30 September 2017

Norwegian Naming Patterns, Expertly explained in a YouTube Video

Brad Imsdahl is a descendant of Norwegian immigrants who came to Minnesota. He's done a wonderful job of telling his family immigrant story, via a 25 minute mini-documentary, from Oppland Co., Norway to Brooten, Stearns and Pope Co. Minnesota. Brad’s great-grandparents, Peder and Marit Imsdal came from the Imsdalen, a remote valley located north of Lillehammer in Oppland County Norway. Peder immigrated in May 1884, worked on a farm, and later sent money to Norway for his wife and son to immigrate. 

The YouTube video explores the reasons why so many Norwegians immigrated to Minnesota, about the Homestead Act, and why people changed their name, after immigrating.  Of note, is Brad's explanation of the naming patterns, of Norwegians, (4 minutes) at 9:48. It should also be noted that these patterns varied through time and from area to area.

I learned of Brad, and his video, from a Norwegian Blogger named Martin Eidhammer. His picture and brief bio are below, as well as a link to his blog:  Norwegian Genealogy and then some: Genealogy, history and culture from Norway.

Martin Roe Eidhammer is a Norwegian Blogger, living in Norway. He’s married,
has three children and is, by profession, a psychiatric nurse. He grew up in Vestnes in Romsdal
 (Møre og Romsdal county) and we are now living in Skjevik, east of the town Molde (M&R county)

27 September 2017

Understanding the new Digitalarkivet website - Launched May 2017

Kitty Munson Cooper is a "a blogger, genetic genealogist, genealogist, programmer, web designer, speaker, mother, grandmother, gardener, dog lover, cat lover, and World Champion Bridge player." who writes a blog titled:


I recently discovered this blog when I went on a journey to understand the new Digitalarkivet web site. The site, at first glance, appears to be rather stright forward, however I'm having challenges navigating it and wanted some insights. Kitty provided this in a blog posting that she wrote February 6, 2017 and updated on June 6, 2017.

In Kitty's own words ...
Searching the Norwegian Digital Archives, a Rootstech Talk 
Many of us Norwegian-American researchers have been complaining about the new archives and its search function. So I went to the talk by Finn Karlsen of the Digitalarkivet hoping to gain a better understanding. Of course the first thing he told us was that the old archive would die at the end of March as would the links we might have been using in our trees to reference data there. This is not news as we have been hearing it for a while... keep reading.
Kitty also has some other interesting posts that may be of interest:

Check out her blog. It's well worth reading.

You can also read about the 'launching of the new digital archives (website) on the sites blog: 

posted, May 26, 2017

17 September 2017

Uncoding Gothic Script

I recently attended an online Webinar (a seminar that is conducted over the World Wide Web) hosted by the Illinois State Genealogical Society. The title was  "Luxembourgers on the Prairie: Researching your Luxembourg Ancestors" presented by a good friend, Lisa Oberg,  She is a self proclaimed librarian, genealogist, and history enthusiast who lives and works in Seattle.  The premise of the webinar, as stated in her fabulous handout, begins with "Small, but might, Luxembourg is a European county with a distinct culture and heritage. Throughout history, the county has been ruled by Germany, Franc, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain."  I'm not a Luxembourger, but the information she shared was amazing and useful for anyone.

One of the many items she discussed was the fact that the records are written in a script that is not easy to decipher. Blackletter (sometimes 'black letter'), also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura is frequently encountered in northern European texts. It is also referenced as Fraktur, a calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet and the several blackletter typefaces derived from this hand. 

To date, there are no known online tools to automatically translate from documents written in this script into English. :( 

That said, I want to share with you a few links that I learned from Lisa as well as a recent reference to Gothic Script that I read in the Fall 2016 issue of Currents - The Newsletter of the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA). Below is a clipping from that newsletter. It provides suggestions on how to read the Dano-Norwegian language that was used in Norway. 

The author of the piece, Dale Hovland, is a member of the Hadeland Lag and a volunteer with the NAHA at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Kudos to him for sharing his knowledge.

Two of the many weblinks Lisa provided in her webinar handout help the user understand how to navigate the script. 

The first: German Script Tutorial, provided by the BYU Family History Center. This site provides background information that can be useful in understanding what you are seeing on the printed page. 

The second: German Scripts – Stephen P. Morse is located on the website produced by Stephen P. Morse: One Step Search Pages.  These links are widely used by genealogists throughout the world. 

I highly recommend that you check out all of the links in the Blog post, for further insight on how to read documents 'from the old country.'