Beginning Norwegian Research

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First[edit | edit source]

Begin with family and home sources.

  • Talk to living relatives of the immigrant ancestor.
  • Search for names, dates, and places on letters, post cards, photoes, certificates, family Bibles, obituaries, diaries, or similar sources.
  • Organize the information you find, and record it on predigree charts and family gourp records.

Second[edit | edit source]

In order to trace your Norwegian ancestors back to Norway you need to have the name of the place where they lived, were born, or married in Norway. To find this information, you need an understanding of what records are available both in the United States and Norway. As you search the sources discussed below, have these questions in mind:

  • Was your ancestor in the U.S. by 1900, 1910, or 1920? (Censuses were taken these years)
  • Where did your immigrant ancestor reside in the United States?
  • When did your ancestor emigrate?
  • Did your ancestor emigrate as a child or as an adult?
  • Was your ancestor married when he or she emigrated?

Third[edit | edit source]

Search American records to find out everything you can about your Norwegian ancestor.

  • Search for records in the US where your ancestor lived: such as US census records, church records, land records, vital records - anything that will list name, age, and possible place of birth.
  • Search immigration records. These can be found by searching the passenger lists for each port, as well as the Ellis island and Castle Garden records online.
  • Search the U.S. census for 1900, 1910, and 1920. These will list the year of immigration as well as country of origin. This will help narrow your search to one year.
  • Search other records of places where your ancestor lived in the United States, such as court records, county histories, and phone directories.

If you now have the place of origin for your ancestor see the section "Norway Guided Research". If not check the section "Tips for Norwegian Americans"