Norwegian Genealogical Word List

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Norwegian Genealogical
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This Norwegian Word List contains Norwegian words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Norwegian-English dictionary. (See "Additional Resources" below.)

Norwegian is a Germanic language like Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic. There are two official dialects in Norway. Prior to 1915 most Norwegian records are in a language closer to written Danish than to modern Norwegian. You may also want to refer to the Danish Genealogical Word List.

Records published after 1915, such as family and local histories, are in modern Norwegian. Most differences between modern and old Norwegian are simply a matter of spelling. Carefully study the section below on spelling. This will help you find the words in this list.

Some regions in Norway spoke/wrote in a dialect. For words that are in dialect, see the Dialect word list.

Language Characteristics[edit | edit source]

Variant Forms of Words

In Norwegian, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who—whose—whom or marry—marries— married are examples of words in English with variant forms. The endings of a word in a document may differ from those in this list. For example:

Mann man
Kone wife
Mannen the man
Kona the wife
Menn men
Koner wives
Mennene the men
Konene the wives

Alphabetical Order[edit | edit source]

Written Norwegian has three letters not found in the English alphabet: Æ (æ), Ø (ø), and Å (å). In most record sources prior to 1915, Å (å) is written as Aa (aa) and filed at the beginning of the alphabet. Modern Norwegian dictionaries, indexes, the Locality section of the FamilySearch Catalog, and this word list use the following alphabetical order:
(See also, this link for an additional word list)

A[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
aabodsfri stand good condition
aarlig yearly
absolvere to give absolution
adel nobility
adelig noble
adelsmann nobleman
adoptert adopted
adresse address
aften evening
alder age
alderdomssvakhet weakness of old age
aldri never
alen 2 fot = 24 tommer = .63 meter
alle all
alltid always
almisse charity
almisselem indigent, poor
altergang Communion
amt county
amtmann chief county administrator
andre others, other, next
anetavle pedigree chart
anfall seizure, attack
anførte entered, mentioned
ankomst arrival
anmerkning remark, notice, note
annen, annet second, another
annen gang second time
anno (Latin) year
annonsere publish, announce
antall number, count
april April
arbeider laborer
arkiv archive
arv inheritance
arvelodd share of inheritance
arving heir
astma asthma
at that
atten eighteen
attende eighteenth
attest certificate
august August
auksjonsskjøte A deed of conveyannce by the auction agent (sorenskriveren) to the new owner by official auction.
av of, at, by, from
avdeling part, division
avdød deceased
avgangen departed
avgift duty (monetary), fee
avkom offspring, issue
avtale agreement

B[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
badstue sauna
bakbygning back building (additional residence behind the main building)
baker baker
bakke hill
bannlyse excommunicate
baptist Baptist
bar carried
bar barnet held child (at baptism font)
bare only
barn child
barna children
barndom childhood
barnebarn grandchild
barnedåp child baptism
barnefar child’s father
barnløs childless
barsel birth
barselfeber childbed fever
barselseng birthing bed
be pray, request
beboer occupant, resident
bededag prayer day
bedrive hor commit adultery
befolkning population, people
begge both
begivenhet event, occurrence
begravelse funeral, burial
begravet buried
behandle handle, treat, manage
bemerkning remark
ben leg, bone
benefisert gods Land which the official has income from
benekte deny
benåde pardon
beruset drunk
besetning livestock, crew
beskrivelse description
beslektet related
besofet conceived outside of wedlock
bestefar grandfather
besteforeldre grandparents
bestemor grandmother
besvangre impregnate, get with child, make pregnant
betale pay
betaling payment
betler beggar
bevilge grant
bevis proof
bibliotek library
bind volume (book)
biografi biography
biskop bishop
bispedømme diocese
blandkorn mixed grains
bli become
blikkenslager tinsmith
blind blind
blod blood
blodgang dysentery
blodskam incest
blodsott abnormal loss of blood during illness
bo to live at
bodde lived
bok book
bokhandler bookseller
bokholder, bokfører bookkeeper
bokstav letter, character
bolig residence, house
bonde farmer
bondegods land which the farmers owned
bondelensmannen lowest level in the local administration
bondesag/bygdesag a sawmill that from 1688-1818 could only be used for the local market
bopel residence, domicile
borger citizen
borgermester mayor
borgerskap citizenship
bot fine, penalty
brann fire
brendeved firewood
brennevinsbrenner distiller of spirits
brev letter (correspondence)
bro bridge
bror brother
brordatter brother’s daughter
brorsønn brother’s son
brud bride
brudgom bridegroom
bruk, gårdsbruk farm or a part of a farm which is usually inhabited by a family
bruksdeling division of a farm into several parts (bruk)
brygger brewer
bryllup wedding
budeie milkmaid
bubeite grazing land for cattle in the forest
bumerke a sign or figure used as signature or carved on the house and tools. The use of this dwindled as people learned to write
buskap livestock, crew
by town, city
byg barley
bygd small country community, village
bygdebok rural chronicles
bygdesag/bondesag a sawmill that from 1688-1818 could only be used for the local market
bygdeting the lowest court in the country where from the 1600s the district judge (sorenskriver) presided. He was assisted by several magistrates (lagrettesmenn)
bygsel rental of land. The tenant farmer or lease-holder paid rent to the right to lease the land
bygselrett the authority to rent land to a tenant farmer. When the farm had several owners, the owner of the largest part had the authority for the entire farm
byll abscess
byllepest plague (bubonic)
byttestreng boundary
bære carry
bøkker cooper, barrel maker
både both, either
båret carried
båt boat, ship
båtbygger shipbuilder
båtsmann boatswain, bosun

