Scandinavian Genealogy 101: Trace Your Norwegian, Swedish and Danish Ancestors

Though the prospect of researching Scandinavian ancestors can be as intimidating as a Viking warship, you’ll fast quell your fear of these northern European countries in this 4-week course. Genealogists with ancestry in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and surrounding territories will learn the history and geography of each region, their terms and language, how to find and use church records, as well as how to research names within a patronymic system.


Diana Crisman Smith has been researching since childhood and has served as a lay librarian at her local Family History Center for more than 20 years. Read an open letter about Scandinavian Genealogy from Diana Crisman Smith


$99.99 ($89.99 for VIP)

Course Length:

4 Weeks


Diana Crisman Smith

Start Date:

View upcoming course schedule for dates.


  • History and geography of Scandinavian countries—and what it means for your research
  • Using patronymics—the systems and techniques
  • Genealogical language and terminology
  • Using church records
  • Finding and using other records


  • Genealogists with known Scandinavian roots who want to “cross the pond” and begin their overseas research (this class isn’t designed for intermediate to advanced researchers who have significant experience using sources from Scandinavia)
  • Members of Scandinavian heritage clubs or churches who wish to expand their family trees and honor their heritage
  • Researchers with Northern European roots in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and surrounding countries at the time many Northern Europeans immigrated to America
  • Librarians serving areas where many Northern Europeans settled, whose patrons are descendants of Danish, Norwegian, Swedish or Icelandic immigrants


  • This course assumes you understand the basics principles of genealogy and have done some investigation into your family history. If you are a total beginner, take the Discover Your Family Tree course before enrolling in this class.
  • You will get the most out of this course if you already know which specific ancestors or generation of your family came from Scandinavia. For those who haven’t yet discovered this part of their family history, we recommend taking the Immigration Master Class first to help you identify your immigrant ancestors.


Lesson 1: Geography and History

A history of Scandinavian countries and how history impacts family research
Understanding the geography of the Scandinavian countries, including the political and ecclesiastical divisions

Lesson 2: Patronymics, Names, Handwriting and Terminology

Making sense of patronymics and other names
Basics of old Scandinavian script
Essential genealogy terminology in Swedish, Norwegian and Danish; resources for additional help

Lesson 3: Church Records

The development of the Lutheran church in each country
Lutheran churchbooks (parish registers) and their contents

Lesson 4: Other Records

Non-church records (census, military and emigration) of use to genealogists
Throughout the course, resources will be provided to aid in finding and interpreting records

Course Library

Videos and multimedia
Books and CDs
Organizations and archives

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