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Norway Military Records

Norway has been involved in several wars, and its first military force is as old as the country itself. In the late middle ages the military was dissolved. The Danish king (Christian IV) decided in 1628 that a Norwegian army was to be re-established. This was the beginning of a permanent Norwegian Army.

The Norwegian Army was reorganized in 1641 under Hannibal Sechested (Hannibal Feud), and a general war commissioner was chosen 1644. In the 1650s there were two general war commissioners in Norway, one for north of the mountains (nordafjelske) and one for south of the mountains (sønnafjelske). The army was later organized with a general war commissioner and several regional war commissioners. The number of war commissioners varied between seven and ten from 1880 to 1900

Military records identify individuals who served in the military or who were eligible for service. Evidence that an ancestor actually served may be found in family records, biographies, census, probate records, civil registration, and church records. Other sources such as church and census records are more easily available and contain better genealogical information than the military records.

Military records include the following:

  • Muster rolls
  • Personnel files
  • Regimental account books
  • Lists of officers
  • Accounts (officers)
  • Probate records (officers)
  • Naval records 

Records of military service in Norway were kept by the Department of Defense. These records are now at the National Archives. The Family History Library has on microfilm all the available military records for 1643 to 1909.

Many are online and can be searched at:

Click on "Database selector" at the top of the page, Click on "Source Category" and choose The Military, then Click on "Sub-category" and choose Military rolls.  Click on Period and choose the years you want to search.  A word of caution, the information online has been extracted from the original records and may contain mistakes.  If ever in doubt, search the microfilms.

Because the military records from Norway are sketchy and not indexed, they are difficult to work with. The early records only give the names of individual soldiers. Information about officers is easier to find. In the 1700s and 1800s, the records give more detailed personal information about each soldier that can sometimes be found in other records. You may find such information as a soldier's name; age; father's name and occupation; civil occupation; place of residence; marital status; wife's name; number of children; height; bodily peculiarities; illnesses or characteristics that made him unfit to serve; previous service; joining date; length of service; and status as a farm owner renter or cotter.

To use Norwegian military records, you will have to determine the specific unit that your ancestor served in. If you do not know the name of the unit, you may be able to find out which units were in the area where he lived. To do this, you must know the town where the individual was living when he was of age to serve in the military. To determine what unit your ancestor belonged to, check the Family History Library Catalog under:


A useful biography about Norwegian military officers from 1628 to 1814 is:

Olai Ovenstad. Militœbiografier, den norske hœrs officerer fra 18 januar 1628 til 17 mai 1814 (The Norwegian Army Officers from January 18, 1628 to May 17, 1814). Oslo, Norway: Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening, 1948-19492. Two Volumes (FHL 948.1 D3o)

A list of the regiments and companies for each county is listed. The main military records for Norway are to be found on the level of the country, but there are also a few listed under the level of county and city, which can be found in the Family History Library Catalog under:



Military History

Norway was involved in the following military actions:

The Nordic Seven-Year War, 1563-1570. (War against Sweden waged by Frederic II of Denmark to win control of the Baltic Sea failed).

The Kalmar War, 1611-1613. (Denmark-Norway against Sweden).

The Hannibal Feud, 1643-1645. (Norway lost Jämtland and Härjedalen to Sweden).

The Krabbe War and Bjelke Feud, 1657-1660. (Norway lost Trondheim len and Romsdal to Sweden, but took back Jämtland and Härjedalen).

The Gyldenløve Feud, 1675-1679. (Norway's army went against Sweden. Also called the war of Skåne).

The Eleven-Year War, 1709-1720. (At peace of 1720 Denmark lost many German possessions. Small colonies were established in West Indies and Greenland).

Action against Sweden in Bohuslän, 1788. (Denmark-Norway tried to take the fortress Bohus in Bohuslän).

The Napoleonic War, 1807-1814. (Ended by treaty of Kiel in 1814 which forced Denmark to cede Norway to Sweden).

Occupation during the World War II, 1940-1945.

For more historical information about the Norwegian military, see:

Bjørn Christophersen, Vårt Forsvars Historie (The History of Our Defense), Oslo, Norway: Gyldendahl Norsk Forlag, 1978. (FHL book Ref. 948.1 M2c)

For information about Norwegians who settle in Wisconsin and served in the 15th Volunteer Infantry, see the following web site:

More military histories are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under:


Military Ranks




HÆREN                THE ARMY

Visekorporal          (Vice Corporal)

Korporal                Corporal

Sersjant                Sergeant

Stabssersjant        Staff Sergeant

MARINEN               THE MARINE

Kvartermester I        Quarter Master I

Kvartermester II       Quarter Master II

Flaggkvartermester  Flag Quarter Master


Visekorporal            (Vise Corporal)

Korporal                  Corporal

Sersjant                  Sergeant

Vingsersjant            Wing Sergeant (Staff Sergeant)


HÆREN                   THE ARMY

Fenrik                      2nd. Lieutenant

Løytnant                  1st Lieutenant

Kaptein                    Captain

Major                       Major

Oberstløytnant          Lieutenant Colonel

Oberst                     Colonel

Generalmajor            Major General

Generalløytnant        Lieutenant General

General                    General


NORWEGIAN                                US EQUIVALENT

Menig soldat                                  Private

Korporal                                        Corporal

BEFAL                                           NC

Sersjant                                         Sergeant

Furer                                              Quartermaster Sergeant

Kommandersjersant                        First Sergeant, Sergeant Major [?]

Fantejunker                                    Ensign (Army) or (3, 4, 5 Lieutenant)

   2a. Kavalieriet - Standart Junker.      2a. Cavalry - Standard Bearer

   2b. Artileriet het de stykjunker          2b. Artillery - Ensign or 3, 4, 5 Lieutenant

OFFISERER                                    OFFICERS

Secondløytnant                                2nd. Lieutenant

Premierløytnant                                1st. Lieutenant

Kaptein                                             Captain


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