Questions and Answers Relating to the Kingdom of Norway

Editor's note: Tor Kvien has provided several of the answers appearing below, and we are most grateful to him. His homepage is at

Our thanks also to all the others who have contributed information. Notable among them are Ivar Paulsen and Arne Løken.


Does anyone know where Oksaes is located in Norway? (Note: This spelling was from 1890 -- there is a line through the letter O and the ae are written together as a unit.)

SECOND QUESTION: How can I type these Norwegian letters on my computer? Is a special program required?

— Chrys Snow
Puget Sound area, Washington State

With respect to the second question:

Hold down the Alt Key while inputting the appropriate number on the Num Pad, as follows:

0230 = æ
0228 = ä
0198 = Æ
Alt 0197 = Ã

0248 = ø
0246 = ö
0216 = Ø
0214 = Ö


0229 = å 0197 = Å Norwegian/Danish/

Swedish letters are included above because they often appear in Norwegian names. This is understandable since Norway was under the domination of Sweden from 1814-1905.

There are other ways of inputting the letters. In Word, go under tools -- language -- set language, and set the language for Norwegian. You'll have a Norwegian keyboard. You'll need to remember to change back, however.

Also, you can hit the "Start" button, go under programs -- accessories -- system tools, and click on "character map." This includes the "extended keyboard" -- letters and symbols not appearing on the keyboard, but accessible.

The easiest way, however, is to use a macro program. There are several low-cost programs, and some that are freeware. You can set it up, for example, so that ctrl-o will produce "ø," ctrl-shift-o will give you "Ø," alt-o will yield "ö," and alt-shift-o will bring up "Ö."

With respect to the first question, these responses have been received from Norway:

I think there is a missing 'n' in the name: Oeksnaes, which in modern Norwegian is spelled Øksnes. A hundred years ago it may well have been spelled "Øksnæs". Info on Øksnes you may find at this site:

— Tor Kvien

Regarding Chrys Snow's question about "Økæs" or "Øksæs," I believe it is a misspelling and that it should be Øksnæs or Øksnes as it would be today. If so, there are two Øksnes in my roadmap. One is situated in the Nordland county northwest of Sortland. The other is in the Nord-Trøndelag county east of Steinkjer.

— Ivar Paulsen

We have Øksnes at Myre in Vesterålen, Nordland fylke. We also have Øksnes on the southeast side of Vestfjorden, Nordland fylke. We also have Øksnes at the north side of Snåsa Lake, Nord-Trøndelag fylke.

— Egil Øyangen


Family tradition says that my ancestor's original name was Gilbert Gulbronson and after emigration, the clerk of the court suggesting he shorten the name, became Gilbert Bronson.

Am I correct that in Norway the name Gulbran (et. var) is the same as Gilbert in English? And would this then mean that this man was Gulbran, son of Gulbran?

— Carolyn (Bronson) Murphy
Monument, CO.

To answer a small part of the question:

Yes, the suffix "son" (or "sen") connotes "son of." For an excellent article on Norwegian naming patterns, old and new, see

As to the specific name that is the subject of the inquiry, Tor Kvien advises:

I looked up this names in a Norwegian dictionary on names: Gilbert is an ancient German name, while Gulbran(d) is an old Norwegian name used back to the time of the Vikings, origins from Gudbrand which means "God(s)" (not the Christian one) + "sword". There are no connections between these names.

He adds, however...

Most Norwegian immigrants changed their names for phonetic reasons. I have information that Gulbrand used to be changed to Guilbert, even if these to names are different in origin. Other examples are Torbjørn which often was changed to Tom, and Per to Pete, etc.

— Tor Kvien


I would like to incorporate Norwegian traditions into my wedding dress and ceremony. I have been searching the internet recently for Norwegian Wedding/Marriage Ceremony Customs, but haven't found anything. Do you know of any Internet or published resources that describe Norwegian wedding customs?

— Lori Ronken
St. Paul, MN

Kristin and Anders' Wedding Page appears at It features photos from their wedding near Oslo, along with sound clips and text on the ceremony and the reception.

Information on "Complicated Courtships and Prolonged Weddings" appears at Pages 85-89 of Bert Vanberg's Of Norwegian Ways, published in both hard- and soft-cover editions.


My ggg grandfather was a rosemalar from Fyresdal, Telemark. Nikuls Gunnarsson Buine. Where can I find information on Rosemalers? I would like to find more info. on his work in Norway. He emigrated to the US in 1852. A piece of his work is featured in a book, "Rose-Painting In Norway" by Randi Asker.

Dulcene Puttbrese

Tor Kvien points to a site on rosemalers in Telemark at Nikuls Gunnarsson Buine is not mentioned on the site, but Mr. Kvien advises Ms. Puttbrese: "Maybe the site editor can help you with further details."

Additionally, Ivar Paulsen makes note of Joan Dahl's rosemaling page at

Information on rosemaling also appears in the archives on this site.


My mother who is 87 and 1/2 Norwegian, had once heard the term many years ago about "Black Norwegians". Where in Norway's history may this term have been used and if used, what does it refer to?

— Mike Pearson
Spokane Washington, USA

I am not 100% sure what the expression means; but my best guess will be the group of people called (in my time, and it is 25 yrs. since I lived in Norway) "Tatere.". These are a group of people who travel in summer time in the border region, east in Norway, between Norway and Sweden.

— Håkon Bjerke

I've never heard this expression here in Norway. Håkon Bjerke refers to "tatere" or gypsies. This group of people has been given different "nicknames", but "black Norwegians?" No. This may be an expression used locally in the USA.

— Tor Kvien

Editor's Note: Others say the term merely refers to Norwegians — such as the late comic Pat Paulsen — who do not share the typically light Norwegian complexion.


I believe I have found my biological grandfather. However, I do not know my grandmothers name. I believe that my grandparents were married in Norway. My grandmother was a US citizen. She was actually born in the U.S. but moved back to Norway at the age of 3 months. She did not return to the US until she was 16. I believe they would have gotten married in Norway and then come over to the US According to the information I have obtained my grandfather applied for a social security card on November 27, 1936. How do you trace marriage records in Norway? I have name and a birth date for my grandfather. His birthdate is November 19, 1909. His name is Olav Log. His parents were Sigvald Log and Elise Olsen. My grandfather had been a violin maker in Norway. They were from Farsund, Norway. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

I was adopted and am currently searching for my mother.

— George Cremer
South Carolina

Arne Løken points to the National Archives website at The website includes information on records of weddings, and it is possible that George Creamer will find the information he seeks there. It is, however, doubtful inasmuch as most of the information, relating to eight counties, pertains to earlier time periods.

Useful pointers on tracing roots appears in the website, "How to trace your ancestors in Norway" Yngve Nedrebø advises: "If you know where your family came from, you should approach the statsarkiv [archives] for that district. In most cases, the regional archives are the best places to start your investigation.

Links to sites providing genealogical resources appear on our Genealogy page.


I am trying to find information on a Norwegian (or Viking) chant that is to be said when you found what you are looking for.

— J. Sandstrom

I have been wondering about this question. I know it is used in an Norwegian fairy tale about "Askeladden" who won the Princess and half the Kingdom. "I found, I found, said Askeladden".

— Tor Kvien


My ancestors came from the Lillegoplen gard in Nord Torpa, Land, Norway. I am told that my maiden name, Goplin, derived from the local dialect word for bell, gople, and that there is a blue bell flower in Norway that is called the gople. Does anyone have a picture of a gople or know where I can get gople seeds?

— Lisa Goplin Butler
Monument, Colorado, USA

The plant's name in Norwegian is Blåklokke. In Latin it is Campanula rotundifolia. It grows on meadows and hills and usually grows to be 10-40 centimetres [4-16 inches] high.

A picture of this beautiful flower is found at

— Ivar Paulsen


I am living in Maryland, US and interested in a painter named Balle Lund who lived around 1870 in Norway. I have two of his wonderful paintings and believe some of his other paintings are in a church somewhere in Norway. I am related to him and would be interested in finding out more information about his life and his works of art.

