Thursday, May 01, 2008

Color My Flag

It's time for a little "flag as art" lesson. Who can color the flag of Norway without first peeking at an example?

While collecting family history information, it can be fun to associate flags as symbols of the places our ancestors came from. The site is a wonderland of worldwide color for your viewing pleasure.

There are even flags for Norwegian fylke (counties), though many of them were adopted in recent decades. Here are the fylke that my ancestors hailed from:

A yellow cross. the arms bent outwards on a white field. According to Norwegian heraldic rules, yellow and white is a prohibited combination. Exceptions are only made where medieval arms are resurrected. In the case of Nord-Trøndelag the historic design is that of St. Olav, who according to the saga carried a white shield with a golden cross at the battle of Stiklestad (traditionally dated to 1030). St. Olav was killed in the battle.

A white cross on a blue field. The design is based on a stone monument erected in memory of a local notability, Erling Skjalgson, who died in 1028 (the stone cross is kept in Stavanger Museum). Adopted 11 January 1974.

A white mogop (Anemone vernalis) on a green field. The designer was Arvid Sveen. The color green was chosen to symbolize forestry and agriculture. Flag adopted 18 May 1989.

Two crossed axes and cross-staff Gules. The axes in the coats are always conected to the axe of St. Olav. Adopted 9 December 1983. This coat of arms was used by Trondheim's archdiocese in the 15th Century.

But, hold on! As if that weren't enough stimulation, each kommune (municipality) has also adopted a shield. Here are some within the fylke of Nord-Trøndelag and the Indre Namdal region. My immigrant great great grandparents, Baard and Thibertine Johnson (Lassemo), came from the Grong municipality.

Top row (left to right): Grong, HØylandet, Lierne.
Bottom row (left to right): Namsskogan, Royrivik, Snaasa.

What official colors and shapes represent the homeland(s) of your ancestors?

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