Effective family research requires some understanding of the historical events that may have affected your family and the records about them. Learning about wars, governments, laws, migrations, and religious trends may help you understand political boundaries, family movements, and settlement patterns. These events may have led to the creation of records such as land and military documents that mention your family.
Your ancestors will become more interesting as you learn about the events in which they may have participated. For example, by using a history you might learn about the events that occurred in the year your great-grandparents were married.
Below are some key dates and events in the history of Norway
800-1000 Viking age.
872 King Harald Fairhair began to unite Norway into one kingdom. Before that, Norway was comprised of small, warring kingdoms.
1000 King Olav Trygvasson and King Olav Haraldsson “The Holy” began to spread Christianity throughout Norway.
1319 The old royal line died out. Norway united with Denmark.
1397-1523 The Union of Kalmar united Denmark, Norway, and Sweden under one king.
1523-1814 Denmark and Norway united.
1536 The king of Denmark and Norway appropriated the land holdings of the Catholic church and declared the Lutheran church the state religion.
1814-1905 Norway united with Sweden. The Norwegian parliament ruled under constitution, but there was only one king for Norway and Sweden.
1905-57 Prince Carl Fredrik of Denmark (named Hakon VII) was elected king of Norway. He ruled as a constitutional monarch.
The Family History Library has some published national and local histories for Norway. The following is available at the library and on film at Family History Centers:
Gjerset, Knut. History of the Norwegian People. New York: The MacMillan Co., 1915. (FHL book Scand 948.1 H2g; film 1,440,084.)
You can find histories in the catalog under: EUROPE - HISTORY NORWAY - HISTORY NORWAY, [COUNTY] - HISTORY NORWAY, [COUNTY], [CITY] - HISTORY Major works on Norwegian history are also available in public and university libraries.
Local Histories Local histories should be studied and enjoyed for the background information they can provide about your family's lifestyle and environment.
The Family History Library has many local histories for towns in Norway. The local histories are called bygdebøker. They give statistical information about the general area and may give genealogical information about the people in the community. See the “Genealogy” and “Periodicals” sections of this outline. Some of these histories are available at major public and university libraries in the Midwest.
Calendar Changes The Gregorian calendar, the calendar in common use today, corrected the Julian calendar that had been in use since A.D. 46. Leap years had been miscalculated in the Julian calendar. By 1582, the calendar was ten days behind the solar year.
In Norway, the last day of the Julian calendar was 18 February 1700. At that time, ten days were omitted in order to bring the calendar in line with the solar year. The day after 18 February 1700 was 1 March 1700.