Norway Archives and Libraries
Archives collect and preserve original documents of organizations such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and sources for Norway.
If you plan to visit one of these repositories, contact the organization and ask for information about their collection, hours, services, and fees. When writing to an archive in Norway, you may write in English.
Although the records you need may be in an archive or library in Norway, the Family History Library and the Norwegian American Genealogical Center (NAGC) (see the "Societies" section) may have a microfilm copy of them. The Family History Library has copies of many records from Norwegian archives and libraries.
In Norway there are several major types of genealogical repositories:
- National archives
- Regional archives
- Church parish offices
- University and public libraries
- Historical and genealogical societies
The Norwegian government collects records relating to Norwegian history, culture, and people. Records of genealogical value at the national archives include census records, military records, and emigration lists. The National Archives of Norway is open to the public. You may purchase microfilms or request photocopies of the records by using forms obtained from the archives.
Riksarkivet (National Archive)
Folke Bernadottes vei 21, Kringsjå, Oslo
Postboks 4013, Ullevål stadion
Phone: 47 22 02 26 00
Fax: 47 22 23 74 89
DIGITALARKIVET (The Digital Archives)
The digital Archives is a public service from the National Archives of Norway. Transcribed, indexed, and original records can be serached for free. http://digitalarkivet.uib.no
In Norway there are eight regional archives and 1 Sami Archive. They serve as repositories for records of their particular areas. Records of genealogical value at regional archives include birth, marriage, and death records (church records); land records; and court records. The regional archives of Norway are open to the public. The regional archives may also have records on microfilm for areas that are not under their jurisdiction. The archives also have much of the printed genealogical material such as farm books (bygdebøker) that pertains to the area they cover. Check what hours they are open before you visit. Hours of operation are usually shorter during the summer.
The regional archives for the various counties [fylker] are listed below.
For Østfold, Akershus, and Oslo counties (Fylker)
Statsarkivet i Oslo (State Archive in Oslo)
Folke Bernadottes vei 21, Kringsjå, Oslo
Postboks 4015 Ullevål stadion
Phone: 47 22 02 26 00
Fax: 47 22 23 74 89
For Buskerud, Vestfold, and Telemark Counties (Fylker)
Statsarkivet i Kongsberg (State Archive in Kongsberg)
Phone: 47 32 86 99 00
Fax: 47 32 86 99 10
For Oppland and Hedemark counties (Fylker)
Statsarkivet i Hamar (State Archive in Hamar)
Lille Strandgate 3, Hamar
Phone: 47 62 55 54 40
Fax: 47 62 52 94 48
For Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder counties (Fylker)
Statsarkivet i Kristiansand
Märthas vei 1
Phone: 47 38 14 55 00
Fax: 47 38 14 55 01
For Rogaland County (Fylke)
Statsarkivet i Stavanger (State Archive in Stavanger)
Phone: 47 51 50 12 60
Fax: 47 51 50 12 90
For Hordaland, Bergen, and Sogn og Fjordane counties (Fylker)
Statsarkivet i Bergen (State Archive in Bergen)
Phone: 47 55 96 58 00
Fax: 47 55 96 58 01
For Møre og Romsdal, Sør-Trøndelag, Nord-Trøndelag, and Nordland counties (fylker)
Statsarkivet i Trondheim (State Archive in Trondheim)
Phone: 47 73 88 45 00
Fax: 47 73 88 45 40
For Troms and Finnmark counties (Fylker)
Statsarkivet i Tromsø (State Archive in Tromsø)
Huginbakken 18, Breivika, Tromsø
Phone: 47 77 64 72 00
Fax: 47 77 64 72 01
Samisk Arkiv /Sámi Arkiiva (The Sámi Archives)
Phone: 47 78 48 50 11
Fax: 47 78 64 48 50 42
Church Parish Offices
Church records containing an entry dated less than 80 years ago are kept at the local parish office. All others are sent to the state archives for the area. It is possible to write to local parishes and do so in English. See also the "Church Records" section for more information .
Libraries in Norway
Some of the sources you will want to use are also available in major libraries in Norway and in the United States. Contact these libraries and ask about their collection, hours, and services. The Nasjonalbiblioteket is the largest library in Norway and its function is similar to that of The Library of Congress. By law they are to receive a copy of everything that is published in all media formats in Norway.
