An abundance of Danish records is available online. Research into Danish ancestors is therefore still possible in many cases despite the temporary closure of Danish archives due to COVID-19 restrictions. Here is an overview of some of the records, which are available online for most Denmark localities.
[Update June 2021: Danish archives have reopened, so on-site research is now an option.]
Danish Birth, Confirmation, Marriage and Death Records
The Church of Denmark is responsible for keeping record of all births, confirmations, church marriages, and deaths in Denmark, except Southern Jutland. Danish parish registers (aka church records) have been digitized, so thousands of images of birth, confirmation, marriage, and death records are available online. Not all images are linked to a database index, so page-by-page research is often needed. The earliest records date back to the 1500s. Privacy laws set the limits for which records can be digitized:
- Birth, confirmation, and marriage records created before 1961
- Death records created before 1970
A few parishes had not transferred the newest parish register to the Danish National Archives when the digitization began. For those parishes, records from the mid-1900s may not yet have been digitized.
In Southern Jutland, civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths has been done by the local civil authorities since 1874. The vital records from Southern Denmark have been digitized as follows:
- Births until 1960
- Marriages until 1925
- Deaths until 1969
Danish National Census Records
The first Danish national census was held in 1769, but the records have only been partially kept. Only the head of household is named in that census; age, civil status, position in the family, and occupation are listed for all members of the household. All the kept records from the 1769 census have been digitized and indexed.
The Danish national census records from 1787 to 1940 have been digitized. Many of the images are linked to a database index and in other cases page-by-page research is needed. These Danish census records list all members of the households by name, age, civil status, position in the family, and occupation. Some censuses include date of birth, birthplace, year of marriage, and number of children living and deceased.
Danish Probate Records
Most Danish probate record books from before 1920 have been digitized. Handwritten name indexes to many of the books have also been digitized. Only a fraction of the records has been indexed in databases, so in most cases page-by-page research is needed, at least of the handwritten name indexes.
Danish Military Levying Records
Danish military levying records from about 1789 to 1931 have been digitized; barely any of them have been indexed. Apart from giving an overview of a man's military service, these records are useful for following men who moved from one parish to another. Furthermore, I often use military levying records as evidence for a man having emigrated.
Danish Real Property Records
Various records can reveal information about the property owned or rented by your Danish ancestors:
- Copyhold letters
- Real property registers
- Deed and mortgage books
- Historical maps
- Cadaster books and maps
- Fire insurance records
The level of digitization of each record type varies from region to region.
Preliminary Survey of Available Records
I can help you determine whether the records relevant to your Denmark research have been digitized or not. If you want to do the research yourself, you can engage me to make a research plan for you with links to relevant online sources. If you want to engage me to do the research for you, I will assess the availability of the relevant records before you make the order. If you want to engage me, you are welcome to book a planning call for your project after reading about my genealogical services.
Photo at the top by Ksenia Chernaya (public domain) from Pexels.