Denmark: Finding Marriage Information
Denmark Finding Marriage Information
Throughout history, one of the biggest changes a person experiences in their life is marriage. For many countries, marriage records are one of the first record types to be created, and are usually the oldest records.
Step 1: What do I know?
The first step in finding the marriage information of a couple is to determine what you already know. Before beginning research, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I already have a marriage date and place? How accurate is that information?
- Are there any living relatives that would already have the information?
- Are there secondary sources (such as online Family Trees and Biographies) that would have the information? What have others found?
If you do find the couple's marriage information in your family records, or other easily available sources, 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: Work with what you know
If you sould not find a couple's marriage information in Step 1, or if you need to verify the information you found, then the next step is to start with what you do know.
Researching back through the generations
- Take a step back one generation: Do you know who the couple's children are? Do you have a child's birth date? If you only have information for one child, or if you have many children but are not sure how accurate the information is, take a moment to find the birth dates of all of the children.
- Analyze: Determine who the oldest child is. Was the child legitimate or illegitimate?
- If the oldest child is illegitimate: Look for the marriage record between the birth of the illegitimate child and the birth of the first legitimate child.
- If the oldest child is legitimate: then begin looking for the couple's marriage record starting in the same year the child was born and working your way back five years.
- Tips: Usually, the marriage happened in the parish the bride is from. Remember to look up to even a few weeks before a child is born for the marriage. It was quite common for the couple to be expecting a child before they were married.
Researching forward in time
- Go through the life cycle: To find a child's marriage you need to follow him/her through the life cycle. This means that after you find their birth, look for their confirmation (usually around the age of 14).
- For women: A good majority of the time, a woman was married in the parish she was born in, or the parish the family moved to while she was young. Remember that the average age of marriage for women was around 25-30.
- For men: About half of the time will you find a man marrying in the same parish he was born in. Men did not normally go too far away from home to find a bride, but remember there are exceptions. The average age of marriage for men in Denmark was around ages 25-35.
- If you get stuck: remember to use a variety of records (see Step 3) to determine when and where an individual married.
Most importantly remember that there are always exceptions to the rules!!!
Step 3: What records can I search to find a marriage date?
Marriage information can be difficult to find, but not impossible. It is more common to find a marriage date rather than a marriage place, but usually you will find both pieces of information together. Search the following records to find marriage information:
- Biographies, Genealogies, and Periodicals: it is always adviseable to start with compiled sources when searching for a marriage record. When researching in these records, make sure that they are well documented with credible sources. These sources can help you find the original records.
- Church Records (see also Church Engagement and Marriage Records): Church records are one of the best record types used for Danish research. Marriage records are usually one of the oldest ordinances recorded in the church. It is important to note that before 1814 the bride may or may not be recorded.
- Censuses: Censuses do not normally list marriage information, but by following a couple through the censuses, you will be able to narrow down an approximate time for the marriage. For example, if a couple were both single in the 1840 census, but were married in the 1845 census, then there are only five years which search for the marriage.
- Civil Registration: Although civil registration was not widespread in Denmark, it created detailed marriage records for the areas that it did exist.
- Court Records: there are many different type of court records and they do not always record vital information, but there are some records, such as divorce records, that can give some marriage information.
- Military Levying Rolls: Normally, a man was taken off of the levying rolls around the time when he first got married. Levying rolls will also list banns dates for a marriage.
- Probates: A variety of information can be found in probate records, and it is not always certain that you will always find the same information. Probates do not always record when a couple married, but it will list the living children, most of the time with their ages, and will help in narrowing down the marriage.
- Taxes: Taxes do not normally list marriage information, but they can tell you whether an inidividual was married or not.
- Occupational Records: Like tax records, occupational records do not normally list marriage information, but they can give you a spouse's name and whether or not the individual was married.
Step 4: What's next?
After you have determined the marriage information of the ancestor, you can begin to search for other records.
|How to Find Information for Danish Ancestors|
7. Emigration information