Denmark, Court Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at
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Flag of Denmark
DK Counties 1793-1808.jpg
Map of Denmark, 1793-1970
Record Description
Record Type Court
Collection years: 1854-1926
Language: Danish
Title in the Language: Danmark, Straffeattest, 1854-1926
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
The Danish National Archives

What is in This Collection?

This collection includes court records from 1854-1926.

These records are handwritten in Danish making them hard to read and understand; for translation help, see the section below "For Help Reading These Records".

Court records are an account of court proceedings in deciding property disputes, guardianship, thefts, drunkenness, assaults, murders or other matters brought before a court. Ancestors may be found in court records perhaps as defendants, plaintiffs, or witnesses.

Most court records were kept beginning in the 1600’s and were filed first in the city courts (bytinget). Before the probate law of 1683, many probate records were part of the general court records. Probate records are available for viewing in the separate collection Denmark, Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records.

Collection Content

Images will be posted as they become available.

Danish court records may contain the following information:

  • Names of primary individuals
  • Date and nature of the court case
  • Names of family members or witnesses
  • Residences
  • Description of property
  • Monies exchanged
  • Birth, death or marriage details
  • Occupation

How Do I Search the Collection?

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

  • Name of your ancestor
  • Year of birth, marriage, and/or death
  • County (amt), parish (sogn), and town of residence (byen, stednavn)
  • Family relationships

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the 'Archive' category
⇒ Select the 'Series and title' category
⇒ Select the 'Volume and year' category which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are written in Danish with the exception of Schleswig and parts of northern Jutland where some records may be in German. A basic understanding of the Danish language is needed to read the records.

Important words:

  • Advokat, sagfører – lawyer, attorney
  • Årstal = year
  • Birk = district
  • Borgerlige = civil cases
  • Byfogden =sheriff, judge
  • Byretten – district court
  • Bytinget =city court
  • Herred, herreder = District, districts
  • Højesteret – Supreme court
  • Justitsprotokol =justice protocol
  • Landsarkivet =country archive
  • Landsretten – High court
  • Magistraten =magistrate, judge
  • Rådstueretten = city hall courts
  • Skøde = deed (property)
  • Sogn = parish
  • Straffeattest = court records
  • Straffesager = criminal cases
  • Testes, vidner = witnesses

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records for each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example, use the name and parish of residence to search for baptism, confirmation, marriage and death records in the church records

Tips to Keep in Mind

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

  • A basic understanding of Danish naming traditions is necessary. See Danish Naming Traditions.
  • Relationships may not be accurate (brother-in-law may be listed as brother).
  • Women are usually listed by their maiden surnames (until the late 1800's).
  • Given names may not always be spelled exactly the same or be as complete as those recorded in vital records, and your ancestor may have used nicknames at different times.
  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor.

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

  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Search the records of nearby judicial districts, parishes or counties.

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Denmark.

Citing this Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation

"Denmark, Court Records, 1854-1926." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Danish National Archives, Copenhagen.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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.