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Maps are an important source to locate the places where your ancestors lived. They help you see the neighboring towns and geographic features of the area your ancestor came from. Maps can help you locate places, parishes, churches, geographical features, transportation routes, and proximity to other towns. Maps may be published individually or in a bound collection called an atlas. Maps may also be included in gazetteers, guidebooks, local histories, and history texts.
Different types of maps can help you in different ways. Historical atlases describe the growth and development of countries. They show boundaries, migration routes, settlement patterns, military campaigns, and other historical information. Road atlases provide detailed information about the road systems of Norway.
The names of the Norwegian counties [fylker] changed in 1918. You can find the changes in:
- List of Parishes, Clerical Districts, and Regions, with Maps of the Counties in Norway, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1992. (FHL book 948.1 E77l; microfiche number 6068227).
This publication shows outline maps of each county with parishes and clerical districts in Norway. It also contains a list of regions (districts) of Norway and shows which parishes belong to which region. The names of these regions are historical. Their boundaries determined by geological features.
Maps must be used carefully for several reasons:
Several places have the same name. For example, there are eight parishes called Nes in present-day Norway. You must determine which Nes your ancestor came from.
Spelling was not standardized when most early records were made. You may find the spelling of a place is different on an old map than how it is spelled today. For example, Heddal was formerly spelled Hitterdal.
Place-names are often misspelled in American sources. Difficult names may have been shortened and important diacritical marks omitted.
Finding the Specific Town on the Map
For successful Norwegian research, you must identify the parish where your ancestor lived. Because many parishes have the same name, you may need some additional information before you can locate the correct parish on a map. You will be more successful if you have some information about the parish. Before using a map, you should search gazetteers, histories, family records, and other sources to learn all you can about:
- The county [fylke] your ancestor's parish was in
- The parish where your ancestor was christened or married
- The parish where your relatives lived
- The size of the parish
- The occupation of your ancestor or any relatives (this may indicate the size of the area or industries in the area.)
- Nearby localities, such as large cities
- Nearby features, such as rivers and mountains
- Industries of the area
Finding Maps and Atlases
Maps and atlases are available at numerous historical societies and at public and university libraries. View a map showing new and old counties in Norway
The Family History Library has a good collection of Norwegian maps and atlases. These are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under:
NORWAY - MAPS.
There are also some helpful atlases at the Family History Library:
- Kongelig Norsk Automobilklubb. Kartbok for Norge (Royal Norwegian Automobile Club. Map Book for Norway). Scale variable. Second Edition. Oslo, Norway: Kongelig Norsk Automobilklubb, 1954. (FHL book Scand 948.1 E7d; film 1,440,189 item 5)
- Norge, Volume 4. Atlas Register (Norway, Volume 4. Atlas Index). Scale 1:400.000. Oslo, Norway: J.W. Cappelens Forlag A/S, 1963. (FHL book 948.1 E6nc, vol. 4)
- Norge. Statens kartverk [Oslo, Norway]: Statens karverk: 1950-1997. FHL Map case 948.1 E7ns, (727 maps; microfilm numbers 1573254-15732550
You can purchase maps of Norway from:
Travel Genie Maps
1113 Kennedy Street
Ames, IA 50010-4106
Maps of Norway
Akershus and Aust-Agder Counties
Bergen Bity and Buskerud County
Finnmark and Hedmark Counties
Hordaland and Møre og Romsdal Counties
Nordland and Nord-Trøndelag Counties
- County Maps showing boundaries for parishes and towns. http://digitalarkivet.no/norkart/meny-eng.htm
- Norwegian County Maps: http://rootsweb.ancestry.com/~norway/NorMap1.html