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Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360479584000
Classification: Query
I am hoping for some help finding more information on the following 5th great grandparents of mine. Any help or tips would be very appreciated. Thank you! Nora

Mikjell Olsen (1761-)
Anna Tomsasdatter Seljestat (1765-1855) she was born in
Selljestad, Odda Kinsarvik, Sondre Bergenhuus, Hordaland, Norway
They had 5 children I know of (Amund Bru Edmundson Sandven 1800-1898 is my line(Bru Farm))

Odd Isakson Sandvae (1772-)
married in 1801 to
Anna Asmundsdatter Jordal (1764-1837)

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360497671000
Classification: Query

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360499342000
Classification: Query

Farm no. Farm Parish Muncipality County

1 Seljestad Odda Ullensvang Søndre Bergenhus amt

Bru Odda Ullensvang Søndre Bergenhus amt

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360501015000
Classification: Query
A son of "Mikjell Olsen" and "Anna Tomsasdatter" will NOT be named Edmundson. By traditional Norwegian naming practice and pattern (patronymic naming) he would have been a Mikkelsen which could be spelled Mikjellsen by some.
Perhaps Edmundson is some name used for him after he emigrated from Norway... it would not be used in Norway.

What is your source for this information that you have?

Where is Garretson? That place is mentioned in Norway references to that family after 1882 and it is unknown to me.

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360520257000
Classification: Query
Thanks for the reply. Garretson is a town in South Dakota, USA where the family emigrated to.

I was confused by the naming as well, and don't know if the parent information is correct, which is why I'm trying to track it down. Some family information just lists him as Amund Bru. Others, Amund Bru Sandven, others Amund Bru Sandven Edmundson. I figured the Edmundson is actually just his children being Edmundson and that being applied backwards.

I thought Bru was the farm name and that his last name was just taking the farm and that his father might actually be Mikjell.

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360523198000
Classification: Query
"some family information" doesn't really tell me much about your source. I'm trying to find out how much you understand about tracking your Norwegian ancestry yourself... and therefore to know how much I have to explain.

Yes, he could have been called Amund Bru -- Bru being a farm in that area where he had lived or had family history. But his name was actually Ommund Mikkelsen -- and that spelling is not definitive -- stay flexible, it might appear differently in every record you find for him. The vital thing is that is sounds the same and represents the same man... much like the junk mail you probably also receive with your name butchered. It has no effect on who you are.

The 1865 Norwegian census shows him living in Odda as a widower with his youngest son still with him -

Published histories of Ullensvang/Odda indicate that his children all appear to have emigrated in the early 1870s to the US -- that's where the Garretson was noted.
Was that in Minnehaha Co.? There appear some likely Edmensons and Amundsens in the 1880 US census... could be his children and their families.

The old man himself emigrated from the city/port of Bergen in 1887 - the database lists him as at least 10 years younger than he actually was.

There are many resources online and many more available on LDS microfilms that you can use. I can point you to them if you are ready to research. I also had ancestors from that area and have previously used many of them.

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360525520000
Classification: Query
Thank you for this. I am only about 2 months into this project and am compiling data mostly from family records that do not offer source citations for most of the information in them. I have been learning my way around German and Danish databases/records for other branches of my tree, but haven't done so for the Norwegian sides yet. I would love any hints or pointers you would be willing to give me. Thank you.

For this particular piece of my family tree we have a lot of information on all of Amund's descendants. My understanding is that all of Amund's children did emigrate and he came to the US as well (after his wife Brita died). He died here in the US where his children were (Palisade Township, Minnehaha Cty. South Dakota).

Thanks again!

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360528707000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1360528818000
Oh, I LOVE to teach! Norwegian ancestral research is so much fun!
Let me organize my thoughts and respond later today or tomorrow.

Meanwhile - I can point out some Hordaland geography specific to your families there.
An older map of Hordaland that shows parishes/clerical district names and approximate boundaries for those (I don't recall the actual date of this map). Note locations of Kinsarvik, Ullenvang and Odda along the Sørfjorden "dogleg" of the Hardangerfjorden.

You see Odda with a lake on the south side of it. Sandven farm is located on the southern shore of that lake. Jordal is at the northwest side of that lake. Bru and Seljestad are further south - not far south of what looks to be labelled Solfonn and probably closer to Roldal parish/district than actually to Odda.

