Schleswig-Holstein Census

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Denmark ruled all of Schleswig-Holstein, including Lübeck and parts of Hamburg and Oldenburg, until 1864. Denmark took several censuses of this area. The first census was made in 1769, and subsequent censuses were taken in 1801, 1803, 1834, 1835, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, and 1860. The censuses are written in either German or Danish, sometimes with both on the same page. The information contained in the censuses varies according to which year it was taken:

  • 1769. This census names the head of each household and the number of people in the house, grouped by age and sex. It did not take military personnel into account, neither will the researcher find information from estates, monestaries and the Gottorfer areas.
  • 1801-1860. Censuses taken from 1801 to 1860 list each person's name, residence, position in the family, age, marital status, and occupation.
  • 1845 and later censuses. From 1845 on, each census also lists birthplace, the parish of the birthplace, and the length of residency at the census place.

It is often difficult to determine which village belongs to what census district. A good source to find jurisdictions are the two volumes v. Schröder and Biernatzki published: "Topographie des Herzogthums Schleswig" (1854) and "Topographie der Herzogthümer Holstein und Lauenburg" (1855)

Censuses are microfilmed but not indexed. They are arranged by district and city. These census records are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:


There are efforts underway to extract census records from Schleswig-Holstein. The results can be searched online at or

Some indexes are available online at:

The Family History Library also has census records from other German states, notably Mecklenburg-Schwerin and portions of Hannover.  These are listed in the Place Search of the catalog under:



Searching Census Records

When searching census records, remember the following:

  • Information may be incorrect.
  • The ages listed may not be correct.
  • A given name may not be the same as the name used in vital records.
  • Names may be spelled as they sound.
  • Place-names may be misspelled.
  • Some parts of the census may be illegible.
  • If the family is not at the expected location, you should search the surrounding area.

To understand what is being asked for in Schleswig-Holstein censuses see the three examples below: