Norwegians were one of the largest immigrant groups who came to America following the War of Independence, and throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Because of that, we have many groups here in the US, particularly in the Midwest, who focus on Norwegian (and Scandinavian) genealogy.
As stated in the Danish genealogy links page, Scandinavians who immigrated to America settled in the Midwest, Minnesota and Wisconsin in particular. Because of their large presence in the US, Norwegians are one of the easier immigrant groups to research in America today, despite the language barrier. And with Google Translate, even that isn’t difficult to overcome.
Google Translate offers not only simple translations, but also the ability to translate whole sites. Paste in the address of the page you wish to translate into their translator, and it will do the rest for you. It can even be set to auto-detect the language. Headers will usually remain in the original language if they are graphics, but most European languages can be translated this way. If you use Chrome, translation is automatically imbedded in the browser, so you don’t even have to visit the Google Translate Page.
Today, we’ll focus on the Norwegians.
Where to research your Norwegian roots online:
- National Archives of Norway – Transcribed Norwegian records, including parish records, real estate, probate, and court records.
- Norway Heritage – Norwegian immigrant ships and passenger lists.
- RHD – a site by the University of Tromsø with a number of great databases. In Norwegian.
- Ancestors from Norway – a huge site full of information and links on Norway and Norwegian immigrants.
- Genealogy Society of Norway – a Norwegian genealogical society connecting Norwegians with descendants of Norwegian immigrants.
- Sons of Norway – a great Norwegian American resource with lots of links.
- Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library – A genealogical center focused on recording the Norwegian American experience, based in Wisconsin.
- Norwegian-American Genealogical Association – Another Norwegian Genealogical Society, based in Minnesota.
- Norwegian Genealogy Resources – Lots of great resources for Norwegian genealogy.
- How to trace your ancestors in Norway – A how-to on finding your Norwegian roots.
- Nordic Names (Norwegian page) – a great resource for understanding your ancestors’ names.
- Genealogy Research Denmark – A few interesting resources here, also includes some information on Scandinavia in general, England, and Norway, as well as other links to check.
- Norway Genealogy Forum
- Family Search’s Norway Page.
- Cyndi’s List Norway Page.
For local places to research Norway:
Again, the Seattle Public Library, the Seattle Genealogical Society, Fiske Genealogical Library, and the East Side Genealogical Society are the best places to go. All four have libraries that should have many resources focusing on Norwegian heritage in their collections, both books and other records. The East Side Genealogical society does have a Scandinavian Special interest group as well.
The Nordic Heritage Museum focuses on the Scandinavian groups who settled in Western Washington. The third floor houses specific exhibits featuring each of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Norsk Seattle – Focused on anything Norwegian going on in the Seattle area, with lots of activities for anyone who might be interested in participating.
Daughters of Norway – Focusing on female descendants of Norwegian immigrants. There is also a Sons of Norway group, though their page appears to be down at the moment.
As you can see, there is no lack of information on the Scandinavian cultures out there, so don’t be afraid to explore those roots!