About this Guide
Bygdebøker are published farm and family histories compiled by local Norwegian groups.
The places listed are usually the kommune (municipality), because these are the current administrative divisions within each fylke (district or county). In some cases, a different locality such as a region, herred (township), or prestegjeld (parish, also called sogn) is represented in a particular title or bygdebok series. If specific places, other than individual farm names, are listed on the title page of a bygdebok, these will be included in the alphabetical index and in the notes field.
Norwegian bygdebøker come in a variety of formats and can contain a wide assortment of information. With this in mind, the Department of Special Collections has chosen to categorize these books according to one or more of three distinct types. These designations are assigned only to significant portions of each book. Therefore, one should carefully check the contents of all books listed for a particular locality.
- This type of bygdebok is a general history of the area. Such books are typically organized into chapters by time period and/or by topic. These books may include short sections of interest to genealogists such as the early development of the farms, descriptions of local customs, or even provide some special listing of individuals (e.g. emigrants).
- This bygdebok type devotes sections to each of the main farms in an area. This historical presentation of the farms will usually include information on farm owners and their families. For this reason, this type of book will be the most useful to genealogists.
- These bygdebøker are typically name indexes representing those individuals living in an area. The name of a main farm might be included or the names will be cross-referenced to books with farm histories. Although many of these are simple alphabetical lists, sometimes the names are arranged into family units or pedigree charts.
Norwegian Special Characters
The Norwegian alphabet contains three characters not present in English: Å, Æ, and Ø. For purposes of alphabetization, this guide follows the Norwegian convention of placing these three characters at the end of the alphabet.