Archive | May 2013

Reading Norwegian Churchbooks

My cousin Dick Larkin has put together a wonderful guide to reading Norwegian churchbooks which is now available in our downloads section. It includes many charts, urls, and images of handwriting. Since so many Norwegian records are online at – this is great help in doing genealogical research. While the census records there are transcribed to typewritten entries and easy to use, the church records require pouring through the images of handwritten entries so help or skill is needed to interpret them.

Here are a few excerpts from his guide:

“If you have chosen your parents wisely, your genealogical research will include Norwegian records.  Norway has one of the most readily accessible bodies of genealogical data of any country outside the United States; the ‘Kirkeboker’, or churchbooks, are an important part of those data.  They are the primary repository of data on births, marriages, and deaths for roughly the period 1670 to 1930, and, best of all, they are online and accessible without cost. Their only real downside is that they can be a challenge to read. This paper will help you overcome that challenge.

and how to figure out which churchbook:
“There are three ways to start: – First and best is to scour your own family records, certificates, Bibles, letters, diaries, and the like, and to inquire of elderly living relatives for clues as to where in Norway your ancestors came from. – Second is to look on Rootsweb ( to see if someone else has been researching your family and has posted their family tree data there. – Third is to use theFamilySearch website, but this may or may not be very helpful without at least some other clues. For example, this search lists over 137,000 people named Ole Olsen born in Norway between 1650 and 1930. Two ways to narrow this search are first by date of birth (or other known or closely estimated date); second is by location – at least at the county level. But even narrowing the search to Vest Agder County, and birth years 1800 to 1830 still gives 692 Ole Olsens. Death records in the United States sometimes identify a birth location in Norway; a farm name may give a clue (but a given farm name will likely be found in multiple communities and counties).
 [Editor’s note  when your ancestors names do not end in -sen or -son they have probably taken their farm name as their surname in this country for example Sande, Hauge, Skjold, and Tveit are all farm names. The familysearch listings for specific counties usually give a list of farm names but these may not be complete so try googling for the farm name with the words farm and norway. For example, googling for “tveit farm norway” turns up farms in at least four different counties.]

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We have results from a first cousin

One of my cousins (half Norwegian) on Dad’s side (all Norwegian) just got his results. So I made this chart comparing myself to my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins on Dad’s side. Mind you, the 2nd cousin is on Dad’s paternal side while the third cousin is on his mom’s side.

Kitty's DNA versus her cousins

Kitty’s DNA versus her cousins

My brother’s chart looks very similar except no X match of course. Notice the very large X match I have with my first cousin which would come from his mother and my Dad’s mother, 57.3 cM. Interesting to see this as compared to my Dad ….

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It’s a Match!! Lars Monsen’s ancestors are found.

The direct male line descendant of Ole Monsen Titland  (1702-1764) is a Y-chromosome DNA 34/37 match to my Dad, who we thought was also a descendant of Ole. Now we know he is!

Thank you so much cousin Sigmund for finding a distant cousin in direct paternal descent to test.

This story was written up a few months back in a post here but we were waiting on the DNA Y-chromosome STR test to prove our theory. Now it is proven.

Here are the deeper details of the three markers that do not match:

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About 23andme Testing

Recently I convinced several cousins to test their DNA at 23andme since the price is now only $99 – 23andme is pushing to get one million subscribers. The idea is that by having a large enough database with subscribers that answer their health and trait surveys, correlations can be found with the genes responsible. 23andme has already contributed greatly to the current knowledge of DNA using this technique. So I feel particularly good about being a part of that. Click here for the list  of correlations that they have so far.

What they do is not a complete genome sequencing, just the markers that are most likely to be different from one person to the next. Remember we share about 98.5% of our genome with chimpanzees and 99.9% with other humans. These tests use a microchip array that actually tests about .o2% of your  genome.

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