Imagine our surprise when we unearthed a Church of Norway (Lutheran) marriage record decorated with pagan-like symbols. The record comes from the Voss, Hordaland Ministerialbok, 1731-1773. On page 148 we found my ancestors, Mons Eriksen and Brita Christoffersdatter, wed in 1771. Every entry on the page includes a couple of tiny, mysterious drawings.
In the words of Martin Luther, “What Does This Mean?” We do not really know, but we would love to find out. Do the symbols apply to the bride and groom? Their families or best men? The farms where they lived?
I have learned that the Voss area was Christianized late and forcibly so by St. Olaf. Perhaps these symbols date from Norway’s pagan era. But why add them to a Christian marriage record? Someone must have an answer, and I need to begin searching for the person who can explain.