Denmark: Evidence Analysis for Danish Research
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Evaluate the Information You Find
As you are searching for your ancestors from Denmark, carefully evaluate whether the information you find is complete and accurate. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who provided the information? Did that person witness the event?
- Was the information recorded near the time of the event, or later?
- Is the information consistent and logical?
- Does the new information verify the information found in other existing sources?
- Does it differ from information in other sources?
- Does it suggest other places, time periods, or records to search?
- Am I reading the handwriting correctly? Do I know what the words in the document mean?
Looking for Your Ancestor
As you search for your ancestors in various Danish records, you will have to weigh the evidence and make conclusions to create relationships. This process can be difficult and sometimes complex. Some factors which complicate identifying the correct ancestor in Danish research are:
- There are a lot of people in a relatively small geographical area.
- An individual did not have to move far to leave a jurisdiction and appear in another jurisdiction. For example: If an individual relocated 3 to 5 miles, it is likely they have moved into a different parish.
- You might have people living in the same household who have the same patronymic surname who are not related.
- The majority of the population used a relatively small variety of given names.
- With a smaller variety of given names combined with the patronymic naming custom, you will find a lot of people with the same names.
Tools to Identify the Correct Ancestor
There are tools which are unique to Danish research that will help you identify your ancestor. As you become familiar with these tools your ability to evaluate evidence and make correct conclusions will increase. Pay special attention to:
The individual’s given name and surname.
- The number of people within a parish by the same names might be limited to a small group. Pay attention to how many there are.
The date when an event took place.
Keep track of when various events took place such as:
- The date of birth.
- The home christening date.
- The date of christening in the church.
- The date of small pox vaccination (after about 1814).
- The confirmation date.
- The date of engagement.
- The marriage date.
- The date of death.
- The burial date.
- Place of residence at time of census.
- Place of residence at time of probate.
- Place of residence at time of military registration.
The location where the event took place.
- The place of birth.
- The place of home christening.
- The name of the parish which performed the official christening.
- The name of the parish where the individual was confirmed.
- The name of the parish which handled the engagement.
- The name of the parish which performed the marriage.
- The place of death.
- The name of the parish which performed the burial.
Unique factors to the individual.
- Age at time of event
- Social standing
- Occupation: For example a black smith, cooper, or tailor
- Occupational social standing: For example a farmer with land, a tenant farmer, or day laborer.
- Marital status
Unique factors to the record.
- Parish Register: Introduction of mother after birth.
- Parish Register: Witnesses to christening (especially pre – 1834).
- Parish Register: Bondsmen to engagement and marriage.
- Census: “How are you related to the head of household?”
- Census: Marital status on all censuses (which marriage on 1787 and 1801).
- Military Levying Roll: Registration numbers.
- Military Levying Roll: Moving information.
- Probate: Spouse, surviving spouse, children with age, all heirs.