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Norway/Finding Norwegian relatives


QUESTION: My maternal grandparents both came to the US in the 1890's, Ole Haaland in 1893, at age 22 from either Arandahl or Mondahl (sp?) and Otilie (Otilia/Ottillie/Othelia) Olsen in 1896 from either of those towns, too. My mother, Alise Joran Haaland, was their only child. My grandfather had a sister Berthe who came over much later but returned. After WWII my mother lost touch with Norwegian relatives; both her parents had died years earlier.

I can find little information on and wonder if there is any Norwegian site that provides help in tracking down Norwegian relatives of immigrants to the US. I have more personal information about my grandparents--their jobs once here, where they lived (Brooklyn, NY and then the Catskill Mts. in NY state where they had a small resort popular with Scandinavian immigrants) but this doesn't help me track down family.

Any help or suggestions you can give me will be much appreciated.

ANSWER: Theres always If you pay for their service you'll be able to search their very extensive databases. Locally in norway we do not have any large databases available.

But you may be able to find something in the old church-books and other official documents  that have been digitized:
Click english and you can find a lot of stuff

There is a farm named Håland/Haaland in Landvig (not so far from Mandal and Arendal)
On this farm lived a farmer named Ole Haaland, and he was born in 1869. You can probably find a lot more in these databases. Try different spellings of the names:

Arendal (the town Arendal)
Mandal  (The town Mandal)

The other names you allready have a variety of spellings to try.

There are several Othilie Olsen written down in the emmigration lists from The Aust Agder and Vest Agder regions in the timespan. You have a good chance of finding your grandmother there.

The fastest way to search is to go to this page:

You first select the upper and lower bounds for your birth year search. Birth years were not recorded very accurately back then, so you'll have to allow for some slack.

Then you can search by first name (førenamn/fornavn), surname (etternamn/etternavn) and place of living (bustad/bosted)

I can find 4 Othilie Olsen that could fit, emigrating from Kristiansand (the major sea port in the area)

And you could always have a look in the phonebook:

search for Håland / Haaland, and you'll get everybody with that surname in norway, nicely placed on a map. Maybe some of them are still living in Håland, the original farm/village near Arendal.

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QUESTION: Roy, thank you for your help last August (!). I have to say that I got discouraged trying the links you gave me. While some of the databases had English versions, going from them to the other links led me back into Norwegian. I find I really haven't much patience for doing this online--at 71 I am only semi-computer-literate!

Are there services in Norway that will search for you for a fee? I am planning a trip in early summer to Norway and would love to have hep beforehand.

Also, is it possible to get to the village of Landvig by bus from Oslo via Mandal or Arendal?

Thank you.

Sorry, I don't know of any services you can get help from for searching the archives. Maybe you could contact a university, and find a student willing to take on a bit of research work? (the university in kristiansand/grimstad) (the univeristy of Oslo)

If by Landvig you mean the area surrounding Landvik church in Grimstad, then it is easily accessible by bus from Grimstad.  


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Roy Helge Rasmussen


I live in the southern part of norway and can find my way around most of the country. I will answer questions about social life, culture, language and politics to the best of my knowledge. I am not so good at travel tips outside the south-eastern parts, although I will try to answer.


I live here and have been guiding members of my family around when they visit from abroad for years.

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