As with the patronymics, these were not names in the modern sense. They were more or less an address. If you moved, the name changed. If Peder moved from the Berg farm to the Vik farm, he would be known as Peder Johnsen Vik, or some variant spelling, from then on. Practically all farm names were derived from a defining geographical feature. The most widespread names in Norway even today are Berg mountain or outcropping , Haug hillock , Hagen outfield and Dal valley.
An encyclopedia of Norwegian farm names, developed in the early 20th century, can be digitally accessed here: tinyurl.
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By the early s, the old naming system was fading away due to industrial development and urbanization. Its fate was sealed in , when hereditary family names were made mandatory. To this day, most Norwegian last names are patronymics or farm names from that period. When you have the name of a Norwegian-born ancestor to go on, quite a few sources can assist in your search for him or her — and your lineage stretching further back in time.
Beginning in the mids, Norwegian priests kept records of baptisms, marriages and funerals. Most of these can be digitally accessed online: media. In order to find a specific entry, you need to know where and approximately when the baptism, marriage or funeral took place. Kirkehavn church, Hidra, Vest-Agder county. What might the parish registers reveal?
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As many uneducated farmers did not know their own birthday, dates and years! Norway has held nationwide censuses on a regular basis. What might the censuses reveal? Most were commissioned by the municipality and written by people with great local history knowledge.
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They may include a general history of the area or a compilation of extracts from church records and censuses, listing the owners and histories of farms in the area. What might the village books reveal? A resource for burial places in the USA, sometimes accompanied by obituaries or memorials of the deceased that provide a birthplace or -date. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Ciara Kerrigan. A wonderful resource for people tracing their family history The National Library of Ireland initially began making microfilm copies of the parish registers in the s and the NLI holds microfilm copies of more than 3, registers from the vast majority of Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland. New pre online archive to help fill gaps in your family tree Hidden History: The guide to preserving your family archive.
Short URL. About the author:. About the author. See more articles by Ciara Kerrigan. Contribute to this story: Send a Correction.
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