Ancestors from Norway - Vest-Agder genealogy resources  
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Vest-Agder genealogy resources

     Vest-Agder fylke, which was called "Lister og Mandal." until 01 January 1919, is Norway's southern - most county, with the Lindesnes lighthouse on the Lindesnes peninsula being the southern-most point in Norway.  From the coast there are six valleys that stretch north into the county: Audnedalen, Lyngdalen, Kvinesdalen, Mandalen, Sirdalen, and Otradalen (which continues into Aust-Agder where it is called Setesdalen).
     Vest-Agder has Norway's warmest and sunniest climate.  It is protected from the strong Atlantic winds, and the Gulf stream and the warm winds from the Skagerak sea make the county one of the most popular summer vacation areas in Norway.
     In the 1500's Dutch merchant vessels began to visit ports in southern Norway to purchase salmon and other goods.  Soon thereafter the export of timber began, as oak from southern Norway was exceptionally well suited for ship building.  As the Netherlands developed in the 1700's it began to suffer from a severe labor shortage, and many families from Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder emigrated to the Netherlands. 
     In the 1800's emigration to the USA started.  One of the most important causes of this emigration was the emergence of steamships.  While Vest-Agder and Aust-Agder had historically had very strong positions in the manufacture and repair of sailing ships, the change to steam resulted in very hard times for this industry.  Emigration to the USA was a means of escaping from the high unemloyment that followed.


1. Genealogy organizations

DIS-Norge Vest Agder is a local chapter of the Norwegian genealogy organization DIS-Norge. (In Norwegian only).

Vest-Agder bygdelag is an association of Norwegian-Americans whose ancestors came from Norway.  See also the Agder lag, which covers Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder.

Vest-Agder local history associations (list of mailing addresses only)

2. Vest-Agder resources


3. Vest-Agder kommuner (municipalities)

There are fifteen kommuner (municipalities) in Vest-Agder, and four of these are cities: Kristiansand, Mandal, Farsund, and Flekkefjord.  Here is a list of these fifteen kommuner:
  Audnedal   Hægebostad   Lindesnes   Marnadal   Sogndalen
  Farsund   Kristiansand   Lyngdal   Sirdal   Vennesla
  Flekkefjord   Kvinesdal   Mandal   Søgne   Åseral


4. Vest-Agder maps

Small interactive map of Norway - shows where Vest-Agder is located. Click on Vest-Agder and you can see a small map of Vest-Agder showing the 'kommune' (municipalities) of this 'fylke'.

Large map of Vest-Agder from the NORWAY LIST Web Site. (The kommune names are underlined).

5. Vest-Agder genealogy query pages

Vest-Agder queries from's "Norway Message Board"

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

Slektsforskerbasen from DIS-Norge (in English)

[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. Vest-Agder museums

Vest-Agder County Museum established in 1903 in Kristiansand, is an open air museum with 40 old buildings.

Setesdalsbanen railway line was built in 1896 to link the Setesdal valley to the coastal town of Kristiansand.  Today the railway line is a museum.

Vigeland museum (the Gustav Vigeland Gallery) in the community of Lindesnes is a great place to visit in order to become more familiar with the background of the man who created Norway's greatest tourist attraction, the Vigeland Park in Oslo.  In addition to information about Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943),  the gallery also has information about his brother,  Emanuel Vigeland (1875-1947), who was also a well-known artist, known for his Church art, glass painting and for his mausoleum, decorated with fresco paintings at Slemedal in Oslo.

Kvinesdal attractions is a web page from the Kvinesdal Tourist Information office, and includes information about:

  • The Bøkkerbua Museum where you can see how barrels were made for storing salted fish;
  • The Marcelius Førlands Museum - home and studio of the painter from Kvinesdal, who was a gifted portrait painter but is best known for his many landscapes from Kvinesdal;
  • Fjotland Bygdemuseum - the old community and schoolhouse dating from the period when Fjotland was its own kommune (municipality) is now a village museum;
  • Knaben Mining Museum located high in the mountains near the northern border of Kvinesdal. Knaben was called Scandinavia's "Klondike" with the treasure being molybdenum instead of gold. Molybdenum is used as an additive in steel to make it hard and yet pliable.
  • Lindesnes Fyr (the Lighthouse of Lindesnes).   In 1655 the first lighthouse of Norway was built here, on the southernmost point of mainland Norway. The lighthouse of today was built in 1915. An old fort, a restaurant and a gallery are to be found close to the lighthouse.

    7. Miscellaneous Vest-Agder web sites

    Willy's genealogy web page has a great deal of genealogy information about his ancestors from Hordaland, Rogaland and Agder. You will find 2,500 names on his family tree on this web page!

    Ancestors and Descendants of Nils Kitelsson Borteli Bjørndal, by W. D. Bjorndahl, has information about Nils Kitelsson Borteli Bjørndal who was born in Borteli, Åseral, Vest-Agder, lived on the Bjørndal farm in Hornnes, Aust-Agder, and then moved to Edinberg, North Dakota in 1882.

    From Norway to America...Our Family - by Sharon Turner, has information about her Vest-Agder ancestors, as well as information and photographs from Vest-Agder.

    Ancestors and Relatives of Ken Larson - his web page says it all: "32 Generations of Norwegians...uff da!"

    Seeking My Norwegian Roots by David L. Johnson has information about his ancestors from Borhaug, a small community in Vest-Agder.

    History of Anneke Jans and some of her descendants by Virginia Garrison Magee, has information about her ancestor, Anneke Jans, who was born about 1605 in Flekkeroy, Vest Agder.  She immigrated on 21 March 1630 to New Amsterdam, in a party of colonists sailing for America aboard the ship Eendracht.

    Genealogical site for Kjell Skagestad has information about farm names in Vest-Agder from the communities of Holum, Halse, Søgne, Laudal, Grindheim, Vigmostad, and Sør-Audnedal.  In addition you can find a map and names from Mandal community, and much more on this web site.

    Flekkefjord - the mythical center of the universe has lots of information about Flekkefjord.

    Welcome to Farsund has photographs and information about Farsund and Lista.

    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 December 12, 1996
    Last updated on 12 October 2002