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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.
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:
NORWAY - MILITARY RECORDS
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:
NORWAY [COUNTY], - MILITARY RECORDS
NORWAY, [COUNTY], [PARISH] - MILITARY RECORDS
Norway was involved in the following military actions:
1563-70: The Nordic Seven-Year War.
1611-13: The Kalmar War.
1643-45: The Hannibal Feud.
1657-60: The Krabbe War and Bjelke Feud.
1675-79: The Gyldenløve Feud.
1709-20: The Eleven-Year War.
1788: Action against Sweden (in Bohuslän).
1807-14: Napoleonic War.
1940-45: Occupation during the World War II.
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:
NORWAY - MILITARY HISTORY.