Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Burials in Norway

DIS-Norway pretty much dominated my morning.  And that's a good thing!

I was unaware of their website, at, until the kind folks at notified me that they may have burial information for my great-great grandmother, Olea Ganesvik, pictured at left.   I clicked the link, and for the next several hours was engrossed in searching for all of my Norwegian ancestors.  I was able to find burial information, among other things, for many of them.

The database, something on the order of an early Find-a-grave, exists to aid genealogists in locating the burial sites of their ancestors, and has received grants from the Norwegian Arts Council to aid in their work.    The bad news is, the site is in Norwegian.  The good news is, you can get an English search page at    The bad news is, other pages on the site don't offer an English option.  But the good news is, if you use Google Chrome, the browser will offer to translate for you.  The bad news is, nothing is infallible, including Google's translation.  "Olea Ganesvik" translated to "Olea Gane Deceit", so proceed with some caution and perhaps consider keeping the Norwegian version open in a separate browser tab for easy comparison.

The information available on the site may differ from one ancestor to another, but typically, name, date of birth, date of death, date of burial, cemetery name, and location within the cemetery are typically given.  I would assume the database is far from complete.

Another piece of good news - the database does allow for corrections to be made.   In the table of search results, the right-hand column contains an icon that when clicked, whisks you away to another page containing the same data, but with columns for corrections/additions, and also a place to add comments, along with your name and email address.  Whether or not the comments and contact information will be added to the website is anyone's guess, but it wouldn't hurt to try, and you never know - it could result in making contact with a distant cousin.  In addition, source information can be found on the correction page.  The primary source of information for my ancestors was the website of The Norwegian Church at, where photos of some of the churches and graveyards could be seen.  I was very glad to see  photographs of Steine Church and cemetery, where my paternal great-grandparents are buried, a beautiful place that I will probably never be able to visit in person. 

Something initially confusing was the date format - for instance, a day of death is written as "0805" which is 08 May, NOT 05 Aug.  One other thing that I eventually figured out is that the search box will take more information that simply names.   For common names, adding a birth or death year, if known, might save you from looking through page after page of results.  And, since  only 10 results can be viewed at a time, if you have hundreds to go through, this will save you many, many mouse clicks. 

All in all, I was delighted to find this website, and very grateful for the information gleaned from it.  Check it out when you have a few hours!