Danish Names And Genealogy—
Few descendants of Scandinavian parents in this Church have realized the extend of surname foundations in their mother country, because many of the saints have come from the peasant classes where the confusing custom of using the names of grandfather and father with –son added interchangeable has prevailed. Little further inquiry has been made until recently concerning this matter.
The editor of this book wrote, over a year ago to Mrs. Maria Wright of Copenhagen, who is a famous genealogist in her won country, for some data on Scandinavian surnames. After many months we received from her a cordial letter of reply, and she enclosed two printed books upon Danish surnames: “Krak’s Navnebog” and “Dansk Navneskik.” These books furnished much information. From the “Krak’s Navnebog” three chapters have been translated for this book by our indefatigable and gifted Assistant Church Historian, Andrew Jenson.
We add to this treatise portions of an article prepared by Elder Jenson for the “Utah Genealogical Magazine,” and some information concerning the Danish Parish Register, prepared by Th. Haugh Fausboll, director “Dansk Genealogisk Institut” of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Scandinavia is a general designation for the three northern European kingdoms, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Sometimes it is applied in a more restricted sense to Sweden and Norway alone. In the middle ages the name of Northmen was bestowed indiscriminately on the inhabitants of these countries, whose closely related languages and common mode of life and political fortunes afforded sufficient basis for considering them one people. The geographical term Scandinavia is gradually passing out of use, but the appellation is still employed in an ethnographic and especially in a literary sense.
Denmark proper consists of the peninsula of Jutland and about 200 islands, lying principally on the east of the peninsula. The whole area of the country is about 14,000 English square miles and the number of inhabitants two and one-half millions. One-fifth of the population live in Copenhagen, the capital. For administrative purposes Denmark is divided into eighteen “amter” (Counties), each county or “amt” being subdivided into “herreder” and “sogne” (parishes). Of the latter there are 1,300. Denmark is a low-lying country, the highest point of elevation being only about 550 feet above sea level.
In Denmark as well as in England and other European countries, the people are more or less divided into classes, through the lines of these are not so definitely drawn now as they were formerly.
Following is a partial list of the most common personal or given names of males found among the peasantry of Denmark: Able, Adam, Andreas (or Anders), Anton, August, Berthel, Claus or Klaus, Carl or Karl, Christian or Kristian, Christen or Kresten, Christoffer, Enok, Edmund, Edward, Ejnar, Emil, Erik, Eskild, Fredinand, Frantz, Frederik, Fritz, Georg, Hans, Holger, Harald, Henrick, Iver or Ivar, Johannes, Joseph or Josef, Jakob, Jens, Jørgen, Johan, Kund, Lars, Lauritz, Lorenz, Mads, Mikkel. or Mikael, Magnus, Markus, Martin, Morten, Mouritz, Niels, Nikolai, Olaf, Ole, Oluf, Peder or Peter, Poul or Povl, Robert, Rasmus, Stephen or Stefen, Svend, Samuel, Søren, Thomas, Thor, Ulrik, Valdemar and Vilhelm. Here is a somewhat corresponding number of personal names of females: Abeline (after the masculine August), Amalia, Andrea, (after the masculine Andereas), Bigitte, Berthe, Cecelie, Christine or Kristine, Charlotte, Caroline, Dorothea or Dorthea, Elizabeth, Else, Emilie, Eleanore or Eleanora, Eva, Frederikke (after the masculine Frederik), Gjertrude, Gjerta, Hansine (after the masculine Hans), Helen, Hedvig, Ingeborg, Johanne or Johanna, Jensine (after the masculine Jens), Josephine (after the masculine Joseph), Karen, Kirsten, Katharine, or Katrine, Louisa or Lovisa, Margrethe, Martine, Magna, Mathilda, Marie, Melvine, Martha, Maren, Nielsine (after the masculine Niels), Othilia, Petrine, Rasmine (after the masculine Rasmus), Rode, Rosalie, Sigrid, Sarah, Sofie, Sorine (after the masculine Søren), Therese, Thora, Thomine (after the masculine Thomas), Thyra, Vilhelmine (after the masculine Vilhelm).
