This free site’s historical records make it one of the most useful Norwegian genealogy resources. You may notice changes if you’ve visited the site before: As part of an ongoing reorganization, webmasters are adding and rearranging records and making the service more user-friendly. You’ll need to register with the site for free, which gets you advanced functionalities such as listing matches in a separate window and asking questions on the National Archives forums. If a page comes up in Norwegian, look for a button for English in the menu bar at the top.
The next stop is the Digital Archives, under the QuickLinks. Here, you’ll find a search box where you can enter a surname or a location to search resources such as parish and census records. Not all records are indexed, so you may have to browse. For that, you’ll need to have a good idea where your family lived: The records are often arranged by geographic area, then either alphabetically or chronologically.
In addition to providing some searchable indexes for Norway, this multifaceted website has articles and other features to help you trace your Norwegian roots. From the home page, hover over Search and choose Wiki from the dropdown menu. Once in the Family History Research Wiki, search for Norway. In the list of results, I suggest starting with the one titled simply Norway, which provides topics for getting started and links to other helpful pages. Explore the articles under Beginners Corner, for starters. Other important information to look for here includes:
This website has especially helpful information for understanding Norwegian names—given names, patronymics, farm names and more. Click on Those Norwegian Names, under Recommended Reading on the left. You’ll also find articles on ships’ voyages, nautical disasters and searching for passenger lists. Searchable indexes include a growing database of pre-1875 Norwegian emigrants; lists of emigrant ships, agents and shipping lines; and emigrant ship arrivals reported in newspapers around the world (1870-1894). A categorized gallery shows you documents, ports, ships, pioneers, and more images to help you picture your Norwegian ancestors’ lives. Got research questions? Check out the forum for questions about migrants (especially to America). If you’re not careful, the interesting and useful material here may distract you from your research.
You’ll find a number of videos on YouTube to help you pick up Norwegian. Try typing learn Norwegian into the search box, then browsing through the snippets. Most shorts are under 5 minutes and completely free, like the series by That Norwegian Guy. If you want to be able to speak Norwegian, this is a small, budget-friendly step in the right direction. Also try searching for videos with the terms Norwegian history and Norwegian genealogy.
Since its inception in 1927, this society (Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening in Norwegian, or NSF for short) has published more than 15,000 pages of information on Norwegian genealogy in its periodical Norsk Slektshistorisk Tidsskrift (NST). Click the publication link on the website to view an online index here, link to a searchable registry for volumes through 1998 (use Google Translate to translate the page), or view a flip-book of a registry from 1998 to 2008 (this link won’t work using Google Translate). Also see the society’s English article “How to Trace Your Ancestors in Norway.”
Slekt & Historie—the Norwegian form of this site’s name—by Johan Ingvald Borgos (a historian and local history writer) and Marianne Frøydis Pettersen (a genealogist) covers the authors’ personal research as well as general aids to Norwegian genealogy. The home page offers categorized links to more than 100 resources, with a key indicating whether the page is in Norwegian, English or both.
Tip: The Norwegian language uses the Latin alphabet with three additional letters that follow z: æ, ø, å. Especially in American genealogy records, you may find names containing these characters alphabetized as if they were ae, o or a, respectively.