Norway Death Notices
DØDSMELDINGER (DEATH NOTICES)
Death notices are a source not often used in searching for ancestors in Norway, but this source may list information about both families and properties not found anywhere else. Probate records (skifteprotokoller) are often used, but not everyone who died had a probate done. However, there should be a death notice listed for every person who died. This includes the very young to the very old, and it does not matter if a person was rich or poor. Often a whole family is listed in a death notice.
The Sorenskriver or Judge was usually the authority over probate cases, but as he could not do everything himself he relied heavily on the Sherriff (Lensmann) and therefore gave him power of Attorney to deal with such cases and this is also the case with death notices. As soon as a person died it was the law that the Sherriff was to be notified and to keep the Dødsmeldings protokoll (Death Notice records). This dates back to a law of 1792, with a chancery poster in 1812 and a revision of the law December 12th 1930 paragraph 12.
These records are available at the respective Archives in Norway. Many are searchable in an index online at the Digital Archives of Norway as well as in a scanned format online. These online scanned records are not complete for the whole country as of yet but they are well worth searching if your area has been scanned.
You will find them by going to the Digital Archives main page, click on Digitised Probate Documents, which brings you to a page in Norwegian only “Skannet skiftemateriale” (scanned probate material) and here you can choose “Velg protokolltype” in the 4th box down from the top and then choose “dødsfallsprotokoll” (death notices). Now click on the box that reads “utfør” and you will be able to see which records have been put online. They are first listed by county, then by office (Parish or clerical district), and then by year. You will want to click on the year when your relative died, and then search the records for this year. As you search these records you will notice that they are in chronological order somewhat by date and they are fairly easy to read.
These death notices usually include the name of the deceased, occupation, residence, age, and date of death, but many include more detailed information about the family.
Some of the notices are brief, while others will give a wealth of information. There is no standard format for the heading on the forms. Below you will see two different types of death notices. The first one is handwritten and gives an example of how it was kept in 1847 in Andebu parish, Vestfold county, Norway.
Example 1 describes the columns used at the top of the page for Andebu in 1847.
Column 1: Annmeldelsens Datum (Reported Date)
Column 2: Dødsfadets Datum (Death date)
Column 3: Den Afdødes Navn , Alder og sidsthavte Opholdsted (The name of the deceased, age, last place of residence)
Column 4: Den afdødes Arvinger, disses beslegtskabsforhold til familien deres myndige eller umyndige, nærværende eller fraværende (The heirs, how they are related to the deceased or the family, if they are of age or under age, if a person is present or not present while this took place).
Column 5: Anmerkninger (Remarks).
4th quarter of 1847
3rd Column: Gaardmand Ole Hansen paa Gaarden øde Sundseth 52 Aar (farmer Ole Hansen at the farm øde Sundseth, age 52.
4th Column: Sterboeenken Anne Thonette Nilsdatter. Sønnen: Hans Olsen 15 Aar. Datteren Anne Lovise Olsd. 18 ½ Aar, Datteren Ingeborg Marie Olsd. 12 ½ Aar, Datteren Karen Andrine Olsd. 10 Aar, Datteren Elen Sophie Olsd. 7 Aar, Datteren Maren Olea Olsd. 4 ½ Aar, Datteren Lise Mathilde Olsd. ½. Aar samtlige nærværende. (The widow of the estate Anne Thonette Nilsdatter. Son Hans Olsen age 15, Daughter Anne Lovise Olsd. Age 18 ½, Daugther Ingeborg Marie Olsd. age 12 ½, Daughter Karen Andrine Olsd. age 10, Daugther Elen Sophie Olsd. age 7, Daugher Maren Olea Olsd. age 4 ½ , Daugher Lise Matilde Olsd. age ½. Everyone present.
5th Column: Registreringen afholdt 29th og indførdt 30th October. (The registration [of this death] took place October 29th, and it was recorded October 30th).
Notice how the date of death and age is listed for the father when he died, and that the age is listed for each one of his children.
See the document available online at [Digital Archives of Norway].
The next example is from Flå lensmannskontor (Flå Sherriff district) in 1908, and describes the columns used at top of the page. At this time the column headings are in print.
The top of the page in the middle: Fortegnelse over anmeldte Dødsfald (Records of the reported deaths) Column 1
Column 2: Afdødes Stilling, Navn, Opholdssted og Alder (the deceased’s occupation, name, residence and age)
Column 6: Lægens navn (physician’s name)
Column 7: Arvingernes Navne og deres Forhold til Arveladeren (The name of the heirs and their relation to the deceased)
Column 8: Om og naar Registreringen er afholdt (If and when the registration took place)
Column 1: empty
Column 3: Died and reported on 24 January 1908
Column 4: Landhandler Halgrim Trulsen Skjølid or sometimes named Mjølid
Column 5: Empty
Column 6: Empty
Column 7: Moderen enke Ragnhild Einarsdtr Ulsaker født 24 march 1828 bosat paa Belgum i Nordre Aurdal i Voldnes, Brødre: Nils Nilsen Ulsaker født 15 juli 1855, Einar født 25mai 1859, Bjørn født 23 februar 1866, Endre født 15 januar 1867, alle i Amerika. Søstre: Margit født 14 mai 1857 nu hos anmelderen men vil straks flytte til Hemsedal, Guraa født 20 desember 1860 g.m. Ole Knutsen Kirkebøen født 1855 i Hemsedal og Ingebor født 16 april 1862 g.m. anmelderen født 19 november 1869 i distriktet. (The mother of the deceased - widow Ragnhild Einarsdatter Ulsaker born 24 March 1828 and resides at Belgum in Nordre Aurdal in Voldnes. Brothers of the deceased: Nils Nilsen Ulsaker born 15 July 1855, Einar born 25 May 1859, Bjørn born 23 February 1866, Endre born 15 January 1867 all in America. Sisters to the deceased: Margit born 14 May 1857 at the present staying with the person who reported this death but she will soon move to Hemsedal, Guraa born 20 December 1860 married to Ole Knutsen Kirkebøen born 1855 in Hemsedal, and Ingeborg born 16 April 1862 married to the person who reported this death born 12 November 1869 and he lives in this district).
Column 8: Intet at skifte (nothing to report [to the probate court]).
Notice this record from Hemsedal lists the date of birth for each person and where they are living at the time of the death notice. Since all the brothers went to America it does not list a place other than America. It also states where the mother lives and she can be searched in the 1900 census for Nordre Aurdal, Oppland where she is supported by her oldest son Niels who obviously did not stay in America.
Further research for this family would include searching the 1865 census for Hemsedal, Buskerud, Norway which should be available online at Digital Archives. However, in this instance the 1865 census is not available for Hemsedal Parish, but there is a farm book (Bygdebok) for Hemsedal listing this family on page 178. Searching the church records for the birth of each person in this family will be of great value and easy to accomplish since the information from the Death Notice listed an age and place of residence for each person. Another source may be to search the emigration records for the brothers who went to America, as well as the moving records from Hemsedal.
These death notices are especially valuable when a census is missing or parish records have been destroyed. Often they will list a whole family living together and includes each person’s date and place of birth, relationship and place of residence.
See the document available online at [Digital Archives of Norway].
References: Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening: http://126.96.36.199/mediawiki/index.php/D%C3%B8dsmeldinger_som_slektshistorisk_kilde Store Norske Leksikon: http://snl.no/d%C3%B8d/rettslige%20forhold