Denmark: Confirmation Records
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Finding the confirmation date and location of your Danish ancestor is an important step in building the family story. A confirmation record will help you know where the individual lived at the time of the confirmation. Depending on the time period, you will also get the name of the individual’s father (or parents) with the parent’s place of residence at that time. The confirmation might indicate the parent’s social standing or occupation. You will find your ancestor’s confirmation entry in the parish records of the parish where the confirmation took place.
The practice of Confirmation was introduced with the resolution of 1736 in consequence to concerns of religious leaders. In 1759 a law was passed allowing children younger than 14 years old to be confirmed in consideration of special needs or circumstances. Confirmation could take place right up to the age of 19. Any young man or woman who was over 19 years old, and still not confirmed, could legally be jailed until the necessary knowledge was obtained. After 1810 the confirmation candidate was obligated to show a vaccination certificate stating whether the individual was vaccinated naturally or through medical procedure. After 1814 the candidate also had to provide proof of school completion. It’s likely the date of confirmation can also be found in the school records, because as a rule a child was released from school after completing confirmation. Up until 1857 the members of the Danish Lutheran State Church were required to have their children confirmed. The ceremony of confirmation continued well into the 1900’s as a semi-formal boundary between being a child and an adult in Danish society.
Confirmation was a prerequisite to be a god-parent, or to be married. Confirmation was included in the Skudsmålbøger (a personal work reference booklet) after 1832, which was required for all members of the working class.
What will you typically find?
Confirmation Records Pre-1814
You will always get the child’s name with a place of residence. You might see the father’s name, occupation, or place of residence, or even a god-parent’s name.
Confirmation Records 1814 – 1890
You will almost always get: the child’s name, parents’ names, the date of birth (or christening), how the child did on the confirmation activities, and the small pox vaccination information. The vaccination information is usually noted as naturally (and survived), or by whom the vaccination was performed with the associated date.
Confirmation Records 1890
If you don't know where the confirmation took place, use other sources such as Censuses, the Moving In and Out Records of a parish, or the moving information in the Military Levying Rolls to estimate the location when your ancestor was about 14 to 19 years old.
1. ”Konfirmation”, by Anette Eklund Hansen, Charlotte S H Jensen, Helga Mohr, and Nete Balslev Wingender , 2006, Denmark, at webpage: http://www.landsarkivetkbh.dk/hovedst/.
See examples of Danish Confirmation Records at Denmark: Handwriting Examples