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Settlement Histories from

"Nordmændene i Amerika" and "Norsk Amerikaneren"

by Martin Ulvestad


Martin Ulvestad traveled throughout the Norwegian settlements in America, documenting their early history and first settlers. During his years of research, he sent out 450,000 questionnaires seeking historical and biographical information. The two volume Norwegian language history "Nordmændene i Amerika" (Norwegians in America) was published in 1907. The book also contains lists of Civil War soldiers, Norwegians in elected or appointed offices, ministers, and there is an index of individuals with 1-2 line biographies (some who appear in the county histories, some who do not).  Ulvestad's Norwegian language "Norsk-Amerikaneren" (Norwegian-Americans) was published in 1930.


The Lag has the two volume 1907 set in its library and a digital copy of its pages. We also have the new translation of the State and county histories (pages 1-250) published by Astri,My Astri Publishing. Members can email the genealogists for more information about the content of the Ulvestad books, further research in these volumes for specific individuals, or to request copies of original Norwegian language histories/pages. 


Images of the original volumes are available on-line at http://da2.uib.no/cgi-win/WebBok.exe?slag=lesbok&bokid=ulvestad



The Ulvestad histories are an excellent source of genealogical and historical information, but it is important to consider their limitations: 

  • The place of origin for Norwegians mentioned in the histories is not always given; it would be virtually impossible to provide a comprehensive list of all Hadelendings mentioned. Ancestors may appear in county histories without mention of their connection to Hadeland. For that reason, the list of counties that reference Hadeland may be incomplete.

  • Although the histories attempt to identify Norwegian settlements and pioneers, there are significant omissions. 

  • Some officeholders, ministers and Civil War soldiers are not included in his lists. 

What you find in these volumes may confirm or expand your knowledge about your ancestors.  Failing to find your ancestors in these volumes should not lead you to assume that information you have gathered from other sources is not correct.


From an historical perspective, the abundance of first-person accounts and anecdotes offer readers insight into the lives of the the early Norwegian pioneers and the challenges they faced. 



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Last update:February 03, 2019