Norwegian-American Immigration and Local History:
Histories, Memoirs, and Biographies
Compiled by Lee V. Douglas, Reference Specialist
Research Guide No. 6
1. Blegen, Theodore Christian, 1891-
Norwegian migration to America / by Theodore C. Blegen. --
Northfield, Minn. : Norwegian- American Historical Association,
1931-40. -- 2 v. : ill., facsims., map.
Vol. 1 based on thesis, University of Minnesota, 1925.
Currently the largest English-language history of
Norwegian-American migration at the Library, this work covers
Norwegian contributions in most areas of American life, and
Norwegian-American views of America expressed in periodicals,
monographs, diaries, and letters. Background is provided that
makes the histories of individual settlements meaningful. Many
names of individuals with dates of their activities are included.
2. Gimmestad, Lars M.
Nordfjordingernes historie i Amerika / [av] pastor L.M. Gimmestad
; med bistand av pastor R.J. Meland, Ole I. Stern, A.M. Monson
[o.a.]. -- Minneapolis, Minn. : The Lutheran Free Church Pub.
Co., [c1940]. -- 4 p. leaves, 7-508,  p. : ill. front., map.
Folded map attached to back lining paper.
Biographies of immigrants from Nordfjord and of some of their
American-born descendants are arranged chronologically for each
American geographical area treated--Upper Mississippi, Wisconsin
(Crawford County, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Orfordville),
Minnesota (Bricelyn, Frost, Kister, Faribault County, Belview,
Clarkfield, Stoney Run, Granite Falls, Swift Falls, Benson,
Brighton County, Bigstone County), Iowa (Winnebago and Kossouth
Counties), Nebraska (Newman Grove), South Dakota (Madison,
Howard, Wessington Springs), North Dakota, and Canada. Some
biographies are listed by profession. Fifty-nine portrait
photographs are included, but there is no name index.
3. Gjerset, Knut, 1865-1936.
Norwegian sailors in American waters : a study in the history of
maritime activity on the eastern seaboard / by Knut Gjerset. --
Northfield, Minn. : Norwegian-American Historical Association,
1933. -- ix p., 1 leaf, 271 p. : plates, ports.
A sequel to the author's "Norwegian sailors on the Great lakes."
A general history is followed by histories of individual ships,
with dates, ports, lists of captains, and some crew. Also
included are lists of Norwegians lost at sea between 1874 and
1881, brief biographies of pilots, chandlers, ship builders, and
brokers, and lists of Norwegian seamen in American navy,marine
and coast guard service arranged by ship and including the title
of each man's job. A final chapter describes Norwegians who
achieved prominence on Staten Island, and in Manhattan, Bronx,
Queens, New Jersey, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Portland,
Baltimore, New Orleans, Galveston, Mobile, and Pensacola, with
thirteen photographs of ships and/or captains.
4. Hasund, Knut J.
Ulstein og Hareid i Amerika / Knut J. Hasund og Asbjørn Waage. --
[Ulstein] : K.J. Hasund, . -- 271 p. : ill.
E184.S2 H35 1986
Summary in English.
Articles on five hundred and five emigrants, most of whom went
to North America, although one went to Australia, one to Iceland,
and one to South Africa. Dates of emigration, names of children,
marriages in Norway and abroad, place of settlement, profession,
and death dates are all included. Detailed statistical tables
list emigrants by year of migration (1862 to 1945), and tabulate
patterns of movement by age and sex. A master name index and
several photographs are included.
5. Herbransen, Sverre Herbert, 1894-
De første utvandrer fra Numedal til Amerika / av Sv. Herbert
Herbransen. -- Kristiania : O. Norli, 1924. -- 41 p. : ill.
"Litteratur": p. .
People described here are Ole and Anstein Nattestad, the
Nattestad brothers, Halstein Eie, the Åsland family (particularly
Ole H. and Herbrand Åsland) and the Rustan family.
6. Hitman, Bruce Arthur, 1944-
Hardangerlaget : 75th anniversary, May 30-31, 1986, Augustana
College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota / collected by Bruce Arthur
Hitman ; Gerdes S. Monson Hitman, translator. -- [Sioux Falls?
S.D. : Hardangerlaget, 1986]. -- 182 p. : ill., ports.
E184.S2 H58 1986
Includes a thirty-two page list of members of the Hardangerlag
giving name, place of residence in America, home parish in
Norway, and year of emigration, with articles and photographs for
7. Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963.
De norske settlementers historie : en oversigt over den norske
indvandring til og bebyggelse af Amerikas nordvesten fra Amerikas
opdagelse til Indianerkrigen i nordvesten, med bygde- og
navneregister / ag Hjalmar Rued Holand, A.M. -- Ephraim, Wisc. :
Forfatteren, 1908. -- 10 p. leaves, 603 p. : ill.
In this chronological account of Norwegian settlement (which
includes a history of Norwegian Mormon migration), the chapter
headings list many town and county names without indicating in
which state they are located. However, they may be familiar to
researchers and probably appear in many family traditions, in
personal letters and in memoirs. The following place names are
listed in the table of contents: Fox River, Muskego, Long
Prairie, Rock Prairie, Koshkonong, Norway Grove, Columbia County,
Ashippun, Rock River, Pine Lake, Wiota, Blue Mounds, Winchester,
Mt. Morris, Ephraim, South Door County, Crawford and Vernon
Counties, Rush River, La Crosse County, Black River Falls,
Trempeauleau Valley, Buffalo County, Chippewa Valley, California,
Iowa, Minnesota, Clayton, and Allamakee Counties, Winneshick
County, Houston and Freeborn Counties, Saetersdal, Bloomfield,
Bear Creek, Little Turkey and Crane Creek, Mower County, Worth
and Winnabo Counties, Freeborn and Waseca Counties, Faribault
County, Nicollett County, Christiania, the Goodhue County Colony,
Rock Dell, Jackson County, and the Dakotas. The index by
Norwegian parishes lists the page on which each person from that
parish is mentioned. The name index lists 3,500 names.
8. Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963.
Den sidste folkevandring : sagastubber fra nybyggerlivet i
Amerika. -- Oslo : H. Aschehoug & co., 1930. -- 331 p.
This history of Norwegian migration to North America begins with
Cleng Peerson. Many anecdotes mentioning individuals and families
are passed along. There are chapters on Muskego, Ephraim,
Winneshick County, Goodhue County, Norway Lake, Grant County, and
Riverdale. Also described are Norwegian churches in America, the
Indian War of 1862, and the locust plague. Neither illustrations
nor index is included.
9. Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963.
Norwegians in America : the last migration : bits of saga from
pioneer life = original title, Den siste folkevandring / by
Hjalmar Rued Holand ; translated by Helmer M. Blegen ; edited by
Evelyn Ostraat Wierenga ; illustrated by Elsie Hotvedt Thorson.
-- Sioux Falls, S.D. : Center for Western Studies, Augustana
College, 1978. -- v, 240 p. : ill.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Originally published in Oslo by H. Aschehoug & co. in 1930.
10. Hovdhaugen, Einar.
Utvandringa til Amerika frå Ringebu / Einar Hovdhaugen. --
[Ringebu] : Ringebu historielag, [1983?]. -- xiii, 177 p. : ill.
E184.S2 H78 1983
Three thousand, five hundred immigrants are listed by year of
migration from 1832 to 1930. Data presented include birthdate,
name of person(s) accompanying each immigrant (when possible),
name of ship, and destination in America. Additionally, men are
listed who served in the American Civil War. Some photographs are
included with a name index.
11. In their own words : letters from Norwegian immigrants / edited,
translated and introduced by Solveig Zempel. -- Minneapolis :
University of Minnesota Press in cooperation with the
Norwegian-American Historical Association, c1991. -- xviii, 225
p. : ill., maps.
E184.S2 I5 1990
Includes bibliographical references (p. 215-217) and index.
Reproduces letters written by Andreas Hjerpeland, Berta Serina
Kingestad, Gunnary Høst, Hans Øverland, Barbro Ramseth, Hans
Hansen, Sivert Øien, Bergljot Anker Nillsen, and Christ Gundersen
during the period from 1871 to 1945. Names mentioned in the
letters are indexed. The notes give detailed biographical (and
some genealogical) information on the writers and many American
and Norwegian sources for further data. A bibliography of other
collections of letters and memoirs follows.
12. Jervell, Hans Astrup, 1865-
Nordmand og norske hjem i Amerika. Samt kirker, skoler,
hospitaler, alderdomshjem og lignende institutioner reist
væssentlig av Nordunend. 1. samling. Illustreret slagts og
settlements historie. Navnene ordede efter bygdelag / samlet av.
Hans Jervell. -- Fargo, N.D. : Hans Jervell Pub. Co., [c1916]. --
208 p. : ill. ports.
