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By Børge Solem - 2002

Those Norwegian names, tips for the "online" researcher

This article focuses on the Norwegian naming traditions, and what problems or advantages they can bring to the online researcher. Did you meet the brick wall while researching your Norwegian ancestors online? This article might give some new clues.

Given name - First name - Christian name
Surname - farm name - family name
The old traditions of naming
Those Norwegian letters - æ, ø, and å
Histform and those funny signs   *   @   !!   ??

Given names - Fist names - christian names

Background history:

The "first name" was from ancient times and up till about 100 years ago the name of the person. You did not have a surname in the way we have nowadays. The old vikings believed that the child would achieve qualities and protection from what they were named after, like animals and weapons. The old norse names originally consisted of two components, a prefix and a suffix.

Some norse prefixes and suffixes:

Male Prefixes:
Alf, Arn, As, Berg, Bjørn, Bryn, Dag, Ei, Finn, Gaut, Geir, Gud, Halv, Har, Hjalm, Ing, Iv, Jard, Jarl, Jo, Jor, Jør, Kol, Lid, Lod, Magn, Malm, Mar, Mod, Nid, Nor, Odd, Orm, Os, Ragn, Reid, Ro, Se, Sig, Stein, Svein, Tor, Trygg, Ulf, Val, Ve, Yng, Øy, Ås.
Male suffixes:
alf, ar, bein, bjørn, brand, dan, e, fast, finn, gar, geir, grim, id, kjell, leif, leik, ljot, mund, mod, ne, odd, rød, stein, tor, ulf, ung, vald, vard, ve, vind, vor.
Female Prefixes:
Aud, Bjørg, Frid, Gull, Gunn, Heid, Hild, Mild, Møy, Mål, Sal, Sne, Sol, Svan, Unn, Yn
Female suffixes:
borg, bjørg, frid, gerd, gunn, heid, hild, møy, rid, run, siv, unn, veig, vild.
Unisex suffixes:
laug, ljot,

Well, there you go, construct some of those old norse names for your family, try prefix "Arn" + suffix "finn", and get "Arnfinn" a common name in Norway today, or "Sol" + "veig" and get "Solveig".

I guess you have all heard about "han Ole", and had a good laugh of the Ole jokes. But have you ever wondered about the actual meaning of the name? "Ole" is actually a Danish form of the Norwegian "Olav" or "Olafr", which is an old norse name. The oldest known form is "Anulaibar", constructed of the prefix "anu" which means "ancestor", and the suffix "laibar" which means "descendant" or "heir". I don't know if I'll risk a translation of that, but I'll give it a try, "ancestor's-descendant". What a nice name for a genealogist to find, but you don't want an ancestor by the name of "Ole Olsen", if you do not have any other information!

Through all times, the old names have been the subject of random changes, and developed along with the phonetics in the spoken language. Many names were shortened, and are hardly recognizable today from their original form. However, many of the old norse names are popular today in some form or another. People also started to use names consisting of only one component, and those are believed to originally have been "nicknames", as they usually were descriptive of the person. Examples of this are names like Kåre (Kaare), which indicates that the person had curly hair. As the old vikings started to trade and travel more widely in Europe, they also adopted foreign names which were imported in to Norwegian tradition. Up through the centuries there has been great influence from other parts of Europe like Germany, Britain and Denmark.

When christianity was imposed, people gradually started to name their children after saints and persons mentioned in the bible. By naming their children after a saint they may have believed that this would give the child some kind of protection, like the old norse names. However, those saints, and other figures from the bible, had names which was not always fitting in to the Norwegian language and many of those names where therefore "Norwegianized". Some of the most common names in Norway origins from christianity, like Johannes, Hans and John. Both Hans and John are short forms of Johannes, which comes from Hebrew name "Jochanan", originally "Jehohanan". Some other popular names are Kristian, Kristen, Christian, and Christoffer, which all have strong roots in christian tradition.

