Norwegian Genealogy Dictionary

This dictionary contains words related to genealogy focusing on the words you are not likely to find in an ordinary modern Norwegian dictionary.

The dictionary contains words that I have come across while doing genealogy in Norway. This means the words be in either of the languages Latin, Danish, Norwegian Bokmål or Norwegian Nynorsk. I try to indicate from which language the word origin.

Abbreviation NN means Nynorsk (one of Norway’s three official languages)

Open the menu (+ Navigate) to find an alphabet to make it easier to navigate.

Be sure to check out the rest of this blog!

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A
  • aar (år)- year
  • absolvere – to give absolution
  • absolusjon – absolution (religious)
  • absolutio (latin) – to confess ones sins
  • absolutio publice (latin) – to publicly confess ones sins and being given absolution. Ritual performed in church in the presence of the congregation
  • adel- nobility
  • adelig – nobel
  • adelmann – nobelman
  • adlet – raised to the nobility
  • admissa(feminin)/admissus(mask)(lat.) – admittet
  • adoptere – to adopt
  • adoptert – adopted
  • adoptiv (barn) – adopted child
  • af (from Dahish) – of, off or from
  • afgang – departure or passing (death)
  • afgagne – deceased (archaic)
  • afskediget – dismissed
  • aften – evening
  • ald.- abbr. for “alder” – age
  • alder- age
  • alderdom – old age
  • alderdomssvakhet –  weakness of old age
  • alm. abbrevation for almindelig – general
  • almisse – charity
  • almisselem – person recevving charity/pauper
  • altergang/altargang –  communion (in church)
  • amt (archaic for fylke) – county
  • amtmann – chief administrator of the “amt” (County)
  • anden (archaic) – second
  • andre – second or other
  • ane/aner – ancestor/ancestors
  • anetavle – pedigree chart/family tree
  • anføre – record, enter, mention
  • anmerkning – note
  • annex – auxiliary
  • anno (latin) – year
  • ante (latin) – before
  • apotheker – pharmacist
  • arbeidsmand/arbeidsmann – worker/laborer
  • arm – poor or arm (limb)
  • arrestant – prisoner
  • arv – inheritance
  • arving – heir
  • arvelodd – part of heritance
  • assessor (archaic) – assistant judge. Earlier used about the members of the Danish Supreme Court
  • attende (NN)- back, eighteenth
  • attest – certificate, testimonial
  • attlege – meadow
  • aude – desolate
  • audegard (NN) – abandoned farm
  • av- of, by
  • avgang (bortgang, død)- demise, death, departure
  • avgangshavn – port of departure
  • avling – harvest
  • afskediget – dismissed
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B
  • b. – abbrevation for barn se below
  • bark – sailing vessel
  • barn (NN pl. born)- child, children
  • barnebarn- grandchild, grandchildren
  • barnløs (barnlaus)- childless
  • barselseng – birthing bed
  • beboer – resident
  • begravet (gravlagd)- buried
  • bemeldte – reported
  • besittelse – possession
  • beskrivelse (skildring)- description
  • beslægted – related
  • bestefar- grandfather
  • bestemor- grandmother
  • betjent/betient – officer
  • biografi- biography
  • biografisk- biographical
  • blandkorn – mixture of two types of grain, usually oats and barley
  • blef – was, became
  • bleiv – to die
  • blikkenslager – Originally a person making and repairing items of metal. Some of these persons often travelled from place to place to offer their services. (see Kjeleflikker). In the 1800’s this word is more likely to describe a person working metals in the building trades and is performed by persons working from a permanent location.
  • bo- in place names, “farm”
  • bo, bur, bodde, budd – live
  • boede – lived
  • bonde- farmer
  • borger – resident of a town who was permitted to engage in profession or trade.
  • borgerbrev – permission to to engage in profession or trade in a town
  • bortgang (avgang, død) – death, the passing of a person
  • bosted – place of residence
  • bot – fine, punishment
  • br. – abbrevation for bruk se below
  • broder – brother
  • bror, pl. brødre- brother, brothers
  • brorsøn(n) – son of brother
  • brordatter – daughter of brother
