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Each year, many people of Danish descent visit the "old country" and they often use the trip find out more about where their family lived before they emigrated to the United States.

Some just want to see the part of Denmark their ancestors came from but others may wish to undertake more serious genealogic research.

Two fundamental facts should not be forgotten: first, that the handwriting commonly used in Denmark until about 1900 was the so­called 'German hand'; consequently you must expect to find this handwriting in all the old documents; second, that as late as 1850 the majority of the rural population did not use a permanent family name; instead the sons availed themselves of their father's given name plus ­'-sen' (Engl. You may be certain that Peter Olsen's father had the given name Ole, but you have no means of knowing whether his surname was Hansen, Petersen, Jorgensen. As the number of names in actual use was comparatively small, there exists a danger of mistaking identities.

Another difficulty may arise from the fact that many names underwent changes after emigration; thus Jorgensen and Johansen and Jensen might all have been changed into Johnson.

From 1832 and well into the present century all Danish domestics were required to possess conduct books in which comments on their conduct could be made by their employers.

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