What we see, when working with the sources like censuses and passenger lists, is that names tend to have many quite similar forms. We will also discover that there were great variations in how they were written. You might think that this would not be a problem, as you know your ancestors name, and will recognize it when you see it in the source you are working with. This is true, but not with the digital sources. Lets say you knew your great-great-grandfather's name was Christopher, and went searching for him in the 1801 online census at the Digitalarkivet. You typed "Christopher" and didn't find him. The reason might be that there are so many forms of that name in the database. Searching for names starting with "Krist" returns 4 variations, and by searching for names starting with "Christ" we get another 13 variations:

>Kristofer, Kristoffer, Kristoper, Kristopher, Christaffer, Christof, Christoff, Christofer, Christoffer, Christop, Christopeer, Christoper, Christopfer, Christoph, Christopher, Christopherri, Christppher

When searching the 1865 census for names starting with "Christ" we get as many as 30 variations:

Christaafer, Christafør, Christaphor, Christapor, Christefer, Christiopher, Christofer, Christofert, Christoff, Christoffe, Christoffer, Christoffor, Christoffr, Christoffs, Christofher, Christofir, Christofor, Christofpher, Christofør, Christohfer, Christop, Christoper, Christopfer, Christoph, Christopher, Christophfer, Christophor, Christophr, Christover, Christpher

Another posibility is searching without the "h" in "Chr", as you will also find variations such as "Cristopher". My point here is that you should always keep in mind that there could be variations of the name, which you would easily have spotted if you looked at the original source, but might miss in a search. You should also note that you might find different variations in different sources, even if it is the same person. People did not have an ID-Card in the old days, they would tell someone what their name was, and that person would write the name the way he heard it spoken, and in the way he was used to, there were no rules to how a name should be written. As an example my great-great-great-grandmother from Eid in Norfjord was entered in the church records as "Giøde" when she was baptized, "Jødda" when she was confirmed, and "Gyda" in the 1865 census. There are other names like those starting with the prefix "Eng" which is also often written "Ing", with additional variations like Engebrecht, Engebricht, Engebreth, Engebreiht, Engebregt, Egebrigt, Ingebrecht, Ingelbrecht, Ingebrett, and so on. Names starting with "Ch" are also written with "K", and there are names like Østen and Osten, or Aaste, Åste, Oste. Use your imagination! You must also have in mind that when you tell a search engine to do the search for you, it will only recognize exactly what you tell it to. This is something most search engines have in common.

There is also another problem, and that is the introduction of double names in the 1800's. My great-great-grandfather who was born in 1841 was named "Johan Richard", all of his 3 brothers also had double names and 2 of them were also named Johan:

Johan Richard - he used the name "Richard", and signed documents with just "Rich"
Johan Odin - used the name of "Odin"
Johan Bernhard - used the name "Bernhard"
Andres Nikolai - used the name "Andreas"

However, in some sources I find my great-great-grandfather noted as "Johan Richard" and in other sources just as "Richard". Richard married "Maren Anna", who only used the name "Anna". They had 3 children:

Richard Alfred
Olaf Hilmar Barnhard (signed documents as Olaf H.)
Hjalmar Emil
Emilie (was known by family and friends as "Mimmi")

When you have people with more than one name, you should expect to find all kinds of variations and usage of the different names. There is one thing I should mention here; lets say you were pretty sure about your great-grandfather was named Ole, because that was the name he used in America. You want to find him in the "Emigrants from Oslo" database and search for "Given name" "equals" "Ole". The search engine will do exactly as you tell it to, and return a list of 7623 person with the given name exactly equaling "Ole". But something is wrong, you didn't find your great-grandfather!. We know for sure that Ole departed from Oslo (Christiania, Kristiania), and we assume that the database is complete (which it isn't yet). Why didn't the search engine find you great-grandfather? - Maybe he had a double name, lets try another angle with the search engine, tell it to look for "Given name" "starting with" "Ole", now it returns a list of 10112 persons, and among them are all those Ole J. (88), Ole Kristian (207), Ole Andreas (86), Ole P. (68) and so on. I have also seen examples of people with 2 names like "Øyvind Andreas", which used the name "Øyvind" in Norway, who starting to use the name "Andreas" when emigrating to the US, and then changing it to "Andrew". To find "Øyvind Andreas" in the census, if you only knew him by the "Andreas" name, you would have to search by names "containing" "Andreas". Many people would "americanize" their names as they immigrated to America, which means that in some cases you need to use quite a bit of imagination to figure out what names to look for in the Norwegian sources.

