Understanding a little bit about the physical geography of Denmark will help you with your family history research. The geography influenced how jurisdictions were created which influenced how records were kept.
The kingdom of Denmark is made up of one large peninsula off of northern Europe with 5 larger islands, and 400+ smaller islands most of which are uninhabited. The highest point in Denmark is 482 feet above sea level. To get a sense of the size of Denmark for the Danish American researcher, it can be said the kingdom is about twice the size of Massachusetts or 1/5 the size of Utah. Within Denmark there are over 2000 parishes, with each parish covering roughly 3 to 5 miles in area.
As you do your research, you’ll find some place names are associated to the landscape and others to a jurisdiction. Here are some place names associated to the landscape:
- Jylland (or Jutland): is the name of the main peninsula that is extended from Northern Europe.
- Fyn is a large island just to the east of Jylland.
- Sjælland is a large island between Fyn and the Swedish coast.
- Lolland, Falster and Møn are islands just to the south of Sjælland.