Genealogy- which methods are best? Is it a data program, or pen and paper with access to a digital archive? I have tried them both and have made my conclusion. Genealogy is a time consuming hobby which make me forget time and space. My experience when it come to data programmes is My heritage, where names firmly pop up and make it so easy to collect information.
Genealogy in Norway
For many years ago I sign up for DIS-Norge, The Genealogy Society of Norway. This is the largest association for genealogists in Norway. The most famous database is Gravminner. This is the Norwegian name of the DIS Headstone database, which is one of the tools I have used the most. This is a free tool which DIS-Norge provides for their members, and others who are looking for their ancestors.
I have used The National Archives of Norway (Arkivverket) especially the Digital Archives (arkivverket.no/digitalarkivet). Here you can access censuses, parish records, emigrant lists, real estate registers, probate records, tax list and more.
The National Library of Norway has preserved copies of everything published in Norway, which have given me a lot of help. The library has preserved books, newspapers, magazines, photographs, phone books and even train schedules and election files. The web adress is http://www.nb.no. They recommend to send them an email at email@example.com before visiting the library.
I have had a lot of help of the nationwide censuses held on regular basis. That mean that 1801, 1865, 1875, 1900 and 1910 are available online along with lists of males back to 1664. The web adress is http://www.arkivverket.no/digitalarkivet
Parish registers have been a valuable contribution to my reasearch and is very interesting reading. The priests started to keep records of baptism, marriages and funerals in the beginning of the mid-1600. Most of the registers can be found at media.digitalarkivet.no/en/.
“Village books” have been of invaluable sources for my genealogy projects. You get a good insight in how your ancestors lived.
The digitized genealogy research
Whether you want to search your ancestors “by hand”, or set up a digital programme you need a name. age, place and occupation. I have for may years been written my lineage chart by hand, but a couple of years ago I decided to give My heritage a try. You sign up and get a frontpage at the web site. You can write messages to other people through My heritage, and in some cases that is a nice feature. My heritage is not free and you got to pay a annual amount. Genealogy with a digitized method is really fast.
The disadvantage with My heritage
As you work, you soon will discover other people searching for the same ancestors as you. The problem with My heritage is all the names popping up constantly, and you get suggestions from other people’s lineage chart. Then you have to decide to add the suggested names into your chart or dismiss them, even if you got the names in your chart or not. There are step mothers, step sons, sisters to an aunt or somebody´s uncle, four-,five and sixth cousins and so on and the question is; do I need all the information?
To be honest, I didn´t like these pop-up suggestions. I wanted to do my own research. My lineage chart became to big, because certain names actually doubled. In the end I was so confused. I could not remember who has been added to my chart or not, and it became so difficult to know whether I was really related to all of these people or not. The clues are in the documentation which you don´t have any access to at My heritage.
One lady wrote to me on my “My heritage” frontpage and asked why I dismissed her lineage chart, because they were correct. She seemed really furious about it…… On the other hand I may have misunderstood the purpose, but for me it was just disturbing.
My heritage promotes their DNA tests. But is that really necessary when I through my research find exactly where my ancestors lived?
Which methods are best?
I decided to change method and go back to pen and paper, which gives me better control and a better chance to remember the names. The digital archive in Norway has all the documentation I need and given me the access to the parish registers, censuses and the Headstone database.
I am so old now that my grandmothers and grandfathers have pasted away a long time ago, so I can´t use them as a source. Even they tried to tell us about their childhood in Lofoten or stories about their grandparents.