C[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
cirka approximately
communion Communion
confirmerede confirmed
copulerede marriage

D[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
dag day
dagen før the previous day
dagsarbeider day laborer
dal valley
daler see riksdaler, riksbankdaler, speciedaler and skylddaler
Danmark Denmark
dannekvinde gentlewoman
dannemand gentleman
dansk Danish
dato date (noun)
datter daughter
datterdatter daughter’s daughter
dattersønn daughter’s son
datum (Latin) date
degn deacon, in older usage the title of the parish clerk (klokker or kirkesanger)
dele to divide, to share
dem them, they
den the, it, that
denne this
der there
deres their
derfor therefore
desember December
det it, that, the
difteri diphtheria
din your
disse these
diverse various
dokument document
domkirke cathedral
dommer judge
dragon dragoon, light cavalryman
dreng boy
drengebarn male child
drepe kill
dronning queen
druknet drowned
dydig virtuous
to die
døbt(e) christening
død dead, death
døde died, death
dødfødt stillborn
dødsfall death
døgn 24-hour period of time
døpt baptized, christened
døtre daughters
døv deaf
døvstum deaf and dumb
dåp baptism
dåpsattest certificate of baptism
dåpsdag day of baptism

E[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
efter after
efterkommer descendant
efterlatte surviving, survivors
efterlevende surviving
eftermiddag afternoon
efternavn surname, last name
egen own
egentlig actual
egteviede marriage
eie, eje to own
eiendom property, real estate
ekte legitimate, to marry
ektefelle spouse
ektemann husband
ektepar married couple
ekteskap marriage
ekteskapelig marital, conjugal
ekteviet married
eldre older
eldst oldest, eldest
elev student
eller or, or else
elleve eleven
ellevte eleventh
elv river, stream
embete public office
embetsmann public official
emigrant emigrant
emigrere emigrate
en, et a, one
enebarn only child
endestav the corner marker of the boundary of a farm
engelsk English; English mint sterling. 1 hud = 12 engelsk. Earlier there could be 18 or 20 engelsk in 1 hud. 1 engelsk equaled 1 calf skin
England England
enhver each
enke widow
enkemann widower
enkestand widowed
ennu yet, still
epilepsi epilepsy
er is, are
erhverv livelihood
erkjenne acknowledge
erter peas
et a, one
etasje floor, story
etc. (Latin) et cetera, and so on
etternavn surname, last
evne intelligence

F[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
fabrikk factory
faddere christening witnesses, godparents
fallesyke epilepsy
falt fall be killed in war
familie family
familie historie linage books
far father
farfar paternal grandfather
farger dyer tanner
farmor paternal grandmother
farsot pestilence, plague
fartøy vessel, craft
fattig poor
fattigvesente welfare agency
favn 3 alen = 6 fot = 1.88 meters
februar February
felles common, joint
fem five
femte fifth
femten fifteen
femtende fifteenth
femti fifty
femtiende fiftieth
fengsel prison
festebrev, bygselbrev a document issued by the landowner, which regulated the contract between the owner and the renter of real estate
festeseddel rental contract
festning fortress
fetter cousin (male)
Finnland Finland
finsk Finnish
fore four
fisker fisherman
fjell mountain
fjerde fourth
fjorten fourteen
fjortende fourteenth
flere several, more
flittig diligent
flomsag a sawmill which could only be used in times of high water
flytte move
fogd, fut originally teh bailiff's servant who administered for him. The most important task was to demand the taxes. The fogd acted also as the grand jury in punishment cases. In the 1600s the fogd was directly responsible to the royal rule in Copenhagen. At the same time his responsibilities were lessened.
foged, fogd bailiff, sheriff
folio page (double)
folk people
folkemengde population
folkeregister citizen register, national register
folketelling census
folkevandringstida abt 400-600 A.D.
follaug an agreement that the previous owners would be provided in exchange for the farm. It was most used when the parents were passing the farm to their children similar to a life estate
for, at before, by
foran in front of
forblødning bled to death
foreldre parents
foreldreløs orphan
forening society
forfedre ancestors, forefathers
forgjengeren predecessor
forhenværende former, previous, preceding
forhus house in front (usually the main house on a farm)
forkjølet to have a cold
forklaring explanation
forlate leave, forgive
forlovelse engagement
forlovere marriage witnesses
formiddag between morning and afternoon
formynder guardian
fornavn first name, given name
forpakter manager of estate
forpligtet obligated
forrige former
forstand intellect, mind
forstoppelse constipation, obstruction
forsørges supported
fortelle tell, relate
fortid past
forvalter manager
foster fetus
fosterbarn foster child
fostre foster, to rear
fot ½ alen = 12 tommer = 0.31 meter
fra from
fraflytte leave, move away
fraværende absent
fredag Friday
fremmed foreign, foreigner
fremtid future
fru Mrs.
fruentimmer unmarried mother, female person (derogatory)
fruktsommelig pregnant
frøken Miss
full full, complete, drunk
fullgard a farm which paid full tax. It is a taxation term from the middle ages and the 1600s
fullmektig head clerk, agent
fylke county
fyr lighthouse
fæstebrev to acquire land
føderåd support received after giving one's estate to another; same as follaug
føderådskone woman recieving support
føderådsmann man receiving support
fødested birthplace
fødsel birth
fødselsattest birth certificate
fødselsdag birthday
født(e) born (birth)
følgende following, next
føllaug retired
før before
første first
førstebygsel rent paid at the time of renting a farm
førti forty
førtiende fortieth
får sheep, receives

G[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
gammel old
gartner gardener
garver tanner
gate street
gave gift, endowment
geistlig ecclesiastical
geitskinn a measure of debt equal to 3 engelsk
geografisk leksikon gazetteer
gift marriage, married, poison
gikt rheumatism
giftingsgods land which was obtained through marriage
gjeld debt
gjenlevende survivors
gjennom through
gjerdene fences
gjestgiver innkeeper
gjet, gjeit goat
gjeter herdsman
gjørtler brazier, brass smith
god good
gods estate
godseier estate owner
gotisk skrift Gothic script was the handwriting which was used in Norway from the 1200s to the last of the nineteenth century
gratis free
grav grave
graver gravedigger, sexton
gravlund cemetery
gravsted burial place
gren branch
grenader infantryman
grense boundary, border
greve Count (nobility)
grevinne Countess
grunn ground, reason
gruve mine, pit
gruvearbeider miner
grønn green
gudfar godfather
gudmor godmother
gull gold
gulsot jaundice
gulv floor
gutt boy
go, walk
gård farm; the entity which was designated with a name. From the 1800’s it was also designated with a farm number. One farm could be subdivided into several parcels called bruk.
gårdbruker farmer
gårdeier farm owner
gårsdagens of yesterday

H[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
ha to have
hadde had
halshugget decapitated
halv half
halvbror half brother
Halvgård a farm which paid ½ of the full tax
halvsøster half sister
ham him
han he
handelsmann merchant, trader
hans his
hanskemaker glove maker
har has, have
hattemaker hatmaker
havn harbor
havre oats
heller rather
helligdag holiday
hengt seg hanged himself or herself
henne her
her here
Herr Mr.
herred judicial district
Herren the Lord
hest horse
heter is named
historie history
hittebarn orphan, foundling
hjem home
hjemme at home
hjemmedøpt baptized at home
hjemmehørende residing
hjerte heart
hjertefeil heart disease
hjul wheel
hjulmaker wheelwright
holde hold, stop
horeri adultery
hos with, at
hoste cough
hovedliste census list
hud a measure of debt which was used until 1838, but sometimes longer. 1 hud = 4 geitskinn = 12 engelsk. Originally used for payment of land taxes.
hun she
hundre(de) hundred (hundredth)
hus house
husar hussar, cavalryman
husbonde head of household
husene houses
husholderske housekeeper
husmann cottager, tenant farmer, share crofter; a person who lived on land without a farm number. Could often use a parcel of land by paying the landowner.
husmannsplass the designation of the parcel of land/cottage where the husmann lived
husmor housewife
hustru wife
hva what
hvem who
hver every
hvete wheat
hvilken which
hvis if, whose
hvit white
hvor where
hvordan how
hvorfor why
hvorvidt whether
høsten in the fall
høy tall, high, hay
høyre right (side)
håndarbeide handwork
håndtering occupation
håndverk trade, handicraft

I[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
i in
idiot idiot
ifølge according to
igår yesterday
igjen again
i hjel, slå kill
ikke not
ikke enda not yet
ild fire
imellom between, among
imorgen tomorrow
inderst a person who rented a room from others and had his own household
infeksjon infection
ingen none
inn in
inne i inside
innerst renter, innermost
innflyttning moving in
innhold content
innsitter renter
innsjø lake
innvandring immigration
intet none
introduceret introduced
Island Iceland
islandsk Icelandic

J[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
januar January
jeg I
jeger light infantry soldier, hunter
jomfru damsel, Miss, virgin
jordbruk farming
jordet burial
jordmor midwife
jordpåkastelse ceremony of sprinkling earth on the coffin
jordvei, vei road
jul Christmas
juli July
juni June
jurist lawyer

K[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
kakkelovn from the 1700s a somewhat misued term for an iron stove. Actually it is a heating stove lined with tile
kalemank wool, often used to make vests and trousers
kallet named
kanskje maybe, perhaps
karet coach
kart map
katolsk Catholic
kavaleri cavalry
kemmer peddler
kikhoste whooping cough
kirke church
kirkebok parish register
kirkegods land which was reserved for the clergy or which was owned by local or central religious institutions
kirkegård cemetery, churchyard
kirkeverger a couple of farmers in each parish which should control or supervise the local church estate
kirkeværge church warden
kiste chest, coffin
kjent known
kjønn sex
kjøpe buy
kjøpmann merchant
kledning usual description of a man's clothing consisting of trousers, undershirt, and tunic
klokker sexton, parish clerk, bell ringer, deacon
kloster convent, monastery
kokarde insignia
kolikk colic
kommune municipality, township
kone wife
konfirmasjon confirmation
konge king
kongedømme kingdom
kongelig royal
kontor office
kopper smallpox, copper
koppskatt person tax
kort short, card
kort register card index
krampe convulsions, spasm
kreft cancer
krig war
krongods land which belonged to the crown or state
ku cow
kun only
kunngjøre declare
kunnskap knowledge
kusine cousin (female)
kusk coachman, teamster
kveg cattle
kvele choke
kvell evening
kvern a machine which would mill grain often called a bekkekvern (brook mill). A water wheel was used to turn the mill. If the brook was suitable 3 or 4 mills could be built. There were also smaller hand mills
kvindemenneske female
kvinne woman
kvinnekjønn female
kyllinger chickens
kår support received after giving one’s estate to another
kårkone woman who receives kår
kårmann man who receives

L[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
la let, allow
lagmann judge at the high court which was an appeals court over the local court
lagrettemann farmer who after taking an oath could function as judges or witnesses
land country
landsby village
langfredag Good Friday
landskyld yearly rent which the renter paid to the land owner
laugverge widow’s guardian or spokesman
ledstø a stone boundary marker between two outer markers
legd A group of farms which together were responsible for a portion of the community obligations such as taxes, providing soldiers, or taking care of the poor.
legdslem welfare recipient
leidang a sea military defense ordinance in Viking times. Later it was made an annual tax
leie hire, rent
leier tenant
leilending leaseholder; the person who rented land from the land owner
lejermål, leiermål unlawful and punishable sexual union outside of marriage
lenge long
lensmann/lensherre sheriff ; nobleman who had received a district from the king
lensmannen lowest level official in the local administration
lese read
leve live
levende live, living
lignende same, alike, similar
lik corpse, alike
likeledes also, as well
lille small
lite (litt) little
liten little, small
liv life
los pilot (ship)
losjerende boarder, lodger
lov law
lovlig legal
lungebetendelse pneumonia
luteraner Lutheran
lysning post banns
lysninger banns
læregutt apprentice
lærer teacher (male)
lærerinne teacher (female)
lærling apprentice
løpenummer serial number; the number given to a parcel of a farm. See more under Matrikkel.
lørdag Saturday
løsaktig loose or immoral woman
løsarbeider day laborer
låve barn