Detailed biographies of 2,100 Norwegian immigrants are arranged
by place of origin in Norway, with a master index of names at the
end of the book. Places of origin are Trūndelagen, Gudbrandsalen,
Romsdalen, Sūndmūre, Bergenskanten, Sogn, Stavangerkanten,
Telemark, Hallingdal, Valdris, Hadeland og Land, Hedemarken,
ūsterdalen, Nordland, and Forskjellige Strūg. Many of the
biographies are of immigrants associated with Concordia College
in Moorehead, Minnesota and Oak Grove Ladies Seminary in Fargo,
North Dakota. Many photographs are included.
13. Johnson, Ole S.
Utvandringshistorie fra Ringerikesbygderne. -- [n.p.] : 1919. --
look for pagination.
This history of emigration from Ringerike follows the emigrants
to their new homes and lives in America. Much biographical and
genealogical material is presented, but not easily retrieved. The
index lists members of the Ringerikeslaget in America. Some
photographs are included.
14. Klaveness, Thoralv.
Det Norske Amerika : blandt udvandrede Nordmænd / vore landsmænds
liv og vilkaar i den Nye verden, af Thoralv Klaveness ; med en
mængde illustrationer efter original- og amatørfotografier
samlede af interesserede landsmænd i de forskjelligste dele af de
Forenede Stater. -- Kristiania : A. Cammermeyers forlag (L.
Swanstrøm), 1904. -- xii, 262 p., 1 leaf : ill., plates, ports.,
fold. map, fold. facsim.
Describes the author's experiences in traveling and living with
Norwegian immigrants. A fold-out map shows the path of his
journey and the location of Norwegian settlements in North
America. Many individuals and families are named, but there is no
name index. One hundred and sixty photographs of individuals,
groups, farms, and houses are reproduced. Material is arranged
geographically by American settlements.
15. Narvestad, Carl, 1914-
Valdres Samband, 1899-1974 : a history of the oldest Norwegian
bygdelag in America / by Carl and Amy Narvestad. -- Granite
Falls, Minn. : Valdres Samband, . -- 378 p. : ports.
Bibliography: p. -378.
Presents a 152 page list of the members of the Valdres Samband
and of the men who served in World War I, giving names of
parents, spouses, and children. One chapter describes
genealogical research in Valdres with addresses of sources for
documents. Also included are histories of settlements in
Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Canada.
16. Nilsen, Karl Gustav, 1883-
Österdölenes saga / av K.G. Nilsen. -- [Duluth, Minn. : Fuhr
publishing & printing co., c1938]. -- iv-xvi, 647 p. : ill.
(incl. ports.) plates, geneal. tab.
"Bibliografi": p. 1.
Contents: 1. del Østerdalen og dens beboere -- 2. del. Det nye
land og utvandrede østerdøler. Reports emigration data from
church records including names, family relationships, and some
professions, with dates of birth and of emigration from
Engersdal, Rendalen, Kvikne, Stor-Elvdal, Elverum, Aamot, Trysil,
Tynset, Sollia, Alvdal, and Tolga. Includes names, but no dates,
of settlers in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin,
Michigan, Washington, Illinois Montana, California, and Canada
arranged alphabetically within each state by city.
17. Norlie, Olaf Morgan, 1876-
History of the Norwegian people in America. -- Minneapolis, Minn.:
Augsburg publishing house, 1925. -- 510,  p. : ill., (incl.
ports., maps, music) diagrs.
Reprinted in New York by Haskell House in 1973
(E184.S2 N6 1973 <LH&G>).
Discusses Norwegian migration to and assimilation in North
America. Norlie traces Norwegian Americans in the professions and
trades, gives names, family backgrounds, and portrait
photographs. This history distinguishes itself from others on the
subject by copious statistics to back up almost every statement
on trends, and by detailed listing of monographic and periodical
publications by individuals and ethnic societies. There is no
18. Oudenstad, Halvard.
Utvandringen til Amerika : fra Biri, Snertingdal, Vardal, Gjøvik,
1846-1915 / Halvard Oudenstad. -- [Gjøvik] : Gjūvik historielag,
[1981?]. -- viii, 599 p. : ill.
E184.S2 O93 1981
This chronological list of eight thousand immigrants arriving
between 1846 and 1915 includes names of spouses, children, and
places of settlement in America. Some American descendants are
traced into the 1950s. Birth and death dates (with cause of death
for some) are listed for all including spouses and children. Also
listed are marriages made in America, professions, and locations
of farms and houses. Photographs appear on nearly every page, and
there is an index of names.
