St. Olaf College Libraries

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Norwegian Genealogy and History in Rølvaag Memorial Library
A Research Guide to Selected Print Sources

For electronic versions of this bibliography, supplemented with useful weblinks, consult

Norwegian Immigrants -- Finding Family Members in the US

Norwegian Roots -- Finding Family Members, Farms and Communities in Norway


Items with call numbers starting with RR are located in the library's Reference Room on level three.

Genealogy Reference refers to the first two shelves of books in this area, and Genealogy Collection refers to the rest of the section on the third floor.

Books integrated in to our main collection are designated as General Stacks , and can be found throughout the building.

Please do not hesitate to ask a Reference Librarian or circulation employee if you have questions about locating an item.

Image of a Man looking at a book 

Encyclopedias and Handbooks

Aschehoug og Gyldendals Store norske leksikon . 3. utg. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget, c1995-1999. 16 vols. ( RR AE43.A75 1995 ).

The Norwegian encyclopedia. Useful for place names and brief histories of communities, as well as for other information about Norway .

  Aschehougs norgeshistorie . Oslo: Aschehoug, c1994- . 12 vols.

( Genealogy Reference DL409.A83 1994 )

A detailed survey of Norway 's history. Each volume covers an important time period, from the earliest to the current times.

Norsk historisk leksikon: kultur og samfunn ca. 1500-1800 / Steinar Imsen og Harald Winge. 2. utg. Oslo : Cappelen, 1999.

( RR DL443.N67 1999 )

A cultural and social dictionary of Norway .

Våre kirker : norsk kirkeleksikon / A.F. Rasmussen. Kirkenær: Vanebo, 1993. ( Genealogy Reference DL414.R37 1993 )

Includes photographs of every church in the country.

Fakta om Norge / Nils Petter Thuesen. Oslo : Orion, c2000. ( R.R. DL409.T48 2000 )

General information and basic facts and statistics.

Norsk stedsfortegnelse . Oslo: Nationaltrykkeriet, 1972.

( Genealogy Reference DL405.N7 1972 )

Though dated, this postal directory lists farms, churches, towns, etc., indicating the herred or kommune (county) and fylke (province, state) they are in.

Norge . Oslo: Cappelen, 1963. 4 vols.

( RR DL419.N7 )

The first volume covers the country and her people; the second and third volumes provide a geographical tour of Norway with photographs and small maps; and the fourth volume consists of an atlas and index.

Biographical Dictionaries and Telephone Directories

Hvem er hvem? 1912-1994 Oslo: Aschehoug. Current year in Reference Room (RR), earlier years from 1912 in stacks.

( General Stacks CT1293.H98 )

The Norwegian Who's who. Updated every 4 to 10 years.

Map of Scandinavia 

Norsk biografisk leksikon . Oslo: Aschehoug, Vol. 1 (1921)-v. 19 (1983). New edition on order. ( RR CT1293.N6 )

Biographical encyclopedia for Norway . Provides essays and bibliographies of sources for further information.

Dictionary of Scandinavian Biography . London : Melrose Press, 1972. ( RR CT1243.D53 )

Over 3,000 entries for famous people in Denmark , Finland , Iceland , Norway , and Sweden .

Telefonkatalogen .

( Genealogy Reference DL576 - DL581 )

Telephone directories arranged by geographical areas.


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Genealogical Research Materials

General Research Tools

Scandinavian genealogical research manual / Finn A. Thomsen. Bountiful , Utah : Thomsen's Genealogical Center, 1980. ( Genealogy Reference CS16.T5 )

The first volume is a Danish-Norwegian language guide and dictionary; the second volume explains the old handwriting and names of Denmark and Norway ; and the third volume covers Danish-Norwegian genealogical research sources.

How to trace your ancestors in Norway / by Jan H. Olstand and Gunvald Boe. Oslo : Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of Cultural Relations, 1966. ( Genealogy CS912.O4 Copy 1 in Genealogy Collection, Copy 2 in Genealogy Reference)

A useful "how to" book for the beginner.

Genealogical guidebook & atlas of Norway / Frank Smith, Finn A. Thomsen. Logan , Utah : Everton, [197?]. ( Genealogy Reference CS913.S5 )

Church records and registers in Norway including maps.

Genealogical Maps & Guide to Norwegian Parish Register[s] / compiled by Finn A. Thomsen. Bountiful , Utah : Thomsen's Genealogical Center , c1988. ( Genealogy Collection CS913.T56 1988 )

The first section is a list of the sokne (parishes) of Norway with map reference, name of the sokn, and prestegjeld (clerical district), the time period the parish registers are available on microfilms at The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the name of the fylke (county). The second section provides genealogical maps with the general location of each sokn within its proper prosti (deanery), fylke (county) and bispedømme (diocese) as of the year 1979.

