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View Diary: Icelandic Exceptionalism (211 comments)

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  •  Gaard Navn (1+ / 0-)
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    If you were a property owner you were not necessarily subject to patronymic naming conventions. You would have a family name associated with your piece of paradise. It was sort of the equivalent of being a gentleman squire.

    I am of norwegian descent on both sides.  If you have a gaard name you were socially a cut above.

    •  Not necessarily (2+ / 0-)
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      elfling, terjeanderson

      I do genealogy research (started when I was a teenager 50 years ago), have my own Norwegian ancestors documented back to ca 1620.

      I also help others do genealogy research in Norway, Sweden, Denmark.

      The gaard navn [farm name modern spelling gårdnavn - aa = å] was often tacked on to the end of the first name [technically the only legal name anyone had was their first name; middle names were not used until the mid-19th century], patronymic name [father's first name plus sen or datter suffix], and in court documents and such, if there were two or more people of the same name, the farm name was tacked on to the end of the name to distinguish which was which.  I also see first name plus farm name in some of the documents.

      Technically, the farm name was more of an address of sorts, not an actual surname or part of a person's name.  IF that person moved, the name of the farm also changed, so the farm name did not "travel" with a person's moves.

      Once the emigrants from the three Scandinavian countries got here, they either took their patronymic name or adopted a farm name as their American surname so they could fit in with the population of their new country who all had surnames (most used the first initial of their patronymic name as their middle initial in the US if they adopted an American surname).  In the case of my Norwegian gr-gr-grandparents, they first used an alternate spelling of the last farm they lived on before emigrating (same thing for some of the people who married into my family on side lineages; I've researched their families, too).  Each of my gr-gr-grandparents had been born on a different farm, lived on second or third farms during the early years of their marriage, but it was the last farm they used for the US surname.  The farm name was not a permanent thing ... until they got to the US.

      There is a complicated system of "ownership" when it comes to the farms in Norway, and it involves several different classifications.  I've still not sorted it out beyond the fact that the eldest son inherited the property.  I find these titles in records and enter them as is, so there were different classifications of farm "ownership."  Some farms had sub-farms and the houses were rented out with or without land for keeping a garden and maybe a few animals (One I researched had 22 farms under one name ~ that was quite a muddle).  A great many of my ancestors were sailors, some had a jekt [cargo boat], and rented land to live on besides sailing around the fjord or fishing.  Yet another sailor classification was mariner, and that was in connection with the military.

      Each case is different.

      If both of your parents are of Norwegian stock, it should be easy to track your ancestors.  Get all the US info (the expensive part is the b/m/d records on this side of the pond), year of immigration (found on census data), and then you can leap across the pond to emigration records, then birth/baptism, confirmation, marriage, death/burial records as well as census and other data.  Norway's records are online, all free, on one web site with several sub-sections, all thanks to the taxpayers there.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:29:25 AM PST

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      •  Neat! (1+ / 0-)
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        This is really interesting information.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:12:23 AM PST

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        •  Thank you... (1+ / 0-)
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          I admit, it's fun to do genealogy research in Norway.  Really, "all" you need to keep in mind is the patronymic naming system, the name order of the children, the three extra letters (vowels) of the alphabet, which letters of the alphabet are interchangeable through 300-350 years of records, there's no standardized spelling until the 20th century, so most of the spellings are phonetic and in local dialects and often depend on the educational level of the writer, and sometimes the same writer used different spellings for the same name in one document.  Norway didn't go to a single surname system until by law in 1923, although by 1900 some people used a single surname because they knew that law was going to be going into effect.  In large cities where there was an influx of foreigners for trade, sometimes a few people did use single surnames, but they're the exception, not the rule.  Women kept their own names their entire lives, so they're pretty easy to find in the records.

          Et cetera....

          Once a person gets the hang of it, it's really quite easy.  Web sites in Denmark and Sweden have the same info, but in Denmark there's two web sites, not one, and their records are also free, but their search engine isn't as easy as the Norwegian one.  Sweden, unfortunately, has fee-based web sites (corporate-sponsored), but the last one has colored digital images.

          American records?  Totally different story.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:27:37 PM PST

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