19. Rosdail, Jesse Hart.
The sloopers, their ancestry and posterity : the story of the
people on the Norwegian Mayflower--the sloop "Restoration.". --
[Broadview? Ill.]. : Norwegian Slooper Society of America, 1961.
-- xii, 668 p. : ill., ports., maps (part fold.), geneal. tables.
Records histories and genealogies of the crew and passengers of
the ship Restauration, which began the Norwegian migration
movement to North America in 1825. Genealogies, in some cases, go
back as far as the tenth century and up to the 1960s. Maps of
settlements delineate parcels of land and indicate owners.
Letters, memoirs, and photographs are included with a name index
and general index.
20. Rygh, Oluf, 1833-1899.
Norske gaardnavne; oplysninger samlede til brug ved matrikelens revision,
Kristiania, W. C. Fabritius & sønners bogtrykkeri, 1897-1924.
20 v. front. (port.: v. 3) 24 cm.
Catalog of approximately 45,000 farm names in 1886. Gives name of farm,
pronunciation, etymology with variants and historical sources. Shows
nineteenth century desire to find Old Norse original of each name.
This was often possible for southern Norway, but ignored the Saami origin
of many farm names in the north.
This work is available online through the Dokumentasjons-prosjektet, a
site that provides access to many other works and institutions important
to genealogists, folklorists and historians.
21. Sartz, Richard Sophus Nielsen, 1852-
Skandinaver i Amerikas Kongres. -- [New York : s.n., 1918]. -- p.
19-21. : ill. (ports.).
E184.S2 S35 (folio)
A collection of biographical sketches of Harold Knutson, John
Nelson, Reed Smoot, Knute Nelson, Gilbert Haugen, Halvor
Steenerson, Asle Grønna, Sidney Anderson, A.W. Larsen, Niels
Juul, and Irvine L. Lenroot.
22. School calendar, 1824-1924 : a who's who among teachers in the
Norwegian Lutheran synods of America / compiled and edited by
Olaf Morgan Norlie. -- Minneapolis, Minn. : Augsburg publishing
house, 1924. -- 800,  p. : ill. (ports.).
Attempts to list all Norwegian-American teachers at institutions
of higher education, church-affiliated schools, and other
promoters of Norwegian-American education, whether or not they
served as teachers. This work is a collection of 3,600
biographical sketches, 58.5% of which are of men while 41.5% are
of women. Included are name, place and date of birth, parents'
names, mother's maiden name, educational background, Lutheran
congregation to which each belonged, professional curriculum
vitae, name of spouse, publications, residential address in 1924,
and a portrait photograph (most taken the year the picture was
23. Semmingsen, Ingrid, 1910-.
Veien mot vest : utvandringen fra Norge til Amerika. -- Oslo :
Aschenhoug, 1941-1950. -- 2 v. : ill., ports., maps.
Bibliographical references included in "Noter" at end of each
Contents: 1. del 1825-1865 -- 2. del. 1865-1915.
Tells the story of emigration to North America from 1825 to 1915
with discussion of causes and effects. The two volumes in their
1116 pages describe individual settlements, with names, dates,
anecdotes, and photographs. The index lists personal and place
names. Fifty-six pages of footnotes describe the sources used,
including many primary sources still available in Norway.
24. Skuggevik, Dordi Glærum.
Utvandringshistorie fra Nordmøre : Stangvik og Surnadal
prestegjeld / samlet og utgitt av Dordi Glærum Skuggevik. --
Surnadal : D.G. Skuggevik, 1986. -- 460 p. : ill. (some col.)
E184.S2 S68 1986
Summary in English.
Publishes passenger lists from Trondheim, Kristiansund, Ålesund,
and Bergen from 1868 to 1929. Information for each passenger
includes date, marital status, profession, age, ship's name,
birth place, place of residence in Norway, destination in North
America and miscellaneous data. This work is a detailed history
of settlement in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin,
Colorado, the West Coast, and Canada. Diaries of five immigrants,
Peder P. Sande, Ingebort Olsdt Øye, Arnt Røv, Johan Larsen
Torslet, and Mikkel G. Sande, are reprinted. Also included is a
list of Norwegian surnames and the new spellings they assumed in
America. A two-page multicolor map of Nordmūre shows towns,
farms, and topography. Many photographs are also included.
25. Søndmørelagets aarbog. -- [s.l., s.n., 1916]. -- 26 p. : ill.,
This list of immigrants from Søndmøe includes name, town of
origin, date of emigration, current residence in America, and
some notes on activities and family members. A few individuals
are described in articles.
