Bornholm Genealogy Guide

by Gary T. Horlacher, 1999


Diverse geography - granite cliffs in the northwest, sandy beaches in the southeast, forest lands in the central part, lots of bicycle routes, 3 18 hole-golfing. Rønne is the capital city with 16,000. Famous for smoked herring.

  • 90 miles south east of Copenhagen, 22 miles from Sweden's coast
  • Can drive around 87 miles of coastline in several hours. Take ferry from Copenhagen.
  • Tourist resort for the Baltic (Danes, Germans, and Swedes): 4 medieval round churches-fortresses, 13th century Hammershus fortress
  • 1960 population 48,373



1427 Hanseatic League plundered Bornholm and other Danish islands
1525-1575 Bornholm forfeited to the Hanseatic league (German trade based in Lübeck)
1645-1658 Swedish rule on Bornholm
1945 Bombed by Germans, Occupied briefly by Russians after the war.



On Bornholm youngest son took over father's lease, paying off other heirs. Three levels of society:

  • Farmers (Selvejer 2/3 & Vornedgård 1/3)
  • Cottagers or tenant farmers (Udbyggere)
  • Servants (Tjennestekarle)

There was not much difference between the self-owned farmers [Selvejer; abbreviated SE, Sg., Slg.] and the serf-farmers [Vorned; abbreviated Vg, Vdg]. Vornedgård had to pay a few extra small fees. Each farm listed by number, which is important for identification.

In the 1700s Bornholm experienced a growth in population totals, which led to the growth of another segment of the population - the cottagers [husmandsgruppe]. This group was called Udbyggere [tenant farmers]. They built houses and cultivated small plots of land in places that had not previously been cultivated. Although taking up of new land was illegal, cottagers were allowed to remain when the authorities had no other place to put them. Cottagers who settled land belonging to the crown were generally more secure than those who settled on a farm. This land had previously been used for gathering firewood & grazing.

Once one became bankrupt or was on the bottom of society, it was next to impossible to improve ones standard of life on Bornholm.

Perhaps one of the best genealogical sources for Bornholm research is a manuscript made by Kr. Kure (1876-1953) in Bornholms Local Historical Archive in Rønne (a copy is found in the Landesarkivet as well): Borholmske gårde og deres ejere (Bornholm farms and their owners). For each farm on Bornholm it lists chronologically each of the owners with birth, marriage, death dates; parents, birthplace, and other information about each. This manuscript is found in four volumes for each of the districts on the island: Sønder (I), Vester (II), Øster (IV), and Nørre (IV).

Emigration (from Danes go West)

  • Nations highest annual emigration rate (709 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  • between 1868-1900 about 5,055 people
  • 40 percent of island's population (1890) were concentrated in seven towns, most of them coastal.
  • Influx of Swedes brought down wages in Bornholm
  • Mormon missionaries arrive 1851. First 5 baptized July 10, 1851; branch organized Aug 1851, part of the Copenhagen conference. Violence in Aaker Nov 1851, neighboring community Arnager protected. Bornholm conference Aug 1852-1864. Mar 1878, 23 persons baptized. 1885 banished missionaries temporarily.

A member of the Bornholm Genealogical Society has created a database of emigrants from Bornholm to North America (see below).

Church Records

Jens Wichmann Hansen has put online an index the church records for Bornholm prior to 1813: 


1771 Census

The Dansk Data Arkiv has its center in Odense. Their goal is to have a complete list of all the census records 1787-1911 and church records indexed and available on computer for all of Denmark. The census records for Bornholm from 1787 and 1845 are complete and can be downloaded on disk. Others various degrees completed:

Danish Demographic Database [Dansk Data Arkiv]

Index to 1787 Census by male given names, female given names, and female surnames: FHL #0472186, 0537133, 0537174.

Probate records

1681-1761 Bornholm Probates altogether for the whole island (FHL films 0044022-0044034)

1761-1860s Listed under each parish in the catalog. Records organized into four record groups by district (herred)

1860s-1900/1920 Listed under district in the catalog (Nørre, Sønder, Øster, Vester Herred). Nørre district includes index back to 1844 and Øster district includes indexes back to 1775.

1743-1894 Neksø City court (FHL films 0044088-0044090, 0515784)

1736-1920 Rønne City court (FHL films 0044137-0044146, 0515757-0515765)

1700-1919 Hasle City court

Probate Extracts for Clemensker and Rø Parishes, see FHL book 948.922 P2d, film 0599495 item 5.