In order to get a starting point for genealogical research in Danish names, select the name Adam as an example. Adam marries Eva and a son is born to them; they call him Able; Adam’s son is named to distinguish him from the son of the same name of somebody else, hence we get the name of Abel Adam’s-son, contracted to Able Adamson. In case of a daughter being born to Adam and Eva, and the parents gave her the name of Agnes, by the same rule she would at once become known as Agnes, Adam’s daughter. In the course of time Able takes to him a wife and they have a son whom they name Enok; he, of course, becomes Enok, the son of Abel (or Enok Abel’s-son, i.e. Enok Abelson), because he is the son of Able, not of Adam, Adam being his grandfather. In case of a daughter being born to Abel and his wife the child at once becomes known as the daughter of Abel, and whatsoever personal name the parents ma choose to give her she is and always will be Abel’s daughter, whether she is called Marie, Else or anything else.
This is practically all that needs to be said by way of explanation of this class of Danish names, which so many students at first pronounce ridiculous and so hard to decipher in tracing genealogy. By understanding the plain, primitive principle, nothing is easier than to deal with the Scandinavian names of that kind.
Denmark, with an area of only 14,000 English square miles (about one-sixth the size of Utah), contains about 52,000 cities, towns, villages, neighborhoods, estates, farms, houses, etc., which have separate and distinct names. Thus it will be understood how each individual easily can be traced and connected with some locality which will distinguish him from any other person of the same name in the same locality. A parish in Denmark is both a civil and ecclesiastical division of the country, with well-defined boundaries, and in each parish (country parishes at least) there are both a “sognefoged” (civil magistrate) and a Lutheran priest; the latter is also entrusted with a number of secular duties, among which is the keeping of a record of all births, marriages and deaths in the parish, and in making the entries in his parish records, he is always careful to note the particular village “gaard” (estate), if in the country, or street and house number, if in the city, where the birth, marriage or death takes place; hence the genealogist can proceed without difficulty.
For illustration, take the parish of Torsley in Hjørring amt, the northernmost amt in Denmark. The parish of Torslev had in 1890, 2,264 inhabitants who lived in 411 estates (“gaarde”) and house, each of which has a name or appellation that can distinguish it readily from any other place in the same parish. A few of the names of the villages, estates and houses in this particular parish are : Aalborgaard, Bjergene, Benskovhus, Damgren, Elshave, Fladbirk, Fjeldgaard, Gydeje, Galtrup, Hejselt, Ormholt, Ris, Ravnshold, Ravmose, Rosendal Skoven, Sikeborg, Søholt, Straden, Skavange, Try, Tamstrup, Thorshøj, Tyrrestrup, Tofen, Vraa, Vang, Vraagaard, Vangkær, Valsted, etc. By this list of names it will be seen how easy any man’s genealogy can be traced simply by referring to the place of residence. In case there are several Andreas Jensens in the parish of Torslev, the recorder will invariably record the place of residence in connection with the name, such as Andreas Jensen “of Damgren,” or “of Try,” or “of Tamstrup,” or “of Varra,” or of “Hejselt,” etc.
Nicknames. It cannot be denied that the sameness of names in Denmark often give occasion for amusing, and in some instances, offensive nicknames, especially in villages containing only a few hundred inhabitants, where people in their close associations together often call their neighbors by their first names. Such appellations as “little Jens,” “big Jens,” “old Jens,” “whistling Jens,” “jumping Jens,” “red-haired Jens,” “the girls’ Jens” (“Pigernes Jens”), “Black Jens” (if he happens to be dark haired,) “Jens of the hill (Jens Høj), “Jens of the valley” (“Dal-Jens”), “Jens of the woods” (Skov-Jens), “Jens of the pond” (“Jens Dam”), etc., are not at all uncommon.
The foregoing pertains mostly to the peasantry of Denmark; the so-called upper classes use family names the same as the gentry of England and other European countries. Many of the most distinguished Danish families can trace their family names back 500 years, and in a few instances nearly a thousand years. But in most of the parishes the genealogy of the peasantry can be traced back only some two or three hundred years.
About sixty years ago the method of naming the children of the Danish Peasantry was changed, and instead of giving the child his father’s first name, with the affix, “son” or “datter,” for a surname, the son and daughter part of it was changed to “sen” and made to answer for both sexes. “Son” is the original and therefore correct appellation, and the “sen” is a corruption adopted only in Denmark and Norway. The Swedish, the Icelanders, the English and the Scotch have retained the original forms of the Scandinavian names which were transplanted to Great Britain and other countries centuries ago, and made family names there; and in countries where so many other names predominate, the use of such family names as Anderson, Hanson, Peterson, etc., can easier be tolerated than similar names in Denmark and Norway where a majority of the inhabitants carry names terminating with “son” or “sen.”
