Ancestors from Norway - Telemark genealogy resources
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     Formerly called Bratsberg, Telemark fylke (county) is located in southern Norway, reaching from the the coastline of the Skagerrak sea which separates Norway from Denmark to the Hardangervidda mountain plains.
     As of 1999, the population of this county was 164,545. The county's administrative center is in Skien, with other major towns being Porsgrunn, Kragerø, and Notodden. Other places in Telemark are Drangedal, Fyresdal, Mandal, Nissedal, Setesdal, Flekkefjord, Bamble, Bø, Grenland, Risør, Kristiansand, and Tinn.
     The range of economic activities in this county matches the fact that this county stretches from the mountains down to the shoreline: from mining and hydroelectric power stations to lumbering, farming, and fishing. The manufacture of forest products, chemicals, and porcelain are some of the important occupations in Telemark. Much of the county is mountainous, but there are large tracts of forest - 8% of Norway's forest land are found in Telemark. In the northwest of the county, the beautiful Hardangervidda mountain plains draw many visitors.
     The county also produces 12% of Norway's electricity, through hydroelectric power stations. One of these power stations, near Rjukan, became famous in World War II when the "heavy water" plant there was blown up by the Norwegian resistance movement. (This was later made into a book - Skis against the atom - and a movie - The heroes of Telemark). Other heavy industry is also well established in Telemark, with companies operating in the areas of electrochemicals, cement, and porcelain.
     The county's official web site has some information in English about Telemark.


1. Genealogy organizations

DIS Telemark is the local chapter of the Norwegian genealogy organization DIS-Norge.

Grenland Ættehistorielag (genealogy association) covers the lower Telemark region. They used to have an English version of their web page, but they have discontinued it :-(
    Send your *LOUD* protests to the Web Master of this web site. They do, however, have a Message forum ( in Norwegian and English) where you can post messages.

Hjartdal Historical Association has a very nice web page (in English) with information about Hjartdal and its emigration history. (Hjartdal is a small kommune in Telemark. It consists of three parishes: Tuddal, Hjartdal and Sauland).

Telelaget - a bygdelag in the US comprised of descendants of immigrants from Telemark.


2. Telemark resources


3. Telemark kommuner (municipalities)

Telemark consists of 18 kommuner (municipalities), of which 3 are cities: Notodden, Skien and Porsgrunn. The remaining 15 kommuner are: Bamble, Bø, Drangedal, Fyresdal, Hjartdal, Kragerø, Kviteseid, Nissedal, Nome, Sauherad, Seljord, Siljan, Tinn, Tokke, and Vinje


4. Telemark maps

Interactive map of Norway shows where Telemark is located. Click on Telemark to see a map of Telemark that shows the municipalities of this county

Large map of Telemark from the Norway-L mailing list web site.


5. Telemark genealogy query pages

Telemark queries from's "Norway Message Board".

Slektsbiblioteket Queries is a new and very promising Norway query page.

Slektsforskerbasen from DIS-Norge - a list of more than 4,000 genealogists who are researching their Norwegian ancestors. Sorted by kommune (municipality).

[email protected] mailing list archives is another often overlooked resource. You can search the archive to find out if others are researching the same families or places in Norway, and then contact them.

6. Telemark museums

The Norwegian Ski Adventure Centre is a museum in Morgedal in Telemark. Interestingly, their web site has photographs of the center taken during the summer - not a snowflake in sight!

Telemark - a fairytale for the whole family has a great web page in English with information about visiting Telemark and some of the museums in this 'fylke'.


7. Miscellaneous Telemark web sites

Jan Christensen has a web-page with genealogy information from Skien in Telemark. This page also has a great collection of links to Norwegian genealogy web pages. A "must" visit!

Kragerø genealogy page has lots of genealogy information from Kragerø kommune (municipality), Porsgrunn, and the Grenland area in Telemark. (In Norwegian, but it does have a page in English about Emigration from Kragerø, Sannidal and Skåtøy, 1843 - 1899.

Porsgrunn genealogy page by Terje Rehn Holm-Johnsen, also has information on the area of Grenland and Porsgrunn in Telemark. (Porsgrunn is today a collection of five earlier kommuner / municipalities: Solum, Gjerpen, Eidanger, Brevik and Porsgrunn).

Gamle Gjerpen - genealogy in Gjerpen parish, Telemark has a wealth of information, including a searchable database of the Churchbook of Skien (1659-1679) (baptisms, marriages, funerals, etc.)

Bamble Genealogical Page is also from Telemark. Bamble is a collection of three earlier kommuner (municipalities): Stathelle, Langesund and Bamble. (They merged and became one municipality in 1964). Bamle borders on Porsgrunn, Skien, Drangedal and Kragerø.

Stian Høiset has a great web site with genealogy "stuff" and information about his home town Skien, old postcards from Telemark, and more.

Solumslekt is a fantastic web site by Leif Biberg Kristensen with lots of information about Solum clerical district. As he points out on his web site: "Solumslekt is an attempt of creating an 'Online Bygdebok' for Solum, Lower Telemark, Norway." Although it is in Norwegian only, it contains transcripts of various original records from 1664 to 1764, including census records, church records, and probate records. If your ancestors came from Solum, you *must* visit this web site! It includes a searchable family database, a discussion forum, and several articles (in Norwegian). Leif has also converted many of the church records from Solum (baptisms 1713-1755, engagements 1713-1761, weddings 1714-1761, funerals 1713-1761) to database format and made them searchable in a number of ways. Click on "Kilder" then click on "Anders Baars kirkebok".

Welcome to Southern Norway! has lots of information about Telemark.

Telemark - the cradle of skiing is brought to the web by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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 - 2002
This page was created 12 December 1996
Last updated on 26 October 2002