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Immigration (arriving U.S.)

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Records of Norwegian Immigrants in the United States 

Most early Norwegian immigrants to the United States settled in the Midwest, but many also settled in other parts of the United States and Canada.

Passenger lists. Most Norwegian immigrants to the United States arrived at the ports of New York and Quebec. The Quebec passenger arrivals from 1865 can now be searched online at Library and Archives of Canada - Immigration.

The Quebec, Canada list 1865-1873 is a supplement to the somewhat incomplete immigration records for this period. Aside from the regular listing of names with ages, occupations and nationalities, (Norwegians and others often listed as "aliens") there are several specific Norwegian lists which indicate an exact place of residence in Norway prior to departure. The entire set of records cover 1865-1900 and are also available on microfilm at the Family History library.

The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the records of all the major North American ports. All are indexed except for the port of New York. See United States Emigration and Immigration for further information about United States immigration records.

County histories. Histories from the counties where Norwegians settled sometimes provide the immigrants' towns of origin.

War records. Civil War service and pension records and World War I draft registration records sometimes give clues as to what a person's place of origin in Norway was.

Naturalization. Naturalization records from county, state, and district courts may give important clues as to where an immigrant was from and when he or she lived there.

Census records. The United States federal censuses for 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 list the year of immigration and indicate if a person had been naturalized.

Church records. Church records from Norwegian churches in America can be useful in your research. (See the "Archives and Libraries" section for an address to the Evangelical Lutheran churches in America.) Their website is ELCA Archives

An important work on early emigration from Norway to the United States is:

Ulvestad, Martin Nordmænderne i Amerika deres historie og rekord (Norwegians in America Their History and Record) Two Volumes. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: History Book Company's Forlag, 1907. (FHL book 973 F2u pt. 1 and 2; film 0896612, item 1).
This book describes many early Norwegian immigrants in every state in the Union, most with a place of origin.  See Normændene i Amerika by Martin Ulvestad

Another useful book about early Norwegian immigration to America is:

Naeseth, Gerhard B. Norwegian Immigrants to the United States, A Biographical Directory, 1825-1850. Five Volumes. Decorah, Iowa, USA: Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 1997. (FHL book 973 D3nn)

Liv Marit Haakenstad has written a guide to emigration called: "Slektgranskerens Guide til utvandringen 1825-1930". It is written in Norwegian.

The Norwegian Immigrant Association was organized to create an exhibit for the Ellis Islands Museum in 2000. The Ellis Island Database may be searched for immigrants from Norway at:

The Norwegian Emigration Center is a division of the regional archive in Stavanger. The center has a copy of most of the published genealogical material about Norwegian families, as well as a complete collection of the church, census, probate, and emigration records. Workers there will answer questions and do research for a nominal fee. The center's address is:

The Norwegian Emigration Center
Bergjelandsgaten 30
4012 Stavanger

The Norwegian Emigration Museum (Norsk Utvandrermuseum), which has an archive, is located in Otterstad, Norway. It has an extensive collection of records of Norwegians in America. It also provides a network of local genealogists who, for a fee, will conduct private research through correspondence.

Norsk Utvandremuseum
2312 Otterstad
Telephone: 47 62 57 48 50
Fax: 47 62 57 48 51
Hours: 8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

My Norway Heritage
Emigrant Ships from Norway Ship Departure Index 1825-1925 Ship Arrivals 1870-1894

Passenger lists 1825-1873, Norwegian Emigrant Search |}


Finding Places of origin in Norway[edit | edit source]

See Tracing Immigrant Origins

Although successful Norwegian immigration and settlements in America can be traced back to the 17th Century, actual information concerning such immigration prior& to1825 is generally very fragmentary.

In 1624, a colony of Norwegian immigrants was established in New Jersey, at the site of the present city of Bergen.

In 1633, in the early days of the New Nederlands Colony, Norwegians came over in Dutch ships and settled in the Dutch colony.

In 1700, there were a number of families of Norwegian and Danish descent living in New York.

In 1740, Norwegian Moravians took part in founding a colony at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

In 1747, one colony was settled at Bethabara, North Carolina.

The 1850 Census records about 1,800 persons in the USA of Scandinavian birth. In 1880 there were 440,262, and in 1890 the number was 933,249.

In the period from 1871-1875, 1500 persons emigrated to Australia. The number going there since then has been much smaller. These emigrants of Norway settled in South Victoria and New Zealand.

Some Norwegians have settled in Argentina, and large numbers have settled in Canada. The majority, however, settled in Minnesota and North Dakota.

In 1930, the total emigration from Norway was estimated at about 830.000.