Danish Surnames. The following is culled and translated from “Kraks Navnebog,” published in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1912. This very able article, entitled “Our Surnames,” is written strictly from the Danish viewpoint, still, with allowances for localism on all sides, in a general way it applies also to Sweden and Norway: The only names recognized in the olden times in Scandinavia ere the given names of people, and the ancients in that country, therefore, knew nothing of surnames. If the number of given names had been unlimited, or rather, if it had been the custom to give every new-born babe a new name, then surnames would perhaps not have been adopted; but such was not the case. Names like Toke and Tove were quite common in the runic inscriptions of Denmark. After the introduction of Christianity into Scandinavia a number of apostolic and saints’ names became more popular than all others; in the front rank of these were the names of Peter, Niels (Nicholas), Anders, Anderas (Andrew in English), and Johannes, together with their offshoots, among which Jens and later Hans (John in English) became the most common. Then it was that a more definite designation in the shape of an addition to the baptismal name began to evolve itself. As a permanent family name, the surname is comparatively new, but the root or foundation thereof can be traced to the very oldest sources of the Scandinavian languages.
On the inscription on the golden horn, which is supposed to belong to the fourth century of the Christian Era, the man who made the horn adds to his personal name, Lægæst the word Holting, which means “Holtes Ætling” (“Holtes’ descendant). Such additions as “-ing” and “-ung,” which signify descent, are also found later, on several of the runic stones; for instance, Carolinger, Capatinger, Skjoldunger, Vølsunger, and it is classified with the forms ending with “-ling,” as Klling (chick) from Kok (chicken), Gæsling (gosling) from Gaas (goose). These endings “-ing” and “-ling” we still find in several family names of northern Scandinavian and German origin; such as Dyring, Bering, Berling, etc. Most of the Scandinavian names ending with “-ing and “-ling” have originated from the names of places; such as Gylling, Vinding, etc.
Sire Names. Much more common than the kindred designations ending with “-ing” and “-ung,” on the Scandinavian runic stones, are sire names which classify the individual as son or daughter. We will cite one instance: A Jutland runic stone from about the year 1000 S. D. was erected by Sasgert, Finnulvs Datter (Sasgert, daughter of Finnulv) after Odinkar, Husbjørns Son (Odinkar, son of Husbjørn). Such additions to the given name are continual used from the oldest times tour own age. In the Middle Ages it was mainly the nobility and later the citizen Borger (Bourgoisie) and Bonde (peasant) classes which used the –sen (son) and –datter (daughter) names. In the olden days, as at present, it was usually the father’s name which was used. Yet there are cases on record where the mother’s name was adopted; an instance of this is the name of Sven Estridsen; the runic stone as well as later sources prove that this custom obtained. As late as the nineteenth century cases were known on Ærø where the son took the name of his mother, especially if the mother happened to be a notable or capable woman, as for instance, Mariesen, Mettesen, etc. Of such surnames is Bodilsen, which indicates that the origin is from a mother and not from a father.
Danish “-sen” names have their origin in the very oldest period, and were and are very extensively used; yet they can not be classified as real surnames so long as they change in each generation with the father’s or mother’s given name.
Trade Names. There are some other rare surnames forms which are older than the -sen names, namely, trade or occupative names, nicknames taken from personal characteristics, and place names or surnames from homesteads, towns or villages.
On the great ruinc stones at Jællinge, Harald Blaatand designates himself as king, while on other runic stones is found a designation of the position occupied by the individual, such as Gode (i.e., Præst—priest), Smed (smith), Bryde (i.e., Forvalter—stewart), etc. Originally such names naturally designated the man’s position or avocation, but at an early period we find them occasionally transferred to the descendants who did not follow the avocations indicated, when of course they became real surnames. In the Middle Ages such names as Degan (parish clerk), Munk (munk), Vonde (peasant), etc., were used as actual surnames, and in the country districts we find even in our own day Skrædder (tailor), Wæver (weaver), Skipper (master of a vessel), Drejer (turner), Brygger (brewer),. Fisker (fisherman), Kromand (in-keeper), Hjulmand (wheelright), Kusk (driver), Dragon (dragoon), etc., besides a few ancient names indicating avocations, such as Hovmand (chief), Plovmand (plow man), Skinder (skin dresser), Suder (tench), Badskjær (bath Keeper). Thus at an early period began the occasional use of additional surnames, which names form the foundations of a large number of our present surnames. This custom was greatly augmented in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the immigration of traveling guilds from Germany, who already had adopted surnames from trades and places.
