Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu
Greenland National Museum & Archives

Tips and advice

Here you can find some initial advice on researching family history. You can also find the Gothic alphabet, or link to an e-learning course on reading Gothic script.


Researching Family History

Before you can research your family history you need some basic facts. You need to know the date and place of birth of one of your parents or grandparents that are old enough for their church records to be in the National Archives.

Church ledgers are the best place to look next. The first thing to do is check the information you have. The dates you have might not be accurate, i.e. a the date of a birth or wedding might have been a year or two before or after, or you might not have all the forenames of your ancestors that you will need to continue your research.

From there you can start going further back in history. When births are registered, the name of the parents are entered into the church ledger. If the parents are married it is easiest if you find their marriage entry first. Here their age and who they were the daughter/son of is often registered too.

This makes it possible to establish when they were born, so then you can try to find their birth in the church ledgers. After that you can try to find their parents by the date of their marriage, and from there trace their dates of birth.

If the parents were not married you can to try finding the date of birth of the mother and designated father in the church ledgers.


Sample Case

On November 5th 1886 Karl Niels Josef Jørgensen was born near Maniitsoq (Sukkertoppen). His father’s name was J. K. Johannes Mikael Jørgensen, and his mother’s Hanne Malene Else Julia.


The age of his parents and his mother’s surname are not listed. Under marriages (VIELSER) there is an entry for June 24th 1879, when widower Jens Kristen Johannes Mikael Jørgensen, son of cook Karl Abraham Jakob Jørgensen born November 13th 1850, resident of Sukkertoppen (Maniitsoq), married Hanne Malene Else Julia, daughter of Josva Samuel Hansen, born March 14th 1859, resident of Sukkertoppen. From there it is easy to find their birth and see that his mother’s name was Lise Mariane, and her mother’s name was Dine Frederikke Debora Maria.

Word List

‘Copulerede’ means married

‘Communicanter’ are communion recipients

‘Cathecumen‘ are recipients of instruction in preparation for confirmation.

‘Blandinger’ are people of mixed race with at least one European ancestor. People are registered as ‘grl’ (Greenlander) or ‘bl’ (mixed race).



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