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Denmark Quick Start

Seeking your Ancestors in Denmark

By Orval Skousen

Click here for expert help  |  Click here for additional research at Wiki

If you know your Danish ancestors name and when and where they lived in Denmark, skip to Section 2.
If you do not know the above information for the immigrant, continue below with Section 1.

Section 1:  The Search Strategy

  1. Gather what you and your family know to identify your ancestors in each generation

a.  Names, Dates and Places; Birth, Marriage, and Death

b.  Children, Spouses, Parents, Brothers and Sisters

c.  Addresses, Occupations, Pictures and Documents

d.  Adoptions both legal and family; Other names

e.  File this information in an organized manner both on a computer and in file folders.

  1. Trace your family to the place of first immigration (do the research in America.)  You do this by researching for the same information listed above using: 

a.  Census records.  They can be either state or federal.  Use or (free at Mesa Family History Center)

b.  Vital records.  These are usually county but can be church records (birth, marriage, death records)

c.  Internet goodies.  They may be found with Google or other search engines.

d.  Military Records.  See Military Quick Starts

e.  Land Records.  See Land Records Quick Start

f.  Probate records.  These are usually county.  See Probate Records Quick Start

g.  Written histories.  These can be both local, family and ethnic.

  1. Jump the Atlantic with your immigrant to a specific County (amt) and Parish (sogn)

a.  If you know the town where your ancestor was born or lived in Denmark, get a map from to find the county and parish.  (See the instruction sheet)

b.  Find the immigration routes of most Danes (See the Immigration Quick Start Guides)

c.  Find the ships that sailed from those ports, look at passenger lists.

d.  Check immigration lists from Denmark if they exist for that time period. (See the Immigration Quick Start Guides)

e.  If it was likely that your immigrant was a member of a group that immigrated to a specific place, check histories and other people of the group.  They probably came from the same area in Denmark.

f.  Be careful to look for name changes when entering this country.  For example:  Peder Mortensen's son Anders Pedersen became  Anders Mortensen  when he came to this country.  You won't find any records of him in Denmark using his American name and probably not on a passenger list either.

Section 2:  I know my immigrant ancestor's name and a county and sogn in Denmark.

  1. Get some online tools.  Go to  (see the Instruction sheet)

a.  Helpful hints for genealogists

b.  Name lists for men and women in Danish,  English old Gothic hand script.

c.  Genealogy dictionary with Danish, English and old Gothic hand script.

  1. Check the census records.  Start with the one closest to the birth year if possible.  Go to   You can search the Danish Census on this website online.  (See the instruction sheet.)

a.  Follow the family forward in the census records until the parents have died.

b.  Follow the family back in the census records to parents' marriage.

  1. Check the Church Records.  Use parish records of births, confirmation, marriage, death and moving in or out to verify information on family members.  Go to for images from the Lutheran church record books written in old Gothic script.  (Use the Instructions for this site.)  Not all sogns (Parishes) have been put online yet.  If your records are not available online, order them from the Salt Lake Family History Library.  Go to Library, Index, Location and finally get the microfilm or microfiche film number.

  2. Check the Military Levying records for male family members from the Family History Library.

  3. Look for probate information on parents from the Family History Library.

 Section 3:   Other Tools

  1. Research Outlines for Denmark (Copy Room )

  2. Post og Telfgraf Addressbog for Kongeriget Danmark, 948.9/E8g/1964.
    Danish place name finder.

  3. Genealogical Guidebook and Atlas of Denmark 948.9/E6s.

  4. Danish/English dictionaries found in the reference stacks.

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