Copenhagen: Church Records
Church records are probably one of the most vital of records to use in Copenhagen Research. With Christening, Marriage and Burial records, entire families can be reconstructed and generations connected.
|Strategies Using this Record|
Up until the 20th century, nearly everyone belonged to a church, resulting in records for each individual. For centuries, the only recognized church in Denmark was the Danish Lutheran Church (Den Danske Folkekirke); however, beginning in the mid-1800s more and more churches were recognized by the Danish government. Even then, up until the 20th century, the majority of Danish citizens belonged to the Danish Lutheran Church. Copenhagen is slightly different from the rest of the counrty because it is a large port city. Because Copenhagen is the capitol city, many different religious ideologies have entered through the port, influencing its citizens. Some of the most common denominations have been:
-Den Danske Folkekirke (records since 1617)
-Roman Catholic (records since 1647)
-French Reformed Church (records since 1685)
-German Reformed Church (records since 1686)
-Anglican (records since 1835)
-Methodist (records since 1846)
-Latter-day Saint (records since 1850)
Lutheran Church Records
Throughout Denmark's history, the Danish Lutheran Church has been the largest denomination for centuries. This holds true in the city of Copenhagen. The city is split into many different parishes, although there were originally 7 main churches. For a list of the parishes in Copenhagen see the parish list.
Probably the most difficult part of researching in Copenhagen is finding which parish a family belonged to. There are a few different records that can help locate a family such as directories, censuses, and tax records. Once an address is secured for a family, the parish can be located by either using the Copenhagen Street Register-Parish Name Guide (FHL # 1224549), or locating the closest church. After the parish is located, it is simple to obtain the church records.
The Lutheran Church kept several different records including christenings, marriages, burials, and confirmations. For a detailed description of Lutheran Church Records see the Denmark: Church Records page.
A couple of other tools are helpful in searching through church records. First, the regional archive for Sjælland has published compiled indexes for various Copenhagen church records. These indexes list the basic genealogical information gleaned from the original church records. They are especially helpful when a parish cannot be found for a family. Church histories are also helpful in understanding the records in a parish.
Roman Catholic Church Records
In Denmark, the Reformation took a strong foothold, resulting in the near extinction of Catholicism in Denmark. The few vestiges that did hold on, were in the larger cities, including Copenhagen. The church records kept by the Catholic Church are nearly identical to the Lutheran church records. They consist mainly of christenings, marriages, and burials, and a few miscellaneous records such as confirmations. One of the few differences is that the occurance of the Latin alphabet and language is a lot more frequent than in the Lutheran records.
Latter-day Saint Church Records
The LDS Church first arrived in Denmark in spring 1850 and by the end of the summer that year a small branch was established in Copenhagen. Although records for the early years were not kept very well, subsequent records were kept regularly. The LDS church records include such information as:
-names of the individual, spouse, and parents (including maiden names)
-birthdate and place
-death date and place
-baptism and confirmation dates
-priesthood ordination dates
These records are available on microfilm up to 1951.
Church records for the different denominations can be accessed through a several different resources.
The Family History Library has quite a few records for many of the different parishes in Denmark. Check the Family History Library Catalog for a complete listing.
The archives and libraries in Copenhagen have many original records especially the church book duplicates that are available to all patrons of their institutions.
For the original church books themselves see the parish church.
The website arkivalieronline is a free website that has digitized images of nearly all the Lutheran church records of Denmark.
Family History Library. Family History Library Catalog [online database]. Salt Lake City: www.familysearch.org.
Horlacher, Gary T. "Copenhagen City Research." www.progenealogists.com/denmark/copenh/.
Jenson, Andrew. History of the Scandinavian Mission. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927.
Statens Arkiver. Arkivalieronline.dk [online database]. Denmark: www.arkivalier.dk.