Finding Birth Information in Denmark

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For many different countries, finding a birth date and place for an ancestor can sometimes be difficult. However, there are many different records that make finding a birth date and place in Denmark quite simple.

Step 1: What do I know?[edit | edit source]

The first step in finding the birth information is to determine what you already know. Before beginning research, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I already have a birth date and place? How accurate is that information?
  2. Are there any relatives that would have the information?
  3. Are there secondary sources (such as online Family Trees and Biographies) that would have the information? What have others found?

If you do find the ancestor's birth information in your family records, or other easily available sources, make sure to document where you found that information. Also, make sure to determine whether the birth information found is merely family heresay or if it came from original records.

Step 2: Methods for Finding Birth Records[edit | edit source]

Once you have determined what you know, it is important to understand a few things before beginning to research:

  1. Search for the entire family: It may be tempting to only research your direct line ancestor, but with Danish ancestors, it is very important that you search for the entire family at the same time. For example, there is always the possibility of a family naming their first son Jens, who dies several months later, and then naming the next son Jens again. If you are not careful, you may connect your line with the wrong child.
  2. Use censuses to narrow down a time frame: Although census records before 1900 will not tell you the exact date of a person's birth, they will list an age and are one of the best records to help narrow down when an ancestor was born. For example, if Anders Jensen's son Jens was with the family in the 1860 census, but is not listed with the family in the 1855 census, it is a high possibility that Jens was born between those years.

Step 3: What records can I search to find birth information?[edit | edit source]


If you could not find birth information in Step 1, or if you need to verify the information you found, then the next step in the research is understanding what records contain birth information. 

The easiest birth information to find is the birth date. Although it may not be possible to find an exact birth date and place, in some cases, it is possible to find an approximate year or a christening date, and at least a possible parish of birth. The most common records to find birth information in are:

  1. Church Records (see also Church Birth and Christening Records): Church records are some of the best records for finding a birth date. It is important to know that before 1814, you may or may not find a birth date. If there is only one date listed on the church birth record, it is more than likely the christening date. Also, in the marriage and death records, you can find the age of an ancestor listed on the records. It may not be an exact date, but it is a good place to start
  2. Censuses: Another great source for finding the birth date. The majority of the census records will only give you an age of the individual, which could be off by a couple of years, but will help in narrowing down a time period for the birth. It was not until the 1901 census that actual birth dates were included.
  3. Civil Registration: Civil registration itself, until the 20th century, only existed in Sønderjylland (Souther Denmark), and Copenhagen. The civil registration records that do exist contain birth, marriage, and death information. You may not always find an exact birth date, but you can at least find an age of the individual ancestor.
  4. Military Levying Rolls: Although military levying rolls do not usually list the birth date, they will at least give the individual's age.

If you cannot find the birth in these records, try the following records. These records may not give an actual birth date or place, but they can give the person's age and other clues.

  1. Probates: A variety of information can be found in probate records, and it is not always certain that you will always find the same information. However, a good majority of time you will be able to find at least the age of the deceased, and the age of children they left behind.
  2. Taxes: Tax records are meant to record how much each individual/household owed in taxes; however, many times the tax records will list the age of each individual.
  3. Occupational Records: Like the probates and tax records, occupational records, such as guild records and citizenship records, vary in information and were not necesarrily meant to record vital information. However, it is possible to find a birth date or at least an age in the records.

Step 4: What's next?[edit | edit source]

After you have determined the birth information of the ancestor, you can begin to search for other records.

   How to Find Information for Danish Ancestors

1. Getting Started
2. Birth Information
3. Marriage Information
4. Death Information
5. Place of Origin in Denmark
6. Moving within Denmark

7. Emigration information
8. Immigration information
9. Using witnesses to find the next generation
10. Families in Sønderjylland (Southern Denmark)
11. City People and Research
12. Miscellanious

References[edit | edit source]