Character Reference Book


Brief Overview

Skudsmålsbog for Mads Ingvard Andersen, 1900-1904


2007-669 - Gift Kenneth Andersen


Skudsmålsbog for Hans Rasmussen, 1884


2009-442a - Gift of Eleanor Brenneke


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From 1832 - 1921 all workers in Denmark had to have a skudsmålsbog or a character reference book.

The book was issued by the police or local clergy. An individual skudsmålsbog would contain a record of vaccination, a record of church events such as baptism and confirmation, movement from one locality to another, and notes from former employers detailing the type of work done, the duration of employment, and wages. It was up to the individual employer or farmer whether he wanted to also write his opinion of the laborer and his performance. Tearing out pages or deliberately obscuring written testimonies was punishable by up to 8 days in prison.

Today letters of recommendation or degree certificates have replaced the book.

The skudsmålsbog for Mads Ingvard Andersen details his life from 1900, when his entry into the parish of Sønderholm is reported, through his work on several farms in Sønderholm and his entry into Svendstup parish in 1904.

The skudsmålsbog for Hans Jørgen Rasmussen details his birth, baptism and confirmation and is signed April 25th, 1884. No work experience is detailed but on the back of the front page the handwritten words "pure nonsense" appear in Danish. Perhaps Hans Jørgen disagreed with his description?


  • The title page of the character reference book for Mads Ingvard Andersen.

  • The title page of the character reference book for Hans Rasmussen.


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