There is a countless number of all kind of Danish sources. Some of them are online and even more are available at the Danish archives of which Rigsarkivet [The National Archive] in the center of Copenhagen has the greatest collection of sources available to the public. Fortunately, My Danish Roots is located near to this archive. 

Nonetheless, the church books and the censuses form the starting point of most genealogy works as these sources have a lot to tell about the individuals.   

The information provided by these records changed significantly over time. Generally, the younger a record the more information.  

Below are examples of a records of a birth in 1805 and one of the 1850-census. Both are about a World-famous Danish author and poet; born in Odense and living his last years in Copenhagen.   

All our findings are documented by similar - but bigger and readable - copies of the source records. You can find our contact details here if you want us to find original records for you.

Birth record 1805

Originally, there were no fixed rules for how to keep a church book apart from that births, betrothals, marriages and burials should be recorded. The oldest church books till around 1813 vary significantly as to form and content.   

Church books from around 1813 have separate sections for christenings, confirmations, marriages and deaths; grouped gender-wise. 

The birth record below is from Odense 1805 and badly arranged. The key take aways from it are:

  1. The boy was born Tuesday 2 April 1805 1am and christened Hans Christian
  2. He was son to Hans Andersen and Anne Marie Anderdatter
  3. He was privately christined just after his birth
  4. The christening was published in the church 2nd day of Easter, i.e. 15 April 1805 (corrected from 16 April)
  5. He was born at Hjørnehuset [The Corner House], Hans Jensens Stræde 43
  6. The names of the sponsors

Census record 1850

The first census in the Kingdom of Denmark was 1787; followed by 1801, 1834, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885 (only Copenhagen), 1890, 1895, 1901, 1906, 1911, 1916, 1921, 1925, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1955 (lost), 1960 and 1970. The censuses 1940-1970 are not yet public.   

Censuses were also conducted in Schleswig, Holstein, Lauenburg, Greenland, The Faroe Islands, The Virgin Islands, Trankebar and Frederiksnagor but not that often and in other years than ones above.  

The information in the censuses differs very much from one census to the next. Generally, the newer census the more facts. One should keep in mind that some of the information in the censuses is inaccurate.   

The census record for Copenhagen 1850 holds this information about the person of the birth record:

  1. Mr. Andersen was 45 years old, single and an author
  2. He was born in Odense
  3. He was a tenant at shipmaster and innkeeper Johannes Auholm
  4. He was living at Nyhavn 34 
  5. Besides the innkeeper's family and servant, there were other tenants, i.e. a principal, a student in arts, a journeyman grocer who was in the navy at the time of the census and a navy lieutenant