 Hakenstad, Liv M. Slekts gransking med dataveiledning: slektsprogram, slektsstevne, slektsbok . Oslo : Orion, 2001. ( Genealogy Reference CS913.H33 2001 -see additional materials under this call number in the library stacks)

A "how to" book for anyone doing genealogical research in Norway .

Historiske persondata i Norge = Computerized nominative historical sources in Norway / uttg. Av Bjørg Pettersen. Tromsø: Norwegian Historical Data Centre, 1993. ( Genealogy Reference CS913.H57 1993 )

Provides listings of genealogical sources in Norway sorted by location, time period, and type of sources.

Kalender for historie og ættegransking / Olav Heskestad. Oslo : Universitetsforlaget, 1965. ( Genealogy Collection CE81.H4 )

Provides a calendar from 1620 to 1800, as well as a key to Latin and Norwegian names for holiday and church festivals.

Norsk lokalhistorisk litteratur, 1946-1970, and 1971-1990 . 19 vols. ( Genealogy Reference DL445.U5 ) and 20 v. in 17 ( Genealogy Collection DL445.U52 )

Annotated bibliography of local history sources.

Norsk lokalhistorisk litteratur: bibliografi over by- og bygdebøker, regionhistorie og periodika, ca. 1900-1996 / Frode Fyllingsnes. Oslo : Norsk lokalhistorisk institutt, c1997.

( RR DL448.F953 1997 NAHA )

Annotated bibliography of local history sources including bygdebøker.

Ny lokalhistorisk litteratur . 1997-<date> ( Genealogy Reference DL448.F96 )

Photocopied bibliographies from the periodical Heimen, 1997-

Norwegian Local History: a Bibliography of Material in the Collections of the Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison / Dennis Auburn Hill. Jefferson , NC : McFarland, 1989. ( Genealogy Reference DL444.H5 1989 )

Arranged by place names.

Farm and Family Names

Norske gaardnavne / Oluf Rygh. Kristiania ( Oslo ): W.C. Fabritius, 1897-1924. 19 vols. in 20 parts. ( Genealogy Reference PD2695.R9 )

A directory of all main farms (some subdivisions) arranged geographically by province (fylke), county (herred or kommune) and parish (sokn or sogn). Indexed by fylke with a general index.

Norske gardsbruk . Oslo , 194?-1957. 15 vols. (lack v. 1-4) ( Genealogy Reference DL418.N85 )

Directory of farms in Norway for Vestfold, Buskerud, Oppland, and Telemark fylke. Provides photographs of farms with the name of the then-current owner and an accounting of the livestock.

Norske gardsbruk . Oslo, 1965-1970. Ny utg. 11 vols. (Genealogy Reference DL418.N853 )

Similar directory of farms in Norway for Østfold, Akershus, and Hedmark fylke.

Norske gardsbruk . Buskerud fylke. Krøderen, 1990. 2 vols. ( Genealogy reference DL418.N855 1990 )

Covers the farms in Buskerud fylke

Norsk etternamnleksikon : norske slektsnamn, utbreiing, tyding og opphav / Olav Veka. Oslo : Det Norske samlaget, c2000. ( Genealogy Reference CS2595.V45 2000 )

An etymological dictionary of family names in Norway .

For additional material on geographical or personal names in Norway search the library's online catalog by subject NAMES, GEOGRAPHICAL--NORWAY or NAMES, PERSONAL-NORWAY or NAMES, PERSONAL, NORWEGIAN.

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Norwegian Family Histories

Individual family histories may be found at the shelf locations CS919 (for families in Norway ) or searched in the library's online catalog by using a subject or keyword search on the family name. For example: Aasland family. Some helpful tools are:

Norske slektsbøker : en bibliografi / av Morten Hansen. Oslo : Aschehoug, c1965. ( Genealogy Reference CS913.H3 1965 )

A title list of periodicals, collective works, and individual family histories, both Norwegian and American (i.e., family histories published in the U.S. ). Includes an index of family names and an author index.


(Community History Books)

Bygdebøker are local histories of Norwegian communities published in Norway . Many of them include farm and family histories. Rølvaag Memorial Library has a large collection shelved in the Genealogy Collection (in both regular and oversize locations). Consult the bibliographies listed above for a specific title, then use the library's online catalog to see whether it is held. Or, go directly to the library's online catalog and do a subject or keyword search on the specific community you are interested in.

For example:

•  buskerud fylke ( Norway ) = exact subject search

•  buskerud = keyword search (to limit the keyword search, you may want to add the term genealogy as well).

