Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2011-08 > 1313564094

From: Anne M Berge <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] NPE, 67-markers and Names
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2011 23:54:54 -0700 (PDT)
References: <><><><409D2F77F6E048D99EE7077BB0965E0B@kenPC>
In-Reply-To: <409D2F77F6E048D99EE7077BB0965E0B@kenPC>

Ken and others interested in names,

The change from patronymics + farm names to fixed patrilineal/hereditary last names started in the cities, and gradually, yes. Danish cities were first, and it became more fashionable to use a "frozen patronymic" as rural names were looked upon as - well, rural ...

Norway's population in 1801 (census) was over 90 % farmers, from then on there was a slow change of people moving into cities to work. The main tendency was that farm names were then discarded (they no longer lived on those farms) and patronymics "froze" and were used as family names. The same happended for most of the emigrants (you've seen how many Olsons there are in the Midwest), however some of these kept their farm names as "surname" when settling in America - especially if it were pronouncable in English.

A farmer family who stayed on the same farm could appear to have a "fixed name" before 1923, but technically this is just because their farm/address name was the same over generations, not that they had technically started to adopt the new custom. Younger sons who moved elsewehre would use different names. This would be the case in your line, Ken.

My great grandfather moved to Oslo/Kristiania in 1891, thus used a variety of alternative names including both his own and his father's patronymic, until he moved back to the west coast in 1900 and settled for Berge - which was the farm where he was born, but moved away from as a young apprentice. His father again (and most of our family from there) used the name Myklebust, another farm in the area where his father was born. 

The name Berge however has a long tradition in my mother's family since her patrilineal line stayed on another Berge farm for hundreds of years. Our Minnesota cousins from that line used the name Berg.

See Johan Borgos' very good overview of Norwegian naming practices (was listed as resource in the last link I gave):


Anne M Berge

----- Original Message -----
From: Kenneth Nordtvedt <>
To: Anne M Berge <>;

-----Original Message----- From: Anne M Berge

As I posted earlier on this list, there were almost no hereditary family names in Scandinavia before:
Denmark 1850
Sweden 1900
Norway 1923

[[ Yikes, I descend from some males with foresight; they took up a fixed surname starting about 1790. 

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