This page aims to be a guide to getting started with Scandinavian genealogy online and at the library.
The name and the farm go together
(Last updated 7th January, 2008)
The family tree guide book to Europe : your passport to tracing your genealogy across Europe, by Erin Nevius and the editors of Family Tree Magazine. (2003).
The Family Tree Guide Book to Europe provides beginner-friendly, how-to instruction on finding your European ancestors. Each of the 14 chapters is devoted to a specific country or region of Europe, so there is a chapter on Scandinavia and separate resource lists lists for Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, and Norway.
In search of your European roots : a complete guide to tracing your ancestors in every country in Europe, by Angus Baxter. (1985).
A good back-up with ideas for approaches and sources while learning to navigate around more current resources.
Scandinavian footprints : a history of Scandinavians settling in New Zealand , by Margit Brew. (2007).
In the 1870s The New Zealand government was turning to Scandinavia as well as Great Britain to attract immigrants. Lumbermen and farmers from Norway, Sweden and Denmark arrived in the Wairarapa and Manawatu. This is the story of those migrants, centred around the life of Bror Erik Friberg, government agent in Hawke's Bay.
William and Trina Rasmussen : Denmark, New Zealand, by Alan King. (1995).
A story which begins two generations before William's birth in Denmark, and traces his, and later, Trina's life in that country till their departure. Their voyage in a sailing ship, and how they fared in New Zealand are then recounted; followed by a history of each of their seven children.
- Danish State Archives: How to get started on Danish research in English.
Includes a Genealogical dictionary, naming structures, location of records. Basic information.
- The Society for Danish Genealogy and Biography.
How to get started? Where to get help?
- Hans H. Worsoe, Facts about Genealogical Research in Denmark,The road to knowledge about your family and its homestead.
This article from 1970 is basic information for anyone who endeavours to make research in Denmark.
Danish private archives from a variety of persons, societies, organizations, institutions, businesses, shops etc. are collected and preserved by a great number of cultural institutions.
The Private Archives Committee, founded by the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs, has established as a high priority its desire to promote access to this valuable accumulation of knowledge within multiple repositories documenting private organizations and lives in Denmark. The database contains search capabilities for descriptive records representing approximately 80,000 private archives in Denmark. Searching is only in Danish.
American site with links to Danish resources.
- Onetree Genealogy.
Although this is an individual's family history website, OneTree Genealogy is a genealogical relations database - focusing on Patrician and Nobility lineages it includes more than 60,000 individuals and 30,000 partnerships.
Danish Census of School Children, 1730s.
Where there are gaps in church records, one needs to look for substitute records. The first overall census was in 1787. However, the Danes kept other types of census or lists for other purposes. As well as military census of men, in some areas they made school censuses which listed all of the school children and information about them. These are predominantly for the Copenhagen County and Bornholm.
Try the Vital Records Index to start.
Other useful websites:
- Finland Research Outline has been compiled by Family Search. It is an excellent portal to orient around key information types e.g. census, church, military, emigration.
- Genealogical Society of Finland's HisKi project - Sukutieto's parish record extract search..
First select your region, then the parish from which to search. Name forms have been standardised.
- Beginner's guide to Finnish Family History research, by David Saari gives clear and helpful search prompts and information.
- Genealogical Society of Finland contains many links is also a good starting place.
- How to trace your ancestors in Norway, by Yngve Nedrebo, based on a manuscript by Jan Olstad and Gunvald Boe. (2002)
Very comprehensive guide to Norwegian genealogy - historical information
Guides to where information is held, what is being computerised and indexed.
- NHDC - The Norwegian Historical Data Centre - University of Tromsø.
The Norwegian censuses 1865 and 1900 are complete and they are working on digitising the 1875 together with the parish registers and other sources from the 18th and 19th centuries. It's possible to limit your search by parish.
- Utenriksdepartementet - How to trace your ancestors in Norway.
Another excellent starting point with a lot of resource links covering information onparish registers, census returns, probate registers, Registers of conveyances and mortgages, real estate books, emigrant lists, migration records, court records, accounts, military records and more.
- Norwegian Research Sources .
Contains a large number of links to vital and church record sources for Norway, together with explanatory articles - for example Norwegian kirkebøker-parish registers by John Follesdal.
- Norwegian surnames - Genealogy today. Scroll down to the search to access links to surname specific web sites and information about the origins of Norwegian surnames.
National censuses were held in 1769, 1801, and then every tenth year from 1815 - 1875. The best census is 1801 because it lists the individual's names, age, occupation and family status. Located at the National Archives.
- World GenWeb for Sweden, like other World GenWeb sites, a place to post queries and locate key links.
- The Swedish Gazetteer. Nearly 60,000 place name access (using GIS type software), produced by the National Atlas of Sweden.
- Access to actual records is extremely limited. The FamilySearch has a Research Outline Guide as for other countries but it will be evident from the results that much searching will need to be done either by requesting microfilm, or visiting the various Archives rather than on the internet.
Handwriting & Language
Online dictionary covering Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish.
- Danish State Archives Genealogical Dictionary
Quick access to words such as widower, pauper or marriage witness commonly found in genealogical documents.
- Norwegian Genealogy Terms, published by the Norwegian-American Historical Association.
Similarly for Norwegian, quick access to such words as vaccination certificate or baptismal witness.
Until the late nineteenth century the "Gothic" hand-writing style was prevalent both in society and in official documents. Spelling has also changed over the years, and often you may see the same word spelled two or three different ways even within the same document. Try these sites for more information:
Places & Patrymonic names
- Political Map of Scandinavia countries, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
- Surname Navigator multiple source search - Sweden also available for Denmark (access from same web-page.)
What are they? Names made up of the Christian name of the father, followed by "sen" (for son) or "datter" (daughter). Although this was abolished by law as early as 1826 it persisted well into the late nineteenth century, so you need to bear this in mind when searching.
More helpful information on naming patterns, , from the Statens Arkiver in Denmark.
Essential websites for Scandinavian Genealogy
Remember! A huge amount of the sites online are American. Bear this in mind when subscribing to some sites which advertise the ability to search zillions of international names. Very few of them will be Scandinavian.
- A limited number of Scandinavian records is on the Vital Records Index , but this makes no claim to be comprehensive.
- Cyndi's list for Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
Major internet directory.
- Military Allotment System
The military system in Sweden and Finland.
Finland 1682-1808 and Sweden 1682-1910
Scandinavian club of Manawatu (inc.).
Also contains contact details of the Wellington Club. Includes recommended links, helpful publications, and index to Skandia Quarterly as well as club news and contacts.
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