Balle Lund's name was Eilert Balle Lund. He was from Trondheim. He painted the painting above the altar in Bremsnes church, a short ferrytrip west of Kristiansund. I found this info in Norwegian at I could not find more info on Eilert Balle Lund.

— Ivar Paulsen


I would like some information about an island in Norway. My grandfather grew up there, but I haven't been able to find out much about it. He grew up on a small island named Leabo, near Hallarøy, near Kristiansund. His name was Gunder Joo which he changed to Leabo when he emigrated to Minnesota in 1888. I also cannot find much about the last name of Joo or Jøø. Any information would be appreciated.

— Lana Ludwig
Lake George, Minnesota

I have checked a detailed map of Norway, but I can't find Hallarøy anywhere. But 20 miles east of Kristiansund I can find a place called Liabø. It seems plausible that Liabø is the origin to Leabo. But Liabø is not an island. Liabø is the administration centre of Halsa kommune. Info on Halsa (map also) is to be found at

— Ivar Paulsen

Editor's Note: the site is in Norwegian. For those who can't read Norwegian, the site is still worth visiting to see the photo album.


I am looking forever for a site that talks about the solje.....I can't find anything on that. I want the story behind the solje — why it is a part of the Norwegian costume?......I can't imagine why I can't find a thing about it. Thanks.

— Donna Norman

Sølje is an ancient piece of jewelry with roots far back to pre-Christian times, having a shape with symbols possibly to protect the owner. I have not found any sites on the theme, but to see some you may look at this site: You may try to search for Norwegian Folk Costumes, and "bunader."
— Tor Kvien


I acquired some beautiful solje pins while living in post-war Norway in the 1950s. For my high school graduation my father returned to David Andersen's to get me a crown and heart solje "wedding" pin. But over the 40 years since, the white gold has tarnished and the vermeil drops are dimmed.

How DOES one clean solje? No one seems to know around here.

Thanks so much.

— Margaret Shannon

If you have a Norwegian Sølje, it`s made of silver, then you can use ordinary silver polish.

In old times the Norwegians did boil their Sølje in clean water for a moment to clean them up.

Hope this helps you.

— Arne Løken

At left is a depiction of solje. A photo of an impressive piece appears on the website of the Norwegian Museum.

Maren Stilson, on her website, advises on the wearing of solje with bunads.


I have recently joined a group who dress in historically correct clothing for festivals and other events. Since my grandfather was Norwegian I wanted to dress Norwegian. I chose to dress as a landowner from Oslo during the 1537-1539. I cannot narrow down the time because I am not able to find any information on women's bunads during this time. This group also tries to learn a trade from that time. I can't find any information on self-employed women, though I read they did exist. Thank you for your time and help.

— D. Mitchell

I am not sure about Oslo and its bunad. Maybe Oslo never got its own bunad. Oslo does have many citizens who came from other parts from Norway.

I`ll direct you to a link to a Norwegian company which has a website with an English version. Please visit:

Hope this helps you!

— Arne Løken

Editor's Note: The website features a map at Clicking on a county will bring up photos of persons attired in bunads from that county. However, none are shown for Oslo. It might be, as Arne Løken speculates, that there is no bunad from Norway's capital, a cosmopolitan area. (However, according to a review of "Folk Costumes of Norway" by Heidi Fossnes Cappelen (ISBN# 82-02-14692-5), the book contains depictions of bunads from each of Norway's counties.) In any event, at there is a photo featuring two girls attired in bunads from Romerike, a district 31 miles north of Oslo.


What is the process and quarantine time for cats,dogs, and frogs brought from California to Norway? Papers, shots required, etc.? Is there a way to cut out quarantine times?

The Norwegian Tourist Board provided an answer on its website prior to its recent reorganization. It advised:

Norway is one of the few European countries where there is no rabies, and every effort is being made to maintain the situation as it is. Should you want to take an animal with you on holiday, you are required to present a permit issued by The Norwegian Veterinary Field Services. The animal must then also spend at least four months in quarantine in Norway. For further information please contact the nearest Norwegian Embassy or Consulate or The Norwegian Animal Health Authority.

