An official website of the United States government

Tracing Family History and People
June 1, 2022

If you are researching your family history in the United States and don’t know where to start, you may like to contact the following organizations which will be able to advise you how to find the information you need:

c/o Statsarkivet i Bergen
Årstadveien 22
5009 Bergen
Phone: (+47) 55 96 58 00
Website: http://arkivverket.no/arkivverket/Digitalarkivet

Slekt og Data
Øvre Slottsgt. 2B
0157 OSLO
Phone: (+47) 22 42 24 00
Website: http://www.disnorge.no

Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening
Slektsforskernes Hus
Øvre Slottsgate 2 B
0157 OSLO
Phone: (+47) 47 77 06 77
Website: http://www.genealogi.no

National Genealogical Society
3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22205 – 4304
Phone: +1 (703) 525-0050
Website: www.ngsgenealogy.org

Finally, ancestry.com is another useful resource for anyone interested in researching their family history.

Birth, marriage & death records

There is no central repository of birth, death and marriage records in the United States. These records are filed at state level and, in some cases, at an even more local level. The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics has produced Where to Write for Vital Records, a useful guide to these sources.

Tracing people in the United States

Tracing people in the United States can be a lengthy and time consuming process. Many records, such as those held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, are protected by the Privacy Act and cannot be divulged to third parties. However, the Internet has made many other resources much more freely accessible.

Search Engines
Most of the major search engines offer some sort of people search facility. Among these are: All-in-One SearchSwitchboard and Google Personfinder.

Telephone Listings
One of the quickest and easiest ways of establishing contact with an individual is via their telephone listing. Some public reference libraries now hold U.S. telephone directories on CD-ROM and there are many internet websites providing access to phone listings. A number of these are to be found on Yahoo! However, it is worth remembering that many private individuals in the U.S. choose to have unlisted numbers. Telephone directories can also be used to access lists of particular types of companies or services. For example, it would be possible to obtain a list of detective agencies in a particular location.

Government records
Ancestry.com’s Social Security Death Index is generated from the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. It indexes the records of deceased persons who possessed Social Security numbers and whose death had been reported to the SSA. In most cases a report of death was made in connection with Social Security death benefits. Where available the complete record may be ordered on payment of a fee.

Humanitarian organizations
The following organizations may be able to assist in cases of sufficiently compelling humanitarian need, and where the missing person is a close relative:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Through its Family History Resources the Church offers advice to those undertaking family history research. There are over 2,400 Family History Centers worldwide including several in Norway.

Media Sources
It may be worthwhile contacting newspapers or local radio stations in the area where the missing person was last known to live. Radio stations can be located via Radio-Locator (formerly the MIT List of Radio Stations on the Internet).

Note: This is mainly a page for Norwegians interested in their U.S. family, not the other way around.