsmænd paa Insulen og Øen Borringholm" [We the undersigned noblemen of the island Bornholm] and ends with seven signatures and corresponding seals, six of which belong to the families Eckstein and Macchabæus and nr. 7 is that of Chief Justice Peder Olsen {34}. The second document, which begins with: "Vi underskrevne Frimænd, som bygger og bor paa Insulen og Øen Borringholm" (We the undersigned freemen, who live on the island of Bornholm), and carries a column of signatures without seals, including Jens Koefoed's and 5 other Koefoeds {35}. Is there required any clearer proof that noblemen and freemen were different and that the Koefoeds belonged to the latter?

Jens Koefoed was at that time still a young man (born in 1628) and outlived this day for many years (died in 1691). Thus he witnessed the major social changes which filled the end of that century, and was witness to the zeal with which Christian V's officials sought to insert themselves among the nobility, as doors were opened to them. His vain mind was unlikely to allow him to be a cool observer of this drama. When he in 1683, three years after his second marriage to a noble lady, Miss Elisabeth Akeleie, allowed himself to be painted, he did not forget to afix the "Familievaabnet" [family coat of arms] - for he did not use, like his father, a "bomærke" [estate mark] - on the painting {36} and I wonder if he might not have had a finger in the fabrication of the false patent of nobility from 1514? Judging from the style one must almost believe that it was writing from the latter half of the 17th century, and suspicion falls as readily on him following what we otherwise know of him. Perhaps future investigations could make all conjectures redundant by proving who the author of the fraud is; they would perhaps indeed provide on that day, what underlies this "patent of nobility", whether it is a free composition, or whether it is a "Frihedsbrev" [freedom charter] which has been decked up to be an "Adelsbrev" [patent of nobility]. So far this has stood up. And then in conclusion just to highlight the testimony that the family itself has presented on its tombstones and epitaphs, apparent contrary to its nobility; from the 17th century they do not know of any "velbyrdig" [wellborn = noble born] Koefoed {37}. Only in 1741 is the deceased Captain Hans Koefoed, the son of the above mentioned Jens Koefoed, listed as "velædel og velbyrdig" [very noble and wellborn] {38}; however, by then those kinds of designations had lost their old meaning, perhaps also the "Adelsbrev" had begun to exert its effect.

C. F. Bricka.


Annotations:

{1} Hist. Tidsskr. 5. R. I. 672.

{2} F. Ex. af Barner, Familien Rosenkrantz's Hist. I. 165.

{3} Magazin til den danske Adels Hist. I. 243. Nielsen, Dueholms Diplomatarium pages 32-33. As per Danske Mag. II. 35.

{4} The annual reports from the Geheime Archive, II. 61.

{5} First of Frederik III's decrees placed here in an annotation: "Ikke heller skal nogen udlændiske Adelsmand, som sig her udi Riget agter at bosætte, nyde danske adelige Privilegier, med mindre den med menige Danmarkes Riges Raads Samtykke naturaliseres og for en danske Herremand kjendes, antages og anses og inden Aar og Dag derefter tages udi Ed" [Neither should any foreign nobleman, as here in the kingdom intends to reside, enjoy Danish noble privileges, unless with rank and file Danish State Council consent of naturalization and a Danish nobleman known, believed and considered and by the year and day thereafter be sworn in] (anf. Skr. II. 115).

{6} Hvitfeldt, Christian III's Hist. Bl. O. Cragii Annales Christiani IIItii p. 85 (præfat. p. 134). As per om denne Mand Krag, Christian III's Hist. I. 88. Erslev, Danmarks Len og Lensmænd page 74.

{7} Dsk. Mag. II. 35. Mag. t. den dsk. Adels Hist. I. 245.

{8} Hübertz, records from Bornholms Hist. page 23.

{9} As per Allen, De tre nord. Rigers Hist. II. 27 ff.

{10} Also a family Gagge said to be knighted by one of the Archbishops, but the patent of nobility is not known. The informtion (see below) is unreliable.

{11} A somewhat similar argument must be the well-known P. N. Skovgaard had, when he says in his description of Bornholm (I. 215) "at Kofoderne aldrig have været Adel, uden ærkebispelige Væbnere, viser klarligen deres Adelsbrev" [that the Kofods would never have been noble, without the archbishopric coat of arms, displaying plainly their patent of nobility], and when he describes the letter as a "Frihedsbrev" [Freedom Charter].

{12} Hübertz, Aktstykker til Bornholms Hist., fl. Steder f. Ex. pages 272, 361, 378, 380 ff.

