Can you identify living relatives in Denmark?
It may not be possible to identify living, Danish relatives of your immigrant ancestor, because there may not be 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 the 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, Lene Dræby Kottal 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 him/her are high, because in Denmark there is a nationwide civil registry from which addresses of most Danish residents can be obtained when the person's name and birthdate is known.
Obligation to inform living persons about the data processing
Lene Dræby Kottal must adhere to the regulations of the General Data Protection Act per which she is obligated to inform living persons when she processes data about them. It is understandable that some clients prefer to make the initial contact to a living relative, but the obligation to inform the living person lies with the professional and it cannot be passed on to the client. No agreement can be made that you will inform the living persons of the data processing because it is the professional's responsibility by law.
If you hire Lene to identify living relatives for you, it can be agreed that you write a letter, which Lene will send to the relative along with Lene's 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 Lene is a Danish resident and has a registered business, having her 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
The following information must be given to living persons, who are identify during the research:
- Lene Dræby Kottal's 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 your name and address.
- How long the data will be stored.
- 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.
Privacy laws are complex. If you have any questions about the procedure and the requirements, do not hesitate to contact me.
Back to FAQ