26. Stavanger amt laget i Amerika.
Festskrift for Stavanger amt laget i Amerika, 1911-1936 : Utgit i
Følge Lagets Beslutning for 25 Aars Jubilæt i Story City, Iowa,
28de-30te August, 1936 / redigert av pastor Nils Klungtvedt,
sekretær. -- [s.l., s.n., 1936?]. -- 112 p. : ill. (incl.
Brief descriptions of regional chapters of this association are
followed by a seven page list of pastors with dates of
ordination, background descriptions of many parishes, and
27. Ulvestad, Martin.
Nordmændene i Amerika, deres historie og rekord. Bidrag til og
binded mellen Norges historie og Nord-Amerikas--de Forenede
Staters i sädeleshed / af Martin Ulvestad. -- Minneapolis, Minn.:
History Book Company's Forlag, 1907-1913. -- 2 v. : fold. map.
Vol. 2 is a biographical dictionary.
This history, arranged by state and county, was compiled from
450,000 questionnaires sent by the author to Norwegian Americans.
Detailed information on settlers is presented in order of their
arrival, with names of spouses and children, times of migration,
and many anecdotes. Other lists include Norwegians who served in
the American military, Norwegian-American newspapers, schools and
clergy. Vol. 1 has 872 pages with a fold-out map showing
communities mentioned. Vol. 2, 505 pages, is a master index of
personal names correlated to the passages in which they occur in
the first volume. There are no illustrations.
28. Utvandringen til Amerika 1849-1924 : fra Kvam og Følling sogn i
Stod prestegjeld. -- [Steinkjer] : Kvam historielag, [1984?]. --
64 p. : ill.
E184.S2 U86 1984
This parish register list of emigrants from 1849 to 1913 gives
name, age, and month and year of emigration. A civil emigration
list from 1867 to 1924 gives name, age, destination in America,
and date of emigration. Several brief letters are included with
29. Veblen, Andrew Anderson, 1848-.
The Valdris book : a manual of the Valdris Samband / by Andrew A.
Veblen. -- Minneapolis : The author, 1920. -- 303 p. : ill.,
front., ports. fold. map.
Contents: Valdris. A sketch of the ancestral home of the
Valdrises -- The bygdelag movement -- The Valdris Samband -- The
members of the Valdris Samband -- Valdrises who entered the
country's service in the world war -- Some documents; selections
written by Valdrises in America.
Contains a 160 page list of immigrants from Valdris and of men
from Valdris who served in the First World War, with much
genealogical information based on a family history questionnaire.
Also included are a history of the Valdris Samband with names and
photographs, and a fold-out map of Valdris showing towns,
churches, parishes, and topographical features.
30. Who's who among pastors in all the Norwegian Lutheran synods of
America, 1843-1927 / tr. and rev. by Rasmus Malmin, O.M. Norlie,
and O.A. Tingelstad. -- 3rd ed. of Norsk lutherske prester i
Amerika. -- Minneapolis, Minn. : Augsburg publishing house, 1928.
-- 662 p. : ill, (ports.).
This work, which claims to include all Norwegian-American
pastors who served a congregation or taught at a
Norwegian-American seminary, contains 2,522 biographical articles
with portrait photographs. For each person it provides name, date
and place of birth, parents' names, mother's maiden name, year of
immigration, educational background, churches served,
publications, and other miscellaneous information.
31. Wist, Johannes Benjamin, 1864-.
Norsk-amerikanernes festskrift, 1914. / under hovedredaktion av
Johs. B. Wist. -- Decorah, Iowa : Symra Co., [c1914]. -- 352 p. :
ill. (incl. ports.).
Contents: Den norsk-amerikanske presse: I. Pressen til
borgerkrigens slutning / av C. Hansen. II. Pressen efter
borgerkrigen, / av J.B. Wist -- Oversigt over den norsk-lutherske
kirkes historie i Amerika / av Th. Eggen -- De norsk-amerikanske
skoler / av M.K. Bleken -- Det norske foreningsliv i Amerika / av
C. Hansen -- Norsk-amerikansk skjønliteratur / av W. Ager --
Nordmænd i det offentlige og politiske liv / av J. Dieserud --
Nordiske studier ved amerikanske universiteter / av G. Bothne --
Navneregister -- Bladfortegnelse. Describes the
Norwegian-American press during and after the Civil War, the
history of the Norwegian Lutheran church in America,
Norwegian-American schools, associations, and Norwegian Americans
in politics. This overview of Norwegian area studies in American
universities includes a personal name index, place name index,
and portrait photographs.