Nasjonalbiblioteket, avdeling Oslo*
Henrik Ibsens gate 110
0255, Oslo, Norway
Write to: Nasjonalbiblioteket
Postboks 2674, Solli N-0203, Oslo, Norway
Phone: 47 81 00 13 00
Fax: 47 23 27 60 50
- National Library of Norway, Oslo Division
The main public libraries in Oslo and Bergen have large collections, and the collections of family histories, local histories, and biographical works are extensive.
Arne Garborgs plass 4
N-0179 Oslo, Norway
Postboks 1453, Vika Oslo, Norway
Phone: 47 23 43 29 00
Fax; 47 22 11 33 89
Norsk Lokalhistorisk Institutt (Norwegian Local History Institute)
0254 Oslo, Norway
Write to: Postboks 8045
Dep., 0031, Oslo, Norway
Phone: 47 22 92 51 50
Fax: 47 22 92 51 30
Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek
Phone: 47 55 56 85 60
Fax: 47 55 56 85 70
The Norwegian Emigration Center in Stavanger, Norway, is a foundation supported by the county or Rogaland, the city of Stavaanger, and the community of Tysvær. The center has a copy of most of the published material about Norwegian families as well as an almost complete collection of Nrwegian church, census, and emigration records. The center also has passanger lists from the Norwegian American Line and one of the largest colledtions of farm books (bygdebøker). They answer questions and do research ofr a nominal fee.
Det Norske Utvandrersenteret (The Norwegian Emigraion Center)
N-4005 Stavanger, Norway
Phone: 47 51 53 88 60
Fax: 47 51 53 88 63
Office hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m.
There is an emigration museum with an archive located in Otterstad with an extensive collection about Norwegians in America. They have more than 7,000 emigrant letters, microfilm of about 2,000 Norwegian Lutheran Churches in America from around 1840-1900, and a collection of about 9,000 photographs.
Norsk Utvandrermuseum (Norwegian Emigration Center)
3212 Otterstad, Norway
Phone: 47 62 57 48 50
Fax: 47 62 57 48 51
Office hours 9:00-5:00 T-F by appointment only
There are several libraries in Norway that have genealogical information that may be searched on the Internet at:
Arkivnett Norge (Norway archives on the net) is another useful site:
The Memorial Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has one of the largest collections of Norwegian local histories in the United States, and these histories contain much genealogical information. Dennis Auburn Hill has published a bibliography of their holdings:
Norwegian Local History: A Bibliography of the Material in the Collections of the Memorial Library (Jefferson, NC, USA: McFarland, 1989; FHL book 977.583/M1 A3hi;
Other libraries that have large collections of Norwegian local histories include:
Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota—Grand Forks
Mikkelsen Library, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Rølvaag Library, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota
Luther College, Decorah, Iowa
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota
Historical and Genealogical Societies
Norway has some organized historical and genealogical societies. Some maintain libraries or archives that collect valuable genealogical records. For more information, including addresses of some societies, see the "Societies" section.
Archives in the United States
The archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have microfilm copies of most of the Norwegian-American Lutheran church records. The copies can be loaned via the mail for a nominal fee. The ELCA is divided into nine regions. The regional archives may have additional information.
To contact staff with questions about he Norwegian Lutheran church records in the United States, go to:
You may visit the ELCA archives in person by appointment only:
321 Bonnie Lane
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Other records of Norwegians in America are kept at the National Archives. These include service and pension, naturalization, immigration, and homestead records. For information, write to:
The National Archives of the United States
Washington, D.C. 20408
Other United States records are kept on a state and county level.
Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards
Computers with modems can be useful tools for obtaining information from selected archives and libraries. In fact, computer networks themselves serve as libraries. The Internet, certain computer bulletin boards, and commercial online services help family history researchers:
- Locate other researchers
- Post queries
- Send and receive e-mail
- Search large databases
- Search computer libraries
- Join in computer chat and lecture sessions
You can use online services to find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from Norway in many sources at local, provincial, national and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most information is available at no cost.
Internet sites that include information about archives, censuses, church records, probate records, and military records are found in various sections of this outline. Some sites that act as an index to many useful Norwegian genealogical sites include:
National Archive in Norway (Riksarkivet):
Family History Department
Inventories, Registers, Catalogs
Some archives have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. Write to each archive you are interested in for a guide to its collection. If one is available, study it before you visit or use the records during your visit so you can use your time more effectively. Some guides are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under the Place search with the heading ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES and the subheading INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, AND CATALOGS.