APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-07 > 1216662258
From: Jeanette Daniels <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Norwegian naming patterns
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 10:44:18 -0700 (PDT)
Dear Ida and others who wrote about Norwegian Naming Patterns:
Several years ago when I was a volunteer Reference Consultant at the Scandinavian Counter at the Family History Library, I also heard about the Norwegian Naming Pattern. While helping patrons with their Norwegian genealogy, I could not see the pattern. Several professional genealogists told me that when they couldn't figure out what the next generation was they just used this pattern. That bothered me very much. So, I took the Hordeland Farm History Books and chose 100 families to see if the naming pattern in the Norwegian Research Outline published by the Family History Library was correct about the naming pattern.
I found that approximate 1/3 of the time, the naming pattern in the Research Outline was correct. About 1/3 of the time, the naming pattern was the opposite but still a pattern, and 1/3 of the time, there was no naming pattern that was recognizable. Now it was not that all were 33.3 % but all calculations were in the 30th percentale. One was 31%, another 33% and the other 36%. All were within the margin of error + or -, so I just say 1/3.
I have done enough Norwegian research and have found life stories for some of the Norwegians I have traced One prominant man was actually named for a neighbor's son who had recently drowned just prior ot his birth. His parents named him after the dead boy to help consule the parents.
Whenever I lecture about Norwegian research, I stress that if there is a naming pattern, that is something to note after the research is done and not to use for tracing backwards. I also point out that the possibility of being wrong 2/3 of the time is not good.
--- On Mon, 7/21/08, Ida Skarson McCormick <> wrote:
From: Ida Skarson McCormick <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Norwegian naming patterns
Date: Monday, July 21, 2008, 10:23 AM
Could it be that you are working in a part of
Norway that had a number of Germans and/or
English in it who intermarry and dilute the Norwegian pattern?
Are you looking at variant name spellings? Are
you considering that only the first sound of the
name is all that is needed? Especially after immigration into the new country.
Are you looking at the exceptions and nuances as
stated by Per Seland in his article? (See my
previous message under the thread "1700's naming of children.")
Are you considering the gender crossover of names
from grandmother to grandson or grandfather to
granddaughter or deceased brother to newborn sister?
The naming pattern is much more complex than most
people suppose. Here's a brief example from the mid-1800s in the
The father Ole Sivertsen was previously married;
the mother Anna Olsdatter was not. They had 4 sons:
1. Ole (named for his father, not a grandfather,
because he was born 2 months before the parents married)
2. Sivert (named for his paternal grandfather)
3. Hans (named for ?)
4. Ole (named for the maternal grandfather)
Both children named Ole lived to adulthood,
called the equivalent of "Middle Ole" and "Little
Ole." Hans presents an interesting problem but
also potential clues to the identity of the
elusive first wife and possible children of the
father Ole in other parishes where father Ole
lived. A break in the usual naming pattern like
this is significant; it is up to the researcher
to determine what that significance is. Hans may
be a male version of the deceased first wife's
name. Hans may represent the name of a deceased
child from the possible first family. Use of the
name Sivert suggests a possible deceased
half-brother. These are my working
hypotheses. Throw in multiple changes of farm
names and living in 4 parishes (3 counties) to make it interesting. <g>
Because of the complexities, statistical analysis
is going to prove difficult to say the least. (See my previous message.)
--Ida Skarson McCormick, , Seattle
At 08:22 AM 7/21/2008, Helen S. Ullmann wrote:
>Like Kirsten, I tend to be very sceptical about naming patterns.
>Elizabeth's analysis is very helpful. I too would like to see some
>But as for Norwegians, I've failed to see any consistent pattern of
>naming after grandparents. I believe there was a custom (superstition?)
>that it was not appropriate to repeat the name of a living person. Since
>grandparents would often be living when first, second, third, fourth
>children were born, their names might not occur until later children
>were born. I've just looked through a bunch of my old norsk family
>sheets and just don't see any pattern at all. The grandparents'
>often do occur, but they are not often given to first children.
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|Re: [APG] Norwegian naming patterns by Jeanette Daniels <>|