Denmark Emigration and Immigration

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Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or coming into (immigrating) a country. Danish emigration records can be a useful source of genealogical information. They are usually found as passenger lists. The information in these records includes the emigrants' names, ages, occupations, and destinations and often the places of birth and last places of residence.

These sources can be very valuable in helping you determine where in Denmark your ancestor came from. They can also help in constructing family groups. If you do not find your ancestor, you may find emigration information about your ancestor's neighbors. People who lived near each other in Denmark sometimes settled together in the country they emigrated to.

Beginning in the 1820s, people emigrated from Denmark to destinations such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Latin America, and the islands of the South Pacific. Most early emigrants settled in the United States in the Midwest and the prairie provinces of Canada. In the 1860s, large numbers of Danish converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emigrated to the United States, and many settled in Utah. Emigration from Denmark gradually increased in the 1870s, peaking in the early 1880s.

Passenger Lists

Most Danish emigrants left through the port of København (Copenhagen). The departure records from this port are called passenger lists. These lists begin in 1869. The information in them varies over time, but it usually includes the emigrants' names, ages, occupations, and destinations. Relationships and last residence or birthplace may also be given.

The original records of Copenhagen can be found at the national archive. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of these records dating from 1869 to 1911. You can also search the Copenhagen Emigration Records through:

You will find microform copies of the original Copenhagen emigration records by doing a Place search of the Family History Library Catalog under DENMARK - EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION.

The Copenhagen emigration records are divided into direct and indirect emigration. If, after leaving Copenhagen, a ship travelled directly to its destination, the emigration was called direct emigration. If the ship stopped at least once at another port before arriving at its destination, the emigration was indirect emigration.

A special list of Latter-day Saint emigrants for the years 1872-1894 appears on FHL film number 040,994.

Many emigrants from the counties of Schleswig-Holstein and Jylland emigrated through the port of Hamburg, Germany, or other European ports. The Hamburg records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library. These passenger lists and indexes are most fully described in the Wiki article Hamburg Passenger Lists. Also, the Family History Library has the Hamburg Passenger List 1850-1934 Resource Guide, and microfiche instructions Hamburg Passenger Lists.

Another good source of information about Danish emigration is the Danes Worldwide Archives, located in Aalborg, Denmark. This archive has copies of the original emigration lists and other information about Danish emigrants. Inquiries are welcomed. Their address is—

Danes Worldwide Archives
2 Konvalvej
DK 9000 Ålborg

It is a good idea to include a self-addressed envelope and several international postage coupons with your request.

United States

Passenger Lists. Most Danish immigrants to the United States arrived at the ports of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Quebec, and Montreal. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the records and indexes for many of these ports. See the United States Research Outline for more information about immigration records in the United States.

The following is a bibliography of over 2,500 published lists of emigrants and immigrants:

Filby, P. William. Passenger and Immigrations Lists Bibliography, 1538-1900. 2nd ed. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1988. (Family History Library  book 973 W33p 1988.) More than 1,000 of these lists are indexed in P. William Filby, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 9 vols. (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1981-; Family History Library book Ref 973 W33p). This does not index official U.S. arrival lists. Many of the names are from post-1820 published sources.

People tracing Danish Latter-day Saint ancestors should see the LDS Research page Tracing LDS Ancestors for additional sources.