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Using mother's surname

Using mother's surname

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 5:03AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Anderson/Bredesen
Has anyone ever heard of a tradition where the family took on the mother's last name? It seems the children were born under the mothers name and the husband also used it here in the US during the late 1800's early 1900. Father was a baker, last name Anderson. The mother's last name was Bredesen.

Re: Using mother's surname

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 7:11AM GMT
Classification: Query
When families lived in Norway, they often had different patrynimic "surnames", such as:

Ole Pedersen
Gina Larsdatter
Lars Olsen
Mari Olsdatter

etc....

Now, when a family immigrated to America, the family had to have the SAME surname. There were no set rules as to what name they chose. They could take the father's surname (Pedersen), a form of the mother's surname (Larson), the name of a farm they were born at or once lived at (such as Foss, Haugen, Eid, etc,), or just any name they felt comfortable with.

Re: Using mother's surname

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 7:54PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you. It seems they went back to Norway a few times to have some of their children. On passenger lists and US records it seems they were all born with the mother's last name. Could that be possibe in Norway? or was that something they did as they immigrated?

Also, why would they go back to have children? Especially if the father was a naturalized in the US.

I've just foud these roots and beginning to learn how to search for ancestors in Norway.Its very confusing....

Re: Using mother's surname

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 5:57PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 27 Dec 2012 6:34PM GMT
Very often people traveled back to Norway for extended periods of time and therefore giving birth to children there over time, also very often with a large number of family members still in Norway having mothers, sisters and Aunts around was very helpfull.

Regarding Surnames: It was not required in Norway for an individual to have a surname that was passed from generation to generation until 1924. Therefore, many rural individuals did not have true surnames until that time. Also women would not customarilly taking their husbands name thus keeping the name they known by in the community they lived or took offically.

When indiviudals entered the USA they needed a surname and not fully understanding the concept took several different approches, either as noted before taking a farm name, or a patronymic name. If a woman was traveling alone with children she would give here name as she knew it perhaps Anna Cathrine Hasse (a geonymic name), and therefore by default any children would be marked down in US Customs books as Fredrik (mothers lastname), since the individual taking the data probably never asked "what are the children's full name" or the mother responded "Fredrik" and the census taker or Customs person added "Hasse" not the patronymic name that the father was called Hans or his geonymic surname.

Therefore, Technically most rural Norwegians in the 1700's and 1800's never truely had a "surname" just a patronymic name and a geonymic name (i.e. farm name) these only became true surnames either when then moved to the city (or the USA) and came to need one -or- when the Norwegian law required them to take one.

EDIT: Also geonymic names were based on where you currently lived and if the man moved from one farm (Nyhous) to the farm of his wife (Hasse) he would take her geonymic name and become Hans Olson Hasse when before he was Hans Olson Nyhous.
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