Nick and Descriptive Names. Names designating personal characteristics, called nicknames, are found on ancient runic stones; such names as Gunne Haand, Asbjørn, Næb, Fastulvmyge and Tomme “spaa” (i.e., den Vise— the wise). They are of the same class as the well known historical names of Harald Blaatand (Harald blue-tooth), Sveno Tveskjæg (Svend double-beard), Henrik Skatelaar (Henrik the lame), Knud Lavard (Lord Knud), Erik Lam (Erik the lamb), Erik Emun (Erik the memorable), etc. Similar surnames, which often approach near to nicknames, are found in great numbers in the Middle Ages, used both by the nobility and the peasantry; these hereditary nicknames sometimes have persisted down to our own days, and may be found today among the peasantry throughout all Scandinavia. Among the numerous surnames of this class, which are still used and which can be traced back several centuries, and in some instances even back to the Middle Ages, we may mention animal names, such as Buk (goat), Hjot (deer), Raa (fawn), Ræv (fox), Hare (rabbit), Maar (marten), Kat (cat), Fugl (bird), Drage (dragon), Kylling (chicken), Due (dove), Ravn (raven), Krage (crow), Skade (skate), Høg (hawk), Spurv (sparrow), Lærke (lark), Stær (starling), Bille (beetle), Brems (hornet), Orm (worm); names of plants such as Porse (sweet willow), Humle (hops), Havre (oats); names of tools, such as Bolt, Hammer, Strang (crowbar), Kæp (cane), Pil (arrow), Kølle (Club), Skafte (handle), Brand or Svære (sword), Plov (plow), Baad (boat); and numerous other name-words of different kinds, such as Ben (bone), Haar (hair), Sommer (summer), Vinter (winter), Jul (Christmas), Paaske (Easter), Frost, etc., besides common adjectives, such as Gammel (old), Graa (gray), Hvid (white), Brun (brown), Grøn (green), Rød (red), Black (black), Mørk (dark), Lang (tall), Rask (healthy), Klog (wise), etc. From the foregoing it is easily seen how man of our family names follow the same customs as obtained in other European countries.
Place Names. Surnames taken from neighborhoods or districts of country were used in the early days; among then are such names as Jyde (Jutlander), Harbo (native of Haarsyssel), and Skaaning (native of Skaane); and among the peasantry we still find Lolle and Lollik (native of Lolland), Skagbo (native of Skagen), Helbo (native of Helgenæs), and many others. Many such places names have become permanent family names. Holdt and Fris mean in reality natives of Holstine and Frisland. Dehn (Danish) comes from South Schlesvig and Holstein, Skotte (native of Scotland), Tonbo (native of Tunø), and Vendelbo (native of Vendsyssel).
Suffixes and Affixes. As with all Anglo-Saxons, some surnames were formed with suffixes and affixes indicative of residence. Thus Per (Peter) ved Skoven (Per by the woods) became Per Skov; Søren fra Krattet (Søren from the bush) became Søren Krat, etc.
Place or landscape names which have come down from the Middle Ages are Lund (grove), Dal (dale or valley), Holm (small island), Terp (hamlet), Balle, Bak (hill), Kold, Hede (heather), Dam (pond), Kjær (meadow), Tvede (peninsula), Vad (ford), Hold (wood), Krat or Krak (bush), etc. Then there are such names as Gaardnavne (names of estates), Østergaard (east farm), Kjærgaard (meadow farm), Sølund (sea grove); there are frequently used, especially in Jutland, and in numerous instances such names have been adopted as family surnames. But the names of villages are used only to a limited extent, and by the people who still live in the country districts. It is only when the country people move into cities that the place name is fastened to them, thus becoming true surnames. The great number of village surnames now found among the peasantry is due therefore to this change of residence, such people being called after the village from whence they come. The better educated classes in olden times sometimes added the name of their native town or village to their own names as illustrated by Anders Sørensen Vedle (i.e., Anders Sørensen from Vedel).
All the additions to the given names mentioned in the foregoing are of course, anciently personal appellations attached to a single individual; but by the Middle Ages they began to assume the form of permanent family names. The first class of society which adopted family names in Scandinavia was the nobility; after them came the learned or professional classes; then came the citizen (Borger), and last came the trades people and the peasantry.