M[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
magesyke diarrhea, stomach ailment
mai May
makeskifte record of grown men. The oldest is from the 1660’s. Can also be used as a record of those who owe taxes.
maler painter
mandag Monday
mange many
mann man, husband
mannkjønn male
mark field; as a coin = 1 ort whose weight is about 250 grams
markegang boundary line
mars March
matrikkel land registration; official register of real estate used as the foundation for taxation. In the first part of the 1600’s the farms were divided into full farms, half farms, and uninhabited farms and taxed accordingly. In the 1600’s the matrikkel commissions attempted to register all the property in Norway and to justify the tax burden for them. This resulted in the matrikkelen of 1688. Then they used the old terms of hud, geitskinn, og engelsk. This was the official matrikkelen until 1838 although there was a new matrikkel in 1723 which was never used. In 1818 work was started on a new matrikkelen which was put into effect in 1838. Each farm received a new number and each parcel (bruk) received a sub-number (løpenummer). These sub-numbers were a continuous number series for the entire registration as the farms were divided in 1820. With further divisions the numbers were followed by a letter of the alphabet, for example, 279a, 279b, etc. It was a difficult process because so many farms were continuously subdivided or the two parcels were once again united. In 1838 the debt was categorized as skylddaler = 5 ort = 120 schillings. In the 1860’s work was begun on a new matrikkel. Each farm received, once again, a new number and limitless bruksnummer beginning with 1. At the same time the debt values were used as 1 skyldmark = 100 øre. A revised version of this matrikkelen was instituted in 1906. Printed copies of the matrikkelen of 1838, 1889 and 1906 are available. They show the farm and the bruk name, owner, or tenant and the tax value.
matrikkelnummer the number assigned to identify property for taxation purposes.
matros sailor
med with
medhjelper assistant, helper
medlem member
med videre (Latin) et cetera, and so on
meg me
mellom middle
mellombygning middle building
men but
mer more, additional
meslinger measles
messingsmed brazier, brass smith
mester master (of a trade)
midlertidig temporarily
midnatt midnight
mil metric mile (ten kilometers)
militær military
min mine (belongs to me)
mindre lesser
minearbeider miner
minste smallest, youngest
minutt minute
modig courageous, brave
mor mother
mord murder
morfar maternal grandfather
morgen morning
mormor maternal grandmother
motta receive
murer mason
musiker musician
m.v. (Latin) See med videre
myndig of age
møbelsnekker furniture maker
møller miller

N[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
nabo neighbor
nadverd Communion, sacrament
natt night
navn name
nedbrent burned down
nei no
neste next, neighbor
neste år next year
nevø nephew
ni nine
niende ninth
niese niece
nitten nineteen
nittende nineteenth
nitti ninety
nittiende ninetieth
noen some, any
nord north
november November
nu, nå now
nulevende living
null zero
nummer number
ny new
nyfødt newborn
nylig lately
nyttår new year
nær near, close
næringsvei livelihood, trade
nå, nu now
når when, if, reach

O[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
odel birthright or allodial ownership
odelsgods property which someone has right to by inheritance. It is also used on all privately owned property except privileged noble estates
odelsskatt tax on private property paid by a certain part of the property tax based on the amount of land which they didn’t used themselves. This term is a bit misleading because this tax was not only paid on private property, but also on purchased and mortgaged property.
ofte often
og and
oktober October
oldebarn great-grandchild
oldefar great-grandfather
oldeforeldre great-grandparents
oldemor great-grandmother
om if, about
omegn neighboring places
omtrent about, almost, nearly
omvendelse conversion
onkel uncle
onsdag Wednesday
opgave (ved uægte børn af hvem Opgaven er skeet) task (specifically, for illegitimate children, who reported their status)
opp up
oppe above, upstairs
oppfostre foster, to rear
oppgivelsesskifte probate held before the property was turned over to heirs when receiving a life estate. Also for the one which probated is deceased.
opptegnelse record
ordbok dictionary
ordfører mayor
ort as money 1 ort = 24 skilling. Also used as a measure of debt.
oss us
osv. et cetera, and so on
over over
overhoffretten the highest court in Norway from 1666-1797
overlevende survivors
overtredelse transgression

