Denmark City Research

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

The first step in finding an ancestor in one of Denmark's cities is to determine what you already know. Before beginning research, ask yourself the following questions:

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

Whatever information you find, make sure to document where you found that information. Also, make sure to determine whether the information found is merely family hearsay or if it came from original records.

Step 2: Three Questions to Ask[edit | edit source]

When you begin to research your city ancestors, there are three important questions to ask yourself. As you strive to answer these questions, research in the city will become easier.

Question 1: Where in the City Did They Live?[edit | edit source]

The most important question to answer is to find where in the city your ancestor lived. Where they lived in the city may determine in which jurisdictions and records to research. You can find where a person lived in the city by using:

  • Church Records
  • Censuses
  • Tax Records
  • Directories

Question 2: What Was Their Occupation?[edit | edit source]

With many more different types of occupations found in the city than the country, it becomes very important to know your ancestor's occupation. An ancestor's occupation strongly influences what records you may or may not find him/her in. Usually, as you answer Question 1, you will find the answer to Question 2.

Question 3: What Was Their Social Standing?[edit | edit source]

As Denmark is a Kingdom, a person's social standing has always been important in the culture. Whether or not a person was rich or poor will also determine what records are available for you to research in. You will usually find an ancestor's social standing when you discover the occupation of the ancestor. Words such as fattig (poor), Madame (madame), Herr (Mr. or lord), plejebarn (foster child), and so forth, are some of the key words you will need to be aware of.

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

  1. Church Records: Probably the most important records to use in Danish research are the church records. For centuries the church was in charge of recording the vital information of the populace. Nearly all of the Danish church records have been digitized and made available online for free. See the article Digitized Danish Records Online - Arkivalieronline
  2. Censuses: This includes national and Kommune censuses. Censuses not only give a picture of the family as it was at the time the census was taken, but also provides information about where they lived in the city.
  3. Taxes: The cities usually had more taxes than the countryside, resulting in more records. Some of these records include fire insurance. Although there is not a large amount of specific genealogical information in these records, they do give a specific address of the individual and helps in finding other records.
  4. Directories: For centuries, cities were the only areas with directories. Directories can include genealogical data along with residence information.
  5. Civil Registration: Although civil registration did not become a major record source until the 20th century, and was only available in a few areas of Denmark, they are a very useful record. Often the civil registration records will contain more information on the deceased individual than the church records .
  6. Probates: Usually, after a person died, a probate was conducted in order to pay the deceased's debts and distribute what's left to the inheritors. these records will usually list when the deceased passed away. If not, usually the probate date is close to the death date.

Occupational Records

  1. Guild Records: If your ancestor was a tradesman (butcher, baker, blacksmith, etc.) he may have belonged to a guild. Each guild has a variety of records that contain many different types of genealogical information. These records will be some of the best records to search if your ancestor was a tradesman.

Social Records

  1. Poor Records: Even if your ancestor was poor, there will be records about them. Very detailed information was kept concerning the poor of a city. These records include foster children records, poor house records, elderly records, and much more.
  2. Citizenship Records: For many occupations, it was necessary for the worker to be a citizen of the city. These records are usually found with the Town Hall records. Citizenship records usually give birth information, residence information, and occupational information.

If you still cannot find your ancestor in the city try the following records:

  1. Military Levying Rolls: If an ancestor was still included in the military rolls when they died, their name will usually be crossed out and a death date written in the notes column.
  2. Court Records: there are many different court records and they may not necessarily record vital information, but they can give clues. For example, if the ancestor was murdered, there may be a court proceeding that records the circumstances surrounding the death.
  3. Cemeteries: Like all cemeteries, you can usually find the death information of the individual on the headstone. However, it is important to note that in Denmark, a person only remains buried while the family pays for the grave upkeep. When there is no one else to pay for the grave upkeep, the body and headstone is usually removed and taken to the catacombs or crematorium. The headstone is usually recycled.

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

If you need additional guidance, consult some of these other strategies:

   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]