In the Middle Ages the noble man quite frequently added his father’s name t his baptismal name, -sen (son), and sometimes to this he attached an additional descriptive name. Thus again through repetition after-names began to be hereditary. Bo Dyre in the thirteenth century had a son Niels Bosen; his son’s name was again Bo Dyre, and this name was later repeated in that family. At the close of the Middle Ages several noble families had adopted permanent names. King Frederik I, at the time of the Luther Reformation, commanded all of the nobility to adopt permanent family names, when the custom became quite popular and noblemen began to write their names without reference to the father.
Heraldic Surnames. In the age of chivalry the shields or arms became an important addition to noble family names. Of these heraldic names many be mentioned Bjælke (beam), Gjedde (spike), Oske (ox), and Sparre (rafter); while such names as Griffenfeld and Tordenskjold are formed artificially.
With the cultured classes it became a common practice to adopt a Latinized form of the personal or of the surname, and when such names were added to the others a reconstruction of surnames was necessary, such beginning with the name of the family, then the homestead, then the father’s name, and perhaps a Latin name added. While names of this class are very frequent in Sweden today, only a few of the have become hereditary family names in Denmark. Faver and Fabricius are derived through the Latin faber (smith) from the old after-name Smed (smith). Paludan is formed of the Latinpalus, which is the same as the Danish Kjær (meadow); in the same manner the name Pontoppidan means the man from Broby (town by the bridge); and similar to this we find Lundby (town by the grove) in Lucoppidian, Søby (town by the sea) in Lacoppidan, and Skagen (the Scaw) in Scavenius. Collin is formed from the Latin collis (a hill). Petri, Peulli and Jacobi are Latin possessive forms; thus Peters, Pouls, Jacobs, (son), and signify therefore simply Petersen, Poulden, and Jacobsen. Bjørnsen is found in Ursin, Bertelsen in Bartholin, etc.
Following the lead of the learned classes, the professional classes also adopted the surname habit; then came the middle classes in the cities, and finally the surname habits were augmented by the guild immigration into Denmark from Germany; thus the German surname examples naturally solidified the Danish family surname customs.
We have in Denmark German names of all kinds: Names signifying avocation, such as Kruger (inn-keeper), Fischer (fisher-man), Richter, Becker, Schrøder, (tailor), Kramer (peddler), Bodtcher, Kaufmann (merchant); surnames such as Hahn, Wulff, Schwartz (black), Weis (white); abbreviated names, such as Lutken and Willken of Ludvig; town names such as Rostock, Berlin; and personal denominations which have grown out of names of places such as Hamburger and Kehlet. Endings, such as -mann (man), -ner, -est, -baum (tree), -ban, -born, -thal (dale), -garten (garden), -felt (field), -dorff (town), -hoff (court), -stein (stone), -mark (field), -stedt (place), -wald (wood), etc., suggest nearly always German origin, or at least German modifications, and perhaps it can be truthfully said that most of the Danish citizen bourgoisie family names are of German origin.
A group of citizen family names, which originally were German names of towns and villages, wee among the German surnames. Thus the many names ending with -rup and -trup (town), Hørup, Høstrup, -berg (mountain) (Viberg), -borg (fortification) (Aalborg), -by (town) (Nordby), -bæk (creek) Holbæk, -lund (grove) Frølund, -sted (place) Nisted, -lev (Erslev), etc., were formed. These are examples of good Danish village names, which as family names have obtained for centuries in German form. We have such names as Scheirn (Skern), Zeuthen (Søvten), Luxdorph (Løgstrup), etc.
Besides the German name, came the Danish -sen or -son names, which form the third great group of the citizen family names. So many of the higher citizen class adopted German surnames as family names, that for a time the alternating -sen or -son names in the towns were mostly confined to the general public. Finally, in the eighteenth century, the middle classes also commenced to adopt permanent family names, but they did so to a great extent in such a manner that their surnames became void of meaning and confusing throughout, because of adding the -sen or –son names to all their other surnames. Formerly the son of Søren Jespersen was named Tyge Sørensen; then he was named Tyge Jespersen. When the peasantry, induced thereto by the priests, adopted those permanent -sen or -son names these forms took the precedence of all the other forms of surnames.
