The Danish Brethren-in-Arms

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Danske Våbenbrødre.

Danish-American Veterans of the War of 1864 (1914).

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In Service to Country - New and Old

As soldiers from the Dano-Prussian wars settled in the States in the late 1860s and ‘70s they founded a number of veterans’ organizations, such as the Danske Våbenbrødre [Danish Brethren-in-Arms]. In 1881 four of these organizations joined together in Omaha, Nebraska, to form Det danske Brodersamfund i Amerika [The Danish Brotherhood in America], which became the largest Danish fraternal insurance organization in the country. During its existence as a national organization from 1881-1995 this organization had as many as 350 lodges in the U.S. and Canada and some 85,000 members. In 1995 the insurance arm of the organization was turned over to the Woodmen of the World. Although reduced in number, Danish Brotherhood lodges still exist today as social organizations where members’ Danish heritage is celebrated. Membership records of the various lodges may be found in the FHGC and the Danish American Archives and Library in Blair, Nebraska.

These immigrants were veterans of the Dano-Prussian War in which Denmark lost the provinces of Slesvig and Holsten as well as the lower third of Jutland. As a result of the war many Danes emigrated to the U.S. and elsewhere. Front row (seated): Mr. Larsen, Harlan; Jens Jensen, Kimballton; Soren Jensen, Harlan; Jorgen Larsen, Kirkman; Rasmus Hansen, Elk Horn; Jes Jorgensen, Harlan; and Knud Knudsen, Poplar. Back row (standing): John Foyt, Elyria, NE; F. Kelgor, Manning; Nicolas Jorgensen, Kimballton; John Nissen, Harlan; Jens Larsen, Kimballton.

  • The Danish veterans. Photograph from the collection of the Family History and Genealogy Center.

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