Thorvald Hansen


Denmark, genealogical research, America, immigrant


I once heard a young American ask a Danish visitor whether or not he was acquainted with the inquirer's uncle in Denmark. It quickly developed that the only thing which the young man knew about his uncle was his family name. Incredible as it may seem, such things happen and though to a lesser degree, they happen frequently when a search is made for overseas ancestors. Denmark is a relatively small country and the unspoken assumption is often made that everyone there knows everyone else and, therefore, one need only know the name and the fact that an ancestor came from Denmark before beginning the search. This is emphatically not so! There is a wealth of information available, both in this country and abroad, to anyone searching for ancestral roots. The key to the full and proper use of that material, however, is to first exhaust all possibilities in marshalling facts at home before beginning to work with Danish records. In a word, the genealogist, whether amateur or professional must, so to speak, do his homework. To the extent that the preparation is well done the search will be a good deal easier and is much more likely to bear fruit.