Denmark Historical Geography

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You may find that the name of the place your ancestor came from has changed or that the county or even the country has changed. This section describes the changes that have taken place in Denmark. This information will help you find records in the FamilySearch Catalog for the place your ancestors lived. You may also need to learn about changes in Denmark's borders. This section describes the jurisdictions used in the FamilySearch Catalog.

Before 1793, Denmark was divided into about 50 small counties. These county names appear on the 1787 census and on pre-1793 probate records. In 1793, Denmark consolidated the counties into new, larger counties. The FamilySearch Catalog uses the county structure that existed between 1793 and 1970. The county structure changed again in 1970. See the "Maps," "Gazetteers," and "History" sections.

The southern boundary of Denmark changed in 1864. Denmark's territory formerly included the state of Schleswig. After the Danish-Prussian War of 1863, Denmark ceded its four southern counties of Tønder, Haderslev, Sønderborg, and Åbenrå to Germany. These Danish areas remained under German control until after World War I (1920), when they were returned to Denmark. Because of this, administrative districts were reorganized, their names and boundaries changed, and local place-names changed.

Although the Dutchy of Holstein was an independant state before the Danish-Prussian War, the King of Denmark was also the Duke of Holstein. Some Danish records also exist in Holstein.

You may need to determine previous boundaries and jurisdictions to find your ancestors' records. Gazetteers and histories are helpful sources of information about these changes.

Other sources for boundary changes are found in the FamilySearch Catalog under:





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