Census Records & Enumeration - MyDanishRoots.com



Census Records & Enumeration

Translating the census record: occupation and profession etc.

Driver of a horse drawn cart

In the Danish censuses, Enumerators/census takers were asked to record "Persons Title, Office, Business/Trade, Profession, Livelihood, Position in the Family or what they live from". The pre-printet census forms during the 1800s is specified as: "Personernes Titel, Embede, Forretning, Haandværk, Næringsvei, Stilling i Familien eller hvad de leve af".

Until the mid-1800s most people lived in the rural areas of Denmark. The capital of Copenhagen accounted for about 10% of the population, the Cities or Marked Towns ("Købstæderne") about another 10% while the rural areas accounted for the remaining 80 %. Each household were off course composed differently, but taking a general looking at a census record in the rural areas of Denmark, you'll find the following persons living within the same household as the family:

Read more: Translating the census record: occupation and profession etc.

Translating the census record: family relation

A family in front of their farm house, Vollerslev

In the year of the censuses enumerators (or census takers) worked their way through each parish, village by village, street by street, systematically acquiring and recording census data about all households.

Usually the enumerators started with the local manor house and the vicarage (and therefore the first entries in the census list), working their way through the parish, each village by size, and finishing with outlaying farms and smallholdings. In Copenhagen and the Market Towns ('Købstæder') street , names were recorded in the census lists, however in the rural areas there were usually no street names (at least not officially recognized names) or numbers at that time. The names of the manor house and some of the larger farms may be recorded by name in some of the census lists.

Read more: Translating the census record: family relation

A closer look at a census record

On February 1, 1845 census were held for both Kingdom of Denmark as well as the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg. In this census the citizens place of birth where recorded for the first time, thus leaving valuable information to be found by modern day family historians.

In the census of 1845 enumerators were asked to record names and age etc. according to household (each farm, house or individual family) recording every person in a pre-printed form. The 1845-census consisted of the following categories or fields:

  • address: village, place name or name of farm/house as well as entry no.
  • name of every person in the household
  • age of every person in the household
  • marital status; married/unmarried, widow/widower
  • position in the household / the relationship to the head of the household
  • place of birth (parish and county)
  • employment status; trade/profession/status and/or place in the family

Read more: A closer look at a census record

Notes on Enumeration Fields / Categories

As mentioned, the demographic data from Scandinavia are of very high quality and the few discrepancies that may be found are often unimportant for researcher. In general, the census returns are an invaluable guide to birthplaces, occupations etc. This article contains some notes on some of the individual enumeration fields (or categories) which the family historian should be aware of when researching the Danish censuses:

Name: Christen Jensen Buch
Gender: M
Age: 41
Marital status: Married
Occupation: Farmer
Parish: Højen
District: Jerlev
County: Vejle
Place name: Høyen
Household-/family no: 38
Title no./address: A farm
Example: census details for Christen Jensen Buch (1792-1844) from the census of 1834 (FT-1834). The name of the farm is ''Skivdal'', however this is not recorded in the census.
    1. Place of residence
    2. Name
    3. Gender
    4. Age
    5. Position in the household
    6. Marital status
    7. Profession, occupation or trade
    8. 1st or 2nd marriage?
    9. Place of birth / Last residence
    10. Religious community
    11. Infirmities, mentally or physically handicapped
    12. Age at first marriage
    13. Other fields / categories

Read more: Notes on Enumeration Fields / Categories

Enumeration Dates of Danish Censuses

Censuses have been held in the Kingdom of Denmark at various intervals: 1767, 1787, 1801, 1834, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1901, 1906, 1911, 1916 and 1921. Additional censuses were held in 1885 and 1895 for Copenhagen and Frederiksberg only. Censuses in the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein began in 1803 and were thereafter held in 1835, 1840, 1845, 1855 and 1860.

Most censuses were taken on February 1. The following list indicates the official enumeration dates for the various census lists and the areas they cover. The Danish word for census is Folketælling and each census is therefore often referred to as FT-1801 and FT-1845 etc.

Read more: Enumeration Dates of Danish Censuses

A few numbers and facts...

  • 500,000

    ...Danes emigrated up to 1968, and of these about 70% departed for the USA. In the 1800's alone a vast majority of 90% went to the USA. Read more...

  • 261,065

    This many individuals, comprising of 4.6 percent of all Danes, carries the surname JENSEN followed by NIELSEN, HANSEN, PEDERSEN and ANDERSEN. Read more...

  • 1,000

    Of the 5,000 basic words in modern English, as many as 20 percent are so-called loan words from the Old Norse language (ON). Read more...

  • 1769

    This year the first Danish census was taken. The next censuses were taken in 1787 and 1801 and from 1834 onwards every 5-10 years. Read more...

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