Denmark Jurisdictions

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Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

Stift[edit | edit source]

Also called a bispedømme or diocese, it is the highest church jurisdiction in Denmark. A stift was split into smaller provsti (deaneries) that were then divided into parishes. The diocese was run by the bishop, who was the spiritual supervisor of all priests.
The diocese kept records such as histories of the parishes/priests, some land records (especially concerning the diocese property), and court records. Marriage records were also kept by the diocese. For additional information about the Danish stift, see this article.

Provsti[edit | edit source]

A provsti or deanery was an eccleasiastical jursidiction smaller than a stift and larger than a parish. The provsti recorded probates for parish priests, school masters, and their families up until 1807, but the exact year for your locality can vary. If your ancestor was part of the local clergy, this is where you should check for their probate records. For more information on the provsti, see this article.

Pastorat[edit | edit source]

A pastorat is a set of typically 2 or more parishes in which one priest is responsible. For more information on the pastorat, see this article.

Civil Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

Len[edit | edit source]

During Medieval times Denmark was organized into areas called Lens. Each Len was headed by a castle and had some of the surrounding herreder attached. Each Len was under the supervision of a government appointed Lensmand who managed the King's affairs within the Len.

Amt[edit | edit source]

The amt in Denmark is the county, or the immediate civil jurisdiction under the country itself. The amt was established in 1662, and was in effect until 2007 when Denmark was re-divided into 5 regions.
For more information about amts, see articles for 1662-1793, and 1794-1970.

Amtstue[edit | edit source]

In Denmark, the amtstue were financial districts. They mostly had the same boundaries as the original amt that existed 1660-1793. The amtstue are important for genealogists because they recorded both tax records and some probate records. For more information about the amtstues see this article.

Lægedistrikt[edit | edit source]

The lægedistrikter were medicial districts. Starting in 1810, it was required for everyone to be vaccinated against smallpox. Records of this were kept by the lægedistrikter. They record the person's name, age, residence, and father and can thus act as a substitute for parish records that have been destroyed. For more information about the lægedistrikter see this article.

Herred[edit | edit source]

The herred is the next civil jurisdiction level under the amt. It has existed since at least 1232 and are probably much older. It usually comprises multiple parishes. For more information on herreds, see this article.

Kommune[edit | edit source]

The kommune is one of the smallest political jurisdictions in Denmark. Today's kommunes were first established in 1841, but the idea of the kommune has existed since abt 1660. Some records that you may find under the kommune include tax records, kommunal censuses, military levying rolls, street records, etc. For more information about kommunes, see this article.

Gods[edit | edit source]

A gods is an estate which consists of a manor/main farm, and the other land and farms owned by the estate. The gods recorded records such as: fæsteprotokoller/fæstebreve, jordebøger, lægdsruller, overformynderiprotokoller, regnskaber, and skifteprotokoller. For more information on those records, and about gods, see this article.

Military Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

Lægd[edit | edit source]

A lægd was used to indicate the number of farms in a parish that together would provide one soldier for military purposes. Records of all the males within each lægd number were recorded. For more information about lægd, see this article.