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A gazetteer is a dictionary of place-names. Gazetteers describe towns and villages, parishes and counties, rivers and mountains, sizes of population, and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published. The place-names are generally listed in alphabetical order similar to a dictionary.
Gazetteers may also provide additional information about towns, such as:
- Religious denominations.
- Schools, colleges, and universities.
- Major manufacturing works.
- Canals, docks, and railroad stations.
You can use a gazetteer to find the places where your family lived and to determine the civil and church jurisdictions over those places. For example, "Klarup, Hjørring county, Denmark is a small village which belongs to the parish of Tårs."
Many places in Denmark have the same or similar names. You will need to use a gazetteer to identify the specific town where your ancestor lived, the court district [herred] it was in, and the jurisdiction where records were kept.
Gazetteers are also helpful for determining county jurisdictions as used in the Family History Library Catalog.
Finding Place-Names in the Family History Library Catalog
Place-names in the Family History Library Catalog are listed under the modern names and counties as they were between 1793 and 1970. To find the county that a town is filed under in the catalog, use the "see" references on the first Family History Library Catalog microfiche of each country.
For some research purposes, such as correspondence, it is useful to learn modern jurisdictions for the area where your ancestors lived. This may also be helpful when finding the ancestral town on modern maps. The following modern gazetteer can be found at most large libraries and archives:
Post-og Telegraf Adressebog for Kongeriget Danmark (Danish Postal Guide). København: J. Jørgensen & Co., 1978. (FHL book Scand. 948.9 E8g; film 069,185.)
The original counties of Denmark were created in the early 1600s. In 1793, these original 50 counties were consolidated into 23 larger counties, which were used until 1970, when the county boundaries were again realigned.
Because names and boundaries of some places have changed or no longer exist, you may need to use sources that describe places as they were known earlier.
Gazetteers and similar guides to place-names for most counties are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under—
DENMARK - GAZETTEERS
DENMARK, [COUNTY] - GAZETTEERS
DENMARK - POSTAL AND SHIPPING GUIDES