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360537903000
Classification: Query
Traditional Norwegian naming patterns are different than German and probably much similar to patronymic Danish names.
In large Norwegian cities, ports that did a great deal of business with non-Scandinavian countries, and/or cities strongly influenced by the Hanseatic League you will find variants on the traditional rural naming patterns. But you and I are dealing with a very rural area -- Hardanger region -- specifically Odda, Ullensvang and Kinsarvik (OUK is my own acronym for the area) so we make ourselves familiar with the traditional patterns.
Søndre Bergenhuus is an older name for Hordaland. Hardanger is an ancient traditional region but not an administrative division of the government or church.

(Aside -- I checked my own family tree files briefly. My 3rd great-grandfather was born on another Odda farm in 1804. If YOUR farmily was walking to church in Odda from Seljestad or Bru they could have waved at him as they walked by since his farm of birth was directly in between those locations... but my family didn't live there for too many more years, they were poor non-owner tenant farmers and moved to another location before he was 10 or 12. I just found that an amusing mental image.)

I wrote a general "help get you started" file some time back that I'll include here and save myself much time this evening. I know a great deal about the specific 'OUK' area so I will probably not be able to resist adding more as I think of it. You are of course welcome to ask me specific questions too. (I'm in the US - a descendant of Norway born emigrants who settled in Iowa; no Germans, no Danes, no Swedes -- but I'm now researching Swedes for my spouse anyway -- darn.)

The real joy of this hobby is being able to do it yourself. You can! There are a number of excellent materials available online for your study and the number of Norwegian resources available online for research increases almost daily. Study, practice, enjoy!

Ancestors From Norway articles (
Portal to Norway research guidance of LDS Family History Library (
Tips on Using Digitalarkivet (
Norwegian census abbreviations (
Norwegian censuses on NHDC website, instructions included (
FamilySearch has a large number of Norwegian births and marriages indexed (

Help for translating many of your finds (
Making the Norwegian alphabet characters (

Online study material to learn about Norwegian naming practices and patterns.

Norwegian censuses of 1910, 1900,1875 (only partially online), 1865 and 1801 are online as searchable databases. Two websites with different search functions and strengths can be used.

The detail available in the extensive parish church records is a marvelous gift from Norway. The Digitalarkivet web site has been adding scanned images of the original Norwegian parish church records for anyone with Internet access since November 2005. To be able to use the parish records you must first know WHERE in Norway you want to search for this documentation.

The Digitalarkivet web site - (
An English option is available by clicking on that word from either the left hand column or the blue link bar along the bottom of the homepage.
The scanned images are available from the homepage link "Skanna kyrkjebøker" [Norwegian version]/"Digitised parish records" [English version] which is listed along the left hand column and from the blue banner of links along the top section of the homepage.
When you click on that link another page will present a short list of choices - choose "Read the digitized parish registers"[English version]/"Lesa skanna kykrebøker" [Norwegian version].
After you've clicked on that link and a new main page has presented on the screen be sure and read the instructions that are available from the Digitalarkivet for navigating the scanned records. The instructions are available in Bokmål (official Norwegian), Nyorsk (Norwegian), Davvisámegiella (Saami), and English.
Recommended basic reading are the "Startsiden" [Norwegian version]/"Main page" [English version], "Brukerveiledning" [Norwegian version]/"User's guide" [English version] and "Om tjenesten" [Norwegian version]/"About this service" [English version].

Good information about translating the formats of Norwegian parish church records during various time periods, many of the basic terms used and understanding how to use the information should be studied at this web site -

For the protection of privacy, there are limits for how recent records can be:

- Birth and baptism records up to and including 1929
- Confirmation records up to and including 1934
- Marriage and banns records - no limits
- Civil marriage up to and including 1950
- Death, burial and stillbirth records up to and including 1930
- Migration records - no limits
- Joins and leavings of the State Church up to and including 1950
- Records about dissenters up to and including 1950

If you cross these limits while browsing a register or a list, you will not see the digitised image, but a message informing you that the image cannot be displayed.

Norway has a tradition of publishing history and genealogy books for many rural districts of the country called 'bygdebøker'. You might be lucky enough to have had ancestors from one of the areas which has one or more good 'bygdebøker' published about it.
Learn about 'bygdebøker' (
Bygdebøker and Ættarbøker can be helpful but are definitely secondary sources of information -- any research done in them should be verified in the primary sources such as the parish church records.

Your family on Seljestad farm in 1801 - last family listed. They are also just tenants as my family was not far away. (Just add these spelling variations to your collection and keep good notes.)

Re: Families from Hardanger, help with more information?

Posted: 1360545834000
Classification: Query
This is so wonderful, thank you very much. I loved the idea of our ggggparents waving to each other on the way to church.
I will explore all of these resources, thanks again!
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