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Posted: 1358818572000
Classification: Query
Need a little help with Surnames:
I have a Josepha Johnson that on her birth certificate her mother is Maria Christoferson and the death Certificate say Wigdahl. She went by Josie Hagen but I see the same birth date on records of death, birth, social security but I see both names used Johnson and Hagen along with mother maiden names of Christoferson and Wigdahl.
I see this also with names on the other side of the line. I have a Johan Larsen Kværnstuen where half the children used Johnson and the other used Kvaerstuen.
I'm so very confused! Any help?

Re: Surnames

Posted: 1358872142000
Classification: Query
If they are Norwegian.. the childrens last name would be their fathers name followed with -sen or -datter. For example... the Johnson last name would mean "son of John". The Kvaerstuen might be the farm name from where they came from. Here is a link that explains this a little better. It confused me at first and I had a hard time finding ancestors from Norway. Good luck.

Re: Surnames

Posted: 1374410543000
Classification: Query

Re: Surnames

Posted: 1374475969000
Classification: Query
My understanding is that most Norwegians in the 1800s had two surnames: 1) the patronymic surname (father's first name plus -sen for a son or -datter for a daughter) and 2) either a farm name (gardnavn) if they were from the country or an "etternavn" (other name) if they were from the city. My immigrant great grandfather's full name was Hans Olsen Bugge. He was a fisherman from a city -- his father's first name was Ole and Bugge was their etternavn. The etternavn stayed the same from generation to generation but the patronymic usually changed with each generation.

Norwegians who immigrated to America could only have one surname here and they had to pick one. Some went for the patronymic and some went for the farm name or the etternavn. My great grandfather took the patronymic Olsen and forgot Bugge, but his brothers dropped Olsen and used the etternavn Bugge instead. My great grandfather's certificate from sailing school in Drammen, Norway, in 1870s clearly recorded his full name as Hans Olsen Bugge, though.

See the general discussion about Norwegian names on the University of Bergen website:

Excerpt: "On the whole, the immigrants were not very particular about which surnames they adopted. The most important factor was apparently whether the name could be written and pronounced in English. In America, names such as Nelson and Johnson were already widely known and much easier to pronounce than most Norwegian farm names. Even if the original farm name was retained as a surname, it was often altered and modified so much under the influence of the new language that it is now unrecognizable."

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