Patronymic names

A patronymic name (pater=father, lat.) is a name constructed from the father name. Now, we all know there were quite a lot of people by the name of Ole, and therefore it was necessary to identify people by something more than just their given name. So, if Ole's father was "Hans", he would be "Ole Hansen". The patronymic is in general the fathers name as a prefix, and "sen", "son" or "søn" as a suffix for males, and "datter" or "dotter" as a suffix for females. In some sources we find the male suffix "sen" or "son" used also for females, and I often see that in passenger lists. There are variations on how the names were constructed, like you should actually expect that the son of Ole would be (Ole's-son) - "Olessen", but it is usually constructed as a short form "Olsen". We do also se variations like "Olssen". From Johannes we se variations like "Johannessen" and "Johannesen", the same goes for "Niels" (or "Nils"), which becomes "Nielssen" or "Nielsen" (with all variations of the suffix - sen, son or søn).

You could say, that in many ways the patronymic served as a surname, but not in the way we use them. However, a patronymic was a name you would carry with you all your life. The patronymic is a valuable lead to finding the parents of a person, as it automatically gives us the name of the father. However, what we see in many cases when Norwegians emigrated to America, or other parts of the world, is that they adopted the naming customs of their new country, and started to use the father's patronymic as a surname for all of the members of the family. In many cases both male and female members of a family used the "sen" or "son" suffix, and in many cases changed from "sen" to "son" as a small adjustment. (I actually see this is in some early Norwegian passenger lists).


  Example 1 Example 2 Example 3


Ole Hansen
Ragnhild Pedersdatter
Hans Olsen
Peder Olsen
Ragnhild Olsdatter

Ole Hansen
Ragnhild Hansen
Hans Hansen
Peder Hansen
Ragnhild Hansen

Ole Hansen
Ragnhild Pedersen
Hans Olsen
Peder Olsen
Ragnhild Olsen

The way they were listed will have some impact on how the lists are transcribed for the online database. Take a look on the 3 examples above, and then look below to see how they would be entered in the database. It is important to have in mind when searching the  Emigrants 1825-1875 database. Remember that the transcriber in many cases will have to use "best judgement".
  Example 1
  First name Patronymic Surmane
husband: Ole Hansen  
wife: Ragnhild Pedersdatter  
son: Hans Olsen  
son: Peder Olsen  
daughter: Ragnhild Olsdatter  
  This one should be easy to understand because the persons are entered in accordance to the patronymic system
Example 2
First name Patronymic Surmane
Ole Hansen  
Ragnhild !! Hansen
Hans Olsen* Hansen
Peder Olsen* Hansen
Ragnhild Olsdatter* Hansen
In this case the persons are all entered with the "husbands" patronymic. As other information on the lists clearly states they were family, wife, sons and daughter, we add the right patronymic with an * to show it was not written in the original source. Then we do not know if they actually all started to use the "husbands" patronymic as a surname, so we enter that in the "Farmname/Surname" column. In this case the real patronymic of the wife is missing, so we mark that by adding !!
Example 3
First name Patronymic Surname
Ole Hansen  
Ragnhild Pedersdatter*  
Hans Olsen  
Peder Olsen  
Ragnhild Olsdatter*  
In this case it is obvious that the creator of the list wrongly added the "male suffix" of the patronymic, so we adjust that and add the * to mark that it is not exactly like in the original source.

NOTE, searching our emigrant database:
When entering something in the Farmname/Surname field, the search automatically returns all names CONTAINING what you entered in that field.

Norwegian-Americans often Americanized their names. They actually also in some cases Americanized even their parents' given names, even though the parents never emigrated. You will find this Americanizing phenomenon in applications for Social Security numbers, in applications for marriage licenses, and on death certificates. It was not uncommon to change a to a name that sounded almost the same as the original name, and that Americans could pronounce. (If you have examples on Americanized Norwegian "American-sounding" names, I would appreciate if you would share that information with me.)

