Scandinavia Special Interest Group (SIG)

Emigration Routes/Passenger Lists

Emigrations Routes

The emigration routes have varied over time. Many emigrants from Denmark went via i.a. Hamburg, Bremen at first, but when the Danish Steamship Line, DFDS, started their direct lines (from e.g. Libau and Copenhagen with stops in Gothenburg or Oslo) to America, that, of course, was the first choice for many from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the East European countries.

The mass migration became an increasingly prosperous market for the shipping companies and travel agents, and competition was fierce. Unfortunately some tried to earn quick money by cheating the emigrants. There are stories about emigrants who thought that they had bought tickets to New York, but where landed in England instead.

The Danish government in an attempt to regulate the activities and to protect the emigrants, required that the agents that sold tickets to the emigrants had to make lists and submit them to the police. Records were kept for both the direct and the indirect traffic (i.a. via Germany or England).

It is therefore be possible to find those who emigrated from Denmark and bought their ticket from a Danish agent in the Copenhagen Police Records. If they bought their tickets elsewhere or it was sent to them from relatives in America, they will not be listed in the police records!


The Copenhagen Police Records have been made available in an online searchable database by The Danish Emigrant Archives (Udvandrerarkivet) and can also be bought as a CD-Rom. At present the database covers the years 1863-1903, the rest is under preparation.

  • The Danish Demographical Database is the website where you can find the online-searchable database on the passenger lists (together with a selection of censuses that have been made available online in connection with the Source Entry Project).

    The CD-Rom can be ordered at The Danish Emigrant Archives (Udvandrerarkivet).

    The emigration records contain information about the name, occupation, place of birth and/or last residence, age, destination, No. of the contract, date of police registration and - in the case of direct transportation from Denmark - the name of the ship.

    The database and search engine is slow and not as proficient as we are used to on the JewishGen! However, it is nonetheless a great help whey you know how to search. Don't give up, but try some times, till you get the hang of it. Tthe text is in Danish - but you cannot search on the Danish characters (sic!) - and soundex-search is not possible, you have to use wildcards: "_" (underscore) or "%" (percent). Furthermore, you need to know the (most likely) way of spelling the name in Danish (e.g. Moses ~ Moshe, Isak ~ Isaac, Salomon ~ Solomon). (If you are in doubt send a question to the Scandinavia SIG Discussion Group - and replies will be gathered in a FAQ).

    If you find someone you are looking for, then note the "Contract No." and make a new search on that in order to see if they were travelling alone or with other family members. You might get a long list, but then you can use your browser's usual search method and look for the name.


The following websites you can find a lot of information about emigration from Finland and the records pertaining to them -- as well as making an online search for both passenger and passport records.


The number of Jews transmigrating through Norway was small, but nonetheless that just might be the place to look for your ancestor.


Information about Hamburg as port of emigration and the passenger lists from Hamburg is also of interest (as many from Denmark in the beginning emigrated via Hamburg - see above), and can be found at the following websites:

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Compiled and updated Updated 19.06.2006