P[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
pagina (Latin) page
pallask sword
pantebok mortgage record
pantegods property which is mortgaged. From the beginning of the 1700’s the mortgage holder had the right to all the properties income. He must also pay taxes on this income. In the 1700’s the mortgage holder collected yearly interest while the mortgagee kept the right of disposition of the property
parsell plot of land, allotment
parykkmaker wigmaker
penger money
pensjon pension
pensjonist retired person
person person
pest plague
pike (pige) girl, maid
pikebarn female child
pikenavn maiden name, girl’s name
pinse Pentecost
pladsen the cottage - houses, place the cottager occupied
plass see Husmannsplass
pleiebarn foster child
pleiedatter foster daughter
pleiefar foster father
pleieforeldre foster parents
pleiemor foster mother
pleiesønn foster son
poteter potatoes
pottemaker potter
preke preach
prest minister, priest
prestegjeld clerical district
prestegods the property which supported the priest and which he had income from as part of his salary
prestekontor parish office
prestemanntall count or census of the priests
prins prince
prinsesse princess
on, at, upon
påske Easter

R[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
register index, register
regjering government
regning bill
regnskap account
reise travel
religion religion
repslager rope maker
rett court (noun), correct
rettferdig just, righteous
ridder knight
rik wealthy
riksbankdaler main currency in Norway 1813-1816. 1 riksbankdaler = 6 mark = 96 riksbankskilling. At that time a very large amount of riksbankdaler were issued such that the value of them quickly decreased
riksdaler main currency in Norway 1544-1813. From 1625 1 rikdaler = 4 ort = 96 skilling
riktig correct
rug rye
rulle a record of soldiers
rundt around
ryg rye
rytter cavalryman
rådmann councilman

S[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
sa said, stated
sabbat Sabbath
sagskjærer sawmill worker who cut with a handsaw
sakefall term for both fines and property confiscation of a condemned person which was paid to the authorities in the 1600’s
sakrament sacrament
salig deceased, holy, blessed
salmaker saddler
samfunn society
samleie intercourse
samme same
samme dag the same day
sammen together
sammesteds in the same place
samtlige all
samtykke consent
sau sheep
seg oneself
seks six
seksten sixteen
sekstende sixteenth
seksti sixty
sekstiende sixtieth
selv self
selveier owner, freeholder; farmer which owned his own land in contrast to one who rented land
selvmord suicide
senere later
seng bed
sengeliggende bedridden
separeret separated
september September
side page, side
sidehus side house
siden since, later
sin, sitt, sine his, hers, its
sinnsvak insane, retarded
sinnsyk mentally ill
siste last, latter
siste olje last rites
sjette sixth
sju (syv) seven
sjuende (syvende) seventh
sjø sea, lake
sjømann sailor, seaman
skaberak elaborate horse blanket
skaffe produce
skal shall, must
skarlagensfeber scarlet fever
skatt tax
skibsfører ship’s captain
skifte probate
skifteprotokoll probate record book
skifteretten probate court
skilling currency like 1/96 of a daler until 1816, later 1/120 speciedaler
skilsmisse divorce
skilt divorced
skiløper infantry soldier on skis, skier
skinn calf skin. In about 1200 each farm paid the tax of one calf skin. In 1661 this tax was combined with Biskops- and Olavstax and then was revised to be assessed by the size of the farm so that the tax value varied between 1 and 3 skins per farm
skipreide administrative unit originally tied to leidangsvesenet. In the middle ages it was revised to be a district which paid rent to the crown. Later used as designation of jurisdiction, see tinglag
skjedde happened
skjøte deed (property)
skog forest
skole school
skomaker shoemaker
skoskatt personal tax in 1711 of all who had shoes
skredder tailor
skriver scribe
skulle should
skyld/landskyld yearly rent the lessee should pay to the landowner. In older times it was at the same time a set measurement for the property at purchase, sale, or probate. From the 1600’s the tax was aligned with the debt. All independent farms were taxed, whether it was rented or self-owned
skylddaler 1 skylddaler = 5 ort = 120 skilling
skylddeling division of the debt when a farm was subdivided
skyssplikt the farmers had the obligation to take care of the horse and horseman for travelers
skysskaffer person who had the assignment to obtain a horse and horseman for travelers
slag strike, blow, stroke
slakter butcher
slekt relatives, family, lineage
slektninger relatives
slektsforskning genealogy
slektshistorie family history, lineage books
slektsvåpen coat of arms
slå ihjel kill
smed smith
snart soon
snekker cabinetmaker, carpenter
sogn parish
soldat soldier
sorenskriver magistrate, probate judge; the office of sorenskriver was created by royal proclamation 31 July 1591. The sorenskriver was to be the secretary of the local court. But by the early 1600’s he had progressed to be the judge at the local court and after a time he became the sole judge. He also had obligations as a probate manager, auction manager, court attendant, notary public, etc.
sort black
spebarn infant, baby
spillemann musician, fiddler
speciedaler (spd) main currency in Norway 1816-1875. 1 speciedaler = 5 ort = 120 skilling. With the switch to the crown (krone) in 1875 a speciedaler was to equal 4 crowns
stabbur storehouse on pillars
stamtavle descendancy chart
stand social position
stebarn stepchild
stebror stepbrother
sted place
stedatter stepdaughter
stefar stepfather
steinhogger stonecutter
stemor stepmother
stervbo the deceased’s dwelling (from the german “sterben”)
stesønn stepson
stilling status, position, office
stor large
straff punishment
straks right away, immediately
strandsitter husmann who lived on the seacoast
stum mute (can’t speak)
summa (Latin) totals
summarisk statistical, summary
svak weak
svakhet weakness
svart black
svenn journeyman
svensk Swedish
Sverige Sweden
svigerdatter daughter-in-law
svigerfar father-in-law
svigerinne sister-in-law
svigermor mother-in-law
svigersønn son-in-law
svoger brother-in-law
svulst tumor
syd south
sydlig southern
syerske seamstress
syk sick
sykdom disease
sypike seamstress
sytten seventeen
syttende seventeenth
sytti seventy
syttiende seventieth
syv (sju) seven
syvende (sjuende) seventh
sølv silver
søndag Sunday
sønn son
sønnedatter son’s daughter
sønnesøn son’s son
sør south
søsken siblings
søster sister
søstersønn sister’s son
saw (see), so, if so, sow (seed)
sådan such
således thus, in this or that

T[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
tak roof
takk thank you
takksigelse thanksgiving
tall number, count
tambur drummer (soldier)
tante aunt
testamente last will
ti ten
tid time
tidlig early
tidsperiode period of time
tidsskrift periodical
tiende tenth, tithing; originally a payment to the church of 1/10 of increase. In the 1600’s it was paid annually
tigger beggar
til to, until, for
tillatelse dispensation, permission
time hour
tinglag area of court jurisdiction for a local court
tippoldefar great-great-grandfather
tippoldemor great-great-grandmother
tirsdag Tuesday
tittel title
tjene serve, work
tjeneste service
tjenestedreng servant, employee, male
tjenestepige servant, employee, female
tjue (tyve) twenty
tjueannen twenty-second
tjueen twenty-one
tjuefem twenty-five
tjuefire twenty-four
tjuefjerde twenty-fourth
tjueførste twenty-first
tjuende (tyvende) twentieth
tjueni(ende) twenty-nine (twenty-ninth)
tjueseks twenty-six
tjuesjette twenty-sixth
tjuesju(ende) twenty-seven(th)
tjuetemte twenty-fifth
tjueto twenty-two
tjuetre(dje) twenty-three (twenty-third)
tjueåtte(nde) twenty-eight (twenty-eighth)
to two
tohundre two hundred
tollbetjent customs officer
tolv twelve
tolvte twelfth
torsdag Thursday
tre three
tredevte (trettiende) thirtieth
tredje third
tredjeårstake lease payment which was due every three years
tredve (tretti) thirty
tretten(de) thirteen (thirteenth)
trettien(de) thirty-one (thirty-first)
trettiførste thirty-first
trolovelse engagement
trolovet engaged
trosbekjennelse creed
trossamfunn religion
tuberkulose consumption, tuberculosis
tukthus prison
tusen(de) thousand(th)
tvangsarbeide hard labor, compulsory labor
tvilling twin
tyfus typhoid fever
tysk German
Tyskland Germany
tyv thief
tyve (tjue) twenty
tyvende (tjvende) twentieth
tæring tuberculosis
tømmermann carpenter, framer, ship’s carpenter
tønne barrel

