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Ancestors from the Aardal Area of Norway

Here's a description of the area:

Aardal was a very remote district. It is 125 miles in from the Atlantic Ocean at the head of the Sognefjord. Some of the highest mountains in Norway soar up behind it. Until around World War II there wasn't a road to Aardal. The only way to get there was by boat. Going west toward the ocean the nearest valley with a significant population was about 25 miles. In the 1801 census there were a little over 800 people living on 32 gards (sort of like farms). There have been people in Aardal from very early times. Reliable state church records, Norway's vital statistics, date back to the 1600's. The available gene pool was kind of small and there was lots of intermarriage. First cousins married with reckless abandon and no noticable ill effects. As a result, of the almost 17,000 individuals in my data base all but 71 are in the same family tree!

Mr. Neil Hoflands writes:

I have something to offer that applies to not just Lincoln County but to any emigrants from the Aardal kommune at the head of the Sognefjord in Sogn and Fjordane. I loaded the Aardal Bygdebok into PAF and have a data base of almost 17,000 individuals. Essentially I have everyone who every lived there from the beginning of recorded time down through their descendants in Norway until 1985, plus any descendants of emigrants I can find, mostly my own family, although this is spreading out as people find out about it and me. NAHA and the Vesterheim Genealogical Center know about me and I have been to Aardal and installed the data base over there. I am working with them on expanding it and other heritage projects as well, including a tour to America in 1998 which they want me to help plan.

Neil has a PAF database of over 3 MB - he will look up information for you in that database and would like to exchange information on any famillies from the Aardal area. The people in Norway are trying to compile all descendants from the area.  If you think you are from the area, try contacting him for more information. He is working on a list of farm names from the area.  NHofland@aol.com