Norway has a long history of keeping a detailed property register. In recent years, the manual records have been centralised and digitised - and an interactive map has been created. Although the map shows the property status of today - it is also of great use for historians and genealogists. Sadly, it is in Norwegian only - but below we have tried to provide some guidance on how you can use it.

Kartverket - The Norwegian Mapping Authority
Today, Kartverket - or The Norwegian Mapping Authority - is the public register handling the central records of all properties in Norway. In recent years, Kartverket has developed an interactive map that can be very useful. The map is not a historic map as such - but is nevertheless a great source of information and clarification for historians and genealogists.

The interactive map in combination with Google maps
Seeing your ancestors' farm highlighted on a map often gives you a much clearer image of the land that they left behind and its surroundings. In addition to using the interactive map from Kartverket, we recommend that you also take a look at Google maps. By using Google maps' streetview functionality you will be able to see the landscape in all areas of the country - and sometimes the buildings of a given property - assuming that what you are looking for is not too far away from a main road.

Example: As an example of how you can combine what you see in the interactive map with Google maps  - see photo #1 showing a farm highlighted in yellow in the interactive map - and then photo #2 which shows some of the buildings on the same farm seen from the road in Google maps. When using the streetview functionality on Google maps, you can literally 'walk' along the roads - and turn 360º around from where you are 'standing'. It is a great way of 'getting to know' the landscape that your ancestors lived in - and in fact a great way of getting to know any part of the world.

The three web addresses that you might want to check out
The three web addresses that you might want to check out are listed below. You will find clickable links by going to the external links section at the end of this text.

  1. Kartverket's home page
  2. The interactive map
  3. Google maps

On Kartverkets homepage you will find a lot of valuable information - including other types of maps. In the Norwegian version of the website, you will also find an interesting section showing historic maps (see under external links below).

A little bit about how Norway and the Norwegian property reference codes are structured
Norway consists of 19 main counties (fylke) - and each fylke consists of a number of municipalities (kommune). Each municipality has its own 4 digit reference number (kommunenummer) - and this number is the first main key in a property's total registration reference code. See under external links below to get to a list of all the Norwegian municipality codes.

Within each municipality you then see the following property level split:

  1. Cadastral unit number = Gårdsnummer (gnr)
  2. Property unit number = Bruksnummer (bnr)
  3. Leasehold number = Festenummer (fnr)
  4. Condominium unit number = Seksjonsnummer (snr)

Items 1 and 2 are the ones that you will come across most often - particularly in rural areas.

When the current number system was introduced in the early 1800s, each farm in the rural communities were given its own main number (gårdsnummer) - starting with 1. In addition it was given a sub-number (bruksnummer) also starting with 1. If the property was later divided, then both parts would keep the same gårdsnummer 1 - but would get separate bruksnummer - for example gnr1 bnr1 and gnr1 bnr2. In this way one would always be able to keep track of the 'mother property'. As time went on there could be many bruksnummer.

The interesting thing from a historic perspective is that by looking at the gårdsnummer in a district you can see what part of the land that originally belonged to one single farm.

In front of the gårds- and bruksnummer you get the municipality code - so the total reference code for a property would for example be 0135-11/1. This is the code format that you would use for the interactive map at seeiendom.no

Instructions on how you can use the interactive property map
Step 1: Go to seeiendom.no

Step 2: On the screen you will see the search field top left. The text box bottom-right can be closed down

Step 3: Test the search field by entering the code 0135-11/1 and then click 'Søk' (search). You will now see the farm mentioned above with an initial info-box (see next steps below). You can zoom in and out by using the +/- top left or by using the mouse wheel.

Step 4: You can move around in the map by clicking the large arrows top left - or by holding the mouse button and dragging the map left, right, up, down.

Step 5: As an alternative to searching by a code - you can type in the name of the property. Try for example Sarpebakken which is a neighbouring farm to the one above. There may be many properties with the same name in Norway - and you will normally get a list of options listing the available properties, showing the municipality number and name - and the county name.

Step 6: If you do not know the number of the property - nor the name - or - the name does not give any results - then your best option is to zoom out and then click on the area that you would like to look at - and then start zooming in - and then finally clicking on a selected property. Be aware that the names of many farms and places are written using the dialect form. When clicking on a property, a small box should appear and then click on the words 'Marker eiendom'. The property should now be highlighted in yellow.

Step 7: A new box shows up on the screen where you click 'Vis mer informasjon om eiendommen'. The next and larger box that appears on the screen shows a bit more in-depth information about the property: like size in square metres, what buildings there are on the property, if there are any registered cultural heritage elements on the land, list of the different sections of land etc. (see also the next heading below).

In the old bygdebøker (local history books) you will often find gårdsnummer and bruksnummer listed. A lot of these books are available scanned at the National Library of Norway (see external link) - but sadly most of them are available to people with Norwegian IP addresses only. Maybe use your Norwegian contacts at the various genealogy sites etc. to help you out.

More information about the property
It is possible to find more information about the property - like for example the name of the current owner - and if applicable, when the property was sectioned out from the main property (for example a previous tenant farm which originally did not have its own registration code but was part of the owning farm). However, this requires a login using a Norwegian public login ID and can only be accessed by Norwegians. Maybe one of your Norwegian contacts can help you out on this one as well.

Don't hesitate to contact us should you find that any of the information above should contain errors - or needs further clarification.

Sources: kartverket.no, seiendom.no

Relevant links

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