Searching for Norwegian Ancestors

NorwayResearching for information about one’s ancestors within the United States can be a challenging task, however you will reach the point where you are ready to search in an ancestor’s native homeland. The National Archives of Norway have established an online site with many of their documents in digitalized format. The site is in the Norwegian language, but it can be converted into English by a click of a link at the bottom of the page.

The many databases on the Norwegian site are taken from original documents or from microfilm of records held by the National Archives of Norway. An interesting addition is the link titled; “The Digital Inn”. This is where historians, societies and other genealogical organizations, which are not part of the National Archives, have contributed databases of information. All donated databases are checked for suitable standards by the Archives.

All together with the numerous databases of the National Archives and The Digital Inn there are millions of pages of documents. One of the more important databases is the Parish Registers with an index, providing 1.85 million pages. Here are the scanned church books along with transcribed sources. The site provides instructions for navigating the databases and getting the most out of your search. Along with the parish registers is the Civil Wedding Records database. The dates for the weddings run from 1920 to the 1950s.

Another Norwegian group of databases on the site are referred to as Real Estate Documents. Included would be Mortgage Books and Records and Property Records. There are some 14 million pages for the real estate databases.

The Probate Material covers from the mid-1600s to the early 1800s with some one million digital images. The probate documents include death announcements, journals and registers all related to probate issues. Another database also important is that of court records, which is still be fully added to the site.

The National Archives has a link for photographs of Norwegian farms as of 1900. Many of the images are part of the Archives’ collection and others have been submitted by individuals. This Farm Album is not necessarily farms photographed in 1900, but rather images of actual farms that did exist as of the 1900 census. Each farm is labeled with some general information. The person providing the photo or source and date are listed.

Any researcher knows how important an official census is in doing one’s family tree. The National Archives of Norway also has on the site the census data for 1801, 1865, 1875, 1900 and 1910. Several locations have census information for earlier periods. For example in the county of Telemark there is census information for 1782.

For someone with Norwegian ancestry this site is a must in their quest of their family tree. The online site also has search box where all the various databases can be checked at once. Placing the surname of Olson for the period of 1850 to 1900 produced some 12,221 pages of documents. Overall, a very worthwhile site to investigate.

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