Surnames Among the Peasantry. The peasnt was designated in the Middle Ages by his given name, and often with the name of his homestead added. While Her Tyge Nielsen as a rule would pose as a nobleman, Niels in Vinby would simply mean a peasant from Vinby. Names of characteristic signification could on the other hand be attached to the name of the nobleman as well as the peasant. When, in the Middle Ages, the nobility gave up the -sen or -son names, the custom spread down through all classes and became general among even the peasants; and from the sixteenth century we find them occasionally changing -sen, -son and datter (daughter) names, while adding surnames to the given names. But in later centuries the civil authorities helped to fasten the -sen names on the people, for they favored, as a rule, the -sen names; so much so that a man was frequently designated officially by a -sen name, when in private life he is never called by that name.
Such was the situation until the early part of the nineteenth century. By a royal decree of 1828, in Denmark, it was decided that the child in the future should be christened not only with a given name, but also with the family or hereditary name, which it was supposed to bear officially but not in private life. This some-what ambiguous order meant of course nothing to those who had already taken or adopted permanent family names; but in the country districts most of the Lutheran priests thought they could continue to baptize or christen children with the changing -sen names, while the use of the additional surnames was continued in common life. But in 1856 the Kultus Minister (minister of education) issued a circular to the effect that the chosen family name should become legally binding for both private use. This circular caused much surprise and consternation, because most of the priests, as already stated, baptized with -sen names and not with family or surnames; therefore the great mass of the people were obliged to keep their -sen names.
The law had this most unpleasant result: those who already were baptized with a hitherto changing –sen name were forced to retain this -sen name as a legal surname. The attitude of the civil authorities in favoring the-sen names was strengthened in many localities by the peasantry themselves, who actually preferred the -sen names to the trade, official or nicknames. Thus a village mechanic by the name of Anders Horsens asked for the privilege of being called by his baptismal name, Anders Pedersen, because another man in the same neighborhood had been nicknamed Horsens in consequence of having served a term in the Horsens penitentiary. The -sen names have also an advantage on account of their simplicity.
The result of the whole of this is that the -sen names, which a hundred years ago occupied quite an unassuming place, have spread like a forest of weeds at the expense of all other names, so that they are now borne by the great majority of the country people, and these surnames are steadily increasing in the cities. The other names have in many instances lost their anchorage. That which still gives them prestige is the fact that the sameness of the -sen names is unsatisfactory and deficient in their designation of persons.
Danish Parish Registers. Prof. Th. Hauch-Fausboll says: It may be stated that Denmark is one of those countries where the sources are plentiful and easily accessible to the student of genealogy. Whilst still in many places abroad— to the great detriment of genealogical research— the materials in connection with archives are found distributed among various officials where they are likely to be exposed to defacement and danger from fire, we can thank Mr. A. D. Jøregensen from South Jutland for two main sources from which one can draw if one is in search of information about one’s ancestors; in church registers and in the records of settlements of estate in Denmark, these being concentrated in three national archives (one for Jutland, one for Funen, and one for Sealand with Lolland-Falster and Bornholm) where they are at the free disposal of the public.
In order to be able to utilize these archives to their fullest advantage it is only necessary that one has some practice in deciphering scripts. In addition to these main sources, he church registers, in which are to be found the records of our ancestors’ christenings, marriages and deaths, and to the registers of estates, which contain information of their bequests and heirs, there are of course, many other sources to fall back upon, e. g., census and census lists (in the last mentioned the places of birth have been given since 1844), trade licenses, also usually indicating place of birth (in olden times, however, often only mentioning the country of that part of the country to which the person in question belonged), registers of legal decisions, letters patent and concessions, together with statutory records.
The church registers were put into force by law in Denmark in the years 1645-46. Only a few however, go so far back; partly the rules were not adhered to everywhere and partly some of the registers were the victims of unfortunate circumstances. It was only after 1814, when duplicates were introduced, that one could depend upon the existence of church registers from all parishes.
The examination of estate registers is less easy, the estate departments in former times having been controlled by various authorities. Military and ecclesiastical each had their own estate department and the town theirs; in the country the landed proprietors belonging to the county sheriffs’ jurisdiction and the large majority of peasants, the leaseholders, may cause especial difficulties, as each landed proprietor settled his peasant’s estates himself.
As in most other countries, Denmark has its biographical dictionaries (also including Norway from 1537 to 1814) in which all personages who have distinguished themselves by deeds, either good or evil, are enumerated.(1)
- Susa Young Gates, Editor & Compiler, Surname Book And Racial History, Salt Lake City, 21 September 1918, pages 262 to 273.