The probate records of Norway are court records that describe the distribution of a person’s estate. These records are very helpful for genealogical research because in many areas the authorities began recording probate actions before the earliest birth and death records. It is also the record that can give us a more personal glimpse into the life of an ancestor because of the detailed description of personal property. A word of caution: Probate records were not created for every person that died.
Probate records generally include the following information:
- The name of the deceased
- Registration of household and furniture
- Property and landed estate
- Allodial (land tenure) rights
- Division of all the property
Most of the Norwegian probates are indexed. Many Norwegian archives and institutions are making probate indexes. These are usually indexed three ways: by given name, surname, and farm name. The given name and surname can usually be found in the beginning or at the end of a probate book.
The Probate card indexes (produced by the Norwegian Archives) are by far the best indexes. They are indexed by the name of the farm where a person lived and are of great value because they will list:
- Name of the deceased and spouse
- The date of the probate
- Page number in the actual probate
- Names and sometimes ages of children
- The value of the estate
If you are searching for your ancestors in the probate records make sure you check the card index (kort register) as they list the vital information about your ancestors without having to spend hours searching through the actual probates. These indexes are available on microfilm at the Family History Library.
For more information on Norwegian probate records, see the Norway Probate Records article in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.