Online Resources for Researching Your Norwegian Ancestry
Legacy Tree works with researchers all over the world to access records for our clients. We asked one of our onsite researchers, located in Norway, to share his favorite online archives and record collections for researching Norwegian ancestry.
There are about as many descendants of Norwegians worldwide as native Norwegians. Easy access to Norwegian record collections are therefore important for family history researchers worldwide. In this article, we share our favorite online archives and record collections most used by family history researchers to extend their Norwegian ancestry.
1) The National Archives of Norway
The National Archives of Norway (Riksarkivet) preserves the non-current records of government ministries and other central offices. Norway launched their first Digital Archives in 1998. It was run by the National Archives of Norway in collaboration with the University of Bergen and was among the pioneers of online publication of archival content. Since then the Digital Archives have expanded significantly and is today the most important Norwegian archive for family history researchers. It is run by the government and is free to use worldwide. In 2018 it was decided that the Digital Archives will be further developed to become the nationwide portal for publishing of digitized archives, regardless of origin or place of storage in Norway.
How to Search the Digital Archives
The Digital Archives offer user searches for historical individuals often based on name, place of residence and year of birth in a number of different source types. Some sources also permit searches for properties and residential buildings.
Your initial search at the Digital Archives could be a simple search in their website search box, followed by a more advanced search if required. If you are not familiar with the different search options, it could be well spent time to read the user guides. In particular, the information about searching with special search characters is recommended. The wildcard character is often used since the spelling of names varies a lot in Norway. We also recommend spending some time becoming acquainted with the sources available for the area and period of interest by searching the find source page.
What Records are Available on the Digital Archives?
The Digital Archives have scanned all released parish registers and made them available online. A significant portion of these registers have also been transcribed and made searchable. In addition, the censuses for 1801, 1865, 1875 (incomplete), 1885 (towns), 1891 (incomplete), 1900 and 1910 are also searchable. The remaining of the 1865 and 1875 censuses, already searchable at MyHeritage and Ancestry, are expected to become online later in 2019. In 2020, all released parish registers (baptism, marriage and burial) after 1800 and the 1920 census are planned to become searchable.
In terms of volume and frequency of use, the parish registers and the transcribed censuses make up the main components of the current Digital Archives. The digitized Norwegian Records of Emigrants from 1867 to 1930 are also popular sources for family historians due to the significant emigration to America and some other countries during that period.
2) The National Library of Norway
Another important source for family historians is the National Library of Norway. Their overall goal is to digitize their collections of books, newspapers and other documentation. Already, they have digitised all Norwegian book publications up to year 2000. This include the popular farm and family history books (bygdebøker) that is available for many municipalities. Their search engine also allows you to search the content of the books and newspapers. Unfortunately, their online database is only accessible from a Norwegian IP-address. This excludes users outside Norway. If that is your case, our team of worldwide researchers is available to assist with onsite research needs.
3) MyHeritage Norwegian Ancestry Collections
Over the last couple of years, MyHeritage has become very popular in Norway. This has resulted in a very unique and huge collection of Norwegian family trees. Several hundred thousand Norwegian family trees are now available in the MyHeritage SuperSearch database. Additionally, MyHeritage recently announced that they’re partnering with Arkivverket (the National Archives of Norway) to include the 1891, 1900 and 1910 censuses in their own collection. Information from these family trees and census record collections, combined with the data from the Digital Archives and the National Library provides you with a very powerful combination of tools for exploring your Norwegian ancestry.
If you need help accessing and obtaining documents in Norway to continue extending your Norwegian ancestry, our professional genealogists and onsite agents are ready to assist you! Our team of genealogists is experienced at tracking down all kinds of family history records in a variety of locations, and can help you extend your ancestry as far back as records will allow. Contact us to discuss which of our project options would best fit your needs.