Denmark: Finding Death Information
Death is a fact of life that everyone faces at some point. For centuries, official entities in Denmark have kept a record of this very important life fact. Although death records can be some of the most difficult to find, the following steps can make finding the death a little easier.
Step 1: What do I know?
The first step in finding death information of an ancestor is to determine what you already know. Before beginning research, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I already have a death date and place? How accurate is that information?
- Are there any living relatives that would already have the information?
- Are there secondary sources (such as online Family Trees and Biographies) that would have the information? What have others found?
If you do find your ancestor's death information in your family records, or other easily available sources, make sure to document where you found that information. Also, make sure to determine whether the information found is merely family hearsay or if it came from original records.
|Compiled sources are a great place to start for finding a birth date.Biographies, Genealogies, and Periodicals are just a few of the compiled sources available. Although these records are secondary, they are usually well documented. The information in these sources should be sourced well enough that you could find the original record if you wanted to.|
Step 2: Strategies and suggestions for finding death information
Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong way to find a death record. Death can come at any time in life. The timing can seem so random at times that it can be very easy to miss a death. However, there are a few simple suggestions that can help:
- Search the entire family: It may be tempting to only research your direct line ancestor, but with Danish ancestors, it is very important that you search for the entire family at the same time. Quite often you will find the death date (or possible time period) of your ancestor on the confirmation record of a child (not your direct line), the probate record of a sibling, the death record of a parent, etc., that you would have otherwise missed had you been researching only your direct line.
- Use censuses to narrow down a time frame: Although census records will not tell you the exact date of a person's death, they are one of the best records to help narrow down when an ancestor died. For example, if Jens Jensen was alive in the 1860 census, but could not be found in the 1870 census, it is a high possibility that he died sometime within those years.
- Research the children: Many times, after a parent reached a certain age, They would either end up moving in with a child or the child would move in with them. The parent could have gone to any one of the children before he or she died; therefore, it is important to track the children.
- Stillborns are almost always recorded: Still born is a bit of a loose term used in the danish records. Even a child who lived for a couple of minutes could be considered stillborn. Despite how long they lived, or didn't live, stillborns are usually recorded in either the birth or death records, or both.
Step 3: What records can I search to find death information?
|Many Danish records are available online. See the Danish Research Websites for links to the different websites|
- Church Records: Probably the most important records to use in Danish research are the church records. For centuries the church was in charge of recording the vital information of the populace. It is important to note that if you find a death record before 1814 that has only one date, it is more than likely the burial date rather than the death date. Nearly all of the Danish church records have been digitized and made available online for free. See the article Digitized Danish Records Online - Arkivalieronline.
- Civil Registration: Although civil registration did not become a major record sourceuntil the 20th century, and was only available in a few areas of Denmark, they are a very useful record. Often the civil registration records will contain more information than the church records, on the deceased individual.
- Probates: Usually, after a person died, a probate was conducted in order to pay the deceased's debts and distribute what's left to the inheritors. these records will usually list when the deceased passed away. If not, usually the probate date is close to the death date.
- Cemeteries: Like all cemeteries, you can usually find the death information of the individual on the headstone. However, it is important to note that in Denmark, a person only remains buried while the family pays for the grave. When there is no one else to pay for the grave the body and headstone is usually removed and taken to the catacombs or crematorium. The headstone is usually recycled.
If you still cannot find the death information try the following records. These records may not give an actual death date or place, but they can give clues.
- Censuses: As discussed in Step 2, censuses can be used to narrow down the time period an individual passed away.
- Military Levying Rolls: If an ancestor was still included in the military rolls when they died, their name will usually be crossed out and a death date written in the notes column.
- Court Records: there are many different court records and they may not necessarily record vital information, but they can give clues. For example, if the ancestor was murdered, there may be a court proceeding that records the circumstances surrounding the death.
- Occupational Records: Like court records, occupational records do not normally list death information, but they can state that a spouse is a widow or not, and narrow down the time of death.
Step 4: What's next?
After you have determined the death information of the ancestor, you can begin to search for other records.
|How to Find Information for Danish Ancestors|
7. Emigration information
See the article Suicide in Denmark to learn social and cultural consequences of death by suicide in Denmark