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Introduction to Our Collections

The Naeseth Library building in Madison is the headquarters of the Norwegian American Genealogical Center and houses one of the country’s most important collections of research materials about Norwegian and Norwegian-American family history, genealogy, and immigration history. The Library collection grew from the private library of our founder, Gerhard Naeseth, who started our organization in 1974 and donated the materials that he spent a lifetime collecting. Since Mr. Naeseth’s death in 1994, the Naeseth Library has grown and expanded.

Today, the strengths of the collection include: specially-compiled Norwegian emigration lists; an extensive collection of Norwegian farm and local histories (bygdebøker); a copy of the famous Rowberg obituary collection; complete topographical maps of Norway; and an impressive collection of Norwegian and Norwegian-American family histories. Also available to Naeseth Library visitors, as well as to our online database subscribers, is an extremely useful transcription of Norwegians in U.S. census records, as well as transcripts of Norwegian-American church records, and microfilms of the American Lutheran Church collection.

All of these resources are in searchable form, either in our own indexes or via our databases. With the help of donations and purchases, we continue to build up our collections each year. For example, our holdings of family histories, now numbering over 5,000 different titles, is one of the most extensive collections of special and hard-to-find Norwegian-American family histories in existence. During your visit to the Naeseth Library, access to our collection is free to our members; non-members pay a nominal daily library access fee.

To search our Naeseth Library catalogue, click here.

For information on additional holdings, especially microfilms, out-of-print volumes, and unique documentary materials, please be sure to inquire.

Become a Member

By becoming a member, you not only gain benefits for your family history research, you also support a worthy cause.

Your annual membership helps you, your family, and a wide community discover their roots and preserve a treasured heritage.

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Support NAGC & NL

NAGC & NL relies upon donations of all types from its members and friends throughout the world.

All gifts, whether large or small, are essential to the work of the Center, an important non-profit organization of international scope that is dedicated to preserving Norwegian-American history and heritage.

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Testimonials

“An excerpt from a research paper written by a high school student:     I don't have the privilege to remember my great-grandfather Wallace, and sadly never had the chance to appreciate knowing my great-grandmother Inga-as she passed away when I was too young to realize how much I could gain from getting to know her. Thanks to their daughter (my great-aunt Carol Culbertson), I was lucky enough to have extensive knowledge of both of their lives...... I conclude my project, in the peace of mind and knowledge that this great man lived a full and prosperous life, with not a moment of passion wasted.”

- Evan (Illinois)

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