Denmark, Civil Registration Marriage 1874-PresentEdit This Page
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Beginning in 1874, the German government required civil registrars to keep marriage records. This included the area of southern Jutland ceded to Germany following the 1863 Danish-Prussian War and which was returned to Denmark in 1920. Note that civil registry records for the southern Jutland region of Denmark begin in 1874.
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 marriage.
- The occupation of the groom.
- The occupation of the fathers.
These 5 steps will guide you in finding your ancestor in Danish civil registry records.
Step 1. Find the date and place of your ancestor's marriage.
Generally the civil registration district was the same as the parish. If you don't know which civil registry district or parish your ancestor lived in, see the Danish gazetteer Danmark by J. P. Trap or the German gazetteer Meyers Orts- und Verkehrslexikon des deutschen Reichs. Instructions for using this gazetteer are found in How to Use the Meyers gazetteer or the Danish Gazetteer Danmark/Trap.
NOTE: Civil Registration covers only the counties of Åbenrå, Sønderborg, Haderslev, or Tønder. If your ancestors were not from one of those areas, you should try another source.
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.
- For help in finding the year, see Tip 1.
Step 2. Find the marriage entry for your ancestor.
Look for the last names, which are often clearly written and underlined; then look for the given names. You may have to check further to make sure you find the correct entry:
- 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, and so forth).
- 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
To effectively use the information from the marriage record, ask yourself the following questions:
• Is this the marriage entry of my direct line ancestors? Because names are so common, you must be sure you have the correct record.
• Did the civil registrar identify both parents, and is the mother's maiden name given?
• Were additional event dates, such as birth, death, etc., given in the entry's margin? (The civil registrar may use symbols such as * for birth, oo for marriage, and + for death.)
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 civil registry records are usually written in German. Prior to the late 1800s, records were written in Gothic script.
For publications that can help you read the languages and Gothic script, see the Danish Word List, Latin Word List, German Word List, and the "Handwriting" section of the Germany Research Outline.
Tip 3. How do I differentiate people with the same names?
Remember, within the parish, one or more couple may have the same given and surnnames. 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.
Microfilm and microfiche copies of civil registry records are also found at the National Archive (Rigsarkivet) in Copenhagen and at the provincial archive (Landsarkiv) in Åbenrå.