U[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
udøpt unbaptized
uekte illegitimate
ugift unmarried
uke week
ukjent unknown, foreign
ulovlig illegal
ulykke accident
umoralsk immoral
umyndig under legal age
under under, below
underholde support
underskrevne the undersigned
underskrift signature
undertegnet signed
ung young
ungkarl bachelor
unntatt except
uskyldig innocent
ussel miserable, poor
usømmelig indecent
utdrag extract
uten without
utenfor outside of
utfattog destitute, penniless
utflyttning moving out
utføre perform, do
utgi publish
uti at, in
utlagt named as, alleged
utlandet foreign country
utskiftning dissolution and redistribution of the several parcels of land making up the farm to make it more evenly distributed
utskyld yearly payment to the crown in the southwest of Norway. Probably it was originally a duty of the farms along a road to support the king before the unification of Norway
utukt lechery, fornication
utvandre emigrate
utvandrer emigrant
utvandring emigration

V[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
vaccinerede vaccination
vaksinert vaccination, vaccinated
vanfør crippled, disabled
vanskapt deformed, handicapped
var was, were
vattersot dropsy (edema)
ved at, by
vedkommende person concerned
ved siden av next to
ved uægte børn af hvem Opgaven er skeet for illegitimate children, who reported their status
velstand prosperity
venn friend
venstre left (side)
verge guardian
verneplikt military duty
vertshus inn
vest west
vever weaver
vielse marriage, wedding
vielsesattest marriage certificate
viet married
vikingtida about 800-1000 years A.D.
vitne witness
vitnesbyrd testimony
vogn carriage, wagon, vehicle
vognmann coachman
voldta rape
værdig worthy
være be
vår our
våren in the spring

Y[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
yngre younger
yngst youngest
yrke profession

Æ[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
ærbødig respectful
ære honor
ærlig honest
ættegransking genealogy

Ø[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
øde desolate, waste
ødegård from the late 1500’s this was also a classification of a farm for tax purposes and was used for all farms in the lowest classification. 1 ødegård = a quarter farm
ødelegge destroy
ødemark wasteland, wilderness
ønske wish, desire, want
øre ear; after 1889 taxes owed, 100 øre = 1 skyldmark
øst east
øvre upper
øy island
øye, øie eye

Å[edit | edit source]

Norwegian English
åmage it was usual when one wanted to preserve the inheritance in property but did not have the economic ability to pay by a certain time that they announced their rights to the land in the court to retain their inheritance
ånd spirit
åndsvak mentally deficient
år year
årgangssag sawmill which had a large enough water supply to operate throughout the year
århundre century
årlig annual, yearly
årsak cause, reason
åsetesrett the right to take over an undivided landed property
åsted where event took place (place of event)
åtte eight
åttende eighth
åtti eighty
åttiede eightieth

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

This word list includes only words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For further help, use a Norwegian-English dictionary. Several Norwegian-English dictionaries are available at the Family History Library. These are in the Scandinavian collection. Their call numbers begin with 439.82321. Family History Centers can obtain the following dictionaries on microfilm:

Scavenius, H. Glydendals Ordbøker; Norsk-Engelsk [Gyldendal’s Dictionaries; Norwegian-English]. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1945. (FHL film 1,224,705, item 4).

cavenius, H. Glydendals Ordbøker; Engelsk-Norsk [Glydendal’s Dictionaries; English-Norwegian]. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1945. (FHL film 1,224,705, item 3).

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the FamilySearch Catalog under NORWEGIAN LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES and in the Locality section under NORWAY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES.

Key Words[edit | edit source]

In order to find and use specific types of Norwegian records, you will need to know some key words in Norwegian. This section lists key genealogical terms in English and the Norwegian words with the same or similar meanings.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriage. In the second column you will find Norwegian words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined, and other words used in Norwegian records to indicate marriage.

English Norwegian
banns lysninger
fødte, født
begravelse, jordet
census folketelling
christening døbte, døbt
clerical district prestegjeld
konfirmasjon, konfirmerede
death døde, død
engagement forlovelse, trolovelse
father far
female kvinnekjønn
husband ektemann
index register
male mannkjønn
marriage copulerede, egteviede, gift, vielse
military militær
mother mor
moving in innflyttning
moving out utflyttning
name, given fornavn
name, surname
parents foreldre
parish sogn
probate skifte
vaccination vaccinerede, vaksinert
wife hustru
year år