Genealogy in 123


Family research is easier than you might think. The ones who search for their Norwegian ancestry are actually quite lucky.

The reason we are fortunate is that we have The National Archives of Norway. Through the Digital Archives they digitize and make a number of family history sources available online for free. If you do family searches in other countries, you can quickly end up spending a lot of money to access sources.

Online sources

Perhaps the most important source for the researcher of Norwegian families is the Digital Archives.

Censuses and male registers: In Norway, censuses are carried out on a regular basis. Norway’s first national census was carried out in 1801. Earlier on there were male only registers. They aimed to document how large an army Norway could gather in a possible war situation. In the male register all boys over the age of 12 were counted.

A census has a release date after a 100 years. Accordingly, the 1920 census is not available until 2020. This is to prevent access to protect the privacy of the living.

Church records are our most important source. Here you can find information about almost everyone who has lived in Norway as far back as 250 years. The priests have noted down information about baptisms, births, confirmations, marriages and deaths. In some cases they have also noted when people moved in or out of the parish and lately also in or out of the Norwegian State Church.

The contents of the church records have different release dates, but information before the year 1930 is available online.

A project is underway to make the contents of the online church records searchable.

These two sources should be enough to keep you busy for months, but the Digital Archives provide a host of other sources as well.

Municipal books (Bygdebøker): These books are considered secondary sources. That is sources that retrieve their information from other sources. It is worth checking up on the secondary sources against the primary sources where these exist.

Still, the municipal books and a number of other secondary sources are useful as pointers for finding the next trace of your family. The National Library has an aim of digitizing all municipal books published up to the year 2000. has Norway’s largest dedicated overview of municipal books. If you need help to find the right book, we are here for you. We are continually linking up to the digitized books we find ourselves or are being tipped about from our readers.


Social media has taken genealogy to a new level. In a short time you can now get help about where to look, how to understand a difficult text or get new tips for interesting pages. If you know the languages there are interesting Norwegian, Swedish and Danish pages:

Slektshjørnet (Family Corner): This Facebook page is primarily aimed at Norwegian genealogists. The site has 11,000+ members.

Vi som driver med slektsforskning (We who do genealogy research): Another Norwegian Facebook page for genealogists. The site has a total of 14,000+ members.

Släktforskning (Genealogy): A Swedish Facebook page with over 14 500+ members.

Slægtsforskning(Genealogy): A Danish Facebook page with 18,000+ members.

If you have relatives in Norway, chances are that you have a family in Sweden and/or Denmark too. It may therefore be worthwhile to join one of the two latter Facebook pages in addition to the Norwegian one.

Genealogy Programs

As you find out more and more about your own or others’ relatives, the need for a system will emerge. It would be helpful to learn to use a genealogy program sooner rather than later. In a program you will get not only people and events systematized, but also the sources you have retrieved the information from.

Important reading before choosing a genealogy program: What is GEDCOM?

According to Slekt1’s survey, every fifth genealogist in Norway uses MyHeritage to systematize genealogy data. There are also a number of other programs for organizing family information.

Legacy Family Tree and Brothers Keeper are both free in limited editions.

Obviously there is far more to learn about genealogy, but what is mentioned here is what you need to get started. Remember that you also have to talk to your family. There are relatives around who have a lot of information and maybe know of family stories that will spice up your work and make it more exciting and interesting for family and friends.

Read also : 65 questions you can ask your relatives

Keep an eye on Geneastuff for family-related news or use Slekt1’s overview of municipal books (Bygdebøker) and family books (Slektsbøker). Maybe your family history is already written?