Using our reading rooms

You are welcome to visit one of our reading rooms to carry out archival research.

Before you visit

Before visiting the archives you should collect all possible information about your ancestors in your local community. You can also visit the Digital Archives where you will find church books, censuses and much more. Although the data will be in Norwegian, the service is also in English. Other digitised data may also be helpful, for example immigration lists for your home country.

We also recommend you to prepare by searching in archival catalogues and order records for use in the reading room on (the archives' portal). In the reading rooms you can get advice and help with searching in relevant directories and archives.

Important questions

  • Where in Norway did your family come from?
  • Correct names and dates (birth dates, emigration year)?

Asking for help

You may contact us in advance, however please note that due to limited resources we have to prioritise among the enquires we receive from the public. We prioritise incoming enquiries accordingly:

  • Questions relating to personal matters such as welfare or legal rights
  • Questions relating to professional matters, i.e. academic research
  • Hobby enquiries, like family history research

We can only offer limited help with genealogical enquiries, however we will give you advice about where to find relevant sources for your own research. 

If you are not able to conduct the research yourself you will have to arrange help with a private genealogist. This will be a paid service. 

During your visit

When visiting the reading rooms our staff will, within reason, help and advise you. As you will have to do the research yourself, you will have to be able to read Norwegian (or, as far as the older records go, Danish) and also, in most cases, be able to decipher the old "Gothic" (German) style of lettering which was used in Norway until late in the 19th century.

Please note that many sources - such as census and parish records - are available online on the Digital Archives and will therefore not be accessible in our reading rooms.