Denmark Civil Registration
Civil registration refers to vital records kept by the government. There was little civil registration for Denmark before 1874. The information from civil registration offices is not readily available to the public, except for the part of Denmark that was under German administration from 1863 to 1920.
In 1874, German civil authorities registered births, marriages, and deaths in Tønder, Haderslev, Åbenrå, and Sønderborg counties. (These counties were under German administration from 1863 to 1920.) After 1874, almost all individuals who lived in these counties are recorded in both civil records and church records.
The sections below—"Births [Geburten]," "Marriages [Heiraten]," and "Deaths [Toten]"—describe the German civil registration records for the counties that were under German administration.
Civil marriage records also exist for the city of Copenhagen starting in 1851. These records provide excellent information, such as the couple's names, residences, occupations, marital statuses, marriage date, religious affiliations, parents' names, witnesses, ages, and birth dates.
There are death certificates for some larger urban areas of Denmark. Generally they are for individuals of higher social status. Death certificates exist for the years 1857 to 1932. These certificates are hard to read and should be used only when you can not find the death in a parish register. For more information, see the following book:
Richter, V. Dødsfald i Danmark, 1761-1790 (Deaths in Denmark, 1761-1790). (Scand. 948.9 V43ra; film 1,124,546, item 2.)
For pre-1874 birth, death, and marriage records, see the "Church Records" section.
Birth records generally give the child's name, sex, and birth date and place and the parents' names. Later records provide additional details, such as the birthplace and parents' ages, father's occupation, mother's marital status, and number of other children born to the mother.
Families generally registered births within a few days of the child's birth. Corrections or additions to a birth record may be added as a marginal note.
Most couples had a church wedding. There may be both civil registration and church records. Civil marriage records may include more information than church records. When they are available, search both.
Civil death records are helpful because they may provide important information on a person's birth, spouse, and parents. Civil death records often exist for people who have no birth records. Deaths were usually registered within a few days of the death in the town or city where the person died.
Later death registers may contain the age or birth date and place, residence or street address, occupation, cause of death, burial information, and informant's name (often a relative). They often list the spouse or parents. Information may be inaccurate.
Locating Civil Registration Records
Civil registration records are kept at the local civil registration office in each district, town or city (municipality). Therefore, you must determine the town where your ancestor lived before you can find the records. Records before 1900 are at the Landsarkivet, located in Åbenrå.
Records at the Family History Library
The Family History Library has microfilmed the civil registration records of most towns and counties in Denmark to 1930. For some towns in the Schleswig area, records exist up to 1950.
To find civil registration records in the Family History Library Catalog, search in the Place search under each of the following headings:
DENMARK - CIVIL REGISTRATION
DENMARK, [COUNTY] - CIVIL REGISTRATION
DENMARK, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CIVIL REGISTRATION