What Your Scandinavian Name Ending in “Son” or “Sen” Means

July 12, 2015 – 03:25 pm
After a couple of days rest on Exactly what does a title ending in -boy or -sen inform us about our forefathers where they originated from in Scandinavia?

First, we all know this kind of surname is really a patronymic, a surname created with the addition of -boy to someone’s father’s title, also it means “son of.” Trace this type of title back far enough, and you’ll discover that someone named John Carlson, for example, was John, boy of Carl. This kind of title seemed to be sometimes produced with the help of the suffix -dottir, meaning daughter someone named Kari Olafsdottir could have been Kari, the daughter of Olaf.

When laws and regulations eventually needed families within the various Scandinavian nations to select a heritable surname — one which would pass lower intact rather than altering every generation — many families adopted a present title his or her hereditary family surname. This is whats called a “frozen patronymic.”

You can't determine where your forefathers originate from basically because when their surname is typed, but you will find some common designs that may provide you with hints while you take a look at family tree on Ancestry.


Old-style patronymics were outlawed in Denmark within the 1820s, and therefore if you're researching Danish forefathers before this, bear in mind the surname likely transformed with each and every generation. Despite the fact that heritable surnames were mandated within the 1820s, it had been still greater than half a century prior to the change was consistent most Danes didn't really adopt fixed surnames before the mid- to late-1800s. Many Danish those who have exactly the same patronymic surname, therefore, aren't always related.

Danish people generally use -sen (or simply -s, as with Johns rather than Johnsen) for any boy and -datter or -sdatter for any daughter. Southern Danes sometimes used -sen or -s for any daughter, too.

Danish surnames ending in -sen are the most typical kind of Danish surname nowadays. Within the U.S., descendants of Danish and Norwegian immigrants frequently have similar names that finish in -sen, though many people within the U.S. have transformed the spelling to -boy.


Initially, the most typical surnames in Norwegian were patronymic ones ending in -ssen or -sson or -sdatter or -sdotter (although the extra may also be dropped). It had been only in 1923 that, legally, each family was purchased to consider an inherited surname.

Some families adopted a patronymic title his or her surname, some required the title of the farm where they resided or even the title of some other place title his or her surname: Berg (mountain), Haugen (hill or mound), or Hagen (enclosed pasture), for instance.

Bear in mind that it is not unusual for that first American generation of Norwegian immigrants to select another surname compared to one their parents used. Their brothers and sisters might distinct names or spellings too. Note, too, the spelling in U.S. census records is frequently a phonetic approximation. Many earlier immigrants were illiterate, as Norwegian was without public education until 1860, there might not have been a typical spelling of the family’s surname.


Sweden passed what they are called Adoption Act in 1901, needing heritable surnames which are passed on to every generation. Before that, surnames were typically patronymic.


Source: blogs.ancestry.com

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  • avatar What is the name of the norwegian tradition that first born son inherits entire estate
    • Odel. Odel means that the oldest get the family farm, If he or she wants it, but a father can not give it to lets say the youngest if he wants. It goes to the eldest.