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Family History Research Hints and Tips

Danish Census Records

Staying with the Danish theme of an earlier note, it isn’t difficult to read Danish Census records if you understand certain key words. A number of years ago, a good Samaritan researcher helped me read the census records associated with my ancestors. She sent me a document that I’ve used in my Danish research ever since. I’m sure you’ll find it to be very useful too in your own Danish ancestral quest.

You will find Danish census records in English here although most of them haven’t been translated yet. I have more luck searching in Danish here.

Fixed surnames were more common in the towns than in the countryside. However it was still not uncommon for males to create a surname by adding ‘sen’ (‘son of’) or, for females, ‘dotre’ (‘daughter of’) to their father’s Christian name. Thus Ole Mortensen would be the son of, for example, Morten Hanssen. In this case the former’s sons would, in turn, be called e.g. Jon or Jens etc. Olsen, his daughters e.g. Maria or Petra Olsen. Note too that a woman kept her maiden name after marriage, a distinct advantage for those now engaged in genealogical research or other nominal record linkage work.

The head of the household was usually male, hence husfader (house-father) but could be female, in which case husmoder (house-mother) would appear. Sometimes neither husfader nor husmoder was entered. The list continued with (hans) kone (his wife), søn (son), datter (daughter). Other terms to be found occasionally in this column were:

Antaget barn = Adopted child
Bedstemoder (fader) = Grandmother (father)
Brodersøn = Brother’s son
Datter datter = Granddaughter
Deres børn = Their children
Deres søn (datter, barn, broder) = Their son (daughter, child, brother)
De to forriges søn (datter) = The above two’s son (daughter)
Disses moder = The above persons’ mother
Enke (enkemand) = Widow (widower)
Fader (modern, søster, broder) = Father (mother, sister, brother)
Familie fader = Family head
Farmoder = Grandmother on male side
Fattiglæm = Pauper
Foranståendes barn (kone) = The above’s child (wife)
Forældre = Parent
Fostersøn (datter) = Foster son (daughter)
Frillesøn (datter) = Son/daughter/born outside marriage
Hans hastru = His wife
Hennes søn (datter, mor, far) = Her son (daughter, mother, father)
Hennes søn med 1ste mand = Her son by first husband
Husbestyrerinde = Housekeeper
Huseier = Houseowner
Husfaderens moder (søster) = Household head’s mother (sister)
Husholderske = Housekeeper
Husjomfru = Housekeeper
Konens (mannens) moder) = Wife’s (husband’s) mother
Logerende (logerer) = Lodger
Logi i huset = Lodges in house
Midlertidig logererende = Temporary lodger
Pleieson (datter, barn) = Foster son (daughter, child)
Stedson (datter, barn) = Stepson (daughter, child)
Svigermoder (søn) = Mother (son)-in-law
Svoger = Brother-in-law
Søster (broder) til konen = Wife’s sister (brother)
Uægte barn = Child born out of wedlock”

24 February 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | , | Leave a comment