  • bruk – farm part/subdivision. Norw. farms are divided into several “bruk” with separate families and household
  • brukar/bruker – tennant farmer
  • brygger – brewer
  • budeie – milk maid
  • bunad – costume. In Norway used about national costumes
  • by- town, village
  • bygd- rural settlement
  • bygdebok – Norwegian farm and family history (See What is a “bygdebok”)
  • bygsel, bøksel, bøxel – agreement on renting a piece of land
  • bygsle, bøksle (verb) – to rent land
  • bødker/bøkker – cooper
  • børn – children (Danish)
  • bøtelagt – to have been given a fine
  • baad – boat
  • baadbygger – boat builder
  • baaret (archaic) –  carried
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C
  • cautionister (often abbr. caut.) – Witnesses to a wedding
  • caverer – witness to a wedding
  • caveringsmenn – witnesses to a wedding
  • chirurgus – medical doctor
  • cirka – approximately
  • civilstand – marital status
  • coffardie skipper – captain on a merchant wessel
  • cognatus – related through the mother’s side of the family
  • communion, abbr: commun/com – communion (church ritual)
  • confirmerede – confirmed, confirmands
  • confitens (abb: confit)(Lat.) – person receiving Holy communion
  • contoir – office
  • copulere (latin) abbr. cop/copul – to wed
  • copulerede (archaic)-people who is wedded. Used in church records
  • cum (Lat.) – with
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D
  • d. – abbr. for dead
  • d.e. – abbr. for the older (senior)
  • d.y. – abbr. for the younger (junior)
  • d.s.s. – abbr. for the same as
  • daap (dåp)- baptism
  • dag- day
  • dagarbeider – day laborer (hired for the day)
  • dagleie (-leje) – day labor
  • dal – valley
  • dampskib – steamboat (archaic)
  • dannequinde – a woman of good family
  • dannemand – a man of good family
  • datere – date
  • datter, døtre- daughter, daughters
  • datterdatter – daughter’s daughter, grandchild
  • datum – date
  • deres (NN deira)- their
  • despons – engaged
  • dies (latin) – dag
  • Dom/Dominica (latin) – Sunday
  • Dominus (latin) – The Lord
  • domkirke – cathedral. i.e. the church where the bishop gives the sermon. The main church in the diocese
  • dra- pull
  • dra- travel, go away
  • dragon/dragoon – light infantry man
  • dreng – male farmhand
  • drengebarn – male child
  • dræng – male farmhand
  • dø (NN døy) – to die
  • døbe (Danish) –  to baptize
  • døbenavn (Danish) – given name
  • døbt/døpt – having been baptized
  • død- death, deceased
  • dødfødt/dødfød – stillborn
  • dølgsmål – Usually used about giving birth in secrecy
  • døpe (NN døype)- baptize
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E
  • efter (etter)- after
  • efterkommer(e) – descendant(s)
  • efterlevende – survivors
  • efterslektstavle – descendants chart
  • eie/eje – to own
  • eie/eje – suffix to a farmname to indicate that this is a cotter’s place.
  • eige (NN)- to own
  • eigelut – possession (about things)
  • eigendom (NN) – property
  • ejus (Abbr. ejusdem)(latin) – The same as. Used in church records to indicate same day/month
  • ekte- legitimate
  • ekte (egte, ægte)- (verb) to marry
  • ektefolk, ektepar (egte-, ægte-)- married couple
  • ekteskap (egte-, ægte-) – marriage
  • ekteviet – wedded
  • ekstraskatt – supplementary tax
  • eldhus – utility building on the farm. Has a big fireplace
  • eldre- older
  • eldst- oldest
  • embede – public office
  • embedsmann – senior civil servant or member of the clergy
  • ene – alene
  • enes – to agree
  • engelsk syke – rickets
  • enke (NN enkje)- widow
  • enkemann (NN enkjemann)- widower
  • enkestand – widowed
  • ennu – still, yet
  • ental (entall)- singular
  • enslig – single
  • ere – are
  • erhverv – livelihood
  • eye – to own
  • eyer – owner
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F
  • f. abbr. for fødd/født – born
  • fader (archaic) – father
  • fadder, abbr. fadd. – godparent, sponsor
  • fant – homeless person who travels from place to place. Often used in a derogative manner. Sometimes used about a person of the Romani people.
  • far, fedre – father, fathers
  • farbror – father’s brother (uncle)
  • farfar – father’s father (grandfather)
  • farmor – father’s mother (grandmother)
  • farsot – plague