These materials are arranged alphabetically under DL576 and DL596 in the Genealogy Collection . See also index listed below.

Norwegian bygdebøker (community history) register / Ruth Ellen Maness. Salt Lake City , Utah : International Reference Unit, LDS Genealogical Library, c1986. ( Genealogy Collection DL445.M3 1986 )

An index to Norwegian community history held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Genealogical Library as of 1 Oct. 1986. (In English)

Microform Resources

The microform resources are found on the 3rd (main) floor just east of the elevator and public photocopier. The first two items below may be found in a white box on top of the orange microfilm cabinets. The latter two items are shelved in the drawers of the orange microfilm cabinets. Please feel free to ask for assistance with the microfiche and microfilm reader printers.

International genealogical index. Norway [microfiche]. 1988 ed. / Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Genealogical Dept. 324 microfiches. ( Microfiche 82 )

Index to names found in computerized files of the Genealogical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Includes names from original or compiled records extracted and indexed from forms submitted by LDS church members with information on their ancestors and from LDS temple records.

Emigrantprotokollane for Bergen for 1874-1924 [microform] / Historisk institutt, Universitet iBergen/Statsarkivet i Bergen. 78 microfiches. ( Microfiche 87 )

Information about Norwegian emigrants from Bergen between 1874 and 1924. Chronological by year with last and first name indexes.

Microfilmed catalog, Scandinavian collection. Norway [microform] / Genealogical Society of Utah. 4 reels. ( Microfilm 77 ).

The film contains: Reel [l] Agder-Bergen.-Reel [2] Buskerud-Nord-Trøndelag.-Reel [3] Nordland-Sogn og Fjordane.-Reel [4] Sør Trøndelag-Z.

[Emigrantprotokoller ved … = Emigrant lists / Statsarkivet Oslo … et al.] ( Microfilm 78 )

Emigrant lists Kristiania ( Oslo ), 1867-1901; Bergen , 1874-1900; Kristiansand , 1873-1909; Trondheim , 1867-1926. There are some last name indexes.

General Books about Emigration

Map of NorwayBooks on emigration from various places in Norway may be found at the shelf locations JV6734 , E184.S24 , DL576 and DL596 or searched in the library's online catalog by using, for example, a keyword search on the name of the place and the term emigration. Selected materials are also available in the Norwegian American Historical Archives ( NAHA ) in Special Collections on Level 1.

Norwegian-American Resources


Nordmændene i Amerika: deres historie og record / M. Ulvestad. Minneapolis , Minn. : History Book Company's forlag, 1907-1913. 2 vols. ( Genealogy Collection E184.S24U3 NAI )

A comprehensive history and biographical dictionary of Norwegian Americans.

Additional books on Norwegian-American history may be found by searching the library's online catalog under subject headings such as: NORWEGIAN AMERICANS [specific state] or NORWEGIANS [ United States or specific state]. The shelf location for these materials is E184.S24 .

Biographical Dictionaries

Norwegian immigrants to the United States: a Biographical Directory, 1825-1850 / Gerhard B. Naeseth. Madison , Wis. : Vesterheim Genealogical Center and Nasaeth Library, 1993-2000 3 vols. ( Genealogy Reference E184.S24 N34 1993 )

Arranged in order of arrival, ship by ship. For each immigrant, provides full name, full names of both parents, full date and place of birth, occupation, place of settlement in America, date of death and place of burial. The form of name as found in the passenger list is indicated in brackets.

Who's Who Among Pastors in all the Norwegian Lutheran Synods of America , 1843-1927 . 3rd ed. of Norsk lutherske prester i Amerika, tr. and rev. by Rasmus Malmin, O.M. Norlie, and O.A. Tingelstad. Minneapolis , Minn. : Augsburg , 1928. ( General Stacks BX8050.N87 1928 NAHA copies 2 and 3 )

A biographical dictionary of Norwegian American clergy with portraits.

Other biographical directories include:

A Biographical Directory of Pastors of the American Lutheran Church / compiled by John M. Jensen, Carl E. Linder and Gerald Giving. Minneapolis : Augsburg , 1962. ( General Stacks BX8062.J4 1962 )

A Biographical Directory of Clergymen of the American Lutheran Church / Arnold R. Mickelson, editor. Minneapolis : Augsburg , 1972. ( General Stacks BX8062.B5 1972 )

Biographical Directory of Clergy, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America . Minneapolis : Augsburg , 1988. ( General Stacks BX8048.3.B56 1988 )

Yearbook [of the] Evangelical Lutheran Church in America . Annual, 1988- Minneapolis : Publishing House of the ELCA. ( RR BX8009.E8 ) Current edition in RR; earlier in stacks.

