Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu
Greenland National Museum & Archives

Online Archives

Church ledgers

In accordance with the archive bill, the National Archive post church ledgers online when the most recent entries are 80 years old. Researching family history is highly popular in Greenland and elsewhere. Church ledgers are the most common source used by family history researchers.

Church ledgers in Greenland are much like those elsewhere, but they also chart the history of missionary activities and colonialism. Church ledgers include information about religious ceremonies including baptism, confirmation, marriages and funerals. Some of the older church ledgers also include the original Greenlandic name of those baptised as adults. Some church ledgers also register who received communion, as well who travelled to and from the parish. This makes church ledgers a key source in the history of Greenland, with a lot of information on the life and death of individual citizens. 

You can find the church ledgers here.

The ship Umanak

You can also see the entertaining guestbook of the cargo and passengership Umanak from 1949-1958 online. Many people travelled to and from Greenland on the Umanak. Maybe you were one of them? You can read about the ship and see the pages of the guestbook here.

The ship's guestbook, which is in the National Archives, covers the years 1949-1958, but apparently not all crossings. There are, for example, no entries for the crossing in January 1957 when the ship almost capsized on both the outward and return journey, costing one seaman his life. Telegram correspondence reveals that an airborne search for the Umanak was initiated after 24 hours without radio contact. Once the storm had abated, the crew managed to erect an emergency aerial on the ship so radio contact could be resumed. Precisely two years later the ship Hans Hedtoft capsized in the same waters under similar weather conditions. The telegrams, some of which can be seen in the picture to the right, are in the ships logbooks in the Trade Inspection Board's archive in the National Archives. The entire guestbook can be seen here.

Jokum Knudsen

This photo album in the National Archives is from the private archive of Jokum Knudsen and contains photographs from his life as a priest in Qaanaaq in the 1950s. It includes photographs of a walrus haul near Qaanaaq and a sledge ride near Thule by Jokum Knudsen, his wife Edith Lønborg - nicknamed Lønne - and unidentified others.


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