Denmark, Censuses (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This article contains information about records in multiple collections. See the section FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for a list of published collections.
Flag of Denmark
Map of Denmark
Record Description
Record Type Census
Language: Danish
Title in the Language: Danmark Folketællinger
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
The Danish National Archives

What is in the Collection?

This collection will include census records from 1787-1930. Indexes and images will be published as separate collections. See the section "FamilySearch Historical Records Collections" below to access the article for a specific year.

These records are in Danish; see the section "For Help Reading These Records" below for translation helps.

Censuses usually have information about age, occupation, civil status, and people living in a household. Some censuses also recorded religion, physical and mental condition, number of living and deceased children, year of marriage or divorce, previous residence, and immigration or emigration date.

Most Census records are arranged by county (amt), parish (sogn), and then town or farm name (stednavn). To find the locality of your ancestor, go to Krabsen's Placenames. Beginning in 1870, the census is arranged alphabetically by street for the large cities in Denmark. Sometimes you can find the street address in the church records at the time of a birth, marriage, or death in the family. Other sources for street address are business directories; civil certificates of birth, marriage, or death; probate records; or court records. For more information on understanding Danish census records, see Denmark Census Information and also Denmark Online Genealogy Records.

The first general census in Denmark with genealogical information was taken during the summer of 1787 but is not a complete record. The next census was taken in 1801, and then again in 1834. Beginning in 1840, a census was taken every five years until 1860. After 1860, the census was taken every ten years until the end of the century. Beginning in 1901, censuses were again taken every five years. Copenhagen had a city census taken in 1769. After 1860, Holstein county will be found in Austrian records. Slesvig county will be found in Danish censuses only between 1848 and 1860 and in Prussian records all other years. Non-Lutherans may be listed in census records separately.

Census records less than sixty-five years old are not part of this collection since they are confidential and may not be searched by individuals. The most recent census which has been released is the 1916 census. It can be found online at Danish Government Census Records. The government will make limited searches in the 1920 and 1925 censuses. For help using the Danish Government Census Records, see the Danish Demographic Database.

Transcribed census records in the Danish language with English translation can be found at the Index to Danish Government Census Records. Be aware that exact names of people, county, parish, and district are necessary to find your ancestors on this website.

Counties of Denmark

To find your ancestor in the Danish censuses, it is helpful to know the county and parish of their residence.

Click on a county in the interactive map below to take you to a listing of judicial districts and parishes within that county. From that page a listing of towns and farms within each parish can be found by clicking on the parish name or scrolling to the end of the page for a listing. In 1793 the counties were reorganized into 24 counties, however, Roskilde is filed under København so only 23 counties are listed below. The churches in Copenhagen City are listed under the city rather than the county.

If county and parish residence for your ancestor are unknown, a search by farm or town can be made at Krabsen's Placenames. This is an online database of Danish place names that can be searched to locate your ancestors' county (amt), parish (sogn), judicial district (herred) or town (stednavn) at any level.

HjørringHjørringÅlborgThistedViborgRandersRandersRingkøbingSkanderborgÅrhusRibeVejleTønderHaderslevÅbenråSønderborgOdenseSvendborgMariboHolbækSorøFrederiksborgPræstøKøbenhavnBornholmKøbenhavn CityDanish Amts 1793 to 1970 2x2.jpg

Collection Contents

To view sample images from this collection along with translations of their headings, see the wiki article Denmark Census Images (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Many records have been negatively affected by poor storage conditions, poor ink quality and general wear-and-tear. Content of the records varies by census. You may find any of the following:

  • Names of all members of the household
  • Age
  • Male or Female
  • Occupation
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Marital status
  • Religion
  • Birthplace (county and parish)
  • Residence
  • Immigration or Emigration year and place
  • Marriage or divorce year
  • Children living and not living
  • Physical and mental condition

How Do I Search the Collection?

Information about an ancestor's place of residence is very important to successful Danish research. Knowing the place of residency may help identify the correct ancestor (example: your Jens Jensen from all the other Jens Jensens).

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name (navn)
  • County of residence (amt)
  • Parish of residence (sogn)
  • Town, city and/or street of residence (byen or stednavn)
  • Family relationships (slægt; see Danish word list)
  • Estimated birth year (fødselsdagen)

For detailed information on using Danish census records, see the wiki article: Denmark Census FamilySearch or Denmark Census Information.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Danish with the exception of Schleswig and parts of northern Jutland where some records may be in German. Name places are listed by town, parish (sogn), judicial district (herred), and county (amt) in Denmark. To be able to read the records, please see the following articles:

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • use residence and names to locate church and land records
  • use estimated age to calculate a birth date and marriage date to find vital records
  • use immigration or emigration information to find records of ancestor in another location

Tips to Keep in Mind

To find your ancestor within a census record, a basic understanding of Danish naming traditions is necessary. See the article Danish Naming Traditions.

When searching census records, it is important to remember the following:

  • Accept the ages with caution.
  • Women are usually listed by their maiden surnames (until the late 1800's, depending on the individual).
  • By the late 1800's some families started using a "family" surname. This name might be the last name of the head of household, the last name of the father of head of household, or a place name.
  • Given names may not always be spelled exactly the same or be as complete as those recorded in vital records.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Information may be incorrect.
  • When you find your family in one census, be sure to search that same location in the earlier and later census records for additional family members.
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.
  • Continue to search the census records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have lived in a nearby household.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, Now What?

  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Search the surrounding area if you do not find a family at the expected address.
  • Search the records of nearby parishes or counties.

FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.