The Norwegian Nobility - survey of 1886

The following survey is taken from H.J. Huitfeldt-Kaas article «De nulevende Adelsslægter i Norge», Historisk Tidsskrift, 1886, 2. rekke, 5. bind, pp. 145–160. («The present noble families of Norway»). The survey is based on information taken from the article as well as comments by the website editor in the newsgroup article «Nobility in Norway», 10 October 1998.

Huitfeldt-Kaas' article is currently available at

I. Norwegian Uradel

Galtung - the only noble family left from the pre-Danish period. The oldest line can be found in Danmarks Adels Aarbog, while other lines belong to the farmer class (now we are talking about the 19th century, of course). The Galtung family received Adelsbrev (nobility letter's patent) during the Danish period, thus confirming their status during the pre-Danish period (he lists other Norwegian (i.e. families originally Norwegian) families now extinct; Bagge, Dahl, Galde, Handingmand, Rosensværd, Rytter, Skak, Skaktavl, Tordenstjerne, Botner family - of these Bagge, Skak and Tordenstjerne was ennobled by Patent in the 16th century - some of them had to renew their application later, like Rosensværd in the 15th century, Galtung and Skaktavl in the 17th century, Tordenstjerne and Botner in the 18th. Except for Galtung these families are now, as previously mentioned, extinct (there are of course other pre-Danish noble families who are either extinct or have sunk down to the farmer class during the Dano period - like Smør and others, Huitfeldt-Kaas does not mention them).

DTH: One should note that the connection between the Galtung families before and during the Danish period has not been satisfactorily documented.

Recommended reading:

II. Danish Uradel (i.e. with lines living in Norway)

Arenfeldt (now extinct in Norway)

Huitfeldt (several well-known persons in this family - like Fritz Huitfeldt, who lead the city government of Oslo (Oslo byråd) 15.01.1997-29.11.2000, while Anniken Huitfeldt, his niece, is former chair person of the Labour party's youth organisation, AUF, and became a member of the Norwegian Storting (Parliament) after the general election on 12 September 2005, representing Akershus county. Her sister Astrid Huitfeldt is currently (2003) member of the central committee of the AUF.

Kaas (including younger line Huitfeldt-Kaas)


Mund - now extinct.

III. Families ennobled by patents

Anker - ennobled 1778 and 1798, has claimed to descend from Swedish nobility.

Bille - ennobled 1679 as an illegitimate line of the Danish noble family with the same name.

Falsen - ennobled 1758

Heubsch - ennobled 1691 - Friherrenfamilie (baronial family) in Germany

Kloecker - ennobled 1760

Knagenhjelm - ennobled 1721 - one member of this family was at the Norwegian Court under King Haakon

Løvenskiold - ennobled 1739, 2 main lines: Bærum and Fossum, Skien; many court members under Bernadotte and later under Glücksburg.

von Munthe af Morgenstierne - ennobled 1755

Roepstorff - ennobled 1701

Sundt - shipping family, ennobled 1733

Treschow - ennobled 9 October 1812 (Michael Treschow) - in 1886 there was only one male person living in a childless marriage, I suppose the current Treschow family descends from another (Danish) line, have to get back to this some time.

Ulrichsdal (Vagel) - ennobled 1782, last male person died in 1883.

Werenskiold - the current line ennobled 1717. Famous artist family. Originally lived at Kjølberg Herregård (i.e. "adelssete", nobility farm) outside Fredrikstad.

Wibe (Vibe) - ennobled 1634

Wleugel - ennobled 1782

IV. Foreign nobility families recognised as Dano-Norwegian Adel

Aubert - French family, ennobled 1612, naturalised 1776.

Hoff-Rosencrone - Bohemian family, naturalised in Denmark 1779, "baronisert" (became baronial) 1812, owned Rosendal at Hardanger, Western Norway. Now extinct, I believe the last male person died in 19-- (will be checked).

Le Normand de Bretteville - French, naturalised in Denmark in 1804 - the family Bretteville in Norway is an illegitimate line of this noble family. One example of the latter would be Jean Louis Bretteville, see my page Norwegian footballers playing abroad.

Lowzow - Mecklenburgian Adel, naturalised 1777.

Lützow - originally German, connection between the Dano-Norwegian and German families difficult to prove.

Staffeldt - Pommeranian, naturalised 1777

Trampe - also Pommeranian, "riksgrevelig" 1735, Danish Grevestand (Counts) 1743.

Wedel Jarlsberg - originally from Pommern, Dano-Norwegian Grevestand 1684. Several members at the Norwegian court under Bernadotte and Glücksburg. Please go to the Wedel Jarlsberg page.

V. Rangadel ("Rangadelige Slægter")

Motzfeldt - ennobled before 1730


Sibbern - Adel after "rangordning" of 11 February 1717.

VI. Foreign noble families without recognition as Dano-Norwegian nobility

Bülow - originally German.

