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Below you will find a list of frequently used Norwegian terms that are useful in translating information about your Norwegian ancestors.  

These are words you will find in church records and bygdeboks.  New words or phrases will be added as they come up on-list. Word or phrase "donations" are always welcome.

Words are listed in alphabetical order. Please keep in mind that you will find spelling variations in the records.

See also -  
Census Abbreviations used in the on-line 1865-1900 census records
- from John Follesdal

Norwegian Words for Family Relations by Ivar S. Ertesvåg

Online Norwegian-English Translator

alder - age

arbeider - laboror, worker

arbeidsmand - male worker

år - year

bager - baker

barn - child

barnebarn - grandchild

barnløs - childless

begravelse/begravet - burial

bestefar - grandfather

betale - pay

bodde/budde - lived

bonde - farmer

bror - brother

bygdebok - sometimes called chronicles, provide history of community/parish and families who lived there

cotter  - a farm laborer who in addition to minimum pay, received a cottage with or without a small patch of land for his own use in return for working for the farmer. A cotter's place is called husmannsplass.  Since these plots weren't registered as entities distinct from the farm,they seldom show up on censuses under their own name but would be listed under the larger farm.  The occupants may be listed under that farm name with the note "husmann."

dagarbeider - day laborer

datter/dotter - daughter

døbte/døbt - christening/baptism

døde - died/death (d. = døde)

enke - widow

enkemann - widower

etternavn - surname

far - father

fisker - fisherman

fisker for egen regning - fisher on his own account

fjøsstel - cowshed work

folketelling - census (taken in 1801, 1865, 1875 and 1900)

fornavn - first name

forsørges af - taken care by

forsørges af faderen - supported by father

forældrene - parents

fosterbarn - foster child

født/fødte - born (f. = født)

før - before

fylke - Sør-Trøndelag and Nord-Trøndelag are each a fylke, or governmental body similar to a U.S. state, made up of numerous kommunes. 

gaardbruger - farm user, farmer (also gårdbruker)

gaardmandskone - farmer's wife

gård - farm

gift - married

gjeld - debt

handelsmann - merchant

håndverker - tradesman

husgjerning - housekeeping / domestic worker or household servant

husmand -tenant farmer, cotter

husmann - see "cotter"

husmann med jord - rented/leased a house with small plot of land on a gard; a country worker who rents a dwelling with land from a farm owner by working on the farm. This contract had to be written, witnessed by two witnesses and publicized

Husstel - housecleaner

inderst/innerst - a lodger who rented a room from a husmann; a country person who rents living space from a tenant farmer or a "husmann" and does his own housekeeping

innflyttning - moving in

jernbanearbeider - railroad worker

jordbruger -farmer

jordsarbeide - farm worker

jordbrugsarbeide -farm worker

kirke - church

kirkebok - church book

kjøpte - purchased/bought

klokker - parish clerk, deacon, bell ringer, sexton

kone - wife (also hustru)

ku - cow

kyr - cattle (cows)

lensmann - sheriff

lysninger - banns

lærer - male teacher

læerinne - female teacher

lærling - apprentice

mann - man, husband

mor - mother

morfar - maternal grandfather

ny - new

nyttår - new year

og - and

pantebok - mortgage record

panteregister - index to the pantebok

pige/pike - girl or maid or female servant

pleiebarn - foster child

prest - priest, minister

prestegjeld - clerical district

rådhus - town hall

register - index

samme - same

samme dag - the same day

sammen - together

selveier - freeholder, owner

skifte - probate

skjøte - deed (property)

skomaker - shoemaker

skyld - debt

slekt - family

slektsforskning - genealogy

småbruker - farmer of a small farm

smed - blacksmith

snekker - carpenter

sogn - parish

stor - large

strykepige  -  ironing (laundry) maid

Susselsat med - employed at           

tid - time

tidlig - early

tjener - servant

tjeneste - service/servant

tjenestredreng - male servant

tjenestepige - female servant

tvilling - twin

tønne - barrel

uekte - illegitimate

ugift - unmarried

ung - young

utflyttning - moving out

utvandre - emigrate

var - was, were

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