Norwegian Genealogical Word List

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This Norwegian Word List contains Norwegian words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Norwegian-English dictionary. (See the "Additional Resources" section below.)

Norwegian is a Germanic language like Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic. There are two official dialects in Norway. Prior to 1915 most Norwegian records are in a language closer to written Danish than to modern Norwegian. You may also want to refer to the Danish Genealogical Word List.

Records published after 1915, such as family and local histories, are in modern Norwegian. Most differences between modern and old Norwegian are simply a matter of spelling. Carefully study the section below on spelling. This will help you find the words in this list.


Variant Forms of Words

In Norwegian, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who—whose—whom or marry—marries— married are examples of words in English with variant forms. The endings of a word in a document may differ from those in this list. For example:

Mann man Kone wife
Mannen the man Kona the wife
Menn men Koner wives
Mennene the men Konene the wives

Alphabetical Order

Written Norwegian has three letters not found in the English alphabet: Æ (æ), Ø (ø), and Å (å). In most record sources prior to 1915, Å (å) is written as Aa (aa) and filed at the beginning of the alphabet. Modern Norwegian dictionaries, indexes, the Locality section of the Family History Library Catalog, and this word list use the following alphabetical order:

a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h  i  j  k  l  m  n  o  p  q  r  s  t  u  v  w  x  y  z  æ  ø  å

A through C



Spelling was not standardized when most early records were made. The following spelling variations are common:

Norwegian English


absolvere to give absolution
adel nobility
adelig noble
adelsmann nobleman
adoptert adopted
adresse address
aften evening
alder age
alderdomssvakhet weakness of old age
aldri never
alle all
alltid always
almisse charity
almisselem indigent, poor
altergang Communion
amt county
amtmann chief county administrator
andre others, other, next
anetavle pedigree chart
anfall seizure, attack
anførte entered, mentioned
ankomst arrival
anmerkning remark, notice, note
annen, annet second, another
annen gang second time
anno (Latin) year
annonsere publish, announce
antall number, count
april April
arbeider laborer
arkiv archive
arv inheritance
arvelodd share of inheritance
arving heir
astma asthma
at that
atten eighteen
attende eighteenth
attest certificate
august August
av of, at, by, from
avdeling part, division
avdød deceased
avgangen departed
avgift duty (monetary), fee
avkom offspring, issue
avtale agreement


bakbygning back building (additional residence behind the main building)
baker baker
bakke hill
bannlyse excommunicate
baptist Baptist
bar carried
bar barnet held child (at baptism font)
bare only
barn child
barna children
barndom childhood
barnebarn grandchild
barnedåp child baptism
barnefar child’s father
barnløs childless
barsel birth
barselfeber childbed fever
barselseng birthing bed
be pray, request
beboer occupant, resident
bededag prayer day
bedrive hor commit adultery
befolkning population, people
begge both
begivenhet event, occurrence
begravelse funeral, burial
begravet buried
behandle handle, treat, manage
bemerkning remark
ben leg, bone
benekte deny
benåde pardon
beruset drunk
besetning livestock, crew
beskrivelse description
beslektet related
bestefar grandfather
besteforeldre grandparents
bestemor grandmother
besvangre impregnate, get with child, make pregnant
betale pay
betler beggar
bevilge grant
bevis proof
bibliotek library
bind volume (book)
biografi biography
biskop bishop
bispedømme diocese
bli become
blikkenslager tinsmith
blind blind
blod blood
blodgang dysentery
blodskam incest
blodsott abnormal loss of blood during illness
bo to live at
bodde lived
bok book
bokhandler bookseller
bokholder, bokfører bookkeeper
bokstav letter, character
bolig residence, house
bonde farmer
bopel residence, domicile
borger citizen
borgermester mayor
borgerskap citizenship
bot fine, penalty
brann fire
brennevinsbrenner distiller of spirits
brev letter (correspondence)
bro bridge
bror brother
brordatter brother’s daughter
brorsønn brother’s son
brud bride
brudgom bridegroom
bruk farm, use
brygger brewer
bryllup wedding
budeie milkmaid
buskap livestock, crew
by town, city
bygd small country community, village
bygdebok rural chronicles
bygsel lease
byll abscess
byllepest plague (bubonic)
bære carry
bøkker cooper, barrel maker
både both, either
båret carried
båt boat, ship
båtbygger shipbuilder
båtsmann boatswain, bosun


cirka approximately
communion Communion
confirmerede confirmed
copulerede marriage

