Genealogy Center Services

Genealogy Center staff and volunteers will provide genealogical research services for visiting patrons as well as individuals living at a distance. To see information about on-site research, visit the Genealogy Resources page.

New research service structure and fee plan

As of January 1, 2022, the Genealogy Center has moved to offering all package research options rather than utilizing the pay-by-the-hour research system.

There are five package options for patrons to choose from – Introductory, Basic, Standard Family, Brick Wall, and Heritage - with flat fees for all. The expectations for each package are clearer than they were with the pay-by-the-hour system by specifying what the focus will be, how much information the research will attempt to cover, and a clear statement of what the cost of the services will be. (See below in the "Fees" section for more information on the packages.)

The hourly system will remain for in-person services rendered within the Genealogy Center. Also, additional hours may be purchased to supplement packages, but the expectation is these extra hours will be five or less. These hours would be purchased, for example, to find a single record or document. Exceptions, however, may be made at the discretion of the researcher and patron.

Deposits will still be required with the research request forms and the rest of the payment will be invoiced once research is completed to account for any additional charges that may accrue during the project and for printing and postage at the end. Packages and other fees will continue to be priced for members and non-members. If you are interested in becoming a member, you can sign-up on the museum’s website.


Genealogy Center translators are able to translate most Danish letters and small documents, including some in Old Danish and Gothic handwriting or print, as well as Danish church and census records, and can make referrals for translations of both modern and Gothic German-language documents. Because the Old Danish and Gothic scripts are much more difficult to decipher, times can take longer or they may not be able to be translated by our workers. We will do our best, however, if we cannot translate the document, we may suggest alternative options. Translation fees are pay-by-the hour with a one hour deposit required at the time of request.

Please note:

Deposits are non-refundable. They pay for the first portion of our work. Even if we can’t find much, we did put time into researching and you will receive what we were able to locate.

To Request a Translation

  • Send or email a clear copy of the material to be translated, rather than the originals. Museum of Danish America cannot be responsible for original documents.
  • Print and fill out the Translation Request Form.
  • Include a check or money order for a minimum of 1 hour's work, payable to "Museum of Danish America."
  • Completion time is usually 1-4 weeks.

To Request Research

  • Print and fill out the research request form that corresponds to the research package you want. Be clear on who you want researched and attach any supporting information that may be useful. Request forms are found below under "Fees."
  • Fill out the payment information on the back of the research form for your deposit. You can pay with a check, money order, or credit card. Everything will be payable to "Museum of Danish America."
    • Danish residents: you can also pay with check, money order, or credit card.
  • We will acknowledge research requests and payment upon receipt. Due to the large number of requests we receive, limited staff, and our policy of taking them in date order, our response time can take between 6-16 weeks. We appreciate your patience.

Send by E-Mail:

If you want to submit your request by email, you are welcome to do so and then send the deposit payment through the postal service. If this is what is done, please make a note on the research form that the deposit is coming in the mail so we know to watch for it.
Subject: Research/Translation Request 

Send by Mail:

Research/Translation Requests
Museum of Danish America Genealogy Center
PO Box 249
Elk Horn IA 51531-0249 


(click to access request form)




Member: $240
Non-Member: $300
Deposit: $120

This research package is for those who want to focus on one specific ancestor. It will cover 1-2 generations, focus on ONE research goal, or locate their origins in Denmark if possible.


Member: $400
Non-Member: $500
Deposit: $200

This package is for those who want to take one couple back 1-2 generations,  focus on 1-2 research goals for one couple, or need help getting started on their own research. We will locate origins in Denmark and locate and translate birth, confirmation, marriage, and other records.

Standard Family

Member: $600
Non-Member: $750
Deposit: $300

This package is for those who want to take one couple back 1-3 generations, focus on 2-3 research goals for one couple, and/or locate information about immediate family beyond spouse and children. We will trace them as far as we can in Denmark, locate siblings and parents, and translate birth, confirmation, marriage, and other records.

Brick Wall

(Equals a maximum of 20 hours*)

Member: $800
Non-Member: $1000
Deposit: $400

This package is for is those who have been doing research on their own and have gotten stuck. This is known as a brick wall in research. To help you overcome it, we will review the existing work to ensure its accuracy. We will then conduct additional research, and attempt to overcome your brick wall.


(Equals a maximum of 25 hours*)

Member: $1000
Non-Member: $1250
Deposit: $500

This package is for those that want to know as much information as possible about their ancestors starting with grandparents. We will take the family lines as far back into Denmark as we can in addition to finding as much information about life in America.

*Additional individual hours can be purchased at a rate of $40 per member/$50 per non-member

Additional Fee Information:

  • Fees are non-refundable. Even if we can’t find anything, we’ve put in the research hours
  • Deposits are non-refundable. They pay for the first portion of our work. Even if we can’t find much, we did put time into researching and you will receive what we were able to locate.
  • Occasionally, individuals do not agree with information we find - whether it be names, birth legitimacy, or how family stories and legends end up being not quite accurate. However, we do our very best to back up all information with multiple primary sources that prove accuracy and recheck our work multiple times throughout the research process.
  • A postage/handling fee will be added to all requests, in addition to document and photocopying charges.


    Gift Certificates are also available for research and translations.


    Genealogy Center


    Additional Services and Fees

    Copies of Genealogy Center files and documents are $.25/page, plus postage. Copies of courthouse and other documents will vary in price.

    Individuals interested in Danish Brotherhood records may request either a transcript of the record, which is included in the research fee, or microfilm copies (each listing takes a minimum of 2 prints; some individuals were members of lodges in various localities during their lifetime and hence have several listings).

    Searches involving Danish Brotherhood records only require a 1-hour advance search fee per name. Queries are answered in the order of receipt of payment. Due to the number of requests received, our response time usually varies between 10-16 weeks. Rest assured that we will get to your inquiry as soon as possible.

    We have the bound, physical copies of the Elk Horn-Kimballton Review newspaper from 1928-2007. We can search them for obituaries or other articles if an approximate date is given. There will be a one-hour minimum fee. When found, the article can be scanned and emailed or sent through the postal service for an additional charge.

    Additional Research Resources

    While we cannot vouch for their research products, for those of you wanting a quicker turn-around time, the following individuals may be helpful:

    • Per Andersen of Copenhagen offers his research services. His webpage is and he can be contacted by email.
    • Former Museum of Danish America intern Jesper Jacobsen specializes in a variety of less-accessible legal documents. He may be contacted by email.
    • Free-lance journalist Ejgil Bodilsen offers assistance for people with ancestors from Han Herred in Thisted and Hjørring Counties.
    • Morten B. Petersen offers research services, archival research at the National Archives in Copenhagen as well as the City Archives of Copenhagen, and translation of documents in Danish (1800's and onwards). He may be contacted by email.

    Danish Immigrants

    Museum of Danish America and its Genealogy Center are continually seeking and collecting information on Danish immigrants who came to North America. To create a file for your ancestors, print our Immigrant Information Form, fill it out, and send it to us with any additional documentation you care to share.

    Honoring Danish Ancestors:
    Danish ancestors may be honored in perpetuity by having a plaque with their names, dates of immigration, and area of settlement placed on The Danish Immigrant Wall of Honor. For information about submitting names go to the Danish Immigrant Wall of Honor.