A well-loved Aunt celebrated her 85th birthday recently and as part of her birthday gift, I decided to find her Danish mother’s birth record. Her mother came to the United States when she was only 9 months old with her parents, a sister, and a brother. They were the only ones from their family to travel to America. They were never to see their family in the old country again—an experience of many immigrants. As you know and have experienced yourself, we family historians cannot stop at just one name in our research! So, of course, I didn’t stop at just her mother’s generation. Instead, I went back a couple more generations in Denmark. This week let’s look at the Danish records available online.
Like other Scandinavian countries, Denmark naming following the pattern of naming each generation using the father’s first name. As an example, Jens Pedersen’s children would become Jensen (males)and Jensdatter (females). The inspiration for my quest was my aunt and as I started looking for Danish records, I realized that Ancestry has church and other records for Denmark. I began my search with this site and found quite a bit of data. It does help to compare the translations against the original documents because the originals often have more information than the translations. For example, you may find the baptismal sponsors listed or on a marriage record the dates of the marriage banns in the original while the transcriptions provide individuals, dates of event, parents but ignore some of those extra columns in the document. Here are some of the records that Ancestry has available.
No Ancesty account. No problem. You can search for many Danish records at FamilySearch which requires registration but is free. They have many of the same records that are available from Ancestry. It is worth looking at both sites because in some cases the images are available in one site and not the other. I also noticed that FamilySearch had Denmark, Probate Indexes, 1674-1851 while Ancestry has probate records for Danish West Indies, Probate Records, 1736-1893. Take some time to look at both.
An excellent site that you might not be familiar with is Danish Family Search. If you want to immerse yourself in Danish research, this is a great site. It is available to view in English or Danish. You can search for census and church records. I especially like how the census records are transcribed. You can first see the transcribed record, then choose to look at the image of the original. And then be thankful that someone who was familiar with Danish transcribed the information! Seriously it is nice to be able to compare your transcription with what they provide. Use the transcribed document to figure out unfamiliar words by typing them into a translation program like Bing Translate or Google Translate. You’ll become more familiar with terms that are unique to the Danish language.
In addition to the census records, the Church records abound. If you know the location where an event occurred you can filter down by county, hundred, parish, and place. If you don’t know the location, you can search by the name but be prepared to see several Peder Pedersen’s or Jens Jensen’s! You can filter down by birth date or a set number of years to eliminate timeframes you’re not interested in.
You can also drill down into place names, family surnames and other ways to look at the data in a location if your search isn’t yielding what you expected.
This site is free but by registering you have access to more items. You may find the advertising on the site to be distracting but this site was extremely useful in my search, and I chose to register with them. A feature that I like is that they have noted what percentage of a record has been indexed for searching or if a record has an image. If your ancestor doesn’t show up in a search in the place you were expecting, take the time to see if those records were indexed. If not, you may need to look at the individual images to find your ancestor.
Here’s a brief list of what they offer per their site:
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With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.