Can you identify living relatives in Denmark?

I cannot promise that I can identify living, Danish relatives of your immigrant ancestor, because we do not know if there are any living relatives in Denmark. Furthermore, identifying living relatives is typically more difficult than identifying ancestors, because various laws protect information about the living.

The Danish archive law regulates access to records. Some of the restrictions influence my ability to identify living relatives. For instance, parish registers listing births and marriages must be more than 50 years old to be accessed without special permission.

As an example, I might be able to document the birth of a relative born in the 1950s, but possibly not the births of that relative's children, because they are likely to be born in the 1970s or 1980s. If the relative from the 1950s is deceased, the list of descendants therefore ends with a deceased relative. On the other hand, if the relative born in the 1950s is not deceased, chances of finding his/her address are high, because in Denmark we have a nationwide civil registry from which I can obtain addresses of most Danish residents when I know the person's name and birthdate.

My obligation to inform the living person about the data processing

I must adhere to the regulations of the General Data Protection Act per which I am obligated to inform living persons when I process data about them. I understand why some clients prefer to make the initial contact to a living relative, but the obligation to inform the living person lies with me and I cannot pass on that obligation to my client.

I must inform the living person at the same time as I disclose the information to my client. If you hire me to identify living relatives for you, we can arrange that you write a letter, which I send to the relative along with my letter. You will of course not have knowledge of your relationship with the Danish relative when you write the letter, however, you could introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in getting in touch with Danish relatives. Since I am a Danish resident and have a registered business, having me send that letter for you might even minimize the risk of the recipient fearing that it is an attempt of fraud.

Information given to living persons

I must provide the following information to living persons, which I identify during the research:

  • My identity and contact details.
  • The purpose and the legal basis of the data processing.
  • The categories of person data being processed, e.g., identifying information and information about the person's family (marriages, children etc.).
  • The recipient of the data, meaning my client's name and address.
  • How long I will store the data.
  • An explanation of the legitimate interest per which the data is processed.
  • That the person has a right to rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing and to object to the data processing.
  • That the person has a right to send a complaint to a supervisory authority.
  • From which source the personal data originates, and whether it came from publicly accessible sources.