{13} Hübertz, anf. Skr. S. 555. Inadvertantly lazy idea on "Rinds Herreds Knaber" which seems to have taken a similar partial position (Small. t. jydsk Hist. og Topogr. I. 342 f. II. 395 f.). It would be presumptuous to draw a comparison with the Schleswig freemen (on which see Paulsen, Lehrbuch des Privat-Rechts der Herzogth. Schleswig u. Holstein, 2. Aufl. page 59. As per Jahrbücher für die Landeskunde der Herzogthümer III. 417 ff.).

{14} In 1608 described himself as "velbyrdige" (wellborn), but the "Lensmand" [Feudal Lord] Hans Lindenov as "ærlig og velbyrdig" [honest and wellborn], the usual term for nobility (Hübertz, anf. Skr. page 560).

{15} Hübertz, anf. Skr. page 532. In 1608 the freemen sent two of their number to "Stændermødet" [meeting of the upper ranks of society] in Copenhagen to participate in the "Thronfølgervalget" [succession election], but while the agents of the nobles from the various parts of the kingdom issued the "Valgbrevet" [Election Letter], of May 25th, along with "Rigsraad" [State Council], finds the Bornholmer's names not in it, and when the king a few days later provides the island's "Frimænd og Borgerskab" [freemen and burghers] confirmation of their privileges, added explicitly to "endog de ingen Elektionsbrev have udgivet som de andre" [not even the election letter having been released like the others] (Erslev, Aktstykker til Rigsraadets og Stændermødernes Hist. i Kristian IV's Tid I. 148, 152 f., 159 f.).

{16} In that familiar census of nobility in Denmark and Norway of Frederick III's time (printed in Suhms Samll. II. 2. 149 ff.) exists presumably not a single "Frimand" [Freeman] listed. About the explicit separation, which in 1661 is made between Bornholm's nobles and freemen, see below.

{17} Dsk. Mag. VI. 59. About different dates for this "Kongebrev" [royal letter] see Regesta diplom. hist. Dan. II. Nr. 2352.

{18} Thus from Ex. Skovgaard, Beskrivelse over Bornholm, I. 215.

{19} Beskrivelse over Bornholm, page 44.

{20} i.e. "Tyende" [household].

{21} Samlede Skrifter 1. Afd. I. 322.

{22} As per Allen, De tre nord. Rigers Hist. I. 572.

{23} Not very reasonable, because the use of Latin at that time in a document of purely secular nature, that caters also to a larger circle of laymen, appears contrary to the intention of its issuance and dares to be without examples. Two independent translations would not possibly match as many lines as the Thurahske and the Langebekske texts.

{24} The first Langebekske transcript must then be assumed to be made after the oldest draft.

{25} See Secher, the King's High Court judgments from 1595-1604, page xxij label and data sheet, page 604 and 695. Where here is voiced some doubt about Jørgen Jensen's nobility, this doubt is probably unfounded, see Skeel, Optegnelser om Familien Skeel, page 25.

{26} Hübertz, documents from Bornholms Hist. page 381.

{27} Previously L. Engelstoft had (in Maanedsskrift f. Literature II. 251) drawn attention to Chr. Ostersen Vejle's testimony that Bleking, Bornholm and Møn hitherto have had commoner chief justices. Therefore, it is less true when the Adelsaarbog conveys that it is me who first uncovered this passage. On the 5th of February 1629 Mads Koefoed was appointed as chief justice (Skaanske Reg. IV. 451). On the 29th of November 1628 a "Kongebrev" [Royal Letter] was issued to the "Lensmand" [Feudal Lord] of Bornholm, Holger Rosenkrands, who had reported, "hvorledes Landsdommer paa vort Land Borringholm ved Døden skal være afgangen og ingen der paa Landet bekvem at findes, som samme Bestilling igjen kunde betjene, uden En ved Navn Mads Koefoed" [how the chief justice for our land Bornholm through death had reached his exit and no one in the land found as convenient, to fill that office, other than one named Mads Koefoed], therefore one should go to the king to submit a chief justice's oath of office. On the 5th of February 1629 the same Holger Rosenkrands took it upon himself to take the oath from "os elskelige" [our beloved] Mads Koefoed, since it would be "fast besværligt" [very difficult] to travel to Copenhagen (Skaanske Tegn. V. 344, 359). In a similar manner Bleking's chief justice was described in a "Herredagsdom" [High Court judgement] from June 3, 1619 as "os elskelige Peder Andersen i Rotneby, Landsdommer udi vort Land Blegende" [our beloved Peder Andersen in Rotneby, chief justice in our land Bleking] (Herredagsdombogen in Geheime Archive), whereas otherwise the noble chief justices were always addressed as: "os elskelige N. N., vor Mand, Tjener og Landsdommer" [our beloved <name>, our man, servant and chief justice].

