Denmark, Church Record Marriage 1874-PresentEdit This Page
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Only a few parish records in Denmark go back before the late 1600s. The earliest church records tend to be found in the large cities and in the lower Jutland peninsula bordering on German territories.
Although the earliest church record in Denmark dates back to 1572, most churches began keeping marriage records (or marriage banns) in the late 1600s. Information found in a marriage record depends on how detailed the minister made his record.
What You Are Looking For
The following information may be found in a marriage entry:
- The names of your ancestors.
- The date of your ancestors' marriage.
- The names of your ancestors' parents (usually only the fathers are listed).
- The names of the witnesses or sponsors.
- The ages of the bride and groom at the time of marriage.
- The place of residence of the bride and groom at the time of marriage.
- The occupation of the fathers.
- The date of the marriage proclamations or banns.
These 4 steps will guide you in finding your ancestor in Danish church records.
Step 1. Find the date and place of your ancestor's marriage.
To find the marriage records available at the library, look in the Family History Library Catalog.
If you don't know which parish your ancestor lived in, see the Danish gazetteer Danmark / J. P. Trap.
Before locating your ancestor's marriage record, you will need to know when and where in Denmark your ancestor was married. You must have at least an approximate year of marriage and a town where he or she was married. The year of marriage can also be calculated from the age of the first child listed on a census record.
When looking for your ancestor's marriage record, remember:
- Marriage records are arranged chronologically.
- Marriage records before 1814 may be intermixed with christening or burial records.
For helps in finding the year, see Tip 1.
Step 2. Find the marriage entry for your ancestor.
Look for a married ancestor with the right given name and surname and the right marriage date in the records of the town you identified in step 1. Then see if his or her father's given name matches the ancestor's patronymic name. For example, a Hans Jensen should be listed as the son of Jens. If more entries than one fit your information, you may have to check further to make sure you find the correct entry:
• Identify all possibilities that fit your information. If your ancestor was Hans Jensen who married in 1849 according to his age later in life, find all the Hans Jensens born between 1848 and 1850 in the town your ancestor was from.
• If the entry gives the ages of the bride and groom, they should be compatible with their ages at death or on census or other records.
For help in reading the record entry, see Tip 2.
Step 3. Copy the information, and document your sources.
If you can, photocopy the record. If you can't, be sure to copy all the information in the entry, including:
- All the people listed and their relationships to each other. (Witnesses or sponsors are often relatives.)
- All the localities in the entry and who was from the places listed.
On the copy, write down the source of the information. List:
- The type of source (a paper certificate, a microform, a book, an Internet site, etc.).
- All reference numbers for the source. Carefully record any microfilm, volume (and years covered), page, and entry numbers or the Internet address of the site you used.
Step 4. Analyze the information you obtain from the marriage record.
To effectively use the information from the marriage record, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this the marriage entry of my direct line ancestor? Because names are so common, you must be sure you have the correct record.
- Did the minister identify both the bride and groom?
- Once you have found the marriage record, then begin looking for your ancestors' christening records.
For help in reading the record entry, see Tip 3.
Tip 1. How do I find the year my ancestor was married?
First, use census records as a guide to find the whole family. The census records list everyone living in a household at a given time and may include parents, grandparents, and children. It also gives ages for each person, which you can use to calculate an approximate year of birth and marriage. After 1845 census records also include birthplace information. To find census records in the Family History Library Catalog, search under the county that your town belonged to and the heading "Census." You may have to try several towns in the area where he or she lived to find the right marriage place.
Tip 2. What if I can't read the record?
Danish church records are usually written in Danish and include some Latin terms and phrases. In southern Jutland and some Copenhagen parishes, the records may be listed in German. Prior to the late 1800s, records were written in Gothic script.
Tip 3. How do I differentiate people with the same names?
Remember, within the parish, one or more couples may have the same given and surnames. When more than one set of parents has the same given names and surnames (for example two Hans Jensens with wife Maren), use the following identifiers and records to separate the families:
- The place of residence of the family.
- The husband's occupation.
- The witnesses or sponsors.
- Other sources like census and probate records that list family members as a group.
Where to Find It
Family History Centers
Many Family History Centers can borrow microfilms of family register records from the Family History Library. There is a small fee to have a microfilm loaned to a Family History Center. For details see Ordering Microfilm or Microfiche from a Family History Center.
Family History Centers are located throughout the United States and other areas of the world. To find a center near you, see Finding a Family History Center.
Family History Library
The Family History Library has microfilmed many of the German family registry records. There is no fee for using these microfilms in person. You may request photocopies of the record from the library for a small fee. You will need to fill out a Request for Photocopies—Census Records, Books, Microfilm or Microfiche form. The Family History Library microfilm number is available from the Family History Library Catalog. Send the form and the fee to the Family History Library. For details, see Photoduplication Services.