D through F

dag day
dagen før the previous day
dagsarbeider day laborer
dal valley
Danmark Denmark
dannekvinde gentlewoman
dannemand gentleman
dansk Danish
dato date (noun)
datter daughter
datterdatter daughter’s daughter
dattersønn daughter’s son
datum (Latin) date
dele to divide, to share
dem them, they
den the, it, that
denne this
der there
deres their
derfor therefore
desember December
det it, that, the
difteri diphtheria
din your
disse these
diverse various
dokument document
domkirke cathedral
dommer judge
dragon dragoon, light cavalryman
dreng boy
drengebarn male child
drepe kill
dronning queen
druknet drowned
dydig virtuous
to die
døbt(e) christening
død dead, death
døde died, death
dødfødt stillborn
dødsfall death
døgn 24-hour period of time
døpt baptized, christened
døtre daughters
døv deaf
døvstum deaf and dumb
dåp baptism
dåpsattest certificate of baptism
dåpsdag day of baptism
efter after
efterkommer descendant
efterlatte surviving, survivors
efterlevende surviving
eftermiddag afternoon
efternavn surname, last name
egen own
egentlig actual
egteviede marriage
eie, eje to own
eiendom property, real estate
ekte legitimate, to marry
ektefelle spouse
ektemann husband
ektepar married couple
ekteskap marriage
ekteskapelig marital, conjugal
ekteviet married
eldre older
eldst oldest, eldest
elev student
eller or, or else
elleve eleven
ellevte eleventh
elv river, stream
embete public office
embetsmann public official
emigrant emigrant
emigrere emigrate
en, et a, one
enebarn only child
engelsk English
England England
enhver each
enke widow
enkemann widower
enkestand widowed
ennu yet, still
epilepsi epilepsy
er is, are
erhverv livelihood
erkjenne acknowledge
et a, one
etasje floor, story
etc. (Latin) et cetera, and so on
etternavn surname, last
evne intelligence
fabrikk factory
faddere christening witnesses, godparents
fallesyke epilepsy
falt fall, be killed in war
familie family
familie historie lineage books
far father
farfar paternal grandfather
farger dyer
farmor paternal grandmother
farsot pestilence, plague
fartøy vessel, craft
fattig poor
fattigvesnet welfare agency
februar February
felles common, joint
fem five
femte fifth
femten fifteen
femtende fifteenth
femti fifty
femtiende fiftieth
fengsel prison
festeseddet rental contract
festning fortress
fetter cousin (male)
Finnland Finland
finsk Finnish
fire four
fisker fisherman
fjell mountain
fjerde fourth
fjorten fourteen
fjortende fourteenth
flere several, more
flittig diligent
flytte move
foged, fogd bailiff, sheriff
folio page (double)
folk people
folkemengde population
folkeregister citizen register, national register
folketelling census
for for, at, before, by
foran in front of
forblødning bled to death
foreldre parents
foreldreløs orphan
forening society
forfedre ancestors, forefathers
forhenværende former, previous, preceding
forhus house in front (usually the main house on a farm)
forkjølet to have a cold
forklaring explanation
forlate leave, forgive
forlovelse engagement
forlovere marriage witnesses
formiddag between morning and afternoon
formynder guardian
fornavn first name, given name
forpakter manager of estate
forrige former
forstand intellect, mind
forstoppelse constipation, obstruction
forsørges is supported
fortelle tell, relate
fortid past
forvalter manager
foster fetus
fosterbarn foster child
fostre foster, to rear
fra from
fraflytte leave, move away
fraværende absent
fredag Friday
fremmed foreign, foreigner
fremtid future
fru Mrs.
fruentimmer unmarried mother, female person (derogatory)
fruktsommelig pregnant
frøken Miss
full full, complete, drunk
fullmektig head clerk, agent
fylke county
fyr lighthouse
fæstebrev to acquire land
føderåd support received after giving one’s estate to another
føderådskone woman on føderåd
føderådsmann man on føderåd
fødested birthplace
fødsel birth
fødselsattest birth certificate
fødselsdag birthday
født(e) born (birth)
følgende following, next
føllaug retired
før before
første first
førti forty
førtiende fortieth
får sheep, receives

G through I


aa used for å
j used for gj
b used for p ld used for ll
c used for k nd used for nn
d used for t q used for k
e used for æ u used for v
f used for v w used for v
g used for k x used for ks
i used for j 
ch used for k
tj used for kj
hj used for j


"gjørtler" spelled as "giørtler"
"mann" spelled as "mand"
"kvinne" spelled as "quinde"


This word list includes only words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Norwegian-English dictionary. Several Norwegian-English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library. These are in the Scandinavian collection. Their call numbers begin with 439.82321. Family History Centers can obtain the following dictionaries on microfilm:

Scavenius, H. Glydendals Ordbøker; Norsk-Engelsk [Gyldendal’s Dictionaries; Norwegian-English]. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1945. (FHL film 1,224,705, item 4).

cavenius, H. Glydendals Ordbøker; Engelsk-Norsk [Glydendal’s Dictionaries; English-Norwegian]. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1945. (FHL film 1,224,705, item 3).

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the Family History Library Catalog under NORWEGIAN LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES and in the Locality section under NORWAY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES.


In order to find and use specific types of Norwegian records, you will need to know some key words in Norwegian. This section lists key genealogical terms in English and the Norwegian words with the same or similar meanings.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Norwegian words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined, and other words used in Norwegian records to indicate marriage.

English Norwegian
banns lysninger
fødte, født
begravelse, jordet
census folketelling
christening døbte, døbt
clerical district prestegjeld
konfirmasjon, konfirmerede
death døde, død
engagement forlovelse, trolovelse
father far
female kvinnekjønn
husband ektemann
index register
male mannkjønn
marriage copulerede, egteviede, gift, vielse
military militær
mother mor
moving in innflyttning
moving out utflyttning
name, given fornavn
name, surname
parents foreldre
parish sogn
probate skifte
vaccination vaccinerede, vaksinert
wife hustru
year år