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Guide to 'Norsk Lutherske Menigheter i Amerika'

How to access and work with this 1918 compilation of Norwegian-American Lutheran congregations

About O.M. Norlie's Work

Norlie, Olaf Morgan, 1876–1962. Norsk Lutherske Menigheter i Amerika, 1843–1916. Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Publishing House, 1918.

Title page for Norske lutherske menigheter i Amerika Olaf Morgan Norlie, better known as O.M. Norlie, was a pastor, scholar, and librarian whose life's work was studying Norwegians in America. His Norsk lutherske menigheter i Amerika, 1843–1916 (Norwegian Lutheran Congregations in America) is a compilation of information about more than 6,000 Norwegian Lutheran churches in America. It has been digitized by HathiTrust and is available online below.

Many scholars have found Norlie's work to be a treasure trove of historical and genealogical information — but it does help to have a working knowledge of Norwegian. Our guide, compiled by Augsburg Archivist Kristin M. Anderson, is intended to fill in the gaps for English speakers who want to access its content.

Terms Used in Church Names

Basic Place Names

norsk Norwegian
dansk Danish
evangelisk evangelical
lutherske Lutheran
skandinavisk Scandinavian
menighet congregation
prækeplads “preaching place”
kapel chapel
skolehus school (house)


Congregations' Names

Common congregation names include geographic names (either in the U.S., like Granite Falls, or Norwegian place names, like Kviteseid) and names of saints. Some biblical or theological terms are used, and many are cognates. Common names needing translation include:

Vor Frelsers Our Saviors
Trefoldigheds Trinity


Congregation Name Changes

If the congregation has changed its name or originated in another congregation, this information is provided:

fra xxxx til xxxx from xxxx to xxxx
en del av a part of
tilhører belongs to


Towns, Counties, States

After the church name, its location by town, county and state are supplied. If not located in a town, its distance and direction are noted.

øst east
vest west
nord north
syd south


Synod Names

The synodical affiliation of the congregation is given, including how that may have changed over time.

Am Antimissouri Anti-Missourian Brotherhood
As Augustana synode Norwegian Danish Augustana Synod
Bs Brodersamfundet Lutheran Brethren
Dfk Danske forenede kirke Danish United Church
Es Ellings synode Eielsens Synod
Ff Frikirke Free Church
Fk Forenede kirke United Church
Gs General Synod General Synod
Hs Hauges synode Hauge Synod
Kf Konferentsen Norwegian Danish Conference
Is Illinois synoden The Illinois Synod
Lf Lutherske frikirke Lutheran Free Church
Ms Missouri synoden The Missouri Synod
Ni Northern Illinois synoden The Northern Illinois Synod
Ns Norske synode Norwegian Synod
Ut Utenom Unaffiliated, but often served by pastors of the other groups, whose affiliation is listed in parentheses

Church Dates and Divisions

Date of organization and information about divisions

organisert/reorganisert organized/re-organized
opløst dissolved
begyndt began
sluttet closed
splittet split
delt divided
paa grund av distance on grounds of (= "because of") distance
paa grund av for lang kirkevei on grounds of a long distance to church
paa grund av utflytning til en anden del av byen som hindret almindelig deltagelse i menighetsarbeidet on grounds of departure to another part of the city, which hindered common participation in the congregation’s life
paa grund av valg av kirketomt on grounds of choice of church site
paa grund av at menigheten var for vidtspredt on grounds that the congregation was too widespread
paa grund av det engelske arbeide on grounds of the English work
paa grund av at man fandt det mere tjenligt on grounds that it was found more useful
paa grund av uenighet on grounds of disagreement
paa grund av uenighet mellom prest og menighet on grounds of disagreement between the pastor and the congregation
paa grund av at en del vilde ha presteskjole, en anden ikke on grounds that one part wanted clerical vestments and the other part did not
paa grund av anklager mot menighetens daværende prest on grounds of accusations against the congregation’s then-minister
paa grund av indbyrdes strid on grounds of internal strife
paa grund av kirkepolitik on grounds of church politics
paa grund av forskjellig opfatning av spørsmaalet om verdens retfærdiggjorørelse, slaveri, søndagen osv. on grounds of difficult judgments over the question of the world’s justification, slavery, the Sabbath, etc.
paa grund av naadevalgstriden on grounds of the Predestination controversy
paa grund av slaverispørsmaalet on grounds of the slavery question
paa grund av slaveristriden on grounds of disagreement over slavery
paa grund av spørsmaal om kaldelse av prest enten fra Konferentsen, Synoden eller Anitmissouri on grounds of a question whether to call a pastor from the Norwegian-Danish Conference, the Norwegian Synod, or the Anti-Missourian Brotherhood
paa grund av at en del fremdeles vilde støtte Augsburg Seminar og andre den ny oprettede presteskole i Den forenede kirke on grounds that some would still support Augsburg Seminary and others (would support) the newly established seminary in the United Church
paa grund av Augsburgstriden on grounds of strife over Augsburg Seminary
paa grund av Den forenedes kirkes beslutning om at oprette ny presteskole istedenfor at understøtte Augsburg seminarium som efter foreningsartiklerne var Den forenede kirkes presteskole on grounds of the United Church’s decision to establish a new seminary instead of supporting Augsburg Seminary, which was the United Church’s seminary according to the merger articles

Church Membership


sjæle souls
svensker Swedes
tyskere Germans
dansker Danes
amerikanere Americans
engelsker (sometimes “Yankees”) English (-speakers)
irlændere Irish
ikke-norsker Non-Norwegians



List of pastors serving congregation:

Prester pastors

Church Officials

Followed by Officials

  Embedsmænd Church officials
A formand chair
B sekretær secretary
C kasserer treasurer
D diakoner deacons
E trustees trustees
F klokker precentor, who led the music and readings
G fast skolærer parochial school teacher
H søndagsskole-superintendent Sunday school superintendent


Followed by Activities

This list is followed by a list of church activities, including (at times) the date of establishment, size of yearly offering, etc.

Kvindeforening Ladies Aid
Pikeforening Young Ladies Society
Ungdomsforening Young Peoples Society
Mandsforening Men’s Club/society
Sangforening Choir

Church Fundraising

Contributions to Church Causes

Menighetsskolen Parochial society
Samfundskoler Schools of the church body
Missionen Missions
Indremissionen Home missions
Barmhjertighetsanstalter Institutions of mercy



Salaries, staff and facilities, including size, costs, and pertinent years are included:

kirke church
prestehus parsonage
presteløn pastor’s salary
gravplads cemetery
kirketjener janitor, caretaker
lærerløn teacher’s salary
janitorbolig custodian’s residence

Other Common Norwegian Phrases

Various Terms Used in the Entries

osv. (=og saa videre) and so on (etc.)
og andre and others
sammen med together with
nogle some

About Our Guide

Compiled by Kristin Anderson, Augsburg College Archives