Norway Genealogy

A Scandinavian or Nordic kingdom along the North and Norwegian Seas is Norway. It is a land with a rugged coastline numerous mountains and huge fjords and scores of islands. The scenery and clean environment comprise a source of pride to many of the country’s citizens.

The Norwegian people are about 89 percent of the 4.9 million population of Norway. Originally Norwegians are a North Germanic group of people. The ancient Norsemen or Vikings were great travelers of the seas going to Iceland, Greenland, Ireland and North America. The Norse traditions of paganism were converted to Christianity by the 11th century.

Remnants of the native religion and beliefs of Norway survive today in the form of names, referential names of cities and locations, the days of the week, and other parts of the everyday language. The Norwegian language is a North Germanic form with two written forms, Bokmal and Nynorsk. It is Bokmal, which is used by about 88 percent of the population. There are several dialects to the native Norwegian language, but they are generally understood by all.

Over the years Norway has been united with Denmark and other times with Sweden, so those cultures intermixed customs. The Sami, the sub-Arctic ethnic indigenous group were formerly known as the Lapps, are Norway’s oldest ethnic minority. They have lived in Norway region for at least as long as ethnic Norwegians. Sami make-up about 11.4 percent of the population. Over the years they have assimilated into the ethnic Norwegian.

The Christian Church of Norway represents the greatest members within Norway, an important note in Norway genealogy. The next highest are those belonging to the Catholic Church.

The Norwegians are rural and classless in its orientation, and it tended to glorify the simple ways of life of the countryside rather than relish those who lived in the few cities or those who held military status.

Equality and the integrity of the individual are words believed to be highly valued. They exhibit a true spirit of individualism. Norwegians can be difficult to befriend. They tend to jealously guard their personal space and seem worried and slightly afraid when confronted with strangers. Being private and introvert individuals are Norwegian traits. Besides their independence and self-sufficiency, their personality can be said to be formal and always sincere to the point.

The people tend to own an additional cottage (hytter) usually in some remote valley, forest or mountain area, and many spend the majority of holidays there.

Norwegians are also proud of their large merchant fleet. With ships they are well-traveled, having recruited many Protestant missionaries in Africa and Madagascar.

Agriculture has always remained important in spite of the mountainous landscape. Fishing the seas and using their natural resources of minerals, timber and petroleum have provided work for the people.

Norwegian foods are centered around the sea and farms. Salmon, trout, codfish and herring are popular sea foods. Also, a variety of dairy products, milk and cheese are eaten, along with dark breads.

In examining Norway genealogy, in the late 19th and into the early 20th century, many Norwegians immigrated to North America, settling in the United States and Canada. In the 21st century about 4.7 million Americans were of Norwegian descent.

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