Roster of congregations by state, then postal address; directory of clergy, etc.

Norske lutherske menigheter i Amerika, 1843-1916 / samlet av O.M. Norlie ; med bistand av T.O. Tolo ... [et al.]. Minneapolis , Minn. : Augsburg , 1918. 2 vols. ( Genealogy Reference BX8050.N84 1918 NAI )

A listing of all congregations in America founded by Norwegian Americans. Arranged by state, with indexes by postal address and name of congregation.

American Educators of Norwegian Origin / John A. Hofstead. Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg, 1931. ( RR LA2311.H6 )

Entries about men and women teachers include biographical information and place of origin in Norway , as well as bibliographies by and about the individual where relevant.

School Calendar, 1824-1924 : Who's Who Among Teachers in the Norwegian Lutheran Synods of America / compiled by O. M. Norlie. Minneapolis , Minn. : Augsburg , 1924. ( RR LC574 .S3 )

A biographical dictionary with portraits of teachers, including women, in Norwegian Lutheran schools in the United States .

Souvenir "Norse-American Women", 1825-1925: a Symposium of Prose and Poetry, Newspaper Articles, and Biographies Contributed by One Hundred Prominent Women / edited by Mrs. Alma A. Guttersen. St. Paul , Minn. : Lutheran Free Church Publishing Co., c1926. ( General Stacks E184.S24 G9 ) (In English and Norwegian)

Includes short biographies of prominent Norwegian American women.


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Norwegian-American Family Histories

Individual family histories may be found at the shelf locations CS71 (for families in the United States ) or searched in the library's online catalog by using a subject or keyword search on the family name.
For example: Solem family.


(Norwegian-American Societies)

Books by and about these societies are found at the shelf location E184.S26 ( general stacks ) with the letter/number combination of the locality added.

Consult Prof. Odd Lovoll's A Folk Epic ( General Stacks E184.S24 L66 ) for a bibliography of publications of the bygdelags. For example: Materials by and about Hadelandslaget are found at: E184.S26H13

Norwegian-American Literature

The Western Home: a Literary History of Norwegian America / by Orm Øverland. Northfield , Minn. : Norwegian-American Historical Association, c1996. ( General Stacks PT9131.O38 W47 1996 )

A comprehensive, critical work about literature written by Norwegian-American authors. Includes an extensive bibliography; most titles are available in the library collection.

Note : all books published in the United States in the Norwegian language are shelved as a special collection in the library's Rare Book Room. They are identified as NAI (Norwegian American Imprint) in the call number. Unless too fragile, they may be checked out for a limited time.

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Norwegian-American Newspapers and Periodicals

Issues before 1960 are shelved on Level 1, alphabetically by title; issues from 1960 are shelved on Levels 31/2 and 4. Newspapers are shelved on Level 1 (wrapped in blue archival paper). Several of the important Norwegian-American newspapers are also available on microfilm in the Media Room. For example: Decorah-posten (1874-1972), Skandinaven ( Chicago ) (1866-1941); Emigranten (1852-1868); Fædrelandet (1864-1868); Fædrelandet og Emigranten (1868-1892).





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Some Useful Sources in the NAHA

The Norwegian American Historical Association ( NAHA ) Archives are located in Special Collections (one floor down from hallway outside Rølvaag Library). There is also an elevator on the south side of the hallway. NAHA resources include, for example:

•  Rowberg File: biographical newspaper clippings on Norwegian Americans (1914-1960s), containing ca. 200,000 items and supplement of more recent obituaries

•  Family history collection. ( P539 ) Consists of ca. 60 boxes of material. Most of the bound volumes are cataloged and available in the library-see above under "Family histories."

•  Congregational publications ( P537 ). Ca. 50 boxes of materials on congregations.

•  Card index to the manuscript collection

•  Biographical directories (many are also available in the library)

•  Emigration lists ( P1446 )

•  Maps (ask for assistance)

Ask for assistance with any of these resources during the hours that the NAHA is open (Tel. 507-786-3221)


Some Useful Resources at the Northfield Public Library

Two of useful databases for genealogy research in general are and HeritageQuest Online. Ancestry is available only in the library. HeritageQuest is available in the library and at home using your library barcode (if you are part of the SELCO Library District). Both include the U.S. Census and many different genealogical resources including immigration and military records.

To check out HeritageQuest Online from home just go to and click on Electronic Resources. To access, visit the Northfield Public Library during its regular hours.


Prepared by Susanne Nevin and amended by Kris MacPherson. Layout, illustrations, and fact checking by Elisabeth Granquist .
Last updated: January 2011