  • faster – father’s sister (aunt)
  • Faste – Lent
  • fattig – poor
  • fattigkommisjon – poverty relief council
  • fattiglem – pauper
  • fedrene – the ancestors, ancestral, the fathers
  • felles – common, joint, together
  • festeseddel – written contract about the lease of land
  • fetter- cousin (male)
  • fhv. – abbr.  for forhenværende meaning former, late
  • firmenning – third cousin
  • fisker – fisherman
  • fiskesjå – a shed to store fish
  • flor – a building to keep cattle/cowshed
  • fogd/foged – head of fogderi. The Crowns representative. Bailiff
  • fogderi – old administrative unit
  • fol/folia (latin) – sheet of paper or page in a church book
  • follougsmand/-kone – man or woman receiving support- Same as “kår” see this
  • folgemann/ – kone – man or woman receiving support- Same as “kår” see this
  • folgefolk – couple receiving support – same as “kår” see this
  • foreldre/forældre- parents
  • forfatter- author
  • forfedre- ancestors
  • forlovet – engaged
  • forlovede – fiancee
  • forløftningsmand – witness to a wedding
  • formedelst (Danish) – because of
  • formynder – guardian
  • forpakter – tenant farmer, sometimes (wrongly) used about a farm manager
  • forsørge- support (the family/children)
  • forsørges av…. – supported by
  • foureer – military rank
  • forældre (archaic) – parents
  • fosterbarn abbr. fosterb. – foster child/children
  • fosterdatter, abbr. fosterd. – foster daughter
  • fosterfar – foster father
  • fostermor – foster mother
  • fostersøn(n), abbr. fosters, – foster son
  • fostre – raise, take care of
  • fra (NN frå)- from
  • fragtbeløp/fragtbillet – fare, cost of freight
  • fram, frem- forward
  • fril(le)datter – daughter born out of wedlock
  • fril(le)søn – son born out of wedlock
  • frue (kone)- wife
  • fuld (archaic) – full
  • ful(l)mæktig – person who has been given certain powers
  • furer – military rank
    fut – head of fogderi. The Crowns representative. Bailiff
  • fylke- district, county
  • fyrverker – rank in the artillery
  • født (fødd)- born
  • fødested(fødestad)- place of birth
  • føderåd (føderaad) – support of elderly people
  • føderåds-, mann, kone – man or woman receiving “føderåd”
  • ført- recorded
  • fælleds (felles) – in common/ have together
  • færaskrin – chest used to carry luggage while traveling
  • får – receives, sheep
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G
  • g. – abbr. for gård/gard -farm or married
  • g.m. – abbrevation for “gift med” → married to.
  • gade (Danish) – street
  • gammel (gammelt, gamle)- old
  • gang – time (occurence) e.g. “anden gang” = second time
  • ganing – cleaning of herring
  • gardsnummer/gårdsnummer – farmnumber
  • gardsnavn/gårdsnavn- farm name
  • gbr. – abbrevation for “Gardbruker/Gaardbruker” → farmer
  • gevorben soldat – enlisted soldier
  • gift (vigd)- married
  • giftarmål (NN)- marriage
  • giftermaal – marriage
  • givt – married
  • gjørtler – A craftsman who casts metal – most often pewter and copper
  • gmd. (abbr.) – Gaardemand → Farmer
  • gods- estate, property
  • graflagt, abbr. graf. – buried
  • grend- neighborhood, rural settlement
  • grube – mine
  • gudmor – godmother
  • Gudstjeneste/Gudstieneste – church serveice
  • gutt- boy
  • gaard (gård, NN: gard)- farm
  • gaardbruker (gaardbruger), gårdbruker- farmer
  • gaardskarl – farm hand
  • gaardsmann/gaardemand – (abbr; gmd.) farmer
  • gaardsbeboer – farm resident
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H
  • hr. abbr for Herr – Mister
  • ha – to have, posses
  • hadde – had
  • handelsmann – trader
  • hans – his
  • have – garden/ verb; to have
  • havde (archaic) – had
  • hennes, (NN: hennar) (archaic hendes) – her
  • herad (archaic for kommune) – municipality
  • herred (archaic for kommune) – municipality
  • hesteskjær – person castrating horses. This work was often performed by travelling persons of the Romani people.
  • hittebarn – orphan
  • hjem (NN heim) – a home
  • hjemme (NN heime) – at home
  • hjemmedøbt – baptized at home
  • hjå (NN) – at
  • hmd. – Abbrevation for “husmand” → cotter
  • hold – see “kår”
  • holdfolk “see “kårfolk”
  • hor – adultery
  • humatus, humatio – funeral, interment
