Finding a grave can be of both practical and emotional importance when you are searching for your ancestors.
For privacy reason, there are limits to the publication of records. This is why finding a gravesite can give you information about people who was born and/or died after ca. 1930.
The emotional part of finding a grave is obvious to most of us. When going on a trip to Norway it is very nice to be able to find a grave. Finding old graves can be difficult. Due to limitations in arable land In Norway a gravesite can be reused after 20 years.
People not accustomed to this practice seems to believe that the remains are removed after this time. Embalming is not common in Norway so after 20 years there is normally nothing left in the grave. If there are small remains left, these are, according to law, buried in the bottom of the new grave.
It is important to point out that nothing is removed from the old grave. I have seen people write about having seen “boneyards”. I find that hard to believe. I have never seen them, and if they exist it is in grave violation of the laws and regulations that govern Norwegian cemeteries.
The grave can be kept longer than 20 years if relatives pay for the gravesite. Often younger family members are laid to rest in an ancestors grave. In such cases the names of the older generation are often included on a new headstone.
My parents rest in the graves of my great-grandparents. We kept the old headstone with the names of my g-g-parents and added a new, with same size and style, for my parents.
In densely populated area these rules are enforced more strict than in rural areas. Graves are not removed until there is an actual need for the space. In cemeteries in rural areas that no longer has many new burials, I suspect that headstones are left in place even if there is no one who pay the fee for the gravesite.
Headstones from graves that are removed are usually moved to a discrete location in the cemetery, giving next-of-kins an opportunity to claim it. If the stones are not claimed after a reasonable time, they are destroyed and disposed of in a way that it can no longer be recognised as a headstone.
To find a grave in Norway you can go to Cemeteries in Norway
This is a website maintained by “The Genealogy Society of Norway – Slekt og Data” If you will be doing a lot of research in Norway you might consider joining the society. This will bring you to the center of a group of experienced and knowledgeable genealogists in Norway.
You may want to support their work (I should actually say “our” as I am a member) by paying an amount of your choice through Paypal.
I suggest you go straight to the “Advanced search” that brings you to this menu (show only part of page for readability):
On this page you have two options. You can start by choosing county. This brings up the different municiaplities in that county. When you choose the municipality you find the different cemeteries in that municipality. Depending of the area and the cemetery, there may still be a lot of names to search through.
The other option is to search for names.
In the pictures above I have opened the drop-down menus to show the variables you can use to narrow down your search. The most important is perhaps the persons vital data; Names and dates. The operators are “contains”, “starts with” and “equals”.
Note that when you get the results listed, the page lists only ten hits a page. You need to navigate through them using the commands inside the red square (red square added by me)
If there is a picture of the actual gravesite, this is indicated with a blue “view” in the table: