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A pastorat is an ecclesiastical jurisdiction in which one priest is in charge of multiple parishes. It includes one main parish, the hovedsogn, and at least one other parish or more, annekssogn. The parish that the priest actually resides in is the main parish. It is in the main parish that church records for both the main parish and the annex parishes were kept and recorded.
When researching in Denmark, it is important to know which pastorat the parish of research was located in, and whether or not it was the main parish or an annex parish. Many archives and databases have tried to separate the annex parish records from the main parish records to make research easier, but when in doubt, always check the main parish records.
Understanding the pastorat is also vital when researching a priest’s family. His and his family’s life revolved around the pastorat, and nearly all records on them will be in the main parish. If work at the pastorat ever became too much, the priest was allowed to hire a chaplain, who more often than not was the priest’s son, to help with the annex parishes. Also, when the priest died, his surviving spouse and children were permitted to live on the præstegård, priest’s farm, and be provided for by the parish for up to one year following his death.
- Skaaning, Jytte and Bente Klercke Rasmussen. Find Din Slægt - og Gør den Levende: Håndbog i Slægtshistorie, 2d ed. Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2006.
- Worsøe, Hans H. Politikens Håndbog i Slægtshistorie. København (Copenhagen): Politikens Forlag A/S, 2005.
- Wikipedia. "Pastorat." <http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastorat>. Accessed 18 May 2011.