From Jeen Spencer on the NORWAY-List I got some very illustrating examples on how names would change, and how differently they can appear in different sources:

On the passenger list for the Harmonie, 1849, you will find #34 "Osmund Halvorsen" with his wife "Ingeborg Lisabet Torbjørbsdotter" and five children. He was listed as "Åsmund Hallvardsson" at Rygg, Etne, in the Hordaland index. He followed his parents who had emigrated in 1847 on the Kong Sverre, and apparently most of the family began using variations of the name, Osman, Osmandson, Osmanson as surnames. In the 1801 census, Osmund Halvorsens father was listed as "Halvar Usmundsen", and grandfather as "Usmund Halvarsen". Osmund Halvorsen eventually used the name Osmon Osmonson, with his son Osmund Osmundsen finally using the name Austin Osman.

Passenger #82 on the Harmonie 1849 list, Lars Anfindsen (Vig) became Lars A. Wicks in the U.S. The family apparently used the farm name Ryg, Rygh, Rygg very briefly.

Below is another excellent example, submitted by Jo Anne Estrem Sadler in Glendale, CA. It is the name progression for Jo Anne's father's great-greatgrandfather, Anfin Anderson Estrem from Vang, Valdres. He was the son of Anders Torkjelson Gåsdeilde and Gunhild Arnfinsdatr. Berge at - Østrem Gard. The parents information is from the 1801 census. Source: Digitalarkivet, 0545 Wangs, Oppland.

First name Patronymic Farm name Source - additional info.
Arnfinn Adrisson Austreim Source: Vang bygebok, Volume B, page 321 by Anders Frøhom & private researcher in Norway. (Born December 30, 1809, Vang, Valdres, Norway.)
Anfin Andersen Østerim Source: Digitalarkivet, Utflytta frå Valdres (Emigrated March 9, 1849)
Anfind   Østerim Source: Solem, Swiggum & Austheim ship index (Passenger list: Ship Departed Bergen May 12, 1848, Østrem)
Antuine   Astriom Source: Digitalarkivet, Norwegians in US - 1850 census - Winneshiek, Iowa, (census taker must not have spoken Norwegian)!
Christopher & Anfind Anderson   Source: Land records - Winneshiek, Iowa, Decorah Genealogy Assn., Decorah, Iowa
Anfind Andersen Ostreim Source: Marriage license -February 21, 1854, Decorah Genealogy Assn., Decorah, Iowa (Married Marit Knudsdtr.)
Amphin Anderson   Source: 1860 census - Holden, Goodhue Cty., Minnesota,
Emphin Anderson   Source: 1870 census- Holden, Goodhue County, Holden, MN
Anfin Anderson   Source: 1875 Minnesota state census
A. Anderson   Source: 1877 Holden Township, Goodhue Cty., MN plat map
Emfin Anderson   Source: 1880 census - Goodhue County, MN - Source: Microfilmed census record and Digitalarkivet
Anfin   Estrem Source: 1885 MN state census, - first time that the name Estrem appears. (I might have been his two sons who wanted to change to Estrem)
Anfin Anderson   Source: 1895 - Goodhue County, MN - County history book
A. A. Estrem Source: 1895 MN state census, emunerated with son, Andrew Estrem
Anfin A. Estrem Source: 1900 census - Holden, Goodhue County, MN
Anfin Anderson Estrem Source: Died May 17, 1901. Cemetery record - buried at Old Hauge Cemetery. Source: Dalby Database on

In any case, we should remember that we will run into the some of the same problems with the search engine when searching a patronymic in the online sources, as when searching for first names. Lets use Christopher again as an example, we want to search for his son, and his patronymic should be Christophersen. By telling the search engine to look for "last names" "equals" "Christophersen" it returns 718 persons. When telling it to search for "last names" "starting with" "Christ" it will return many times as many as it found on the first search:
Christ, Christaafers, Christaafors, Christafførs, Christaførs, Christaphors, Christaphorsen, Christhofersen, Christhofhers, Christiffers, Christiophersen, Christiphersen, Christistoffersen, Christof, Christofer, Christofers (722), Christofersen (348), Christoferson, Christoferssen, Christofesen, Christofessen, Christoff, Christoffer, Christoffers (1935), Christofferse, Christoffersen (568), Christofferss, Christofferssen, Christoffersøn, Christofffersen, Christoffo, Christoffors, Christoffr, Christoffs, Christofhers, Christofhersen, Christofors, Christofphers, Christofsen, Christohersen, Christohpers, Christohps, Christop, Christopers, Christopersen, Christopfers, Christopffersen, Christoph, Christophers (1377), Christophersem, Christophersen (718), Christopherss, Christopherssen, Christophes, Christophors, Christophs, Christophssen, Christophus, Christophørs, Christovers, Christphers, Christtofers
Then, not to forget those very odd ones which you would never find:
Xstofersen, Xstoffers, Xstophers, Xstophersen, Xtophers, Xstoffersøn, Xstofferss (I found these by entering only the letter X in the "Last name" field, and selected "starting with" in the 1865 census. In the emigration records we often se The town which is now called Oslo, written Christiania, Kristiania or Xania)
Go here to see an example from the Digitalarkivet:

In addition to those above variations you will find variations of the same name starting with "Krist". The reason for the many variations can be both errors from the people who transcribed the census, and that there were so many ways the original compilers would write it, and of corse that they could also make errors.
But did everyone have a patronymic name? - the answer is "yes", but it was not used by everyone. The upper classes in most cases used inherited last names, which replaced the patronymic name. In a way you can say that we all have patronymic names if we want, but officially we are not registered by them. However, on Iceland they still use patronymic names and have no surnames like we do. You would never speak about the "Olsen" family on Iceland. We se a gradually changing pattern in Norway in the early 1800's towards new naming patterns. I earlier used my great-great-grandfather and his family as an example, and will do so again:
His parents were Joahnnes Olsen from the Solem farm i Rissa, and Beret Rasmusdatter. Johannes was not the oldest son in the family, and was therefore not an heir to the farm. When his elder brother inherited the Solem farm in 1819, Johannes soon moved to the nearest town, "Trondhjem", to find work. There he met Beret (Bereth or Berrith) and they married. From then on both used the name "Solem" as their last name, but with the Patronymic still in use: "Johannes Olsen Solem", and "Beret Rasmusdatter Solem", occasionally mentioned in the sources without the patronymic. None of their 4 boys (born between 1836 - 1843) were ever mentioned with a patronymic name in the sources I worked with. The old traditions seams to have kept longer in the rural parts, than in the towns. This leads us on to the next section of this article.
Surname - farm name - family name

As there could be several people in a village by the name of "Ole Olsen", it was common to add the farm name for closer identification. My ancestor "Johannes Olsen Solem" got his full name because his parents christened him "Johannes" and his fathers name was "Ole", and they lived on the "Solem" farm. In this way the names told quite a bit about a person. You should not think this would cause a problem for you, but actually it can, as people moved quite a bit. When a person moved from one farm to another, he would be known by the name of the farm he moved to. So if "my" Johannes Olsen Solem had moved to another farm, he would have become Johannes Olsen Berg, or Dahl or whatever name the farm had. Some people moved many times during a lifetime, and will thus be known by many different names.

It is also a problem when searching the online sources for farm names, that there were variations of those names also. Here is an example submitted by Patty Goke: Lånke - Laanke (an obvious one) and in the US, Lunke. And then we have Nesvoll - Nestvoll - Nestvold - Næsvoll - Næstvoll. Another problem is that there were, and are still, several farms around Norway by the same name. So knowing the name of the farm often is not enough to tell where in Norway that farm was located. I often get e-mails from people who bears the Solem name, wondering if we are related. Checking the 1865 census for "farm names" "equals" "Solem" returns a list of 95 farms, situated in Buskerud, Telemark, Aust-Agder, Rogaland, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Møre og Romsdal, Sør-Trøndelag and Nord-Trøndelag.

Many of farm names are very old, dating back to the bronze age, and they have a meaning. They are often descriptive of the landscape. Solem, Solum or Solheim describes a farm on a place with a lot of sun. The prefix is "Sol" (sun) and suffix "heim" (home). You might find an explanation of what your name means on the Oluf Ryg database of Norwegian Farm Names at the "Dokumentasjonsprosjektet" web site.

