Here is a little introduction to genealogy.
A new year means new beginnings. Be it a new year resolution or simply the inspiration from the blank pages in our new day planner.
This article is mainly aimed at those who has not yet, or just recently got started on their Norwegian family history. The article links to blog post I have written and intend to give you a basis for your adventures into genealogy. Even if you have been working on your family history for a while, you might still find some useful information.
First things first
We start with some articles that is relevant no matter in what country you are doing your search.
- Start with what you already know. This article gives you a first look at genealogy: Start your family search here. The only thing you need to get started is a piece of paper and a pen. You can also go to my Downloads section and find the “pedigree chart” or the “family group sheet”
- Another article describing the first steps in genealogy talks about searching family homes for information It is time to clean out the attic!
- Family members may have valuable information about your genealogy. Here are two articles about talking to people.
- Having gone through these steps you may have collected so much data that you need a way to organize it. Choosing a genealogy software talks about what you should consider when choosing a genealogy software. As you start to enter information into your genealogy software you should think about how you record names and locations. I will touch upon recording Norwegian names and locations further down. Just as important; Make a habit of recording you sources! I have not written an article on citing sources, but may suggest this book: Mastering Genealogical Documentation.
- When searching for ancestors it is important to go through all the steps and always search from what is known. There were many with the same name born at approximately the same time. This means that before focusing on Norway, you may have to search for sources in your native country. FamilySearch.org is a free service with lots of information. Ancestry.com is also a major source for genealogical data. Here most of the information is behind paywalls. I am using both, but not to a degree where I feel comfortable trying to write instructional articles about them. I may suggest the books
- Don’t forget that a simple search on one of the search engines (e.g. Google etc.) may bring interesting and valuable information about our genealogy.
- Communicating with other genealogists is interesting and fun! Read How to find fellow genealogists.
We are now ready to start looking at Norway
First a few articles about Norwegian concepts that can be good to know.
- You might find it interesting to start by reading a History of Norway.
- Even though you don’t need to learn the languages to search for ancestors in Norway, you might find this article interesting Norway: A mix of languages. Many of the difficult words you may encounter are collected in my Norwegian genealogical dictionary. In addition you should have a good general Norwegian dictionary. This one is used by many genealogists:
- In the older Norwegian records you find Gothic handwriting. Follow me as I try to get better at this, beginning at How to read Gothic handwriting – 1.
- Traditionally Norwegian names were recorded in special ways. Read about it in Norwegian naming. Also relevant is the article Norwegian renaming traditions.
- You may want/need to focus your search in a certain geographical area. To learn about this read Find Norwegian place names.
- You may also find it interesting to read my article on the Norwegian farm structure.
We are now ready to start the actual search for our ancestors
There are, of course, many sources available. I will limit this article to a few important ones.
The most important resource for genealogical data in Norway is Digitalarkivet – The Digital archive. All the resources in the Digitalarkivet are completely free to use. On the opening page it is most tempting to start by using the “Advanced person search” You may find information about your ancestor this way. As not all sources are transcribed and indexed yet, results from these sources will not show up in the “Advanced person search”. I address this problem and suggest that you use the Digitalarkivet’s “Find source feature”
- The Norwegian Church books are of course the most important source for genealogical information. The oldest book available starts in 1623. The books are accessible up until about 1930.
- A number of censuses were held throughout the years. Read about them in the article Norwegian censuses.
The church records and censuses are found in the Digitalarkivet. An “Advanced person search” may show results from the emigration records also found in the Digitalarkivet.
- “Cemeteries in Norway” is a free service provided by “The Genealogy Society of Norway – DIS” Read about it in Find a grave in Norway
- When you get into Norwegian genealogy, it does not take long before you come across the word “Bygdebok”. A bygdebok is a book that present local-historical information about a certain geographical area and may be a treasure trove that really boosts you genealogy search. Read What is a «bygdebok».
I hope this article is useful as you take your first steps into Norwegian genealogy.
In addition to this you find a number of articles on this blog where I share tips and tricks about Norwegian genealogy. I also cover Norwegian history and culture. If you find my writings interesting, I hope you will bookmark this website and subscribe. You will then get a notification when I publish new posts.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments. All my articles are open to comments. I intend to reply to everyone who contacts me or comments on an article.
I am very happy if you share this article with family or friends that you know are considering getting into genealogy.