Martin's Magazine Norwegian Genealogy

Home Stories Music Recipes Dictionary About me Contact

Find Norwegian place names

It can often be difficult to find the name of a particular place or farm when searching for ancestors in Norway. I want to draw your attention to two tools that has been invaluable in my genealogical work.

The first source I want to present is Oluf Rygh's "Norske Gaardnavne" - Norwegian Farmnames. This was originally published, printed in 17 volumes in the late 1800's.  Today these books are digitized and made searchable on the internet. You can find it here.
The interface is fairly self-explanatory. I advice you to read the little introduction at the top of the page. The database is indexed according to the name of the counties (amt) as they were at the time the books were written. Also, be aware that the municipality-, and parishboundaries may have changed. Even if you don't know anything about these details you can still use this database with ease as you can go straight to the "Farm name" and type in what you are looking for.
If you type in the name slowly letter by letter, a drop-down menu appeare and show you how you are doing. This can be helpfull if you are not certain about the spelling of the name. If the drop-down menu disappeare before you are finished typing, the name is either misspelled or not included in this database. As the spelling of names has changed through time it can be smart to play a little with this drop-down meny as it can help you find names that are similar, and may turn out to be the one you are looking for.
The drop-down feature also works for the the other search fields in the form.
Hitting "Search" will bring up a list of the farm/farms with the name you typed. The list will show you the farmnumber (first column), parish (third column), municipality (fourth column) and finally the county/amt (fifth column). In the first column are boxes that you can check for the farm/farms you want to have a look at and hit "Show".
Searching for names like Berg, Haug and Li will give you a large number of hits, so you might want to print the entire list as reference as you are working to narrow your search.
Oluf Rygh's "Norske Gaardnavne" - Norwegian Farmnames is not complete so when I don't find what I am looking for there, I go to Se eiendom that is a online map showing all the properties in Norway with boundaries, farm-  and subdivision numbers.

This map can be accessed here.

This mapservice is only provided in Norwegian. Again, the interface is fairly easy to use. You enter the name in the searchfield and hit "Søk" - Search.  As in Oluf Rygh there is a drop-down meny to help you enter the name. Certain names will give you a large number of hits. Each hit is presented with three lines:

Here I searched for Berg which is a name that brings up a large number of hits. The screengrab below show only a few of the hits:
  1. Line: The name you searched for; Berg. In parenteses it says (Grend) which means that this hit refer to a hamlet named Berg 
  2. Line: Kommune - Municipality, with administrative number. Here in the municipality of Åseral
  3. Line: County. Here Vest Agder.
The next  hit refer to a church (Kirke) named Berg that is in the municipality of Trondheim in Sør Trøndelag county

The last hit refer to a bridge (Bru) named Berg in the municipality of Kongsberg.
map search
If you get only one hit for the name you are searching, the map will automatically zoom in on this spot. If you get multiple hits, the map will zoom in on the first hit. You can then scroll down through the hits and click on the one you want to check out. This will zoom the map in on this spot.
As you will se by visiting the website, the map has great clarity and detail. By clicking anywhere on the map a menu appeare:
Eiendoms meny
This show the exact coordinates of the property. The address, the farm and subdivision number (here 3/10)and again, the municipality. You can move on from this menu under "Funksjoner" - Functions: "Marker eiendom" means "highlight property". This show you the extent of the property on the map. "Vis mer informasjon om eiendommen" brings you to another menu:
Eiendomsinfo A A lot of the information in this menu is mainly technical details about the property. I have marked some entries that might be of interest for genealogists.
  1. This line show the name of this particular subdivision (bruksnavn). In this case it is Underberg
  2. This line show in what parish this property is situated (Kirkesogn) Here; Åseral. Beware! This is based on the present parishboundaries. It may not be in the same parish as it was in the year 1780.
  3. This section show the function of the different buildings on the property. Depending on what kind of property you are looking at, this information may or may not be relevant or interesting.
This was a little introduction to how you can search for place names. I have used both Oluf Rygh's "Norske Gaardnavne" - Norwegian Farmnames and Se Eiendom in my own genealogy research. I hope you find this information useful. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments on this topic. There may be things that should be added or things that needs clarification. Go to contact and send me a word.