Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

My Heritage contains millions of records from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland


Boundaries and Territory

Denmark emerged as a unified country in the 10th century. It survived as a monarchy until 1849, when it became a constitutional monarchy. The main body of Denmark is comprised of a large peninsula and 443 islands and is divided into 5 Regions (regioner) and further divided into Municipalities (kummuner)

Denmark consolidated its original 50 counties into 23 in 1793 and realined them again in 1970. The counties were replaced by 5 regions in 2007

The FamilySearch Wiki has a useful site containing a Denmark Parish List



The Copenhagen police recorded everyone emigrating from Denmark from 1868-1940. Information included: name, last residents, age, year of emigration and initial destination abroad

If your Danish ancestors lived in Jutland or in Schleswig-Holstein, they may have immigrated through Hamburg. You can visit the Family Search Wiki for Hamburg Passenger Lists for more information

Danish Emigrant Archives is searchable by name, occupation, age, last residene, parish, county, destination, ticket number, or date of registration

Church Records

Denmakr has adopted Lutheranism as its official state religion

Until almost the 20th century, the Church kept all Danish vital records. FamilySearch has digitized and indexed many of these records

Lutheran ministers detailed their lives in church records called Kirkebøger

Naming Conventions

Until 1904 when a law was passesd requiring permanent surnames, surnames generally changed from generation to generation

Women generally did not change their names at marriage

Children’ would take their father’s name with “sen” added for a son and “datter” added for a daugher

  • i.e. Han Pedersen’s son would take the last name of “Hansen”
  • i.e. Han Pedersen’s daughter would take the last name of “Hansdatter
  • i.e. In this example, Han’s father’s first name would have been Peder

The first boy was generally name for the father’s father. The second boy was usually named for the mother’s father. Subsequent boys were often named for the father and then for the parent’s brothers

The first girl was generally named for the mother’s mother. The second girl was usually named for the father’s mother

If a spouse died and the other remaried. The second couple generally named the first child after the deceased spouse of the same sex


Danish citizenship was not a birthright. Instead, cities would confer citizenship upon individuals. Citizenship allwoed individuals to reside and do business in that city

Useful Websites


Boundaries and Territory

From medieval times through 1809 Finland was under Swedish rule

From 1809 to 1917 the territory was an autonomous grand duchy within the Russian Empire

From 1918 to the present the territory is the Republic of Finland


Large number of Finland emigrants to U.S. from 1890-1914

Finish ancestors may have migrated through the following ports: Goteborg, Malmo, Stockholm and Trondheim


Most official records before 1863 are in Swedish

Until the late 19th century, surnames changed with each generation

Most important records are those kept by the state Lutheran Church beginning in 1686

Finland began keeping a census, called henkikirjat, in 1634

Useful Websites


Boundaries and Territory

During 1524 to 1814 Norway was part of Denmark

From 1814 to 1905 the territory was the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway

In 1905 the territory became the Kingdom of Norway – independent constitutional monarchy


Records may be in Danish, Swedish or Latin

Four major waves of emigration from Norway: 1866-1873, 1880-1893, 1900-1914, 1920-1929

Police in major coastal towns kept records of emigrants between 1867-1930

When Norwegians began adopting permanent surnames, many used the name of their town or farm

Useful Websitees


Boundaries and Territory

From the Medieval Times to the 17th Century Sweden was a unified country

During the 17th Century the country includes Finland and portions of Russia, Poland and Lithuania

During the 18th Century Sweden lost most of its non-Scandinavia territories (including Finland)


In Sweden, it is not uncommon to call a person by an affectionate form of the given name. Most names also have variant spellings

Children often took their father’s first name, plus a possessive s and -son or -dotter as their last names

  • For example:
    • 1st gen: Anders Svensson
    • 2nd gen: Sven Andersson
    • 3rd gen: Anders Svensson
  • The following pattern was often used in naming children:
    • The first son was named after the father’s father
    • The first daughter was named after the mother’s mother
    • The second son was named after the mother’s father
    • The third son was named after the father, and
    • The fourth son was named after the father’s eldest brother
Useful Websites
Translate »