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Page Topic: helps for those with Norwegian ancestry
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#1: helps for those with Norwegian ancestry Author: Alma PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:52 am
You can't tell from my name, but my paternal grandfather was Norwegian. Genealogy in Norway is so easy now! The Lutheran Church used to be the state church so until quite recently people of all faith perspectives registered their births, marriages, movements and deaths with it. These registers have been turned over to the National Archives which began an online database at DigitalArkivet (The Digital Archive). In just the past year or so, they've begun scanning the parish registers so you can actually see the original documents. DigitalArkivet has pages in English so you don't have to worry if you don't read Norwegian. They also have forums (debatt) where you can post and get responses in English. My experience at DigitalArkivet was 100% positive.

In addition, the Norwegian government pays people to put together farm and family history books for most, if not all, fylker (sort of like counties). A single book is a bygdeb√łk and several are called bygdeb√łker. These books are goldmines if your ancestral fylke is not yet in the DigitalArkivet database. My great-grandmother's wasn't so I found out the name and author of the book I would need. I then went to and found which libraries carried it. Three did. I picked a library, did a Google search to find its phone number and called them, asking if they would loan that book in inter-library loan. They said yes. I got the name and direct dial number of the librarian I talked to (in case of any glitches), then I went to my local county library and gave them the name, author and publisher of the book and all the library's info. I paid the five dollar fee and in just a few weeks the book was in and I was able to use it in the library (they cost $200 apiece). I just checked out a stack of Norwegian-English dictionaries (Einer Haugen's "Green Dictionary" is the best) and began teaching myself Norwegian as I worked.

It sounds overwhelming and I was scared but Norwegian is much easier to learn than English. It's a very straight-forward, no nonsense language. I was surprised that it didn't turn out to be the nightmare I feared.

Before jumping in like this, though, you'll want to do some homework. Fylke and comune boundaries and names have changed over time. Norway currently speaks two different dialects, too. Bokmal is the older, spoken in more rural parts of the country and used in older books. Nynorsk is used in more urban areas, on websites and by most online translators. Einar Haugen's dictionary translates words of both dialects, though. That's why it's the best, but I found I used all the dictionaries in my stack. Good luck, and don't be intimidated. I found my norwegian ancestors, going all the way back to the 1500s and it was worth the effort.


#2: Re: helps for those with Norwegian ancestry Author: nucciaLocation: Toronto, Ontario, Canada PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:28 pm
Thanks for the suggestions Alma. I hear there is a lot of Norwegian info out there and if you can tap into the proper resources you will be successful. I have also heard the same about Czech genealogy and was surprised there was so many resources available. It's always nice to have something to refer back too. Smile

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