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Taking Time to Identify Family Farms

This week I needed something to do when a computer problem prevented me from scanning photos as I had originally planned. I designed a short project related to the trip to Norway that I plan to make this summer.

A couple of years ago I spent a lot of time retrieving and analyzing church records from the National Archives of Norway ( These baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death records usually include the name of the farm where the ancestor lived at the time. When I did the original research, I made copies of the records but did not enter the farm names into my database. The unfamiliar farm names were just too hard for me to read, especially when they were abbreviated or the script was faint.

Since then, I have located and saved a list of all the main farms in the district of Vesteraalen where my family lived. I pulled out all my church records and located the farm names. Then I compared the farm names on the records to the farm names on the printed list. Everything matched up! I went back to my database and added the appropriate farm name to each event. I noticed that most of the time during the period I had researched, my Bentsens lived on the Bervik farm in Bø municipality and my Sivertsens lived on the Valfjord farm in the Hadsel municipality. I hope we can visit these places when we take our trip to Norway next summer.

This little project provided a pleasant diversion while I was on my forced hiatus from my scanning project. Now the computer hard drive has been replaced, and I can resume my scanning. I have photos from Nevada, Illinois, and Massachusetts left to do. Next week I will be back to the research plan. But this week I did enjoy revisiting the Norwegian records.

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