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Archiver > DENMARK > 2002-03 > 1015697767

From: "Ian Westergaard" <>
Subject: Re: [DK] Name Harrison (England) - Danish 'son-of' Harry'?
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 07:16:07 +1300
References: <002601c1c6ef$cb565280$0101a8c0@HPAuthorizedCustomer> <>

Hi Rock

There are plenty of place names in Scotland & England which are evidence of
the invasion and settlement of Britain by the "Norse", but that does not
mean all place names which are Norse sounding are of Norse origin. Britain
was invaded many times by many different tribes from Northern Europe, not
all of them were Norse.

I was not dismissing the idea of Scandinavian influence in the origin of the
patronymic name with the suffix "son". I was saying that the suffix "son"
did not necessarily indicate the origin of the name was Scandinavian. eg

After all what is the origin of the word "son" and it's variants. My
dictionary gives seven different languages which use it including Sanskrit
"sunu" = son and "sute" = he begets.

I was also trying to make the point, which you have so ably amplified, that
patronymic naming customs were not confined to Scandinavia. Many people
starting on Scandinavian genealogy come across patronymic names for the
first time and because the system is so universal and well defined assume
that it is unique to Scandinavia.

In genealogy it is dangerous to assume anything.

Ian Westergaard
In Cloudy & Mild Central Otago
New Zealand

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rockne Johnson" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2002 12:18 AM
Subject: Re: [DK] Name Harrison (England) - Danish 'son-of' Harry'?

Hi Ian,

It isn't just the -son which marks northern England and lowland Scotland as
having been settled by Scandinavians. The word "bairn", for example, used
in Scotland and Cumbria, is obviously the Scandinavian barn/børn. There
are many other examples.

No one is saying that Mac-, Mc-, and O- are not patronymic forms. (And
don't forget the -s in Wales.) But the high incidence of -son in the area
that was the Danelaw has to mean something.

Patronymics were also practiced in old Spain. Rodrigo Diaz, 1040-1099,
also known as El Cid, had a father named Diego Laínez. If he had sons they
would have carried the patronym Rodriguez. How many other Spanish last
names end in -s or -z?


At 04:04 PM 3/9/02 +1300, Ian Westergaard wrote:
>Someone with a name ending in "son" is not necessarily of Scandinavian
>Contrary to what appears to be the general opinion on this list Patronymic
>names were not confined to the Scandinavian countries. They were just not
>universal in other cultures.
>The prefixes "Mac and Mc" in Highland Scotland, the prefix "O" in Ireland
>and the suffix "son" in England and Lowland Scotland are all patronymic and
>were widely used.
>Many Danish and Norwegian emigrants ANGLICISED their name to end in "son".
>Ian Westergaard

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