Census lists

Censuses have been held in Denmark at various intervals. The first census of interest to the Genealogist was held in 1787, and thereafter in 1801, 1834, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1901, 1911, 1916, 1921, 1925, 1930, 1940 and 1950.

The census of 1845 is of particular interest, since this was the first census to provide a very important detail for the people listed: "place of birth".

The census is usually reliable, but...

For the most part the information found in census records is reliable. There are, however, several things that should be noted. The ages recorded in the census - especially the older censuses - may be misleading, particularly if the person listed was elderly. People did not always remember exactly how old they were - in those days there might not have been much difference between 70 and 80.

You may also see "place of birth" where the village name was mistaken for the parish name.

Names may shrink

In the more recent census records one sometimes finds that not all of a person's names have been listed. From around the 1880s it became quite fashionable to have three, four (or even more!) Christian names. In the census you may find only that name which is in daily use. Thus, Anna Kirstine Olivia Augusta Hansen might simply be listed as "Kirstine Hansen" or even by the abbreviation "Stine Hansen". If "Stine" was a young child living with her parents, her surname might be omitted altogether and only the surnames of her parents would be recorded.

Information in the census 

The census will generally provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Position in household
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Place of birth (only after 1845)
  • Occupation
  • Note (handicaps, etc.)

All State Archives have microfiche copies of Danish census records for the period 1787-1890. Additionally, the Provincial Archives may have records for their specific region. Census lists generally become accessible when they are 75 years old. Lists dating from 1860 onwards are preserved at the National Archives both on film and in the original version.


See and search in censuses online:

The Danish Demographic Database