Adoption in Denmark

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When looking for an adoption case, you need adoptive parents' names, since it is those that are in the records. Adoption records can be located where the adoptive parents live, not where the child was born.

Before 1923[edit | edit source]

Until 1923 adoptions were granted by the following central authorities:

  • pre - 1848 Danish Chancellery
  • 1848 - 1923 Ministry of Justice

Both authorities' archives can be found at the National Archives.

In the other archives, such as the county archives, you will often only find a letter from the Ministry of Justice of the decision. This letter contains an effective date and a file number, which can be obtained by contacting the National Archives. You could also go directly to the National Archives and use the annual records from the above authorities and find the same information.

Before the mid-1800s it would be best to know when the adoption took place, as the registers were kept in chronological order, i.e. all cases were entered one after the other as they were received. When you look at the register, it is advised that you look at the back for the listing by name. It will save you a great deal of time.

After 1923[edit | edit source]

After 1923 adoptions were granted by the counties, unless the adoption took place in Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, it is the Prefect who handle those cases. The entry point to the proceedings in each case is the register. Here you can find references to other files, if the case is dealt with by other authorities or Mothers Help.

The registers indicate who sent the adoption application. If it was Mothers Help, there may be records up until 1976 in their archives at the National Archives. In the event the adoption was prepared by Mothers Help, many additional details may be found.

From 1923-1947 you'll find only the register for the appropriation of county Overpræsdiets archive at Provincial Archives. The other documents, see the Ministry of Justice archive at the National Archives.

After 1948, see generally all the documents in the county Overpræsidiets archive. Some cases are still pending before the central authority, which is

  • 1923 - 1982 Ministry of Justice
  • 1983 - 1989 Family legal directorate
  • 1989 - 2004 Civil Rights Directorate
  • 2004 - Family Board

Files will usually be divided into a case group system. In many county records is an overview of the various action groups in front of record.

References[edit | edit source]

Statens Arkiver. Adoption. Denmark: Landsarkivet for Sjælland Lolland-Falster & Bornholm, 2008