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A Bentsen Project

This year I plan to do some research on my Nordic ancestors. First up will be my third great-grandparents, Anders Bentsen (d. 1857) and Anne Larsdatter. I know very little about them.

They married in Bø parish, Nordland, Norway in 1851. I do not know whether she had always lived there or came from elsewhere. The area had few permanent residents at that time. Anders arrived in the parish in 1844, from where I do not know.

Bø lies on an island north of the Arctic Circle, part of Nordland’s northernmost island archipelago, called Vesterålen. In the 1800’s, seasonal cod fishing attracted fishermen to the islands from the more southerly coastal areas of Norway. Traders from Bergen made regular trips north, too, especially during fishing season.

Perhaps Anders Bentsen pursued one of these occupations. If so, he may have been born on a farm in the Bergen region.

For many areas of Norway, farm histories, or bygdebøker, contain a lot of information about the residents of the farm. They provide a great resource for research on Norwegian farm families. Unfortunately, I have not found any for the northern islands that can tell me anything about Anders and Anna. Yet if they were born further south, perhaps they were born on a farm with a bygdebok. I could learn something about their families from this source if I can find out where they were born.

This will require some digging in the Norwegian archives. Both my husband/tech advisor and I did search for this information several years ago, with little success. We ran out of time to do more.

We have more experience with Norwegian records now, and I am making time to do some looking. I hope we can achieve a better result this time. The family story for Anders and Anna ended tragically, with a stillborn son and a husband who died young. I would like to learn more about this couple and their origins.

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