NOTE: There is a lady in Provo who is making an index to all Bornholm Probate records. The Bornholm Genealogical Society has been extracting all of the Bornholm Probate records. Copies of these books are found in the public library in Rønne. See below.

Other Sources

Death Certificates for Bornholm 1865-1933 CCF 0300654

Tax lists

Vaccination records 1810-1939

Land mortgages and deeds 1678-1892, indexed (Nørre Herred)

Court records - Hammershus birk (Allinge-Sandvig) 1688-1853; films 0314754-0314760.

Land registration records (Matrikler) from 1664 and 1688 were not kept for Bornholm as they were for the rest of Denmark and are not found until 1844, however there is a complete set of land books (Jordebøger) for 1664, 1662, 1624-1625, and other years from 1596 and later.

Bornholm Genealogical Society

This is an organization to promote genealogy and local history. Involved in indexing Bornholm Census records available through the Dansk Data Arkiv, including the complete 1787 and 1845 census records for Bornholm. They have also extracted all of the Bornholm Probate records, death notices from Bornholm newspapers, and compiled a database of emigrants from Bornholm to North America and elsewhere. They are hoping in the next year to produce much of this information on a CD-ROM in the next year or so (perhaps 2002). This will be a great tool for those doing Bornholm research! In the meantime copies of these databases have been printed out and can be found in the basement of the public library in Rønne. Following is the society's address:

Bornholms Slægts-og Lokalhistoriske Forening
[Bornholm Genealogy and Local Historical Organization]
Bornholms Lokalhistoriske Arkiv
Pingels Allé 1
3700 Rønne

Materials at Bornholms Centralbibliotek [Bornholm's Central Library] of use for genealogists:

  • Kures Gårdejerfortegnelser [Kure's Farm Owner Record] orGårdlister [Farm lists]. Documents the ownership of Bornholm's farms over the centuries, with notes of birth, marriage, death, and parent's names. All land on Bornholm in 1876, as well as farms that have disappeared on the island. (also listed above under "farming")
  • Newspapers from Bornholm 1828-1994
  • Civil Marriages
  • Citizenship Lists: Rønne 1701-1891, Allinge/Sandvig 1706-1804, Neksø 1741-1859, Hasle 1862-1925.
  • County Archive 1704-1912, miscellaneous information about probates, guardianships, divorces, alimony cases, court cases.
  • Bornholm people in America. Ring binders containing diverse information updated regularly by Lill May Didriksen.
  • Bornholmske Samlinger. Books on local history and genealogy listed previously. Index Volume 39-40 in the first series. Altogether 20 volumes in two series.
  • Bornholm students 1816-1954.
  • Fire insurance records. Cities begin in 1700s, rural areas in 1800.
  • Reporting of deaths 1805-1940
  • Death announcements from newspapers 1828-1880, card index
  • Military records from Christiansøs Kommandsantskab
  • Lease records for king's lands 1689-1782
  • List of tradesman on the island 1774-1805
  • Tax lists1556-1800. (Hammershus Len 1580-1661; Bornholms Amt 1661-1799; Lübeck time 1556-1773; Printzenskjölds 1658)
  • Rønne cemetery 1867-1987
  • Passports & servant/foreigner register 1805-1924
  • Transcripts of Bornholm Probates 1681-1761, etc.
  • Emigrants Index from 1868-1940 registers

Aneklubben. This is a small group which has put a number of databases and historical sources that are of interest for genealogists on the Internet including school census, historical descriptions, citizenship registrations, etc. They are continuing to add resources to their website and this is a wonderful place to get information! 

Norman Madsen's Home page. Includes 15,000+ genealogy GEDCOM file with his Danish genealogy (80% from Bornholm), as well as much interesting and helpful background for Danish and Bornholm research. It also includes a Danish word list, handwriting guide, feast day calendar, Danish naming customs, description of Danish sources, and links to other Danish sites. 

Bjarne A. Kofoed's Home pageGenealogy of the Jochumsen, Blem, Dahl, Schou, Branch, and Kofoed families. Download database of genealogy GEDCOM file with 11,674 people; 1397 surnames, includes a list of all farms on Bornholm. Mostly from published sources and Norman Madsen's information.

Bornholmske Samlinger [Bornholm Collections]. Bornholms (Historiske) Samfund, 1906-. (FHL book 948.922 H25b; film 1440237 item 30 (1906); has only 4 volumes 1906, 1907, 1945, 1957). 1945 volume includes list of farm owners from Øster Larsker parish and a genealogy of the Poul Hansen Ancher family. 1957 volume includes a genealogy of the Sierstad family and 1745 description of the island. (High Density 0003549)

Klemensker & Rø Parish

Melchior, Kim. Folketælling for Klemensker Sogn, Bornholm Amt, Danmark, 1787 [Census for Klemensker Parish, Bornholm County, Denmark, 1787]. 1987. (FHL book 948.9 X29m; fich 6030148)

Register of Danish Estate Probates: Bornholm County. FHL book 948.922 P2b; film 0599495, item 5. Includes probate indexes and extracts for Klemensker Parish 1686-1814; Rø Parish 1750-1814; and Hammershus Birk (Allinge-Sandvig) 1685-1787.

In Bornholm Genealogy Society library:

  • List of children under 6 and unmarried people in Klemensker Parish 1739Rø Parish 1737
  • Morten Pedersen record from Klemensker 1783-1800, birth, death, engagement, marriage
  • Tax lists for tenants in Bornholm 1745-1819



Bidstrup, Julius. Familien Koefoed A og B [The Koefoed Families A and B]. 2 vols. Copenhagen: P. Hauberg & Co., 1886-1887. (FHL book 929.2489 K818b; film 0897500, item 2.)

Ibid. Stamtavle over familierne Müller, Madvig & Sode [Family-trees for the families Müller, Madvig, and Sode]. 23 pages. 1884, reprinted København: Dansk Historisk Håndbogsforlag, 1979. (FHL book 929.2489 M912b)

Blem, P. Stamtavle over Familien Blem med tilhørende slægter [Family-tree of the Blem Family with associated families]. 1920.

Brandt, Jochum and Chr. P. Riis. Stamtavle over familierne Jochumsen og Schou, Brandsgaardsfamilien og familien Brandt, Kællingeby [Family-tree of the Jochumsen and Schou families, Brandsgaard-families and the Brandt family, Kællingeby], 1920.

Dahl, Aage. Bornholms Præstehistorie. Bornholm Samlinger Series I, Vol. 38

Hansen, Inge Koefoed. Laugaards-Familien og den deri indgiftede slægt: major Hans Madsen Koefoed Lauegard i Aaker sogn på Bornholm og hans hustru Kirstine Sonnes efterkommere [The Laugaards Family and its intermarried families: major Hans Madsen Koefoed Lauegaard of Aaker Parish on Bornholm and his wife Kirstine Sonne's descendants]. 112 pages. Copenhagen, 1971. (FHL book 929.2489 K818h; film 1124513, item 5.)

Hansen, Niels. Bornholmske Biografier.

Jørgensen, Flemming. Pihl (Piil) - Slægten på Bornholm [The Pihl (Piil) Genealogy on Bornholm].

Klindt, Jørn. På Spor af de Første Kofod'er [In the trail of the first Kofod's]. Rønne: Eget Forlag, 1979. (FHL book 929.2489 K821k)

Kofoed, Carl Antoni. Meddelselser om beboerne på Risegård, Klemensker[Information about residents of Risegård, Klemensker].

Ibid. Meddelselser om beboerne på Brogård [Information about residents at Brogård].

Lau, Elsa. Slægten Low-Lov-Lou [The Low-Lov-Lou Genealogy].

Lindblom, Johan Sonne. Sonneslægten fra Hoglebjerggaard [The Sonne Family from Hoglebjerg-farm]. Copenhagen, 1973. 84 pages.

Skovgaard, Edvard Fabricius Sonne. 1000 Aner til en Skovgårdsslægt [1000 Ancestors to a Skovgård Genealogy]. 1989.

Skovgaard, Louise. Af Oluf Koefoeds Efterslægt [About Oluf Koefoed's Descendants]. 1976

Sonne, O.E. Lauegårdsfamilien [The Lauegård Family]. 1878. (Update published by Inge Koefoed Hansen, see above)

Svensden, Vilhelm. Østerlarsker Slægter [Østerlarsker Genealogies]. 1942-1959. Bornholmske Sammlinger Series I, vol. 28

Tobberup, Margit. Kjøllerslægterne [The Kjøller Families]. 1980.



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