It lists the Norwegian Animal Health Authority's e-mail address as

The Norwegian Animal Health Authority provides information in pdf format. It states:

IMPORTANT! Animals imported to Norway from rabies infected non-EU/EFTA countries must complete a quarantine period of minimum 4 months after arrival in Norway and must be registered with the District Veterinary Officer responsible for the quarantine facilities minimum 30 days prior to importation. Contact the Norwegian Animal Health Authority - District Veterinary Officer for Mysen and Spydeberg, P. O. Box 228, N-1851 Mysen. Phone: +47 69 89 36 10 Fax: +47 69 89 24 80.

This advisement is also provided:

There is only one approved quarantine facility in Norway for dogs and cats. Vestberg Quarantine Station, Nordre Linderudsvei 45, N-1816 Skiptvet, Norway. Phone: 47 69 80 85 80 Fax: 47 69 80 85 90. It is located in Østfold county appr. 70 km from Oslo. The Quarantine Station requires that dogs are vaccinated against Kennel cough and canine parvovirus infection and cats are vaccinated against feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus infection a minimum of 3 weeks before they arrive at the quarantine station.

The questioner also asked about visas. Tor Kvien notes that visas are not needed for citizens of the United Sstates. For information on passports and work/residency permits, see next item.


My question is this: what is the procedure for me (an American citizen) to apply for work and residence permits after arriving in Norway with my Norwegian wife? We have been married for nearly ten years. We would like to live and work in Norway. I am fluent in Norwegian. Any help that ANYONE may have is much appreciated. Thank you.

— John Chamberlain

I´m from Finland and very soon I must chose to which school I´ll go to next year. I´d like to go to the University of Trondheim. That´s not the problem. The problem is that nowhere I can find information about moving to Norway, and at the official Trondheim-sites I can´t find any information about moving there. Only about hotels and just VISITING Trondheim.....I need help!! Takk!

— Marika in Finland

I am an American citizen, and my boyfriend is Norwegian. Finding a job is almost impossible, and other than the government sites listed, are there any American companies or schools that anyone may have access of knowing someone who is hiring a college educated, young professional? If you do, an answer would be so greatly appreciated. I do miss him terribly, and my phone bills are getting out of control!! Tusen Takk!!

— Erin Mabee

Considerable information on passports, work permits and residency permits also appears at The information is provided by the Norwegian Embassy in the U.S.

Tor Kvien has pointed to the University of Trondheim website which has a page with links to information on job opportunities. It's at


I am trying to locate 2 Norwegian Air Force pilots who were in my USAF Pilot Class 53A, from Jan 1952 to Feb. 1953. All I have is their name and the town they listed as home. I would appreciate any help in locating Kjell T Hogberg, Oslo, Norway and Harald Risvik, Revesloy, Norway.

— Ron Herrick
Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.)

I believe you'll find your lost pilots by this e-mail address:

— Tor Kvien


Hi, I am moving to Norway in the summer. I was wondering if these transformers for electric tools work well. I have a complete shop and would hate to have to sell them but if they won't work well? If you could be of any help, I've just been hitting dead ends on this subject.

— Jim Olson

The transformers will be all right as long as you use them on smaller equipment. I.e., small power tools, kitchen appliances and so forth. If you have bigger appliances (fridge, mircowave, etc.,) you will probably need to have a transformer wired into your fuse box. That's what we had to do when we moved to Norway. Also don't run your transformers for along time. They tend to get hot. Hope this might help you some.

— Torbjorn


I was wondering if you might be able to help with a question about Norwegian/Scandinavian first names. My wife and I are expecting a baby (boy) this month, and we have been trying to find resources of Norsk first names (with hopefully some help with pronunciation). What we have found on the Internet and in books has not been very extensive. Would you have any suggestions? (Possibly web links or books from Norway/Scandinavia....)

— Bruce Lunde



I read through the site and found the connecting link to a "yellow pages" for locating a person, but unfortunately, not speaking any Norge, I could only make out few cognizant words, words similar to English words. Would anyone know how I could contact a young Norwegian lady I met in France while we were students there? Her name was Cecile Enger, she would be about 35-37 years old, has a sister and her mother worked for Norwegian Television. She knew me there as "Jeff La Barbe with glasses." I have an old address, but I'm sure It's no longer accurate. I hope to find her. If not, well....UFF DA! Many thanks.