  • husar – cavalry man
  • husbonde (huusbonde) – male head of household
  • huseier – houseowner
  • husfader – male head of household
  • husholderske – housekeeper
  • hushjelp – housemaid
  • husmann (abbr: hmd.) – tenant farmer, cotter, crofter
  • husmannsplass – cotter’s place
  • husmannsseddel – the written agreement the tenant farmer makes with the owner of the land on which he resides.
  • husmor – housewife
  • hustru – wife
  • hvad (archaic) – what
  • hvor- where
  • høj (archaic) – tall, hay
  • høker – seller with limited retail rights
  • håndarbeide – handcraft
  • håndverk -handcraft
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I
  • i- in, whitin
  • ibid(em) (latin)- same place as above
  • idem/item (latin)- same as above
  • ikring (NN) – about, approximately
  • illegitimus (latin) – illegitimate
  • inderst, innerst – boarder
  • in fidem (latin) – used when certifying a signature in a document
  • in loco (latin) – in this location
  • innerst – lodger
  • intet – nothing
  • introduseret (abbr: introd) – the reintroduction into the congregation of a woman who had recently given birth (church ritual)
  • innvandrer- immigrant
  • innflytta- moved in/immigrated
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J
  • jagt – hunt
  • jamfør (jevnfør) abbr; jfr – refer to (other source)
  • jamgodt (NN) – equal to
  • jamstore (NN) – equal size
  • jevnførselsliste – list in church records that cross-reference to other entries
  • jekt/jækt/jægd- old cargo ship
  • jomfru – litt. virgin. Used about unmarried women of higher social standing
  • jordbruk/jordbrug – farming
  • jorddrott – landlord
  • jordfestelse – burial
  • jordpåkastelse – the act of committing a body to the grave at a burial
  • jordskyld – land rent
  • jægtmand – captain on a sailingwessel (jekt/jækt/jægd- old cargo ship)
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K
  • kaveringsmenn – witnesses to a wedding.
  • kirke (NN kyrkje)- church
  • kirkebøker- church book, church record
  • kirkesanger – see “Klokker”
  • kiøn – gender
  • kjeleflikker – person making and repairing items of metal such as cauldrons and kettles. Some of these persons often travelled from place to place to offer their services. (see Blikkenslager)
  • kjønn – sex. Gender
  • kjørekarl – driver of horse drawn wagon
  • klokker – lay person assisting the minister during church service. In the time before church organs he led the congregation in singing. From 1812 he kept a copy of the church record
  • koffardikaptein – captain on a merchant ship
  • kommune (archaic: herred)- municipality
  • kone (frue)- wife
  • konferer (konferere)- compare
  • konfirmert- confirmed
  • kongelig- royal
  • krambod – general store
  • kreatur – cattle
  • kristna(NN)- baptized
  • kristne (NN)- to baptize
  • krøbling/krøpling – crippled/physically disabled person
  • kusine- cousin (female)
  • kvegrøgter – cattle herder
  • kvinne, -r (archaic: kvinde, -r) – woman, -women
  • kvindekjøn – female
  • kyrkje – church
  • kyrkjegods – property owned by the church
  • kår- agreement about support of elderly people. Usually made with the son/daughter who took over/inherited the farm.
  • kårbrev – the written agreement about support
  • kårfolk – the couple who is supported
  • kårkone – the woman who is being supported
  • kårmann – the man who is being supported
  • kårstaue/kårhus – house on the farm where the supported people live.
  • kaard – see “kår”
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L
  • lade – a building to keep corn or hey/barn
  • landmann (bonde)- farmer
  • land- country, also property
  • lausunge- unmarried woman’s child (somewhat rude expression, should be referred to as “uekte” or “født utenfor ekteskap”)
  • legd – group of farms (community) that together support a number of paupers or soldiers
  • legdslem/lægdslem – community supported pauper
  • legd(lægds)smand – male community supported pauper
  • legds(lægds)kone – female community supported pauper
  • leiermål/lejermaal – adultery, fornication
  • leiglending – a person who rents the land
  • lensearbeider/lænsearbeider – person working at a river log boom
