Monday, February 18, 2013

The Day I Found My GGGrandparents

Norwegian flag in wind  by Hans-Petter Fjeld
My mother's father was the son of Norwegian immigrants.  I had heard mother's stories about her grandparents, Peter Peterson Myren and Kari Siem Myren, and could remember driving by the Myren homestead farm in North Dakota years ago.  However, mother didn't know much about her father's family back in Norway, my Great Great Grandparents. 

Learning more about them had been on my research task list for a long time.  Each August, Family Tree Magazine publishes their annual list of 101 Best Genealogy Websites.  In the category of Best Genealogy Websites in Europe, Family Tree Magazine had information about and a link to Digitalarkivet, the National Archives of Norway.  I took a quick look at Digitalarkivet, hoping to find tons of information, only to find that it (of course) was written in Norwegian.  

In order to even start a search,  I first set my computer to automatically translate printed text from Norwegian to English.  Next,  I opened Google Translator in a separate window so I could key in handwritten passages for a translation into English.  

A Family wiki provided one more resource that proved very helpful as I prepared to look at Norwegian records, a Norwegian genealogical word list.  This list was definitely worth a bookmark on my laptop, but I went ahead and printed it, storing it eventually in my Norway Search Info folder.  Now I was ready to see what I could find at Digitalarkivet.

One afternoon, using the National Archives of Norway database for the 1865 Census of Norway, I found my Great Grandfather Peter/Petter Peterson listed as a 18-year old living on his family's farm   I also found his father's name, Peter Andersen, but there was no mention of his mother.

The next afternoon, thanks to those translation aids, I found Peter/Peder's Peterson's baptismal record.  I already knew his birth date (8 Oct 1848), place of birth, father's name, and Myren, the name of their farm.  After making a rough translation of the column headings of the parish registers, I had an idea of where to look as I scanned the parish Minister's Book for Peter's birth date.  I spend about an hour skimming through pages of digitized records, looking for those facts, but it was worth it when I came across the record of his baptism.  There in entry 135 for 1848 was the information I had been seeking.  A column for entry 135 listed "father Peter Andersen of Myren and Anne Johnsdatter", my GGGrandparents, and another column listed the witnesses of Peter's baptism.
Kildelninformasjon: Oppland fryke, Lesja, Ministerialbok nr. 64 , entry 135
Later that evening I printed translation notes and stapled them to my printout of the baptismal record pages.  I was thrilled with my discovery, saddened only that I could not longer share this information with my mother.

Now I've already added more things to my research task list.  Right at the top is finding out what happened to my Great Great Grandmother Anne Johnsdatter.  Next I'll be looking for a marriage record for Peter Andersen and Anne Johnsdatter.  And then, there are Peter's brothers and sisters ...  As long as I'm not attempting to speak Norwegian with my southern accent, I'll probably do OK.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful,informative,entertaining,creative site.
    Thank you so much for sharing! Cherie