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There was no separation of church and state in Norway before 21 May 2012. Prior to this date church and state were joined.
There was not a legally recognized dissenter church in Norway until 1845. The law simply did not allow anyone to dissent from the Lutheran Church. After dissenter churches were accepterd in 1845, these congregations still had to report births and deaths to the local parish priest of the Lutheran Church within one month of these events. Sometimes we find that children of dissenters were not recorded as the law stated. Often a pastor would make this a very difficult visit, trying to persuade or even threaten people to "come back" to the Lutheran Church. If dissenters lived in a city where they could avoid being known by the church personnel, they sometimes did not comply with this law.
A new act in 1891 gave some dissenter groups permission to solemnize marriages, and from this time until 1919, the different groups were required to report births, deaths and marriages to the local Lutheran Church once a year. After 1919 they had to report to the local folkeregister (vital statistics office).
The law did not require a dissenter church to deposit their records in the state archives unless a congragation was dissolved. The percentage of dissenters in 1875 was 0.4%, and in 1950 it was 3.76%.
You will find some of these records of dissenters recorded in Digitalarkivet (The Digital Archives) of Norway. See links: Dissenter Register
For church records not on Digitalarkivet, or on microfilm; you will need to contact the respective Parish Minister. Be aware there is a 60-year privacy law in Norway. Do not ask for information later than that.
For information from 1900 forward, you will want to contact the office called "Folkregister" for the area in which your ancestor lived. The phone number is 011 47 2207. Be aware that Norway is 8 hours earlier than the Mountain Time Zone in the United States. Also, be prepared to prove you are a direct line decendant.
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