— Jeff Shrewbury
Knoxville, TN

The easiest way to find persons in Norway is to call the Norwegian Telecom Information Services: +47 180 and ask for telephone number and/or address. That is maybe expensive but simple if you know the name and about where a person lives, or you may search e-mail catalogues like White pages are still not available in Norway. In your particular case I would write to the old address as the Norwegian Postal Offices register all address changes and re-addresses post to the new address a long time after the change of address took place.

— Tor Kvien

Editor's note: the catalogue Tor Kvien refers to is a handy resource. Fill in the person's name, check the box that says "Personkatalog," and hit the "søk" (search) button. If the catalogue includes the person you're looking for, you'll find the person's homepage and/or e-mail address.


I was wondering if you have any information on mangeling boards (I'm not even sure I'm spelling that right!). They are boards that were used in the production of textiles, and beyond that I haven't been able to get any more information. I have acquired a beautiful one with a handle in the shape of a horse, and would love to know more about its heritage.

— Dinah Crawford

The right spelling is: MANGLETRE. In old times it was used to straighten (cold-iron) new washed clothes. The clothes were placed in a roller (for holding and turning it) and then they used the "Mangletre" to smooth it out. The "Mangletre" was often used as a gift to a future wife and as a gift in solemn festivities or celebrations.

— Arne Løken

I also have a mangling board. It is hand-carved, has a date of 1822, and the handle is in the shape of a horse. According to sources at Oslo's Folk Museum, this object had two purposes: First, it was often a betrothal gift from a young man to his fiancee. He would hand-carve it, and often show their initials and the date it was made. Secondly, the board functioned as one part of a primitive "iron." Sheets and linens would be boiled in a vat. They would then be wrapped around a wood cylinder (which I also have), and the flat side of the mangle would be used to smooth out the hot, wet linens. Both the Folk Museum and Applied Arts Museum in Oslo have many fine examples of mangles. I hope this answers your questions.

— Norm Ronneberg


Does anyone have the text of the prayer that used to be said at funerals and/or ceremonies on the day that the dead were honored? It went something like, "Lo! I see my father and my mother.---"

— Marsha Pfingsten

I found what I believe is the verbatim text, in English. The original was probably in Norse and is at least a thousand years old.

Viking Funeral Prayer

Lo, there do I see my father.
Lo, there do I see my mother.
Lo, there do I see my sisters
  and my brothers.
I see the line of my people
  back to the beginning.
They do call to me to take my place
  in the halls of Valhalla
  where the brave may live forever.

— Jordan Hobbs


I would like to visit Norway in 2001. I am in a wheel chair, but I can do stairs. Is Norway handicap assessable? I took a trip through Europe last year (1998); it was hard but I did it; Europe is not handicap assessable, some countries are up date to make it easier to travel. I am a Norwegian American, my two Grandfathers born in Norway and one Grandmother. I need to visit this wonderful country.

— Mary Lou Amdahl Tyson

Hello! I live in Norway, and I think Norway is as good as the US for the handicapped people. You can go almost everywhere in a wheelchair. So have a happy trip to Norway in 2001.

— Henning Karlsen

The Norwegian Association for the Disabled provides an Accessibility Guide which includes travel by car and other transportation.


Hi, neither my wife or I speak Norwegian but would like to respond to the message found on our beach — in a bottle.

It is written in handwriting and is a little difficult to read. We would simply like to let the writer know that the message was received in October of 1999 on Whidbey Island, Washington USA. My wife and I were walking along our beach after a big storm and my wife discovered it wedged in a log jamb. The message read as follows:

Onslur bret
fra dey
Helseu Haloov Oerbo
Luksefell V 197
3721 Skein

As I said, the note is written in handwriting and is difficult to read.

All of the O's in the letter have what appear to be an "f" drawn through the middle of them.

Do you think you might help out on this?

— Tracy and Cathie Diller
Whidbey Island , Washington, USA

The message is:

Norwegian                         English

Ønsker brev fra deg =      Wishing a letter from you.

