Coming (soon): A book about Norwegian family history research

Margaret Helen Strand and Liv Birgit Christensen have used the period of the Covid lockdown to write a How-to-book about Norwegian family history research for an English-speaking audience.

In the book we follow two persons, Anne Henriksdatter and Ingvald Hansen, who migrated to the US and New Zealand respectively. We find them in many records in their new country, something which is a necessary preparation for finding them in their country of origin.  And then we demonstrate how to find them in Norwegian records, and how we can enrich their story by using a varied range of resources.

A lot of genealogical records have been digitized in Norway and are to be found online at the Digital Archives. There is also another website, mostly for census records, the Norwegian Historical Data Centre or in Norwegian, Registreringssentralen for historiske data. The National Library of Norway has digitized most older books published in Norway, newspapers, magazines, maps, letters and manuscripts, music and posters. The book gives more details and information on how to access Norwegian records from abroad. And how to search.

The first main character Anne Henriksdatter is born into a poor family in Oppdal, Trøndelag in 1890. She emigrates with her mother and sister. She makes a good life for herself in Duluth, Minnesota. You can see pictures of Anne from different periods of her life here.

The other character is Ingvald Hansen, his name in short. He was the only surviving son of a customs oarsman, the other seven being girls. Ingvald was born in 1866 in Kristiania, now Oslo. He emigrates to New Zealand in the 1890’s where he marries and has three children. He takes on different kinds of work, always enterprising. Like Anne he is remembered by his family today, even though he died in the 1930’s. You can read more about Ingvald here.

We start by giving a background of Norway, history, geography and so on. We will show how you can start your research by using censuses. And then we will explain how the church books are important sources of information. We will describe the most important types of digitized record at the Digital Archives, pertaining to genealogy. We discuss city records and other websites in Norway of importance to research. And lastly, we suggest ways of putting some flesh on your Norwegian ancestors bones by using amongst other things DNA testing and photos.

The authors are both experienced and keen genealogists. You can read more about Liv here. Margaret has served for decades at the local Family History Centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as both consultant and director. She was a founding member of the Moss Historical Society, where she has contributed articles to the genealogy column in their magazine, Strandsitteren, for 17 years and is an active participant in their family history group. For the last few years, she has served on the board of the county branch of the Genealogy Society of Norway. She is editor of their digital journal, Østfoldslekt, where she also writes articles on various topics related to family history research.

We are now working on having the book published and will keep you posted on when it will be available.

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