Norway Birth Record Search Strategy 1500-1813Edit This Page

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1. Parish Register, Christening, 1500-1874: Church records

Beginning about 1500, churches required their clergy to keep christening (or baptism) records.

The information given in the earlier years can be very sparce. The records give this information:

  • name of the child
  • christening date
  • later years the date of birth is also given
  • name of father
  • place of residence
  • still births
  • whether illegitimate or legitimate
  • information found in a christening depends on how detailed the minister made his record

What you are looking for

Before civil registers began, church christening records were the best source for determining when a person was born.

Why go to the next record

Not all Norwegian christening records have been microfilmed, and the beginning date of these records varies from place to place.

2. Parish Register, Confirmation: Church records

Churches required their clergy to keep confirmation records. The confirmation could occur between ages 12 and 20, though most took place between ages 16 and 18. Confirmation records before1814 contain the name of the child, and sometimes include the child's age or place of residence. These records may not begin the same year for every parish. After 1814 confirmation records may include the names of the parent(s) or head of household where the confirmed resided, birth or christening date, and vaccination date. You can estimate a birth date from a confirmation record if other records are not available.

What you are looking for

Children were confirmed members of their church between the ages of 12 and 20, sometimes later. If the christening records do not exist, confirmation records are the best source for determining when a person was born. Confirmation records may not give a birth or christening date, but they may give a person's age, making it possible to determine his or her approximate birth year.

Why go to the next record

Not all Norwegian confirmation records have been microfilmed, and the beginning date of these records varies from place to place.

3. Parish Register, Marriage: Church records

Beginning about 1500, usually much later, churches required their clergy to keep marriage records. The dates of the marriage banns (engagement) or proclamations may be included in the marriage record, or a separate record. Information found in entries depends upon how detailed the minister made his record.

What you are looking for

Couples were married when they were in their twenties and thirties, sometimes later. Marriage records may not give a birth or christening date, but may give the age of the bride and groom. The marriage record will usually indicate the status of the groom by noting whether he was an ungkarl (bachelor) or enkemand (widower). Alternatively, the priest may have written down his occupation, such as soldat (soldier) or gaardbruger (farmer). Likewise, the register will indicate whether the bride was a pige (maiden) or enke (widow). If, however, the maiden bride was from the middle class, the word jomfru was often used, and if she was from the educated upper class she was usually listed as frøken.
Of great assistance is the fact that the couple's birthplaces and current places of residence are listed, as well as the names of their fathers, In many record books, two witnesses are recorded as testimony that the couple are not closely related, and their names and place names are often a help, too. The books sometimes show the engagement date, with the banns posted three consecutive Sundays before the marriage could take place, and then the wedding date itself is shown.

Why go to the next record

Not all Norwegian marriage records have been microfilmed, and the beginning date of these records varies from place to place.

4. Census: Census

The king ordered the church clergy to take national census records beginning in 1701. Occasionally the clergy also took a ministerial census. You can use census records to estimate a person's birth year when an age is given. You can also use them to help identify all family members. Later census records may include a person's birthplace, birth date, and relationship to the head of the household, as well as other information.

What you are looking for

When marriage records do not exist, census records are the best source for determining when a person was born. Census records may not give a birth or christening date, but they give a person's age, making it possible to determine his or her approximate birth year.

Why go to the next record

Not all Norwegian census records have been microfilmed, and the beginning date of these records varies from place to place.

5. Parish Register, Burial: Church records

Beginning about 1500, usually much later, churches required their clergy to keep burial records. Before 1814 the name of the person who died may not be given, only the name of the principal male figure in his or her life. The printed record format introduced in 1814 included columns which asked for the deceased's name, death date, burial date, age, and so forth. You can estimate a person's birth year from his or her death or burial age.

What you are looking for

When marriage records do not exist, parish burial records are the best source for determining when a person was born. Burial records may not give a birth or christening date, but they may give a person's age, making it possible to determine his or her approximate birth year.

Why go to the next record

Not all Norwegian burial records have been microfilmed, and the beginning date of these records varies from place to place.

6. Parish Register, Vaccination: Church records

The church's vaccination (smallpox) records sometimes give an age or birth date for a person. The vaccination may have occurred at any time during a person's life.

What you are looking for

When christening records do not exist, vaccination records can be a source for determining when a person was born. Vaccination records may not give a birth or christening date, but they may give a person's age, making it possible to determine his or her approximate birth year.

Why go to the next record

Not all Norwegian vaccination records have been microfilmed, and the beginning date of these records varies from place to place.

7. Probate Records: Probate records

Probate records are civil records, found at the parish level. They may begin before the actual parish records. You can use information found in probate record to estimate a person's birth, marriage and death date. Probate records can also help to identify the ancestral family.

What you are looking for

When vaccination records do not exist, probate records are the best source for determining when a person was born. Probate records may not give a birth or christening date, but they may give a person's age, making it possible to determine his or her approximate birth year.

Why go to the next record

Not all Norwegian probate records have been microfilmed, and the beginning date of these records varies from place to place.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 26 November 2013, at 23:40.
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