How Many Children Did Your Danish Ancestors Have?

How Many Children Did Your Danish Ancestors Have?

Sometimes we wonder whether we have missed an ancestor's child in the parish registers, because there is an unusually long gap between the births of two siblings. Since 1861, Danish midwives have had to keep a record of all births, where they assisted.1 The midwife registers (jordemoderprotokoller) have preprinted headings and require the midwife to record the woman's number of previous births.

Using Danish Midwife Records to Determine a Woman's Number of Births

I found births of five children of my husband's ancestors Carl Görtz Nielsen and Karen Andersen in the parish register for Mesinge parish:

  1. Anders Christian Nielsen, born 3 September 1865.2
  2. Jens Peder Nielsen, born 29 December 1867.3
  3. Nielsine Sofie Nielsen, born 6 November 1871.4
  4. Alfred Martinus Nielsen, born 30 December 1879.5
  5. Hans Peder Nielsen, born 5 May 1882.6

The list of children shows a four-year gap and an eight-year gap, which was unusual at that time, but the midwife records support my findings. At the birth of Alfred Martinus Nielsen, the midwife wrote that Karen had given birth three times before (the last column in the image: "Hvormange tidligere Fødsler?" [how many previous births]).7

Image from a Danish Midwife Record from 1879

 

Source References

  1. "Vigtige årstal i danske jordemødres historie" [important years in the history of Danish midwives], Niels Winter Christensens Hjemmeside (https://www.niwich.dk/fejoe/jordemoder_historie.htm : accessed 13 February 2021).
  2. Mesinge Sogn [parish] (Odense Amt [county]), hovedministerialbøger 1814-1891 [minister's parish registers], book for 1847-1879, page 31, Fødte Mandkjøn [male births], 1865: entry 19; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=424577#424577,78298309 : accessed 13 February 2021) > image 35 of 122).
  3. Mesinge Sogn, hovedministerialbøger, 1847-1879, page 35, Fødte Mandkjøn, 1867: entry 15; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=424577#424577,78298313 : accessed 13 February 2021) > image 39 of 122).
  4. Mesinge Sogn, hovedministerialbøger, 1847-1879, page 100, Fødte Qvindekjøn [female births], 1871: entry 13; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=424577#424577,78298378 : accessed 13 February 2021) > image 104 of 122).
  5. Mesinge Sogn, hovedministerialbøger, 1847-1879, page 58, Fødte Mandkjøn, 1879: entry 21; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=424577#424577,78298336 : accessed 13 February 2021) > image 62 of 122).
  6. Mesinge Sogn, hovedministerialbøger, book for 1880-1891, page 5, Fødte Mandkjøn, 1882: entry 8; image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?bsid=424581#424581,78298540 : accessed 13 February 2021) > image 11 of 51).
  7. I have edited the image. For the full image see 19. Jordemoder Distrikt [19th midwife district] (Kerteminde Lægedistrikt [Kerteminde medical district], jordemoderprotokoller 1861-1912 [midwife registers], book for 1871-1882, unpaginated, 1879: entry 31 (Karl Görts Nielsens Hustru Karen Andersen [Karl Görts Nielsen's wife Karen Andersen]); image copy, The Danish National Archives, Arkivalieronline (https://www.sa.dk/ao-soegesider/da/billedviser?epid=20413155#309073,63322955 : accessed 13 February 2021) > image 39 of 53).
  8. The image at the top was made by Negative Space and is freely available at Pexels.


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