A closer look at a census record - Census Records & Enumeration - MyDanishRoots.com



Census Records & Enumeration

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

As mentioned my example below is from the 1845-census. Over the years most censuses differed in categories or fields.

For detailed information on each census year you can find out more in my articles Notes on Enumeration Fields / Categories and The Danish Censuses in Details on this site.

Let's take a closer look

For a closer look I''ve chosen the census for Højen Parish in Vejle County found at arkivalieronline.dk. Closing in on a specific census record (entry no. 28 - a farm) we find Jens Christensen Buch, my great great grandfather. The following is a scanning of the original census record and provides a snapshot of the farm:

1845 census record for Højen Parish, Vejle County

Transcribing and translating the census record

We know that this is a census record of a family living on a farm in Højen Parish, Vejle County, but the record doesn't give any information as to a more specific location/place name within the parish. We will need to research available property records to find information on size, location and name of the farm etc. However, transcribing and translating the census record we find the following persons recorded:

  • Kirsten Jørgensdatter, age 42, Widow, born in Ødsted Parish, Vejle County
  • Jens Christensen Buch, age 23, unmarried, born in this parish, her child
  • Niels Christensen Buch, age 12, unmarried, Do. [born in this parish], her child
  • Laust Christensen Buch, age 9, unmarried, Do. [born in this parish], her child
  • Hans Christensen Buch, age 7, unmarried, Do. [born in this parish], her child
  • Christen Christensen Buch, age 1, unmarried, Do. [born in this parish], her child
  • Søren Nielsen, age 15, unmarried, born in Jerlev Parish, Vejle County, farmhand/servant
  • Maren Jensdatter, age 16, unmarried, born in Egtved [Parish], Vejle County, farmhand/servant
  • Maren Hansdatter, age 83, Widow, born in this parish, "Aftægtskone" [=wife of the former owner/copyholder, now pensioned]
  • Peter Petersen, age 25, gift, [place of birth not recorded], "Inderste" [=tenant in a room or house, but with seperate household] and Weaver 
  • Frederikke Cathrine Ørting, age 28, born in Søving Parish, his wife
  • Rasmine Marie Petersen, age 1, born in this parish, their daughter

Tree separate households at the same address

The census record reveals tree separate households at the farm; firstly the widow Kirsten Jørgensdatter with her five children (all sons) and the two farmhands/servants. The second household is a widow and pensioner Maren Hansdatter, and finally Peter Petersen and his family is the third separate household in this address (''no. 28 - a farm'').

A transcribed and searchable version of the above census record can also be found online at the Danish Demographic Database, however the information is found in three separate records (household no. 28, 28.2, and 28.3) as this database holds information on each separate household instead of each farm or house at the time.

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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