Den kgl. Fødsels- og Plejestiftelse København, København, Denmark Genealogy

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Guide to Den kgl. Fødsels- og Plejestiftelse , Denmark ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

History[edit | edit source]

Fødselsstiftelsen was created in 1750 as an institution where an unwed woman could give birth without giving her name or the father’s name to the authorities. Here she had the opportunity to give birth anonymously and to have free services. She could also give the child over to their care. Despite the promised anonymity, after 1805 in many cases there is information about the mother’s identity in the institution’s archives, although the father is seldom identified.

The institution has had three functions. The woman had help with the birth while the midwives and medical students received training. In the foster division the children were nursed until they were turned over to the fostering division. From there they were assigned to foster parents or their own mother with monetary assistance weekly.

Many family researchers have found an ancestor in one of the Fødselsstiftelsen’s church books and found that the mother’s name is not given. Only the child’s name with birth and christening information, and the record number for both the child and the mother were shown. These numbers refer to the institutions main record for those births. In the main record it may include information about the child being sent for foster care under supervision. If this is the case there would be a reference to that record where information is given about the person or persons who took the child into foster care.

After a change in the law in 1812, the child was most often given to the mother for foster care. So the “Udsætter” record became the most important source for identifying the mother. The National Archives (Riksarkivet) has these records up to 1861. After this time the records must be searched at the Rigshospital.

In the period 1805-1815 it is often possible to supplement the information from the “udsætter” records with the entries in the nursing records. Many of the poorest mothers transferred from the birthing division to the nursing division where they took care of their own child as well as other infants.

When one seeks information about unwed mothers, who had given birth at Fødselsstiftelsen, one must be prepared to find that it is impossible to find the information. The mother had the right to anomynity and even the institution had no record of who she was. Practically speaking, for all births in 1750 and up into the 1800s nothing was written to identify the parents.

Link to the online records

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Stift (diocese) Add here
Pastorat (chapelry) Add here
Amt (county) 1662 - 1793 Add here
Amt (county) 1794 - 1970 Copenhagen City
Herred (district) Add here
Kommune (municipality) Add here
1788 – 1793 Lægd number Add here
1794 – 1869 Lægd number Add here
Gods (estate) Add here

Place Names[edit | edit source]

To see what kind of place it is you will need a Danish Gazetteer.

  • Surrounding Parishes

Birth, Marriage, and Death Online Records[edit | edit source]

  • Free Online Database:
The vast majority of research you do in Denmark will be in church parish registers, which are held in the Danish State Archives available online at ARKIVALIERONLINE. Select your county and parish from the drop-down lists.
  • Help Reading Danish Records:
Denmark Parish Register Headings provides translated examples of parish headings. You will be able to interpret much of what is in the records using these headings. Danish Genealogical Word List covers typical terms found in the records. Denmark Feast Day Calendars will help you translate dates written in feast day form. Denmark surnames are patronymic and change every generation, so carefully study Denmark Personal Names.
  • Help Reading Old Handwriting:
FamilySearch offers free online lessons about reading old Danish handwriting:
  • Knowing What to Look for Next:
To understand the best research strategies for these records, see Denmark Church Records Christenings Guide.

Collections[edit | edit source]

  • Lægdsruller, Danish Military Levying Rolls, is a census of men eligible to join military (1789-1932)
What's on Lægdsruller and Søruller
Danish Military Levying Rolls (Lægdsruller)
  • Probate Records
  • Release Records of Children from the Fødselsstiftelsen Hospital [Udsætterprotokoller]
    • Research use: Excellent linkage source. For a number of people born in Denmark and surrounding countries, this hospital record may be the only place where individuals were recorded with name and locality of parents. The information recorded here does not appear in parish registers. The government granted unmarried mothers giving birth in this hospital the right of secrecy.
    • Record type: These are records of release of children born in the Fødselsstiftelsen Hospital (later part of the Rigshospital) in Copenhagen. Illegitimate children from most of Sjællland and Copenhagen city were born at the Fødelstiffelse. Anyone who wished to keep a birth confidential gave birth at this hospital. Each child was given a number and in the church book the parents’ names were often not listed. From 1773-1774 additional information was put in birth journals and, after 1774, in packets according to the child’s identification number. These records are held strictly confidential for 100 years.
    • Time period: 1750 to present.
    • Contents: Certificates of children, legitimate and a number of illegitimate children born in the Fødselsstiftelsen hospital who were released to parent or foster parent with information where parent or foster parent lived.
    • Location: National Archives; more recent records are at the Rigshospital in Copenhagen.
    • Population coverage: 5 to 6% of births on the island of Sjælland; as well as a few from other areas of Denmark. Denmark historically had a high rate of illegitimate births.[1]

Related Sources[edit | edit source]

Family History Library Records[edit | edit source]

Click Denmark, København Records for a full listing of records at the Family History Library, that may be digitized. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you.

Click on "Places within Denmark, København" and then select your parish.

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Denmark,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1987-1998.