Emigration Archive

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Using the Danish Emigration Archive

If your ancestors emigrated after 1868, you might be able to find them in the emigrations lists that were kept by the police in Copenhagen, if they bought a contract-ticket from an emigration agent with an office in Copenhagen. Those lists are searchable at the Danish Emigration Archive site.Why are emigrants in police archives? The police did not keep records of emigrants - but of all the contracts signed between agents and emigrants. This was done to prevent "smart" agents from cheating possible emigrants by taking their money, and conveniently "forgetting" to purchase tickets, helping with travel arrangements, etc. So, if your ancestor - for some reason - travelled independently, you will not find him or her in the emigration records! Most people had a contract with an agent, but not all. Sometimes one or two family members (e.g. a father and a grown son, two brothers, etc) would be the first to emigrate and then later send back tickets for the rest of the family.

To search the archive, you'll need to know how to make Danish characters on your computer or else use wild cards to replace ø, æ and å:
Sk_rum for Skærum
K_benhavn for København
Vesterg_rd for Vestergård
If names may be spelt in more than one way type this way:
Andr%s for Andres and Andreas
Pe_er for Peder and Peter
- replaces a single letter, and % replaces more than one.
The previous and following hints are thanks to listmember Frede Haahr Nielsen:
Name, Occupation, Age, Destination,
Navn (NVN), Stilling (STL), Alder (ALD), Bestemmelsessted (BEST),

Contract No., Reg. date, Birthplace,
Kontraktens nr. (KTR), Forevisningsdato (DATO), Fødested (FST),

Birth Parish, Last residence, Dest. county, Comments, IDcode
Fødesogn (FØD), Sidste opholdssted (SOS), Best. land (BES), IDkode

Remarks will be given after the shortening ANM which means anmærkning (= Remark)

If a query in DEA gives the name of a ship it will be like this, i.e. the abbreviation ANM (remark) will be followed by the ship's name:
Olsen, Peter Laur. And., Kommis, 17, Chikago, 2147, 6/7/1892, ?, ?, Kbhvn; USA, ANM: "Hekla", D9293O0613

or this example:
Sørensen, Søren, Landmand, 42, N. York, 994, 4/18/1871, , ?, Kongerslev, Aalb., USA, ANM: Direkte - se D7181S0107. Forevist 20.4.1871 afrejst med "Denmark"

Other remarks can tell if the person travels alone, because his father is in USA already:
Jørgensen, Rasmus, Dreng, 15, New York, 1912, 11/12/1875, , -, Barrit S., Veile A., USA, ANM: Faderen er i Amerika., I7477J2810

Here is a person who didn't leave and one will only waste time searching in the immigration archives:
Jensen, Ane Johanne, Barn, 11 1/2, Cresco, Iowa, 1054, 5/14/1875, , -, Estrup, Hørby, Hjørring, USA, ANM: Ikke Afgået., I7477J1803

And here follows information about the IDcode:
The contract # isn't the number of the ship, but simply the number of the contract. The ID code refers to the ledger, page and line #. "I" stand for "Indirect" passage and "D" stands for "Direct" passage.
For instance:
Qvist, Peder Martin Ingenior, 22, New York, 585, 3/20/1869,,-,Kbhn.,USA,,I6969Q0101
Qvist, Christian Ludvig, Lojtnant, 24, New York, 171, 5/28/1876,,-,Frederiksberg,USA,,I7477Q0105

E.g. for I6969Q0101:
I = indirect passage
6969Q = the ledger for the year 1869, containing last names beginning with the letter Q
0101 = page 1, line 1

and for I7477Q0105:
7477 = the ledger for the years 1874-1877, containing last names beginning with the letter Q
0105 = page 1, line 5



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Information and text by Paula Goodfellow, Betty Jack, Rock Johnson and other members of the Denmark Rootsweb email list.
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Page last updated March 28, 2009