A large part of the Danish census lists have been registered in a searchable online database:
You can choose English or German as your language for the navigation and searching tools on the website. I will use the English page as the example here.
The plan is that all the information from the Danish census lists (1787-1930) will be included here in the future. So far (2014) all information from the censuses 1787, 1801, 1834, 1840, 1845, 1850 and 1880 have been included in the database. In this schematic you can see how much of the different censuses that currently are being transcribed and which that have already been made available in the source transcription project: > The source transcription project.
There were no censuses made between 1801 and 1834. From the 1845 census and onwards the birthplace of the individual is registered, an important information for the genealogist.
Click on "Censuses" on the main page on the DDD website: > Search in databases and then "Search for individuals" (in the box on the left). Then you will be presented with this form:
In the form you can choose county, district and parish (but it's also possible to search the entire county, if you do not not choose a district and parish), write the name (or just a part of the name) and choose which census you want to search (Census year). You do not need to fill out all the fields. Then click "Search" (blue button next to the reset-button; the button will only appear when you have entered information in the form).
It is possible to search for the precise form of spelling (by choosing = next to the name) or you can use a "joker"-sign: a _ replaces one character and a % replaces several characters. It's also possible to do a search for a name with the parameters "contains" or "starts with".
Remember that the spelling of a name can vary quite a lot. For example the name Christian can be spelled Kristian, Chr., K. or be completely omitted, if it was a middle name or he went by a nickname. Today a name should be spelled one way only, but that was not case before the 20th century in Denmark. Back then it was not an error if Christian was spelled Kristian or Jensdatter became Jens Datter.
The best thing is basically to put as few informations into the search form as possible (try always to avoid filling out the fields about occupation, position in household, birthplace, age and sex). If you don't get a result, you can try to write only a small part of the name, for example _ami (remember that _ replaces a character) if you are searching for Camilla, a name that could have been spelled Kamilla, Camila, Camille or with other variations. If you get too many hits by doing this, you can then try to narrow your search by using some of the other settings, like age. Be careful though with the birthplace field: the spelling of parishes varied almost just as much as names of individuals.
Here is an example:
If you choose Holbæk county and do not choose either district or parish, choose "starts with" next to the name and then search for all years (by not choosing a specific year) on this in the name field:
Alfred %ristian Pe_ersen
you get results containing the names Alfred Kristian Pedersen, Alfred Christian Petersen Skov and Alfred Christian Petersen (today Petersen and Pedersen are two different persons, but remember that back then this was not the case).
If you then click on the button "Show household", the following list appears, where you can see when the individuals in this household were born, their marital status, occupation in the household and their professional occupation ("ugift" means unmarried, a "husfader" is the head of the household and a "tømrermester" is a master carpenter). From the 1845 census and onwards you can also see where the individuals are born, with the exception of this particular census (1916):
Notice which censuses are represented in the Danish Demographic Database: > The source transcription project. It is far from all censuses that have been transcribed and entered into the database. Here you will have to search through the orginal census lists. These can be viewed online on the website of the Danish national archives: > Arkivalieronline. There is a guide to this on the website in English and German.
Here is another example:
I know from a church record found on > Arkivalieronline that Christian Nielsen Lauridsen was born 1889 in the parish Vester Nebel (Skast district, Ribe county) and that his parents were Hans Ole Lauridsen and Helene Kathrine Mathiesen. I want to find out where the parents are born. Instead of going through the census lists of the Vester Nebel parish manually, I use the Danish Demographic Database.
In the search form I choose Ribe county, Skast district and Vester Nebel parish. Next to the name I choose "starts with" and as the year I choose = and 1890 (where Christian was 1 year old). I enter his full name:
Christian Nielsen Lauridsen
but this doesn't return any results. I then try to widen my search by choosing "contains" next to the name and then only write his last name (I keep the year = 1890):
and this returns 26 records. Among them:
Kristen N. Lauridsen
age 1, together with his family ("Gift" means married, "Husfader" is the head of the household, "Husmoder" means the mother in the house, "børn" is children, while "skrædder" means tailor. Importantly the birth place is also registered: Hunderup and Haderslev for the parents. I can now try to find their christenings in the parish records for Hunderup and Haderslev, thus finding their parents.
Guide for genealogists to the
Danish Demographic Database