Name Change in Denmark

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Navneændring means that a person changes his name and such as, taking a new surname. Throughout most the 1800s the state tried without much luck to instruct the people to keep fixed family names. From 1892 onwards it was the name that a person had been recorded with in the church books, therefore, frozen - even if the person was not using it. The many protests by the population to no longer be able to decide or choose his own surname led the state in 1903 to try to solve this problem, an experimental system that has continued with the passing of a law on April 22, 1904. Until 1903 they had only been able to a name change by royal authorization. After the new law it would be easier (and cheaper) to get a new surname.

Church book as a starting point

Always start with the church book birth entry, in which the person's surname would be listed and would have a remark about the name change, date, and type. Type - ie. either royal authorization or other proof / certificate name - determine where in particular the case could be found. If the type is not disclosed in the church book, you can guess by using a couple of general rules, if the name is a given name, a woman's maiden name or a name of another that is already being used, which name change until 1961 had received royal authorization. However, if there is a new or even an invented name, the name change will have from 1903 onwards normally have been approved by other supporting / name proof. Which authority has decided the matter, is rarely reported, so here also guess. Start with the authority where the applicant lived, since he changed his name.

If multiple family members seek a name change, then the matter will be dealt with where the main applicant lived. If a man has been renamed, while he was still enrolled in the lægdsruller, (military levying rolls), they will usually be updated and will provide precise information in them. It is rare that an application for name change provides a justification for the choice of family name - unless there are restrictions to an already used name.

Name change in Copenhagen

As in many other cases Copenhagen had its own administrative system, which makes the search for the name matters different than in the provinces. In Copenhagen was a person from 1903-1904 to submit its application to Copenhagen, the Bureau, in whose archives it therefore exists. This applies both by royal authorization, and by other supporting records. The instructions are a Registry of Copenhagen Overpræsidiums archive subgroup of Copenhagen, the Bureau

Name change in the provinces

Came the name change by magistrates and levels of name certificate outside Copenhagen, was the applicant between 1903-1961 send the application to the police chief. Until 1919 called the police chief legal officer, and until then the case must be found in the legal file, and then served in the police archive. From 1962 surpassed the authority to counties and later for the state counties. From 1904-1961 took the counties also of royal funds. The instructions are relevant Registries of gruppeene "Retsbetjente - 1919", "Politi 1919-" and "Ampter & statsamter".


Statens Arkiver. Navneændring. Denmark: Landsarkivet for Sjælland Lolland-Falster & Bornholm, 2008