I am totally stuck!

I am often asked to help people who are “totally stuck” with their search in Norway. Here is how the “Find source” feature can help you back on track. 

After the release of the Digitalarkivet’s re-design I have edited and expanded the topic of this article. As my incitement to write the original article was to point out the limitations of the “Find persons” feature, I leave the first pharagraphs of this article and then ask you to go on to my new article

I am sometimes surprised  as it turns out to be a lot of information available. In these cases I suspect that people are searching only by way of the Advanced person search  feature in the Digitalarkivet.

This search feature is a great tool, but it does have its limitations. One of them, is the fact that not all Norwegian sources are digitized and indexed. Information in scanned sources wil not appear among the Advanced search reults.

In this article I will look at how we can check to see if the persons/actions we are looking for are likely to show up among the search results or if we have to find and go through the scanned source manually .

My new article is found here:

Digitalarkivet’s “Find source feature”

6 thoughts on “I am totally stuck!

  • January 22, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I learned so much! I’ll try it out with some of my ancestral parishes immediately. Who knows, maybe I’ll find some transcribed parish records. The ones I’d really like to see are the probate records. Many thanks!

    • January 22, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      Hello Evelyn. Thanks for visiting my blog. I am really glad to hear that you found this article to be of help. You can use the same method to find probate records for your area and see which one are indexed.

  • January 23, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Very good article! I look forward to trying these tips! I have had terrible luck using the website! I think it is overwhelming for someone who is new to research, especially when you don’t know the exact names to look for! The naming system really through me for a loop, but I am slowly but surely getting the hang of it!!! Thank you for the good information!!!!

    • January 23, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Thanks for visiting Amy and thanks for the kind words. The Digital archives (Digitalarkivet) can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it is really a treasure trove of information. I am planning to go on writing about how to use this source and I am happy to receive ideas as to what problems that should be adressed.

  • January 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Good write up. I really like that when using this method, the results show the status of the databases.

    I find, though, that you can get here another way, and it uses the old advanced search form that can find a lot more people than the new advanced search form.

    The new advanced search requires a role entry which can’t be left blank or made to be any. This really limits the results when searching. Often, especially in older indexes, the Role is missing or has not been coded correctly as this was not anticipated to be searched on.

    The old advanced search forms – http://gda.arkivverket.no/cgi-win/WebMeta.exe – can show you which sources are available for the time period and place, as well as not requiring the Role in the search. This increases the chances of finding people.

    Do you know how we can ask to get this corrected in the new advanced search?

    • January 26, 2017 at 2:13 am

      Hello Tony. Thanks for visiting my blog and for taking the time to share your thoughts. In many cases there are different roads to the same goal and “my way” may not always be the best. I know that many people liked the old solution better. I do, however, advice against using it, as it is no longer updated. I haven’t used the old solution in a long time, but making a test right now I only get a few results in the old solution, while a search like I outlined in the article,(I checked Veøy parish) brought up more (transcribed and indexed) sources. I don’t know anything about the architecture of the databases in the Digitalarkivet, but it seems like the databases that are added after the new solution was implemented, does not show up in the old search. I suppose this experience will differ depending on what geographical area you are looking at, and if there has been new databases added after the new solution was put in place. This is in accordance with the note (in Norwegian) that is displayed at the top of the page you linked.

      This being said; The fact that they have not completely shut down the old solution, may indicate that there are a few databases that are not yet transfered to the new solution.

      I have on a couple of occasions been in contact with Digitalarkivet and this has been a pleasant experience. I can’t remember what address I used, but I believe that sending a mail to post@arkivverket.no with an informative subject line, should bring it to the right person.


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