Norway Court Records

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Norway Court Records

Three kinds of court records are kept in Norway: probate, land, and civil court records. The probate and land records are explained in the "Probate Records" and "Land and Property" sections. The civil court records are discussed here and are referred to simply as court records.

Most court records start sometime in the 1600s, and they record both criminal and civil action. Before the probate law was passed in 1687, many probate records were part of the general court records. Many cases involving land transfers are also part of the court records.  Within court records you will find several different types of cases:

  • Cases regarding allodial land rights (independently and privately owned land), where several generations of a family may be listed.
  • Pension contracts where the farm is turned over to heirs in exchange for upkeep for the rest of their life.
  • Paternity suits, including fines levied against parents of illegitimate children, and instruction about the church discipline in such matters and inheritance cases.
  • Inheritance cases.
  • Theft and murder cases.

More information about the evolution of court records.

Criminal cases such as theft and murder

Court records offer helpful information about how your ancestors lived. This can be of great importance if you wish to have a better understanding of the times and lives of your ancestors. However, court records do require a great amount of time to search because they do not have indexes.

Probate Records

Before the Probate law was passed in 1687, many probate proceedings were part of the general court records.

You may find probate records online at:

Many Norwegian court records are available on microfilm. More are deposited in the regional archives in Norway. Those located at the Family History Library are listed in the Place search of the catalog are under these headings: