Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Searching for Graves at Bryn Kirkegård

A few months ago, I searched the Norwegian Gravminner database to see if Bryn Kirkegård (Baerum, Akershus) cemetery records had finally been uploaded.  To my delight, I found that the records were available and searchable.  Immediately, I looked for the name "Jordbærhaugen" to see if there were any graves I was not aware still existed.  "Jordbærhaugen" is a rare name in the area, belonging to one farm, and as of the mid-1800's my ancestors have lived there.  I did in fact find my great-great grandparents, Jonette and Olaus, listed in the database with the precise location of their graves (numbers 4 and 5 in section 004).  Surprisingly, the database did not say the graves were "slettet" or deleted.  In Norway, once graves become too old and are not supported financially, the plots are recycled.  In this case, Olaus died in 1915 and Jonette died in 1922, so the removal of the headstones was to be expected.  But one can always hope.  Furthermore, my father had no recollection of his mother visiting her grandparents' graves, and he believed they could no longer be in existence.

Olaus and Jonette Jorbaerhaugen are located next to the church
Luckily, my friend and previous president of the Oslo/Akershus Chapter of the DIS-Norge/Norwegian Genealogy Society, Laila Christiansen, offered to investigate for me.  She contacted the church office and was helped by a very nice lady.  Apparently, the church records needed some updating, and there were several names listed in the church database for the same plots.  She searched for the people who were currently leasing the grave plots, but they were on vacation.  She then went to the site to look for herself and saw that my great-great grandparents' headstones were no longer there.  The headstones belonged to a family that is not related to me.

In the end, all is not lost!  Olaus and Jonette may no longer have a marker at the cemetery, but I am pretty sure their remains were never moved.  Next time I visit Bryn Kirke, I can at least visit the area of their resting place.

Thank you, Laila, and thank you Bryn Kirke for your help.  I really appreciate it.

Laila also blogged about the experience, so please check out her piece since it has more facts and general information about the burial database.

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