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Got Danish Ancestry?

Most beginning genealogists start by researching and extending the genealogy of their own surname. Not me - I started by researching Browns, Williams, and Clarks. If you've got a surname like mine (Rasmussen) you might have Danish ancestry. I'm just starting my quest into the wonderful records of Denmark.

Even if you have been researching for many years, any time you begin researching in a new area, you should become acquainted with its research methodology. In other words, learn about the history, geography, culture, records available, where the records are located, customs, etc. I've found several things to be helpful as I've started by Danish research.

FamilySearch Research Outline

Research outlines are available for the U.S. states and most major countries around the world. The purpose of these outlines is to introduce you to the records you can use. They describe the content, use, and availability of major genealogical records. Use these outlines to set meaningful goals and to select the records that will help you achieve your goals.

For Denmark, the outline explains how to use:

  • Archives and Libraries
  • Biographies
  • Census
  • Church records
  • Civil registration
  • Court records
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Gazetteers
  • Genealogies
  • Historical Geography
  • History
  • Land and property
  • Languages
  • Maps
  • Military records
  • Names
  • Nobility
  • Occupations
  • Periodicals
  • Probate records
  • Social life and customs
  • Societies
  • Schools

The languages section lists translations of the common genealogical terms that you would find in the major records.

Legacy's Research Guidance

Christen Rasmussen was born in 1820 in Niløse, Holbæk, Denmark. Legacy's Research Guidance listed the records I should use to locate information about his life, and how to find his parents. It suggested that I search the census records, and had direct links to these records which were available online.

It then suggested that I search the parish registers. This has been a gold mine - Legacy's Research Guidance linked me directly to the parish registers which were available online.

Better yet, Legacy didn't just list a whole bunch of records in one long list - it actually ranked the records in the order of priority based on my goal. As a new Danish researcher, this has given me a great jump-start.

Danish State Archives (census and parish registers)

One of the repositories that Legacy's Research Guidance suggested was to use the Danish State Archives, or the Statens Arkiver. They have digitized the following census schedules:

  • 1787
  • 1801
  • 1834
  • 1840
  • 1850
  • 1855
  • 1860

Others will be digitized as time permits. They mention that all Danish parish registers older than 1892 are included in their digitization project. I learned that this doesn't necessarily mean that all the registers have been digitized, but that they do have plans to do this.

Visit http://www.arkivalieronline.dk/

Danish Demographic Database (census, probate, emigration)

Otherwise known as the Dansk Demografisk Database, this free website has been one of the most helpful resources. It has transcriptions and indexes of census, probate, and emigration records. Because the census records at the State Archives are not indexed, I used this database to first locate Christian Rasmussen and his family in the census. And because I'm still not an expert in reading Danish, its transcriptions of the records were especially helpful. I was then easily able to locate a digitized copy of the original census.

Visit http://ddd.dda.dk/

Cyndi's List

We all know about the Internet's ultimate guide to genealogy - Cyndi's List. This is another great starting point for Danish research. The Denmark section currently lists 222 links to various Danish resources. Many of the links are of how-to articles, maps, mailing lists, and links to the major databases described above.

Visit http://www.cyndislist.com

Danish version of Legacy

If you really want to become immersed in Danish genealogy, Legacy is currently being translated into Danish. That's right - every report, blank charts, help file - the entire interface is in Danish. Now this hasn't helped my research too much, but it does include many of the important Danish genealogical terms. If you're good with the language, you can help test it.

Visit - http://www.legacydansk.com/testen.htm

Other helpful Danish Resources?

If you know of some good starting points for Danish research, and would like to share them with our Legacy users, please click on the Submit News link within the Legacy Home tab in Legacy 6. We'll consider it for future publication. Or visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/submitnews.asp


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Just a comment about the Danish State Archive parish records.

Even though they haven't finished digitizing all of the records, the amount that is finished, and it's a lot, is truly a gold mine. I've been doing research in Denmark for over 20 years, and can now do most of my research from home. I seldom use the census records.
The Demographic Database does the job very well, though there are some tricks to using it that help a lot. Please publicize the parish records more.

The Danish Archive doesn't provide much help to non-Danish speakers in trying to register for the site. Can anyone offer assistance?

Hans and Helga Rasmussen were my neighbors, on Dane Lane, in Junction City, Oregon. They were of my parents age. They lived next to Love Lake and had a row boat tied to a tree. Hans gave me permission to use his boat as I explored the Lake. They had a feed and seed business in town with which my uncle and cousins did business.

My paternal grandparents were Anders and Anna Jensen. They chose to give their children the name Gribskov since there were so many "Sons of Jens."
Gribskov is in fact a "woods" in Denmark - (Grib's Woods).
Beginning 2007, a new municipality named Gribskov was established.
My wife and I visited, met the Mayor and discovered Great Grandfather's farm, whose name was Jens Rasmussen! How about that? ! ? !

I'm not sure if the comment about Anna and Anders Gribskov being grandparents was written by you or Craig Gribskov. So i'm writing this to both of you. I'm not even sure you'll get this message. I recently learned that Anna Gribskov was a sister to my grandfather Hans Christian Peter Christensen. I have documentation to prove that her mother, Karen Petersen, was a sister to my great grandmother Anna Christensen. I also have a copy of Anna's (Nielsen) church birth record. I am definitely not asking for any compensation. I would just like to share my information if you are interested in genealgoy, and I would like to correspond with a relative. A grandchild of Anna and Anders Jensen-Gribskov would be my third cousin.

Arlene Camp

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