  • lensmann – the local police officer (sheriff)
  • leylending – a person who rents the land
  • livøre – agreement about support of old people
  • logerende, logerer – boarding
  • lut (NN) – part
  • løsarbeider – day laborer
  • Løverdag – Saturday
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M
  • maanedspike – (servant)girl hired for a month at the time
  • mann (archaic mand), menn – man, men
  • matrikkel- register, roll
  • matros – sailor, deck-hand
  • medbrakte penge – cash on hand
  • merknad – note, remark
  • moder (Danish) – mother
  • mor (archaic: moder)- mother
  • morbroder – mother’s brother
  • morbror- mother’s brother
  • morfar- mother’s father, grandfather
  • mormor- mother’s mother, grandmother
  • moster – mother’s sister, aunt
  • mølledreng – worker at a flourmill
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N
  • nadverd – communion
  • nattverd – communion
  • navn (namn)- name
  • nedre- lower
  • nest – second (i.e. second youngest, second oldest etc.)
  • nevø- nephew
  • niese (brordatter, søsterdatter)- niece
  • nomen (abbr. nom.)(latin) – name
  • nord- north
  • nordre- Northern
  • nære (verb) – ” nærer seg av…” – makes a living from…
  • når avreist – time of departure
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O
  • odel – the oldest child’s right to inherit the farm. In earlier days always the oldest son.
  • offentlig – public
  • og – and
  • oldefar- great-grandfather
  • oldemor- great-grandmother
  • omkring- about
  • omstreifer – homeless person who travels from place to place. Sometimes used about the Romani people.
  • onkel- uncle
  • oppfostringsbarn – fosterchild
  • opphav- origin
  • oppvaksen (vekse opp)- grown up
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P
  • paa – on/at
  • Paaske/Påske – Easter
  • part, partane – part, parts or party, parties
  • pensionist – pensioner
  • pige (danish) –  (abb: pg) girl
  • pike, jente- (abb: pk)- girl
  • plass- place, homestead
  • pleiebarn (plejebarn) – foster child
  • pleiedatter (plejedatter) – foster daughter
  • pleiesønn (plejesøn(n))- foster son
  • post (latin) – after
  • post – mail
  • postfører – mail carrier
  • post tenebras spero lucem (latin) – after darkness i hope for light
  • prest, – minister
  • prestegard – parsonage, rectory
  • prestegjeld abbr: pr.gj. – parish
  • prima vice (lat) – first time
  • publice absolverede (latin) – those who has received absolution in public. (In church with the congregation present)
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Q
  • quinde(qvinde) (archaic) – woman
  • quindekjøn (qvindekjøn) – female
  • qvitt (abbreviation) – receipt
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R
  • rector – principal (school) modern NO. → rektor
  • registrert- recorded
  • reise – to travel, a journey
  • reise – erect
  • røyert – rower
  • røykstove – a one storied building with a square opening in the
    roof(a ‘ljore’) to let out smoke above the oven which didn’t have
    a pipe.
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S
  • salmaker – saddel maker
  • samboere- couple living together without being lawful wedded
  • saugarbeider (archaic) – worker at saw mill
  • saugbruk – saw mill
  • saugmester – leader of a saw mill
  • selveier – person who owns the land on which he resides
  • sengebu – a building with beds
  • signekone – female healer
  • sjølvfolk – the married couple who head the household
  • skatt- tax
  • skifte- probate
  • skifteprotokoller- probate records
  • skiftesamling -meeting of heirs
  • skilt – divorced
  • skip – ship
  • skipreide (archaic) – old military unit
  • skomaker/skomager – cobbler
  • skot -a minor attic/loft used to sleep in, very often open/or a
    lumber room
  • skov (Danish) – forest
  • skrædder – tailor
  • skrin – small chest
  • skriven – recorded
  • skrædder/skræder/skredder – tailor
  • skytje- a minor outhouse/shed, very often used for storing wood
    or keeping tools or other implements
  • skøyte, skøte – record issued to prove ownership of land
  • skøyte – sailboat, skate
  • slekt – family, kin, lineage
  • slektning – relative
  • snedker / snekker – carpenter
  • snedkermæster – master carpenter