{28} Printed by Giessing, Jubel-Lærere III. 1. 412.

{29} As per Skovgaard, Beskrivelse over Bornholm, I. 218.

{30} In 1630 he called the nobleman Jokum Grabov an "ærlig og velagt Mand" [honest and well-respected man", and two years later denoted him as an "ærlig og velforstandig Mand" [honest and very wise man] (Document in the Kongerigets Arkiv, found by Mr. Thiset).

{31} Holberg, Dannemarkes Riges Hist. (2. Ed.) III. 349 ff.

{32} As per Skovgaard, Beskrivelser over Bornholm, I. 216, 222. Marckmann, description of the Bornholmer's uprising against the Swedes in 1658 (reprint from Riise's Archiv f. Hist. og Geogr. 45. Bd.) page 14. While Skovgaard in the stated locations spews invective against "Stortaleren" [braggart] Jens Koefoed and his account of the uprising on Bornholm "som en Smule for meget vindig" [as a little too much wind], 30 years later in his Bornholms Saga (page 88 f., 91 f.) he can not speak highly enough about his "Storværk" [excellent work]. The motives for this change is unknown.

{33} Mads Ravn, "Raadmand" [alderman] in Rønne in 1608 (Hübertz, document in Bornholms Hist. page 560).

{34} He was "uadelig" [non-noble, a commoner] and sealed with a "Bomærke" [estate mark]. As chief justice he must surely have made a claim to be included among the nobles.

{35} Geheime Archive, Reg. 10, Bornholmske Dokumenter Fasc. 6 Nr. 12 og 13.

{36} Illustrated in the weekly publication "Ude og hjemme" of June 16, 1878.

{37} Thurah, Beskrivelse over Bornholm, pages 60 ff., 133 f., 158, 162.

{38} Thurah, above publicaton, page 84.


Carl Frederik Bricka (10 July 1845 - 23 August 1903) was a Danish archivist, historian and biographer. Publisher of the Dansk biografisk Lexikon [Danish Biographical Encyclopaedia], Volume 19, 1887-1905. Editor of the Historisk Tidsskrift [Historical Journal] 1879-1897. He was chairman of the Samfundet for dansk-norsk genealogi og Personalhistorie [Society for Danish-Norwegian Genealogy and Biography] for the period 1901-1903.

Hans Rudolf Hiort-Lorenzen (16 August 1832 - 14 June 1917) was a Danish lawyer, politician, journalist, author and civil servant, etc. He was a board member of the Samfundet for dansk-norsk genealogi og Personalhistorie from 1906. He published the Genealogie des Maisons princiéres regnantes dance l'Europe depuis 1815 in 1871; the Annuaire généalogique des Maisons princiéres regnant en Europe depuis le commencement du XIX siécle from 1882 to 1886; Danmarks Adels Aarbog beginning in 1884 (together with Anders Thiset); Dansk Patriciske Slægter in 1891 (along with Sofus Elvius); Livre d'Or des Souverains in 1895, 2nd edition 1908 and a supplement in 1912; Repertorium over legater og milde stiftelser i Danmark from 1896 to 1904 (with Ellen Rosendahl and F.P.G. Salicath); the 2nd edition of Dansk Patriciske Slægter in 1911 and the 3rd edition in 1915 (both with Theodor Hauch-Fausbøll); also as manuscripts genealogies of the families Muus, Bruun, Schroeter and Lorenzen; wrote about Frederick II, Christian III and Christian IV burials in Roskilde Cathedral; as well as articles of genealogical and biographical content in newspapers, Personalhistorisk Tidskrift and Salmons konversationsleksikon.

Anders Thiset (25 February 1850 - 14 July 1917) was a Danish historian, genealogist, heraldist and archivist. His first genealogical treatise on the old Danish nobility appeared in Historisk Tidsskrift in 1879. Along with H.R. Hiort-Lorenzen, he published Danmarks Adels Aarbog [Denmark's Nobility Yearbook] from 1884, in which nearly all the complete pedigrees were due to him, as were the stylish arms depictions. Also pubisher of the Danske adelige Sigiller fra det 15., 16. og 17. Aarhundrede (1898-1905), all the depictions are reproductions of his drawings. Nyt dansk Adelslexikon (1904) later built upon the work of the nobility yearbook. He was chairman of the Danish branch of the dansk-norsk Genealogi og Personalhistorie from 1904 to 1917), a foreign member of the Kungliga Samfundet för Utgifvande af Handskrifter rörande Skandinaviens Historie in Stockholm, and a Knight of the Dannebrog.


Contact me at: Norman Lee Madsen, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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