To what extent can we define the Norwegian genre «Farm and genealogical history» as «scientific history», a comment to Kjelland’s article

By Ståle Dyrvik

For more than a century, an ever-increasing proportion of Norwegian professional historians have been engaged in local historical research. Studying the development of a small community is in principle as demanding as that of a region or even a nation. But books on local history in Norway also used to include volumes containing detailed description of houses, farms and hamlets with information on the individuals and families that occupied them. Does such listing qualify as research, or is it just a mechanically established catalogue? In his article, Dyrvik argues that this genre demands high historical expertise and that it is important in order to check the general historian’s tendency to define groups and processes without exact knowledge of the smallest units of society.