Coucheron - Dutch (a younger line Coucheron-Aamodt, Molde, had a member, William C-A - see Hvem er hvem -- for his biography - who claimed descent from Harald I Hairfair (on the Aamodt side, presumably) and suggested himself to become King of Norway in 1905!)

von Ditten - Mecklenburgian. Thor von Ditten was Norwegian Minister to Berlin the first years after independence 1905. Played a central role during the coronation in 1906.

Haffner - German

Kaltenborn - German

von Koss - German

Rokling (Roclenge) - originally French.

Scheel - German Adel

Schlanbusch - German Adel.

de Seue - French.

Stibolt - originally Danish.

Tillisch - the Danish line recognised, not the Norwegian.

Weltzin - connection to the Mecklenburgian family not proved

Zernichow - formerly Danish Friherrenstand, but not in Norway.

Other families, like Bang, Berg, Brun, Cold, Darre, Kofod (Kofoed) and von Krogh, are not recognised, but some of them are found in Danmarks Adels Aarbog. Other families also claim to be noble, as for instance Barclay de Tolli, Ely, Ferry, Michelet (many members living today), Richelieu, Vauvert.

Huitfeldt-Kaas claims that Michelet lost its status due to unequal marriages - but that would also mean that many other families could not be called noble anymore.

In the Norwegian daily Verdens Gang 24 August 1996 the historian Tore H. Vigerust, the organiser of Adelsprosjektet («The Nobility Project») set up a list of families with noble background (documented nobility 1800). I gave the names of this survey in my article «Nobility in Norway», newsgroup 10 October 1998. In agreement with Mr. Vigerust the survey is not re-published here. The list is according to Vigerust not complete. There are some differences between Huitfeldt-Kaas' and Vigerust's surveys. See Adelsprosjektet for information about the project's publications.*

The above-mentioned article in Verdens Gang contained interviews with Hildegunn Coucheron (then 25) and her sister Wenche Coucheron (then 31), Anniken Huitfeldt (then 26), she she has a brother Anders (then 23), her father is Iver Huitfeldt, whose brother is the above-mentioned Fritz Huitfeldt - while Anniken is Labour, Iver and Fritz belong to the Conservative Party (Høyre), Carl Nicolaus Wedel Jarlsberg (then 22) - he runs Jarlsberg hovedgaard, Sem outside Tønsberg, county of Vestfold, and Carl Christian Munthe af Morgenstierne (then 89) as well as Lillian Morgenstierne (then 83). Carl Christian's great grandmother was a Russian princess (Fürstin).

41 Norwegians were in 1996 members of the Danmarks Adelsforening (members of the families Anker, Aubert, Falsen, Galtung, Huitfeldt, Palle Juel, Knagenhjelm, Koefoed, de Linde, Løvenskiold, von Munthe af Morgenstierne, Munthe-Kaas, Rosenvinge, Treschow, de Vibe, Werenskiold).

* Tore A. Vigerust died on 31 October 2010, 55 years old. The website will continue at the present address for some time, but might be moved later on. I will come back with more information later.

You can find literature about most families mentioned above, besides Danmarks Adels Aarbog, you should consult Hansen, Morten. Norske slektsbøker. En bibliografi, Oslo: Aschehough, 1965 and other bibliographies at the National Library. A survey of noble and other «grande families» of Norway is published at Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening's (The Norwegian Genealogical Society's) subpage Slektskalendrenes innhold

Some of these families have been discussed at the newsgroups no.slekt (now changed to no.fritid.slektsforsking.diverse), and no.slekt.etterlysning (now no.fritid.slektsforsking.etterlysing), soc.genealogy.nordic and Digitalarkivets Brukarforum (Digitalarkivet's User's Forum).

There are other noble families not mentioned above, for instance the Nansen family, but they never belonged to the Dano-Norwegian Adel - a line moved to Norway, of whom Fridtjof Nansen, the explorer is well known. See Steffens, Haagen Krog, Norske Slægter 1912.

In the last century there was a Baron Otto von Racknitz married to Caspara Møller - they died after 1871 - I have yet not found the connection to Baroness Thekla von Racknitz (d. 1889), who was married to Officer Edvard Munch, cousin of the more famous artist Edvard Munch. They had 2 children, of whom Thekla von Racknitz Munch (d. 1913) was a member at King Haakon and Queen Maud's court.

A branch of the Danish noble family von Benzon lives in Norway. Egon von Benzon died in Oslo in 1995, while his wife Emmy Clara von Benzon, née Feydt, died 10 years later. The couple had 2 children.

I repeat that the noble families' privilegies were abolished in 1821 and that the creation of new nobility or fideicommis was forbidden. See Act of 1 August 1821.

This is at least some information about Norwegian nobility as well as of foreign noble families who either lived or still live in Norway. More information will be added later.


  • H.J. Huitfeldt-Kaas. «De nulevende Adelsslægter i Norge», Historisk Tidsskrift, 1886, 2. rekke, 5. bind, pp. 145-160.
  • Verdens Gang 24 August 1996
  • Østlands-Posten ( 12 June 2004
  • Aftenposten 17 October 2005.

This page was last updated on Tuesday 11 September 2012
(first time published at in November 1999).

© 1999–2012 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth