Norwegian Ancestry

Norwegian Ancestry is the working title of our project. Our goal is to write a how-to book in English about Norwegian genealogy research. We will use elements from two of my previous books, published in Norwegian - Slektsgransking. Steg for steg med praktiske eksempler (Genealogy. Step by step with practical examples, Aschehoug 2010) and Slektsgranskerens guide til utvandringen 1825-1930 (The Genealogist's Guide to Emigration 1825-1930, Vigmostad & Bjørke 2013).

Family history research has become remarkably popular in recent years, and many Norwegian-Americans are researching their roots. Throughout the years, I have answered many inqueries regarding Norwegian genealogical research. Every spring, many Americans contact me and ask for guidance in finding the farm (and surrounding area) from which their ancestors came. I have also held several lectures in the United States about Norwegian genealogy research, and these have drawn a considerable audience.

Norway has a free online service called The Digital Archives (Digitalarkivet). They have both transcribed and scanned original documents which are relevant to family history research. Parish records are examples of scanned original resources, while most censuses are available in transcribed form, as searchable databases.

The following statement was made about usage of the Digital Archives: There are on average about 10 –12 thousand individual users of the Digital Archives each day. The majority of these are sitting at their computers in Norway, but the percentage of non-Norwegians is nevertheless considerable. Of these, users from the USA and Canada comprise the largest group, while Denmark and Sweden are also regular patrons. Genealogists are by far the largest group of users, and have been so as long as the service has existed. In addition there are two other websites with Norwegian records which we will discuss. The LDS family history website, FamilySearch, has some Norwegian records in their databases, and these will also be described in the book.

My book will provide a thorough introduction to using the appropriate fact-finding records, with emphasis on those available on the Internet, and how they may be used. The aim is that readers will be able to find some generations of their ancestry, even if they are not proficient in the Norwegian language. The book will also contain some history of migration, especially about the journey from Norway to North America. It is important to know the route the immigrant took in order to be able to trace him or her in the available records.

The author will also demonstrate how she solved actual cases with examples from her own archive. Many years of experience as a genealogist have taught her to combine resources in order to maximize the potential information they offer. The book will also be a guide to the types of records, since it helps to have a theoretical basis in order to be able to utilize the records in the search for one’s ancestors. A small detail may lead to the solution of a large mystery.

Liv Marit Haakenstad received a grant from NFF to write the book. We are, however, still in need of funding for the translation from Norwegian to English, even though the book already has willing publishers in the United States.

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