Two-part Norwegian source/ancestor question

+4 votes
I have a specific research question and then a more general one so I can start to do a better job of helping myself with this type of Norway-based research.

First the specific.  I have recently been in contact with a DNA cousin who has a common ancestor (we are pretty sure) from Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.  We have almost settled upon our common ancestor as "Eli Olsdatter from Stryn, Sogn og Fjordane, who I believe was the mother of my ancestor Sigri Bendixdatter and possibly the mother of my DNA cousin's ancestor Jannika Bendixdatter, who she says "was born April 20, 1818 in Brynestad." According to this cousin, the father is Bendix Larsen Naesdal (or Naustdal) (b. 1789 in Bodahl) and her mother Eli Olsdatter Brynestad (b. 1785 in Toten Oppland). Both Oppland and Nastdal are in Sogn og Fjordane.

The problem is that my cousin believed that Eli Olsdatter died in 1848.  I have and Eli Olsdatter living on the same farm with my ancestor on the 1865 Norway census for Stryn, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.

I was trying to research this, and did run across an Eli Olsdatter's death record in 1842 on FamilySearch at  But this record is so vague I can't even tell which part of Norway it occurred in, and there's no image to view.

Can someone help me either connect Jannika Bendixdatter and Sigri(d) Bendixdatter to the Eli Olsdatter in the 1865 census, if they are actually connected?

The second half of my question is just where/how can I perform a better search myself?  I have tried the Norway Digital Archives, and I just can't get the technique at all.  I either get zero hits (because I am adding too many details to the search) or I get basically the entire population of Norway in no particular order if I allow it to do a broad search on a name.  Frequently the name I entered doesn't show up until much later in the list, and it's usually not the right person. Is there a better way to start, or a better website?

Are there certain ways to phrase things when I'm searching so I have any hope of finding someone when I know very little?  I'm specifically thinking of the Digital Archives, but if there's a better place to search from, I'd love to try it.

Thanks, Reba
WikiTree profile: Sigrid Bendixdatter
asked in Genealogy Help by R. Greenup G2G6 Mach 6 (63.3k points)
Eli Olsdatter Sætten, the one from the census, is listed as having been born in Indvig parish, the neighbouring parish. She died in 1874 at the age of 90

The Stryn parish records have been transcribed and are searchable back to 1844. I'll see what I can deduce from that.
Sigri's marriage is here

Her father is as your cousin says Bendix Larsen Indre Næsdal, even if she's got the mother's death wrong.
This is Sigrid baptism record, same father.

I also found Jannika's and there the father is Bendix Larsen Brynestad. So the question is, were there two Bendix Larsen in Stryn at the time.
All of the relevant records have been transcribed, and from these it's obvious it's the same parents. Eli Olsdatter came from Brynestad, that's where they lived in the beginning, and they then moved to Næsdal

1 Answer

+7 votes

"Eli Olsdatter Brynestad (b. 1785 in Toten Oppland)" is not a Sogn og Fjordane individual. Toten is a parish/municipality in Oppland county. I wouldn't be surprised if there's an Oppland farm in Sogn og Fjordane, but "Toten Oppland" would not refer to that.

answered by Bjørnar Tuftin G2G6 Mach 1 (10k points)
Actually, that's imprecise. Eli Olsdatter Brynestad might very well be a Sogn og Fjordane individual, but it's odd if she was born in Toten, Oppland which is on the other side of the mountains.
Thanks for stepping in here, Bjørnar!

I appreciate you helping with the transcribed records-- and if you could let me know where you are finding them, please share!  I have a feeling I'm looking in all the wrong places.

Transcribed records that have been added to the Norwegian archives can be found here:

Well, all sources can be found there, but if you tick the box for "searchable" you will only find the ones that have been transcribed.
And for some reason I decided to look up Eli's birth as well. She was born at Brynestad in 1785, no Toten Oppland in sight:


I can't thank you enough for all the help you've given me here.  I'm going to use your link to make a bookmark and see if I do can do a better job at finding my Norwegian ancestors, using the information about the "searchable" tick box.

I really appreciate you taking the time to really flesh out this person, and I think it is proven now with sources that this is where my DNA cousin and I connect.  And as far as her Toten Oppland reference, she is also of Norwegian-American ancestry and probably has as much difficulty with the research as I do.


My pleasure. And as for misinterpreting sources and place names I understand perfectly how difficult it can be when one isn't familiar with the places in question.
Hopefully the transcription on digitalarkivet is more precise than Family Search's transcription, which is horrible because it consistently fills in the father's patronym as the child's surname.
The transcripts at digitalarkivet are generally done by Norwegians who understand the conventions, and most of the ones I've dealt with lately are strict about following the source and don't even infer a patronymic from the father's name. I can understand the choice, but it makes for browsing through a lot of, say, children named Hans to see if their father is Anders or not.
LOL. I see what you did there.

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