Hilsen =                             Greetings

Haloov (????) Ørbo

The address:

Luksefell v. 197, 3721 SKIEN, Norway.

I'm sure the sender would appreciate hearing from you.

— Tor Kvien


Hello! I am a third generation Norwegian-American and grew up in America's Midwest where I watched my extended family go julebakking (I may not be spelling this word correctly) each year after the Christmas holidays back in the late 1940s and 50s. The adults would dress up in costumes to disguise themselves and go to one another's homes and have others guess who they were. Food was also involved. I know the custom has its roots in Norway, and it may have become somewhat Americanized where I lived. Please tell me the origins of this custom of julebakking, its purpose, and as many details as you can.

— Norma Thorstad Knapp

First a small correction. It's not "julebakking", but "julebukk".

Where the "bukk"-part refers to a male sheep or goat.

There are several versions about how this tradition was started.

One version I found was at They had mixed the "julebukk" up with the Norwegian "nisse", which today is a mix between Santa Claus and the original gnome-like character guarding farms, but the history of where "julebukk" came from sounds plausible:

Called Julebukk or "Christmas buck," he is goat-like creature. Julebukk goes back to Viking times when pagans worshipped Thor and his goat. During pagan celebrations a person carrying a goat head and dressed in a goatskin would make a surprise entrance into a party and during the course of evening and would "die" and return to life. During the early Christian era, the goat would transform into a devil-like critter, and would appear during times of wild merry-making. By the end of the Middle Ages, the Church and state had forbidden the game. In more recent times the goat has reformed and emerged as the tamer Julebukk.

Today's "julebukk" is not unlike American trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Children dress up and walk around the neighborhood asking for candy.

— Are-Morten Braaten
Oslo, Norway

Visit these sites to get information about Norwegian Christmas costumes and the "Christmas Goat" or rather the "Julebukk", all in English:

Christmas in Norway [Odin website]
Christmas in Norway
[By Vera Henriksen] Our Cultural Heritage -- Norwegian Folktales

You will love this site:

The Complete Norwegian Christmas Page

— Tor Kvien


My Norwegian grandmother never said "Uff Da," but always said something that sounded like "Uff Amegg." Does anyone know what this means?

— Sarah Burnette

In American I think you say: "My oh my!" Nothing more — nothing less ... Both expressions mean the same.

— Tor Kvien

Editor's note: see our "Uff DA" Page


Our community club has a wooden ballot box with black and white marbles. The Sons of Norway club used to own the building that it was found in. We would like to know if this is a form of voting for the Sons of Norway, or if it is even connected to the Sons of Norway.

Darrell and Lois Mennis

I am sure this is a guess about the black & white marbles, but here goes nothing: I saw the black & white marbles in a prime-time soap (here in the USA) one night, and they were using the marbles as a sort of voting. There were two glass bowls is front of two people of the organization, or club. One of the persons had a complaint against the other, and each of the remaining members of the club is given a white & black marble. One at a time, the remaining members walk in front of the "complainer" and the "complainee" and drop a white marble in a glass bowl placed in front of each of the two members. A white marble dropped in the bowl signified that member's support of that person, and the black marble signified nonsupport. Whichever of the two had more black marbles, was "blackballed" out of the club or organization or whatever; hence the term "being blackballed" came about. Did this help??

— Mary in Mich.

Editor's Note: "Did this help?" YES! This is intriguing.


I have relatives that came over to the US from Norway in the late 1800's early 1900's possibly, and would like to know if anyone in Norway knows of anymore Simleness's or anything about the town they came from. Is there such a town as Smle by the ness or something close to that? This is a name that has come up from time to time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. This is a much interest to me. Thank you so much.

— Karen Simleness

I found some people with the name Simlenes on this genealogy site. I suppose the webmaster of the site may help you:

You may also simply search for Simle or Simlenes at this Norwegian site: or any other search-engines.

— Tor Kvien

Editor's note: the search engine to which Tor Kvien refers, Kvasir, is in Norwegian.





(c) 1998-2000, Roger M. Grace