Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More on Norwegian Names, Church Records, and Sources

Reader Linda has asked several questions and made comments on my blog post Crafting a Norway Church Record Digital Image Source Citation in Family Tree Maker 2014 (18 March 2014), and I'd rather answer them in a blog post than in a comment to the earlier post.  She asked:

1)  On another note, I see that you list name as Sjur Torgerson and birth location as Tungeteigens, Voss, Hordaland, Norway. I am assuming that Tungeteigens is the name of the farm where Sjur was born. I had followed your pattern of patronymic as last name for my ancestors, but then at www.geni.com/projects/Norwegian-Ancestry-information/11383 under Norwegian Naming Practices, p. 2, the directions say to use the farm name at birth as the surname. Hmmm...so many questions.

My response:  Your assumption is correct - I used the patronymic name (the father's first name) as the last name and Tungeteigens was the farm where the parents were residing, and presumably where Sjur was born, according to the Voss parish record book.  Therefore, Sjur Torgerson was the son of Torger Olson and Anna Sjursdtr.  I did this for all of my Norwegian research, at least until permanent surnames were chosen in the 1870-1900 time frame.

I was not aware of the Geni.com naming practice article, nor the Geni.com Wiki about Scandinavian Patronymic names and naming practices at  http://wiki.geni.com/index.php/Patronymics#Scandinavian_Patronymics.  I went and looked at the FamilySearch Research Wiki article on Norway (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Norway) and checked the links and there is nothing as detailed as the Geni.com Wiki article.  

There is general information on how to do research in Norway in  https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Starting_Research_in_Norway on the FamilySearch Research Wiki.

As the Geni.com article notes, the family may change residences and have children on different farms.  However, I haven't seen the surname change due to a farm name change in the church records - the parents are always named using their patronymics.  If patronymics are used consistently, all of the children for a couple will have the same surname.  When they marry, they use their patronymics.  So maybe I'm doing it wrong according to a seemingly authoritative article.

2)  I see in this post that you included more specific information in the Source field. In the previous post regarding Sjur you had a more generic source and the specifics were in the citation detail section. Have you changed your mind regarding this? I had an issue with typing the Norwegian letter ø in my Source information that shows up as A with a line above it in the reference note. Should I just type "o" instead of ø and such?  

My response:  I did change some of the specifics a bit because, after thinking about it a bit, I realized that the source citation I had done before was not easily followed to the record.  I tried to improve the "bread-crumb trail."

Some of the software programs don't permit the unique "Scandinavian (and other) characters" with diacriticals to be used in their fairly primitive note and source editors.  I didn't notice that when I did the source citations.  The A with a line above it is misleading - I would use the "o" for the ø character.  The software companies should fix that, though.  

3)  I am struggling with patronymic names. I see that you list name as Sjur Torgerson and birth location as Tungeteigens, Voss, Hordaland, Norway. I am assuming that Tungeteigens is the name of the farm where Sjur was born. His parents are listed with patronymic surnames, but his son is listed as Torger Sjursen Leland. Do you have a recommendation for when to use farm name surname and when to use patronymic surname? This is making me crazy, because I like to be consistent.

My response:  I like to be consistent too.  The Sjur Torgerson family used patronymics in Norway, including the birth of Torger Sjursen in Voss in 1851.  They migrated to Wisconsin in the 1850s, and used the patronymics up until about 1880.   Torger Sjursen's marriage in 1876 used patronymics, but his 1880 U.S. Census record and all other records after 1880 used the adopted farm name, Leland, and his children used Leland after 1880.  

I treated this like a name change.  They were "directed" by Norway to select a surname and many families chose the father's surname, but some adopted a farm name, an occupation name, or something else.  In this case, Sjur Torgerson's brother Ivar Torgerson married in 1838 to Kari Larsdtr of Liland farm in Norway, and both Ivar and Sjur adopted Leland as the surname in the 1880 time frame for some reason.  I guess it was better than being called Sjur Tungeteigens or Sjur Molster, etc.  I'm glad they did - or my wife would have been a Tungeteigens!

4)  Thank you, Linda for the questions and comments.  I'm not a Norwegian research expert - just a researcher with some experience and I did not draw up a list of standard practices for dealing with the names when I did the research.  Now i'm struggling with the need for consistency in the patronymic suffixes (I've used -sen and -son, and -datter and -dtr, interchangeably it seems).

5)  If readers have other articles about these issues, please let us know about them.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/03/more-on-norwegian-names-church-records.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Finn said...

Randy, With Windows, at least, you can change your keyboard to Norwegian by going to Control Panel>Clock, Language, and Region>Change Keyboard and select the language you desire. There are several options as to how it will display. I have mine on the task bar. Most of the time it displays EN for English, by clicking on it I can choose DA for Danish, SV for Swedish, and NO for Norwegian.

Linda Balderson said...

On a Mac you hold down option and type o for ø and option + a for å. For æ it is option + '. I did that for typing my source information, but when I opened up the reference, my ø turned into T with a line above it. I don't know what å and æ would look like.

On a related note, I had used ø in naming of one of my trees, and FTM would not sync with ancestry.The link was broken every time. I changed my tree name to replace ø with o and now it syncs without a problem.