THE ALTHING

All things Scandinavian.



GENEALOGY

The summer of 1978 I turned 18 and went to Wisconsin to visit family. In the cool of my Uncle's basement I stumbled upon one typewritten page of family history...dubious family history at that, but I was hooked. I have been at it for nearly 40 years, and I have amassed a database of over 25,000 individuals. I am one half Danish through my father and one eighth Norwegian through my mother. Eventually I hope to fill this page with useful link for your Scandinavian research. I will try not to have sites that are just lists of more sites, but rather to have sites full of useful information.

Denmark

Denmark in Wikipedia - An overview of Denmark, its people, and its history.
Denmark in Genforum - This is a large free database of queries from people doing family history research in Denmark. You can post your own queries.
Denmark in Rootsweb - Another large database of queries where you can also post your own for free.
Dansk Demografisk Database - Here is a Danish government site with searchable databases for census returns from 1769 to 1921, as well as immigration information.
Danish / English Genealogical Dictionary - This site is an invaluable tool in knowing the English equivalents of Danish family terms. You may not have been born in a barn, but in Denmark your ancestors actually were barns.

Norway

Norway in Wikipedia - An overview of Norway, its people, and its history.
Norway in Genforum - This is a large free database of queries from people doing family history research in Norway. You can post your own queries.
Norway in Rootsweb - Another large database of queries where you can also post your own for free.
Norway Heritage - This site focuses mostly on passenger lists and ships bringing Norwegian immigrants to the United States.

Sweden

Sweden in Wikipedia - An overview of Sweden, its people, and its history.
Sweden in Genforum - This is a large free database of queries from people doing family history research in Sweden. You can post your own queries.
Sweden in Rootsweb - Another large database of queries where you can also post your own for free.

Iceland

Iceland in Wikipedia - An overview of Iceland, its people, and its history.
Iceland in Genforum - This is a large free database of queries from people doing family history research in Iceland. You can post your own queries.
Iceland in Rootsweb - Another large database of queries where you can also post your own for free.

Finland

Finland in Wikipedia - An overview of Finland, its people, and its history.
Finland in Genforum - This is a large free database of queries from people doing family history research in Finland. You can post your own queries.
Finland in Rootsweb - Another large database of queries where you can also post your own for free.

Miscellaneous and General Interest

ancestry.com - There is no denying that this is the number one single genealogical resource. They have amassed a staggering amount of very useful information. I have been a subscriber and user for years, and they simply cannot be beat, although the site is quite expensive, especially if you get the European package. I have to provide a few caveats. In their effort to make genealogy more accessible to the masses they have dumbed it down considerably. While they retain the tools to do serious searches, their basic searches return a huge amount of crap. The casual and recreational researcher can easily accept and include bogus data into their database. Their "little green leafs" they are so proud of can lead people far astray from the truth. My best advice for users of the site is to rely confidently on the primary sources and the secondary resources from trusted researchers. Look at the data in the public and private trees with a huge grain of salt. You're panning for gold. The nuggets are in there, but the pan is full of crap. Note that this site is often available free at your public library. Remember that if you're on a budget.
familysearch.org - This is the website of the Mormon Church, and it's free. I have been doing research at LDS research libraries from the beginning, back when it was dusty books and microfilm and microfiche. I have also been to the main library in Salt Lake City. They have millions of records, and they are making them increasingly available online. A nice feature is that you can still order microfilm for a pittance...a tiny pittance to borrow it for a few weeks at your local library, and a slightly larger pittance for a permanent copy to be made to always be available locally. They will also send them to participating public libraries, which is handy if there is no LDS library in your town. They also used to provide free software to manage your data. It was called Personal Ancestry File, or PAF, and it is all I use to this day. They no longer make it available, but there is a commercial product based on it, with a link below.
Ancestral Quest - PAF lives on in the form of Ancestral Quest. This is software for the serious researcher, yet it is pretty easy to use. It was developed along with PAF and has the same overall look and feel, but over the years they have added a lot of the extras that folks seem to want. It's very reasonably priced at about $30.
The New England Historical Genealogical Society - This is the granddaddy of genealogical organizations, and although it focuses on New England ancestry as far back as the 1600's, it has an awful lot of information for the entire United States. Besides, not all Scandinavian ancestors came to the midwest in the 1800's like mine did. The cost is nominal. I am not currently a member, but I was and will be again. Back in the old days they would actually mail a lot of their collection out for members to use at home. Don't know if they atill do that, but I doubt it.
findagrave.com - This is the premier cemetery database, and it's free. Most entries have photos of the stones, and the data from the stones is to be most relied on. More and more folks are posting additional information with the listing, and you have to be discerning about that. A nice feature is that you can request folks to go out and photograph and transcribe stones, so if you believe great Uncle Billy Bob is buried in a cemetery in Idaho you can usually get someone to tramp out there and get the information for you.
The US GenWeb Project - Here's a real web anachronism, harkening back to the primitive days when the web was envisioned as much more of a collective. Back then, volunteers "adopted" individual counties and curated websites gathering data from those counties. Strange situations developed, where say someone in California would adopt a county in Vermont they had never visited and knew nothing about. Sometimes they made earnest efforts to gather good data. Other times they posted a minimal amount of crap and then pretty much forgot the site. That's still the situation as it exists, but you may be lucky and your family passed through one of the counties where somebody busted their ass to put together a good resource. Well worth checking out.
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