  • smaabruk (småbruk)- small farm
  • smalhus – sheepshed/goatshed (smali=old norr for small cattle)
  • smedarbeider – a worker in metal (normally blacksmithing)
  • sokn, sogn – sub-parish/local parish
  • Statsarkivet- State Archives
  • stad, by- city, town
  • stadfeste – confirm
  • staue (dialectal) stove (NN) stue – small house, cottage
  • stamtavle- pedigree
  • stesøn(n)/stedsøn(n) – stepson
  • stefader/stefar – step father
  • stivfader/stifader – step fader
  • strandsitter – seaside resident who does not own the land
  • stridt – hard, difficult
  • stykjunker – obsolete military rank at sergeant level
  • speciedaler – old money currency
  • stabbur – a storage building for food (on poles to keep animals out)
  • stamfar- ancestor, progenitor
  • supra (latin) – above
  • sval – a kind of roof covered gangway/hallway either around the
    building or on one side of the building
  • svigerfader – father in law
  • svigermoder – mother in law
  • søebrug – fishing
  • sødsken (archaic) – siblings
  • søefarende – sailor/at sea
  • sømand – (Danish) sailor
  • søn – son
  • sønder- southern
  • sør – south
  • søsken – siblings
  • søskenbarn- (syskenborn) – cousin
  • søster, syster, søstre- sister, sisters
  • søstersøn(n) – son of sister
  • søsterdatter – daughter of sister
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T
  • taksere – appraise or value
  • takksigelse – the act of  thanksgiving
  • tambour/tambur -(military) drummer
  • tante- aunt
  • taus – girl, quiet
  • teig- part of farm (productive land)
  • testamente- will, testament
  • testes (latin) – witnesses
  • tidligere næringsvei – previous occupation
  • tiener – servant
  • tieneste – service
  • til – to
  • tillige – in addition to
  • til søes – at sea
  • ting – court meeting
  • tinglyse – publicly announce the validity of a written agreement
  • tittel – title
  • tjenestefolk- servants
  • tjenestegutt- male servant
  • tjeneste -jente, -pike – female servant
  • told/toll – customs
  • trearbeider – woodworker or carpenter
  • tremenning – second cousin
  • trulova – engaged to be married
  • tukthus, tugthus – prison
  • tyende – servant
  • tømmermand – carpenter/woodworker
  • tømra – built of timber
  • tå (dialectal)- from
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U
  • uekte  (archaic: uægte)child – illegitimate, born out of wedlock
  • ugift- unmarried/single
  • umyndig – under legal age
  • understøttelse – support
  • ung, yngre, yngst- young, younger, youngest
  • ungkar, (archaic: ungkarl) – bachelor
  • utenfor ekteskap – out of wedlock
  • utflytta- moved out, emigrated
  • utvandrer- emigrant
  • uxor/uxore (Lat) – wife. Sometimes in Church records: “mans’s name” cum uxor(e) with wife
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V
  • vanfør – physically disabled
  • ved- by, at
  • ved- firewood
  • vedskjul – woodshed
  • vekter – guard
  • ver -son,-dotter,-mor,-far- son-, daughter… in law (sometimes used about step -son – daughter.)
  • vest – west
  • vestre – western
  • vielse – wedding (the formal act by minister or official)
  • vigd(e)- wedded (to have undergone the formal act by minister or official)
  • vognmann (-mand) – coachman
  • våningshus – the house on the farm where the people live.

 

 

 

 

W
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X
  • X-ian – abbr. for given name Kristian/Christian
  • X-opher/X-ofer – abbr. for given name Christopher/Kristoffer

 

 

 

Y
Z
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Æ
  • ægte – true or real. In church records used to confirm that the child is born in marriage
  • ægteskab (archaic) – marriage
  • ærbarhet – honor
  • ærbødigst – respectfully
  • ære – honor
  • ætt – family
  • ættling – heir
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Ø
  • ødegård, ødegard – farm left unattended
  • øst – east
  • østre – eastern
  • øvre, øverste – upper
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Å
  • åleine – alone
  • åndsveik – mentally retarded (this expression is no longer in use)
  • år-year
  • årlig (NN årleg) – annual
  • åtte – eight, owned

 

 

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