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               February, 2010

      Charles Hansen, Editor

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  Danish Research
  — by Charles Hansen

       I couple of weeks ago I was asked to look up an obit in our local newspaper, and the gentleman that asked noticed I was a Hansen living in Washington and wondered if I was related to his Samuel Hansen from Copenhagen Denmark. He had done very little research on his Samuel Hansen so was hoping for some tips. I E-Mailed back that I was not related and how I found my grandfather in the Danish records.

       To find someone in Danish records you really need to find the parish that they lived in, so how do you find the parish? I found my grandfather Anton Hansen in the Danish IGI, it was on CD's at the Family History Center (today it is online) and it gave me the parish name; Humble and the county Svendborg. The IGI works well for uncommon names, and since Anton was not real common it was easy to find him. A common name like John Hansen is like looking for John Smith in our American records.

       Although Samuel sounds like a common name here in the USA, it is rather rare in Denmark, so about an hour after I sent the E-Mail to try the IGI, I got an excited E-Mail where he found his Samuel Hansen. He was listed in Praesto County and the parish of Holtug. This is located just south of Copenhagen on the same island Copenhagen is located on. I was hoping his Samuel was not located in Copenhagen, as it has 106 parishes and so looking for his Samuel in Copenhagen may have been a lot of work.

       The LDS has records for Holtug back to 1706, so I hope he makes a trip to his Family History Center to order some microfilm. Records after 1814 are on preprinted forms, and are easy to read, before 1814 the records are church records and just recorded by date. He was wondering if he could read the Danish records, and I suggested the resource guide the LDS puts out for all the countries in Europe, and that gives common names used in the records, like dobt= christened, Dod =death, gift= married, and fodt= birth. It also gives samples of the gothic script used in Denmark (It is exactly like the German script so many genealogist have trouble with).

       I found his obit and he thanked me for all the help and was very excited about all he had found on Samuel Hansen so far so I bet his Family History Center will have an excited patron soon. Glad I was able to help and sorry I was not related.

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