SDÁ 1-2010: Marit B. Henriksen

Sámegiela báikenamat ja sámiide guoski dieđut Peter Schnitlera čilgehusas Norlándda ámttas

Marit B. Henriksen (Sámi allaskuvla)

Viečča artihkkala dás (pdf).

Sami place names and other Sami-related information in Major Peter Schnitler’s report from Nordland amt

This paper is based on investigation of historical written documents from 1743 and 1744. The historical material is the result of a survey conducted by the authorities of the former Denmark-Norway state. In this survey, the authorities required answers to altogether 43 questions concerning a wide range of issues, such as the geography and topography of the regions, botanical and wildlife descriptions, industrial possibilities, demographical issues, health and welfare of the population, and even requirements of dialect samples. The historical material derived from «the 43 questions in 1743» is edited by The National Archival Services of Norway and published in a five-volume series of books, the last one of these being published in 2008.

The volume published in 2008, which is the fifth volume of the series Norge i 1743, contains an extensive description of the Nordland area (amt in Norwegian), an area which today consists of the counties of Nordland and Troms. This description was carried out by Major Peter Schnitler, who was involved in the national border examinations in the 1740s. Schnitler delivered a description of Nordland amt of more than 400 hand written pages together with a map of the area.

Schnitler’s description contains a very large amount of place names, compared to many of the other responses to the 1743 survey. A considerable part of these place names are Sami place names. My purpose in examining Schnitler’s description was to find out how this description functions as a source for Sami place names. In addition to this, I wanted to find out what kind of other information it is possible to collect from this historical document, i.e. language information, information on Sami settlement and so on. In this paper, I present findings concerning the amount and distribution of Sami place names in Schnitler’s description, together with a glance at what kind of linguistic or dialectal information can be derived from the place names.