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Comparent means a Deponent - Danish Genealogy Words

Lene Dræby Kottal
Comparent means a Deponent - Danish Genealogy Words

The Danish word comparent means a person appearing in court. The best English translation is a deponent. Today the word is spelled komparent, but in records from the 1800s and before, it was spelled with a c.

A comparent could be a witness, the plaintiff, the defendant, a court official, an expert, or someone else being questioned during a case. The word comparent does not imply anything about the person's role in the case, or whose side he/she was on, but only that the person appeared and was questioned in court. Comparent is a loanword from Latin. The Latin verb comparere means to appear in court or to stand before the court, and that is what a comparent does, regardless of his/her role in the matter.

Other less known words frequently used in old Danish court records are as follows:

  • Citant, which means plaintiff.
  • Procurator (prokurator), which means lawyer.
  • Stokkemand, which was a man who sat in court to witnesses the proceedings, not because he was involved in the case, but simply to witness the proceedings. The names and residences of the four to eight stokkemænd were usually recorded in the first part of the court minutes for each day. They were not the same men every day. If you have Danish ancestors, one or more of them might have been a stokkemand from time to time.

Source Reference:
The image at the top of the post: "Digitale collections," database with images, The Danish Royal Library (http://www5.kb.dk/images/billed/2010/okt/billeder/object342614/en : accessed 2 April 2022), entry for "Menneskets Herre" by Erik Ludvig Henningsen. The image is public domain.

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