Danish Gods

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Europe Gotoarrow.png DenmarkGotoarrow.pngDanish Gods

A Gods is an estate which consists of a manor or main farm and the land and other farms owned by the estate. Usually an estate was owned by a nobleman, but the owner may have been an institution or a middle class proprietar. There were approximately, 800 estates in Denmark, and they, along with the crown, owned over 97% of the land. Estates created several records that can help enrich genealogical research. The main ones are:

  • Fæstebreve and Fæsteprotokoller (copyhold) records: These are contracts of permanent work for the farmer or cottager, with conditions. They usually outline what is expected of the tenant, descriptions of the house given to them, and who the previous farmer of the farm was (many times the previous owner was some sort of relation), along with other miscellaneous information. Starting in 1719, two copies were to be kept, one which was to be given to the farmer or cottager and one which was to be archived. In 1810 estate owners were required to register copyhold records with the local authorities. After this date transcripts of copyholds may also be found in the records of the local herred where the farm was located.

  • Jordebøger (land records): Information about the land and how much it is worth in taxes. These records include names of every farmer under the gods.

  • Lægdsruller (conscription rolls): Lists of males who may be available for military service. In 1789, it became the central government's responsibility to provide men for the military and the most commonly used lægsruller were created by the central government. However, before 1789, it was up to the estates to provide men instead and some of the estates may have kept earlier lists of those who were eligible to serve.

  • Overformynderiprotokoller (guardianship records): Name of the person or persons assigned to watch over the interests of a minor.

  • Regnskaber (accounts): Financial transactions for the operation of the estate.

  • Skifteprotokoller (probate records): Until the 1790's most Danish farmers or cattoer had their probate conducted by the estate to which they belonged and some estates retained this right with special consideration until 1850. If your ancestor was a farmer or cottager, 1790-1850 the estate is a key place to look for your ancestor's probate and before 1790 it is a critical place to look for one. Probate records provide direct evidence of relationships by listing all of the deceased's living heirs and his or her relationship to them.

Estate records that have been deposited at the regional archives (landsarkiv) are grouped together by the estate. Many estates have not transferred their records to the archives. In those cases you must contact the estate to determine what records are available. You can search the National Archives of Denmark's online catalog Daisy to see what records are available for each estate. Enter the name of the estate in the Arkivskaber eller arkivserie (Archive creator or archive series) field.

An interactive map with information on estates as of 2013 is available on the website of the Dansk Center for Herregårdsforskning here.

Here is a Parish-Estate Cross Reference (to list of estates). The estate numbers correspond the estate number on this list of danish estates.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Skaaning, Jytte and Bente Klercke Rasmussen. Find Din Slægt - og Gør den Levende: Håndbog i Slægtshistorie, 2d ed. Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2006.
  • Christiansen, Palle Ove. A Manorial World: Lord Peasants and Cultural Distinctions on a Danish Estate 1750-1980. Scandinavian University Press, 1996.
  • Worsøe, Hans H. Politikens Håndbog i Slægthistorie. Copenhagen : J/P Politikens Forlagshus A/S, 2005.