Denmark City Research

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Denmark Gotoarrow.pngCity Research Strategy

Step 1: What do I know?

The first step in finding an ancestor in one of Denmark's cities is to determine what you already know. Before beginning research, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What information do I have? How accurate is that information?
  2. Are there any living relatives that would already have the information?
  3. Are there secondary sources (such as online Family Trees and Biographies) that would have the information? What have others found?

Whatever information you find, make sure to document where you found that information. Also, make sure to determine whether the information found is merely family hearsay or if it came from original records.

Step 2: Three Questions to Ask

When you begin to research your city ancestors, there are three important questions to ask yourself. As you strive to answer these questions, research in the city will become easier.

Question 1: Where in the City Did They Live?

The most important question to answer is to find where in the city your ancestor lived. Where they lived in the city may determine which jurisdictions and records are available to research in. You can find where in the city a person lived by using:

  • Church Records
  • Censuses
  • Tax Records
  • Directories

Question 2: What Was Their Occupation?

With many more different types of occupations found in the city than the country, it becomes very important to know your ancestor's occupation. An ancestor's occupation strongly influences what records you may or may not find him/her in. Usually, as you answer Question 1, you will find the answer to Question 2.

Question 3: What Was Their Social Standing?

As Denmark is a Kingdom, a person's social standing has always been important in the culture. Whether or not a person was rich or poor will also determine what records are available for you to research in. You will usually find an ancestor's social standing when you discover the occupation of the ancestor. Words such as fattig (poor), Madame (madame), Herr (Mr. or lord), plejebarn (foster child), and so forth, are some of the key words you will need to be aware of.

Step 3: What records can I search to find my ancestor?

  1. Church Records: Probably the most important records to use in Danish research are the church records. For centuries the church was in charge of recording the vital information of the populace. It is important to note that if you find a death record before 1814 that has only one date, it is more than likely the burial date rather than the death date. Nearly all of the Danish church records have been digitized and made available online for free. See the article Digitized Danish Records Online - Arkivalieronline
  2. Civil Registration: Although civil registration did not become a major record sourceuntil the 20th century, and was only available in a few areas of Denmark, they are a very useful record. Often the civil registration records will contain more information than the church records, on the deceased individual.
  3. Probates: Usually, after a person died, a probate was conducted in order to pay the deceased's debts and distribute what's left to the inheritors. these records will usually list when the deceased passed away. If not, usually the probate date is close to the death date.
  4. Cemeteries: Like all cemeteries, you can usually find the death information of the individual on the headstone. However, it is important to note that in Denmark, a person only remains buried while the family pays for the grave. When there is no one else to pay for the grave the body and headstone is usually removed and taken to the catacombs or crematorium. The headstone is usually recycled.

Occupational Records

  1. Guild Records

Social Records

  1. Poor Records
  2. Citizenship Records:

If you still cannot find the death information try the following records. These records may not give an actual death date or place, but they can give clues.

  1. Censuses: As discussed in Step 2, censuses can be used to narrow down the time period an individual passed away.
  2. Military Levying Rolls: If an ancestor was still included in the military rolls when they died, their name will usually be crossed out and a death date written in the notes column.
  3. Court Records: there are many different court records and they may not necessarily record vital information, but they can give clues. For example, if the ancestor was murdered, there may be a court proceeding that records the circumstances surrounding the death.
  4. Occupational Records: Like court records, occupational records do not normally list death information, but they can state that a spouse is a widow or not, and narrow down the time of death.

Step 4: What's next?

After you have determined the death information of the ancestor, you can begin to search for other records.

   How to Find Information for Danish Ancestors

1. Getting Started
2. Birth Information
3. Marriage Information
4. Death Information
5. Place of Origin in Denmark
6. Moving within Denmark

7. Emigration information
8. Immigration information
9. Using witnesses to find the next generation
10. Families in Sønderjylland (Southern Denmark)
11. City People and Research
12. Miscellanious