There is a great number of Danish genealogy sources. Some of them are online but even more are available at the Danish archives. Rigsarkivet [The National Archive] in the center of Copenhagen has the greatest collection of sources available to the public. Fortunately, My Danish Roots is located near the archive.
Nonetheless, the church books and the censuses form the starting point of most genealogy research as these sources hold a lot of information about the individuals.
The content of these records changed significantly over time. A record of more recent date generally has more details than older ones.
Below you will find samples of the different source records we use in our genealogy research.
We substantiate all our findings with similar copies of the source records. They will, of course, come in higher resolution and be readable.
We copy the full page of the source and name the files with the full information about it:
Church book: NAME OF PERSON, Event, Date, County, Parish, Period, View#, Entry on page
Census: Year, CENSUS, Date, Name of key person, County, Parish/Address, View#, Entry on page
The christening record below is from Odense 1805 and badly arranged. The key take aways from it are:
- The boy was born Tuesday 2 April 1805 1am and christened Hans Christian
- He was son to Hans Andersen and Anne Marie Anderdatter
- He was privately christined just after his birth
- The christening was published in the church 2nd day of Easter, i.e. 15 April 1805 (corrected from 16 April)
- He was born at Hjørnehuset [The Corner House], Hans Jensens Stræde 43
- The names of the sponsors
Read about christening here.
Danish censuses 1787-1970
The first census in the Kingdom of Denmark was 1787; followed by 1801, 1834, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885 (only Copenhagen), 1890, 1895, 1901, 1906, 1911, 1916, 1921, 1925, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1955 (lost), 1960 and 1970. The censuses 1950-1970 are not yet public.
The contents of the cenuses vary significantly from one census to the next.
Censuses were also conducted in Schleswig, Holstein, Lauenburg, Greenland, The Faroe Islands, The Virgin Islands, Trankebar and Frederiksnagor but not that often and in other years than the ones above.
Danish census 1850
The information in the censuses differs very much from one census to the next. Generally, the newer census the more facts. One should keep in mind that some of the information in the censuses may be inaccurate.
The census record for Copenhagen 1850 holds this information about the person of the birth record:
- Andersen was 45 years old, single and an author
- He was born in Odense
- He was a tenant at shipmaster and innkeeper Johannes Auholm
- He was living at Nyhavn 34
Besides the innkeeper’s family and servant, there were other tenants, i.e. a principal, a student in arts, a journeyman grocer who was in the navy at the time of the census and a navy lieutenant
Copenhagen Police kept census records of all citizens 14 years or older during the period 1890-1923. Children were registered together with their father.
Record of the Copenhagen Police census
The record above is for Anna Augusta Adolfine Adolfsen and says:
- Born: 29 Oct 1882 in Vetlanda, Sweden
- Gender: Woman
- Occopation: Servant
- Her addresses:
- 15 Nov 1900: From Sweden to I.E. Ohlsensgade 2, 3rd floor, at Olsen
- 06 May 1902: Upsalagade 10, 1st floor, at Lange
- 04 Nov 1902: I.E. Ohlensgade 2, 2nd floor, at Pedersen
- 05 May 1903: Moved out of Copenhagen to Hellerup, Margrethevej 5
- 05 Oct 1908: Nyhavn 23, 2nd floor, at Pedersen
- 27 Nov 1908: Sankt Knuds Vej 23, 2nd floor, at widow Hansen
1701-1848 boys were registered in the levy rolls when they were born. Since 1849 the registering age varied between 15 and 18 years.
The entries are registered per recruiting area which since 1788 usually is the same as the parishes.
Danish levy roll
The levy rolls have information about:
- The number of the recruiting area
- The boy’s old and new number
- The names of the boy and his parents
- The boy’s parish of birth
- His year of birth
- His height (Danish inches)
- His whereabouts
- Notes with information about his military services
because the notes are all hard-to-read abbreviations they are usually difficult to dechipher.
When a man is no longer fit for military service (for instance due to his age), his name is crossed out.
Read about levy rolls here.
The death record has the following information about the deceased:
- Her full name, Olga Marie Andersen
- She was 2 months old when she died
- Daughter to a timber merchant [no name of the father]
- Cause of death was acute enteritis
- She died 1 July 1908 after having been ill for 8 days
- The doctor who treated her made an inspection of her body the next day
The List of Accession and Expunctions is a section of the church book. In principle, the lists should include information on all persons who have moved to or from the parish; but there is some difference in how the priests registered the information. Thus, in many cases, only servants are on the list, while farmers and other self-employed people are not listed. Similarly, in some parishes, only the head of the household is registered, while the wife and/or children are missing. In other parishes, all people were listed.
It also differs from parish to parish when the lists began. This usually happened between 1814 and 1830. In contrast, all lists in the cities ceased in 1854 and in the parishes in 1873.
- The access list contains the following information for each person:
- Date of arrival to/departure from the parish
- Occupation, employment
- The parish from which the person came/moved to
- A reference to the Comparison Directory in the church book
- Remarks. Here the place of birth may be listed