This page aims to be a guide to getting started with Scandinavian genealogy online and at the library.

The name and the farm go together

(Last updated 7th January, 2008)

General Books

Amazon book jacket The family tree guide book to Europe : your passport to tracing your genealogy across Europe, by Erin Nevius and the editors of Family Tree Magazine. (2003).
The Family Tree Guide Book to Europe provides beginner-friendly, how-to instruction on finding your European ancestors. Each of the 14 chapters is devoted to a specific country or region of Europe, so there is a chapter on Scandinavia and separate resource lists lists for Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, and Norway.

Amazon book jacket In search of your European roots : a complete guide to tracing your ancestors in every country in Europe, by Angus Baxter. (1985).
A good back-up with ideas for approaches and sources while learning to navigate around more current resources.

Scandinavian footprints : a history of Scandinavians settling in New Zealand , by Margit Brew. (2007).
In the 1870s The New Zealand government was turning to Scandinavia as well as Great Britain to attract immigrants. Lumbermen and farmers from Norway, Sweden and Denmark arrived in the Wairarapa and Manawatu. This is the story of those migrants, centred around the life of Bror Erik Friberg, government agent in Hawke's Bay.

William and Trina Rasmussen : Denmark, New Zealand, by Alan King. (1995).
A story which begins two generations before William's birth in Denmark, and traces his, and later, Trina's life in that country till their departure. Their voyage in a sailing ship, and how they fared in New Zealand are then recounted; followed by a history of each of their seven children.



  • Danish State Archives: How to get started on Danish research in English.
    Includes a Genealogical dictionary, naming structures, location of records. Basic information.
  • The Society for Danish Genealogy and Biography.
    How to get started? Where to get help?
  • Hans H. Worsoe, Facts about Genealogical Research in Denmark,The road to knowledge about your family and its homestead.
    This article from 1970 is basic information for anyone who endeavours to make research in Denmark.
  • http://www.danpa.dk/english.htm
    Danish private archives from a variety of persons, societies, organizations, institutions, businesses, shops etc. are collected and preserved by a great number of cultural institutions.
    The Private Archives Committee, founded by the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs, has established as a high priority its desire to promote access to this valuable accumulation of knowledge within multiple repositories documenting private organizations and lives in Denmark. The database contains search capabilities for descriptive records representing approximately 80,000 private archives in Denmark. Searching is only in Danish.
  • www.distantcousin.com/Links/Ethnic/Danish.html
    American site with links to Danish resources.
  • Onetree Genealogy.
    Although this is an individual's family history website, OneTree Genealogy is a genealogical relations database - focusing on Patrician and Nobility lineages it includes more than 60,000 individuals and 30,000 partnerships.

Hot tip:

Danish Census of School Children, 1730s.
Where there are gaps in church records, one needs to look for substitute records. The first overall census was in 1787. However, the Danes kept other types of census or lists for other purposes. As well as military census of men, in some areas they made school censuses which listed all of the school children and information about them. These are predominantly for the Copenhagen County and Bornholm.


Try the Vital Records Index to start.

Other useful websites:


Useful websites:

Hot tip:

National censuses were held in 1769, 1801, and then every tenth year from 1815 - 1875. The best census is 1801 because it lists the individual's names, age, occupation and family status. Located at the National Archives.


Useful websites:

  • World GenWeb for Sweden, like other World GenWeb sites, a place to post queries and locate key links.
  • The Swedish Gazetteer. Nearly 60,000 place name access (using GIS type software), produced by the National Atlas of Sweden.
  • Access to actual records is extremely limited. The FamilySearch has a Research Outline Guide as for other countries but it will be evident from the results that much searching will need to be done either by requesting microfilm, or visiting the various Archives rather than on the internet.

Handwriting & Language



Until the late nineteenth century the "Gothic" hand-writing style was prevalent both in society and in official documents. Spelling has also changed over the years, and often you may see the same word spelled two or three different ways even within the same document. Try these sites for more information:

Danish State Archives 1600 Handwriting examples, similar for other countries, such as Swedish, middle of 17th century.

Places & Patrymonic names



What are they? Names made up of the Christian name of the father, followed by "sen" (for son) or "datter" (daughter). Although this was abolished by law as early as 1826 it persisted well into the late nineteenth century, so you need to bear this in mind when searching.

More helpful information on naming patterns, , from the Statens Arkiver in Denmark.

Essential websites for Scandinavian Genealogy

Remember! A huge amount of the sites online are American. Bear this in mind when subscribing to some sites which advertise the ability to search zillions of international names. Very few of them will be Scandinavian.

Featured website

Scandinavian club of Manawatu (inc.).
Also contains contact details of the Wellington Club. Includes recommended links, helpful publications, and index to Skandia Quarterly as well as club news and contacts.

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