Norway Court Records
Norway 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:
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.
Terms used in Court Records
A Ting is a place where leading citizens would meet in the olden days to discuss and settle disputes. This place would represent a large area such as a county (Len or Amt, today Fylke), district (herred) or even a larger area. Here free men and representatives of the court would meet to settle disagreements, bring forth complaints or hear the law. This was in Norwegian called Lagting. Early on twelve well respected men from the community were appointed as members of the court, and they were along with the bailiff responsible for all court cases. ATing was also a term used for set days when a court was in session at given places in the country. In the cities it was called Byting and in the rural areas it was called Herredsting. There were several other set times for the court to meet, such as the Høstting (fall court), Vårting (spring court), even Månedsting (month court), and Ekstrating (extra court). The last one pertained to registration of documents. The old way of conducting Ting was changed in 1927 when a new system was put in place. From the year 1927 both the civil and criminal dealings were handled by the Herredsrett in the rural area and Byrett in the citites. The date and time for these proceedings are now scheduled by a judge in each inividual case.
Before the Probate law was passed in 1687, many probate proceedings were part of the general court records.
You may find probate databases online at Digitalarkivet.
The original probate records are also found online at Digitalarkivet.
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: