Ancestors from Norway - Bygdebøker  
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    Bygdebøker are basically local history books that contain a wealth of genealogy information. A bygdebok will generally cover a small community, perhaps one or two parishes. Usually it gives a brief history of the community, and a list of all of the farms in that community. For each farm, the bygdebok will give a chronological list of the owners going back many generations. Bygdebøker have been published for several hundred rural communities in Norway, but not for cities such as Oslo, Bergen, or Trondheim. To learn how to obtain and use bygdebøker take a look at these web pages:

What is a bygdebok? by Johan I. Borgos is a "must read" article for anyone who wants to do Norwegian genealogy research. So is his article on Norwegian farmer groups.

How to use a Norwegian bygdebok in your genealogy research is a tutorial that I have written.

Norwegian farms - some background information is another article I have written about such topics as landskyld, matrikkel, jorddrotte, leilending, husmann, and strandsitter. It provides useful background information on some of the words that you will see in a bygdebok.

Norwegian - English Dictionary is another little tidbit I have written. It might come in handy when reading a bygdebok.

How to obtain a bygdebok by Inter Library Loan is a short article that I have written on how you can borrow a bygdebok at your local library!

Books We Own is a list of volunteers who are willing to look up information for you in the books (including bygdebøker) that they own. Before using this service, please read BWO's Tips for submitting requests.

Norway Listers Lookups is from the Norway List web site and shows a list of volunteers who are willing to look up information for you in the books (including bygdebøker) that they own.

The remainder of this page consists of three sections:

1. Links to bygdebok web sites. A handful of bygdebøker are available on the Internet, and there are a few web sites that have information about a specific bygdebok, for example, where to buy a copy of a bygdebok;
2. Lists of bygdebøker by county; and
3. Links to online bookstores in Norway where you can buy a bygdebok.


1. Bygdebok web sites

  1. Akershus and Oslo: None
  2. Østfold:
         Spydeberg:  Spydeberg bygdebok - Information about the bygdebok (In Norwegian only).
  3. Hedmark:
         Sør-Odal:  Sør-Odal bygdebok - gardshistorie is a short web page with the table of contents for the 8 volume bygdebok for this kommune. (The link is to the library's home page. Click on the link to Sør-Odal bygdebok).
  4. Oppland:
         Lesja:  bygdebok for Lesja - an English introduction by the author Arnfinn Kjelland.
         Lillehammer: Lillehammer og F�bergs historie, 3 volumes. (Information about the book - in Norwegian only).
         V�g� og Sel: bygdebok for V�g� og Sel by Ivar Teigum. (Information about the book - in Norwegian only).
         Valdres: Valdres bygdebok (Information about the book - in Norwegian only).
  5. Buskerud:
         Hole: bygdebok for Hole - by Gudmund Bakke. (Information about the book - in Norwegian only).
         Nes: Nes boka - bygdebok for Nes in Hallingdal - by Terje Østro. (Information about the book in English).
         �l: Gard, �tt og folk. bygdebok for �l - by Thor Warberg. (The entire bygdebok will be placed on his web site when he finishes updating it).
  6. Vestfold:
         Nøtterø:  Nøtterø bygdebok - the complete bygdebok for Nøtterø by Lorens Bergs is online.
         Stokke:  Stokke bygdebok - the complete bygdebok for Stokke by Lorens Bergs is online.
  7. Telemark
         Hjartdal: Hjartdalsoga - by Gjertrud Kleveland Karlsrud. (Information about the book - in Norwegian only).
         Kragerø:  Levang g�rds- og slektshistorie by Per Stian Bjørnø Kjendal. (Information about the book - in Norwegian only)
         Sannidal: Sannidal bygdebok. Register name index to the Sannidal bygdebok by Knut Johannessen. (Information in English at the bottom of the page).
  8. Aust-Agder
         Eide: Sagaen om en Sørlandsbygd - information in English about Eide parish and how to purchase the bygdebok for this parish
  9. Vest-Agder - None
  10. Rogaland:
         Jelsa:  The Jelsa bygdebok  - the complete bygdebok for Jelsa by Ola Foldøy is online.
         Kvitsøy: The Kvitsøy bygdebok (draft) - a draft of the Kvitsøy bygdebok by Jakob Meling is online
  11. Hordaland
         Masfjorden:  Masfjordboka, bind 2 - the complete bygdebok for Masfjord, volume 2, is online
         Fusa: Fusasoga - by Ella Marie Brekke Vangsnes (Information about the bygdebook in Norwegian only)
         Etne: Personregister for Etne-soga - Name index for the Etne-soga book. (In Norwegian only)
  12. Sogn og Fjordane:
         Flora (Batalden):  Batalden by Torbjørn Hillersøy and Trond Strømgren. (Information about the bygdebook in Norwegian only)
         Luster:  Gards- og �ttesoge for Luster Kommune (Information about the bygdebook in Norwegian only)
  13. Møre og Romsdal:
         Volda:  Holmgang med havet 1838 - 1914. Volda-soga 1800-1945 - by Jostein Nerbøvik. (Information about this general history bygdebook in Norwegian only). See next entry for the Volda bygdebok with farm histories and genealogy information.
         Volda:  Bygdebok for Volda . By Arnfinn Kjelland, Olav Myklebust, and Gunnar Andenes. (Information about the bygdebook in Norwegian only)
         Sula:  Bygdebok for Sula . The editor is Arnfinn Kjelland, and co-author is Jens Johan Hyvik. (Information about the bygdebook in Norwegian only)
  14. Sør-Trøndelag:
         Tydal:  bygdebok for Tydal - Volume 3 - Gards- og slekthistorie for Hilmo, Gresli, Aune, Svelmo, Lian, �sgrinda, �sdalen og �s. (In Norwegian only).
  15. Nord-Trøndelag:  None
  16. Nordland:
         Bindal:  Bindal bygdebok, G�rds- og slektshistorie by H�vard Sylten (Information about the bygdebook in Norwegian only).
         Sømna:  Sømna bygdebok, 4 volumes (information in English)
  17. Troms:  None
  18. Finnmark:  None


2. Lists of bygdebooks by county

There are several places on the Internet that you can visit to find out if a bygdebok has been written for the community where your ancestors lived:

  1. I am (slowly) updating the fylke web pages that I have for each fylke in Norway. These updated pages include lists of the bygdebooks that are available for each fylke. So far, I have completed the following lists of bygdebooks:
    Østfold bygdebooks
    Hedmark bygdebooks
    Oppland bygdebooks
    Buskerud bygdebooks
    Telemark bygdebooks
    Vestfold bygdebooks
    Aust-Agder bygdebooks
    Vest-Agder bygdebooks
    Rogaland bygdebooks
    Sogn og Fjordane bygdebooks
    Møre og Romsdal bygdebooks

  2. Hordaland bygdebooks from the web site of DIS-Hordaland, is a list of the bygdebooks that cover various areas in Hordaland. It is in Norwegian, but it is easy to use - there are two ways to search for a bygdebook:
         1) You can search alphabetical by name of farm (Note: Farms beginning with AA are listed under A). This search feature is listed as "Vis g�rder i alle bygdebøkene alfabetisk";
         2) You can search by area for the appropriate bygdebook. This search feature is listed as "Vis omr�de du vil se bygdebøker for".
  3. For other counties use one or more of the following resources:

3. Online bookstores in Norway where you can buy a bygdebok

If you wish to purchase your own copy of a bygdebok, you should keep in mind that most of the bygdebooks are now out-of-print. The used bookstores listed below will be able to tell you if the bygdebok you want is in print or if a used copy is available for sale. Your can also try posting a message to the Norway-L@rootsweb mailing list. Unfortunately I have no further information beyond this about the availability of any particular bygdebok.

Antiquarian Books in Scandinavia - - Search the databases of 74 Scandinavian antiquarian booksellers who are members of ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers). Over 535.000 titles! Many thanks to Ketil Firing Hanssen in Norway for the tip to this link!

Bokloftet - Lokalhistorisk Forlag og Antikvariat in Norway publishes & sells bygdebøker. (The link is to the English version of their home page). Their snail-mail address is Lokalhistorisk Forlag & Antikvariat, N-2314 ESPA, Norway

Bislet Antikvariat - bygdebooks and genealogy books. (In English).

J.W.Cappelens antikvariat - large collection of bygdebooks and genealogy books. (In Norwegian).

Norlis Antikvariat - another large used bookstore. (Unfortunately they have no information available on their web page about the titles they currently have in stock).

Please notify me of any links that are not working
properly as well as any suggestions for additional links.

Unfortunately my schedule does not permit me to answer
individual requests for assistance with genealogy research

John Follesdal
Copyright 1996 - 2005
This page was created December 12, 1996
Last updated on 07 November 2005