March 6, 2012

DIG: Finding Norwegian Marriage Records

Continuing on from the last post on Norwegian Baptism records, we are locating the marriage record for my great-great grandparents Cornelius Christoffersen (born 1860) and Birthe Marie Andreasen (born 1858). This is not going to be as easy as baptism records. Normally, no information is documented to an exact time or date when the couple was married other than the marriage record itself. So if you're working backwards through your Norwegian ancestry, you're going to have to take some guesses, a few leaps of faith, and spend time virtually flipping pages to get the answer you're looking for (It's not that bad, few churches did more than 10-20 weddings a year).

The only real clues we have to go on are the previous baptism record of son Christoffer stating the parents are married, that both parents are from Svelvik & Stromm, and the years they were born. This is crucial information. While it's not accurate 100% of the time, marriages were usually held in the town of the woman's birth (or current residence) and at the time, the only way to get around that was with a royal decree or letter allowing different.

With that being said, we can assume that Cornelius and Birth Marie were married some time before she became pregnant with Christoffer in 1889, yet at least 18 years after she was born in 1858 and that the marriage was in her hometown of Svelvik / Stromm. In this case I'd assume 20 years since Cornelius was 2 years younger than she was.

So, we return back to the scanned parish registers and search for marriage records in Svevik / Strommen between 1878 and 1888. We again enter Vestfold as the region and Stromm/Svelvik as the town. Before we even enter the date we see the first entry in the list of registers starts in 1878 (figure 1-1). Opening it up we see "Ekteviede" or Wedded is the third event category listed with registered weddings starting in 1878. Great! Let's get to searching.

figure 1-1

Note: Working forwards from youngest age of possible marriage or backwards from time of child's birth is your decision, just keep their age in mind. If your ancestor is born when mother is 23 it makes sense to work backwards as opposed to if mother is 47.

Right now, the only column we need to be worried about is column 4, "Brudgrommens og Brudens fulle navn" (Bride and Groom's full names). We will skim this column from page to page until we come a cross a "Cornelius Christoffersen" or "Kornelius Kristoffersen".

We start on page 198. First page doesn't turn up any results and neither does the second. We come close with a Christian Christoffersen and a Gustav Cornelius Andersen, but neither of these are our man (wives are not Birthe Marie), so we keep searching.

We skim a few more pages until we hit pay-dirt on page 204 in 1888. "Cornelius Christoffersen og Birthe Marie Andreasen".

Now we can take a closer look at all the columns and what they mean (heading information changes based on year, see previous post for details):
Column 1: Entry Number
Column 2: Date of Marriage
Column 3: What Number Marriage is this for the Groom (left), Bride (right)
Column 4: Bride and Groom's Full Names
Column 5: Groom's status, occupation and residence
Column 6: Bride and Groom's Place of Birth
Column 7: Bride and Groom's Year of Birth
Column 8: a) When and where Confirmed if outside parish, b) last date of communion
Column 9: Full Name of Bride and Groom's father and occupations
Column 10: Names and Addresses of Best Men (sponsors)
Column 11: Dates of Public Announcement or with whose permission if no announcement
Column 12: Permission to Marry (where required) and proof to widow's pension fund
Column 13: If previously married, how was previous marriage dissolved?
Column 14: Remarks - a) vaccinations for those not confirmed in Norway, b) if not a member of the state church which church do they belong to, c) bride's home if outside parish, d) couple's decree of kinship

Parish record of the wedding - line #2
Entry# 2: Cornelius Christoffersen married Birthe Marie Andreasen on 4th Oct 1888. A first marriage for both, Cornelius was a ship's mate (high ranking sailor) from Svelvik (Stromm). Both were born in Svelvik: Cornelius in 1860 and Birthe Marie in 1858. Both were confirmed outside the parish: Cornelius on 4 Oct 1874, Birthe Marie on the 2 Mar 1873. Both received communion in Svelvik: Birthe in 1887, Cornelius' date is faded and illegible. Cornelius' father was Christoffer Olsen (Christensen) and Birthe's father was Andreas Johnsen. Both fathers were sailors. Best men were ship's carpenter Jens Olsen Ruud of Svelvik and ship's mate Hans Christian Killerjstad? of Svelvik. Announcements of marriage were made at church in 1888 on September 9, 16, and 23.

This information can now be used to search for Baptism records by repeating the process from my previous post. There you will find both parent's names which will lead you to their marriage record as well.

Baptisms were required by law to take place within 3 months or so of birth. It is very rare to find a baptism that takes place after this. So be sure to search the year of birth and the following year as births from September to December can easily have their baptism the next year.

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