Tuesday, October 13, 2020

MyHeritage Releases Major Collection of Historical Norway Church Records, 1815–1938

 I received this information from MyHeritage today:


I’m pleased to announce the release of a new historical record collection: Norway Church Records (1815–1938).

The records in this collection were digitized in collaboration with the National Archives of Norway (Arkivverket), and consist of 42.2 million indexed records and high quality scans of the original documents. The records include births & baptisms, marriages, and deaths & burials. This release is the first time the collection’s images are fully indexed and searchable — making it easier than ever to research your Norwegian ancestors. The addition doubles the number of Norwegian historical records on MyHeritage and brings the total number of historical records on MyHeritage to 12.6 billion.

Please find the official blog post here with some nice example records from this collection.

The records in this collection cover a critical period in Norway’s history, beginning just one year after its secession from Denmark.
This important collection helps overcome the significant gaps in Norwegian censuses taken from 1801 to 1865. Five censuses were collected in Norway during those years, but they did not record names of individuals, making the church records the definitive source for genealogical data during that period.

Due to Norwegian privacy laws, the birth & baptism records released in this collection extend until 1919 (inclusive), the marriage records extend until 1937 (inclusive), and the death & burial records extend until 1938 (inclusive).

In the Norway Church birth and baptism records, a child was often recorded with only his or her given name(s) without an expressly recorded surname, as it was assumed the child would take either a patronymic surname from their father or take a hereditary surname. To overcome the challenge of the missing surname, MyHeritage inferred two possible surname variations for each individual, so users can search for either the patronymic or hereditary surname to find the correct record. MyHeritage indexed the surname variations to make them discoverable, but the actual records were not modified, and the surnames were not inserted into them, to preserve their authenticity.

The Norway Church Records (1815–1938) collection is an indispensable resource for anyone who is looking to learn more about their Norwegian roots during this time period. With the release of this collection, MyHeritage now offers 80 million historical records from Norway, 57 million historical records from neighboring Sweden, and 107 million records from Denmark, positioning MyHeritage as the leader in Scandinavian family history research.


NOTES:  This is a wonderful record collection, and I look forward to finding and saving images of my wife's (and my descendants!) ancestors in these records.  I did a lot of Norwegian research in the 1998-2000 time frame on FamilySearch microfilm of these church records, earlier church records, census records, bygdeboks and other resources, but did not collect many record images at the time. I have dipped into the Norwegian records on Arkivverket several times for a specific record, but not for several years, and have very few source citations for these records other than a general reference to the FHL microfilms..  

Hopefully, MyHeritage will also digitize and index the earlier church records in the future.

The bigger soon-to-come opportunity for me is the expected listing of the church records of Linda's ancestral families in the Record Matches on Ancestry for this specific collection.  All of her known ancestral families after 1815 are in my MyHeritage Family Tree, but I don't have images or sources for many of the entries.

I searched for and easily found the page with the 1850 birth and baptism record of Linda's great-grandfather - Torger Sjursen (1850-1933) in Mølster (a town in Voss) from the MyHeritage collection:

The birth (26 March 1850) and baptism (9 June 1850) record for Torger Sjursen, son of Sjur Torgersen and Brita Olsdatter, is:

This is very cool!  More fun genealogy work to do!  Thank you, MyHeritage!

Linda and I visited Norway in the summer of 1999 and had a wonderful time in Oslo, Voss (one of her ancestral towns) and Bergen.  In Voss, we enjoyed a guided tour of inda's ancestral farms with the wife of one of the Liland farm and hotel owners, and a visit and lunch with the present farm family (cousins of Linda!) at the Liland farm at the west end of the lake near Voss.  Leland is Linda's maiden name, from the farm in Voss.


Disclosure:  I receive a complimentary subscription to MyHeritage, and have received other material consideration in past years.  I uploaded my autosomal DNA raw data to their DNA product.  This does not affect my objective analysis of MyHeritage products.

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Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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