Rikshospitalet og Kvinneklinikken, Oslo, Norway Genealogy
Microfilm at the Family History Library contain parish registers from the national hospital and womens clinic in Oslo city.
Images of the church books are online at Digitalarkivet.
History of the parish
With the resolutions of March 12, and June 17, 1817, it was determined to create a provisional maternity hospital in connection with the civil hospital in Christiania. The purpose of the hospital was two-sided: to provide birthing assistance for the unmarried and poor mothers and to instruct in obstetric knowledge for doctors and midwives.
The maternity hospital was opened August 16, 1818, and from that time church books were kept for those who were born there. It was determined to keep these private books in duplicate, one by the priest and one by the doctors with the names of the parents. Because the maternity hospital was within Vor Frelser's parish, one of the priest there was assigned to perform the christenings and keep the church books.
From 1824, the provisional maternity hospital had several locations in private homes in the city. In 1827 the new building was finished and ready for the institution. But the building was used by the Rikshospital, which was created by royal resolution January 11, 1826. In the resolution the direction was given to the hospital's administration to give the ecclesiastical service of the sick to one of the city's priests. The priest should also have the responsibility for the ecclesiastical matters in the maternity hospital.
From the beginning in 1818, the maternity hospital had a certain number of paying customers. Therefore, from the beginning to 1828, about thirty percent of the children were born within the bonds of marriage. From 1828, the number of births increased dramatically. Now there were as many legitimate births as there were illegitimate. In 1832, the records show that 70 babies were legitimate while 42 babies were born to unwed mothers. Many parents paid to have their child christened in the institution. This meant that the priest and sexton in their home parish lost the money they would have received for the christening. Many priests complained, and by royal resolution July 2, 1834, new regulations were made for christening of children born in the maternity hospital. These regulations had consequences for the keeping of the church books.
Children born outside of marriage in the maternity hospital should still be christened there and written in that institutions christening record. The record, as before, should be private. The child should not be reported to the parish priest nor written in the church books of the respective parish.
Poor wives and wives in poor circumstances, who paid half price, could still have the child christened in the institution without having to pay anything to the priest in the parish where they belonged. But record of the christening should be sent to the priest to be included in the church book with remarks that the christening was performed in the maternity hospital.
When full-paying parents wished it, they could have their child, who was born within marriage, christened in the institution. Those who belonged to parishes in Christiania, Oslo and Aker, had to show confirmation that the priest and the sexton had received the money they deserved. In such cases the priest was entitled to perform the christening in the maternity home. He was obligated to do the christening if the priest required it. These children should be entered in both the Fødselstiftelsen's christening record and in the home parish church book.
In 1837 the provisional fødselsstiftelse discontinued. It was replaced with the permanent fødselsstiftelse and placed under the Rikshospital's administration, to where it was moved. The Rikshospital drew up the instructions for the priest at the maternity hospital. Here it was decided that the priest should not only perform the christenings, but he should also perform the same duties here as he had as the priest at the Rikshospital.
Neither the new regulations nor the later instructions of November 28, 1859, changed the way the church books were written. The 1859 instructions enforced the regulation that the priest was required to keep the information private that was written in the church book for children born out of wedlock and their parents. Transcript or certificates must not be given to other than the parents or the child (when of age) or to those who had power-of-attorney on their behalf.
Until 1887 the priest position at Rikshospitalet and Fødselsstiftelsen a position held by the city's priests. From January 1, 1887, this became a principal position. Starting at that time the church books in addition to births also included marriages and deaths.
From 1917-1934 the priest only had the responsibility of Rikshospital, but in 1934 his position was combined with the position at Oslo Kretsfengsel. Then in 1949, the positions were again separated so that the priest at Rikshospital and Kvinneklinikken (the women's clinic) have had their own full-time priest since 1950.