"Oluf Rygh: Norwegian Farm Names
In the late 19th century a new and complete land registry was compiled in Norway. A central member of the land register commission was the Norwegian philologist and archaeologist Oluf Rygh. On the basis of his work in the commission, Rygh started to publish a complete catalogue over the names of the main Norwegian farms (45 000 in 1886). For each farm the name is given together with its pronunciation, etymology and reported variants in an impressive list of historical sources. The editing and publication of the catalogue was done over nearly 40 years and was completed long after Rygh's death. The etymological explanations are coloured by the desire of the national romantic movement to find the original name. In Norway at the turn of the century this meant an Old Norse name. In Southern Norway most names have an Old Norse origin. In Northern Norway there are lots of Norwegian sounding place names with a Saami origin. This fact and the still existing, though not very serious, cultural conflict between the Norwegian and the Saami population imply that some parts of Rygh's work should be used with care. The huge number of references to name variants in the historical sources, however, makes the work very important for archaeologists, historians and people doing place-name studies. It may also help genealogist to identify farms. The catalogue does not contain any information about the people living on the farms. When you have identified a farm we recommend you to go to The draft land registry from 1950 containing all real estates outside the cities with the name of the owner in 1950 or to the various consensus at The digital Norwegian National Archives." (Dokumentasjonsprosjektet)

As pointed out earlier, people started to keep the farm name as a surname even after moving from the farm, like my great-great-great-grandfather Johannes. His wife also used the "Solem" name after their marriage in 1833. Towards the end of the century it became more common to use last names like that, and we even se that people started to use patronymic names as last names. The wife then took her husbands patronymic as her last name by marriage, and their children would also use the fathers patronymic. In some families we see some children using a patronymic in the traditional way, while other siblings used the fathers patronymic as a surname. It can be quite confusing, but one should bear it in mind when doing research online, and meeting the brick wall.

In 1923 a law was passed, which made it compulsory for every person to have a fixed family name. Many families then froze the patronymic or the farm name as their family name.

The old traditions of naming

I'll mention the old norse naming traditions first, even though it might not be relevant to us when searching for our ancestors. However, it is still interesting. When naming a child it was a custom to use a component from both the father's and the mother's name for the first born of both sexes, and from other relatives names for the next siblings. Example:

father: Bjørnar (prefix "Bjørn" suffix "ar")
mother: Gunnild (prefix "Gunn" suffix "ild")
son: Gunnar (suffix "Gunn" from the mother's name, and suffix "ar" from the father's name)
daughter: Bjørnild (suffix "Bjørn" from the father's name, and suffix "ild" from the mother's name)

In the more recent times, from which we have written material that can serve as sources for genealogists, we find other naming traditions.

When a couple was married and had children, the custom was that the first born son was named after his paternal grandfather, with the exception of when a man married a woman and took over her father's farm, then we usually se the first born son named after the maternal grandfather. The second born son would usually be named after his maternal grandfather. The first born daughter was usually named after her paternal grandmother, and the second born daughter after her maternal grandmother. There were some other exceptions, when one of the spouses died, and the remaining remarried. The first born child of the same sex as the deceased was named after him or her. Also, if one of the parents of an unborn child died prior to the child being baptized, one would name a child of the same sex as the deceased, after him or her. If a child died, the next born child of the same sex was usually named after the deceased child.

Those Norwegian letters - æ, ø, and å

Those spacial characters in the Norwegian alphabet can cause a lot of trouble for online researchers. In Norway every keyboard comes with keys for those characters, but as I understand, not all keyboards in other countries have them.

In some cases it is necessary to use the Norwegian characters æ ø and å in order to find the right person, like when a name starts with an Ø, as in Østen and Øyvind. If you do not have a Norwegian keyboard or Norwegian keyboard settings, it is still possible to type those letters. Here is what you do:

Æ - press Alt while typing 0198
æ - press "alt" while typing 0230
Ø - press "alt" while typing 0216
ø - press "alt" while typing 0248
Å - press "alt" while typing 0197
å - press "alt" while typing 0229

On some computers you will have to press the keypad numbers on the right side, not the numbers on the top of the keyboard.

Histform and those funny signs   *   @   !!   ??

Most of those who have been searching for their Norwegian ancestors on the web, has come across those funny signs by some names in the different online sources, on the Digitalarkivet, and other places. Yes, you are right, we also do have them in our database of Norwegian emigrants 1825-1875. From time to time I get questions about what they mean, and why they are there.

It is actually a long history. Some Norwegian historians were working on a project in finding a standard for transcription of historical data from censuses to digital databases. Their work was completed in 1995, and the standard was named "Histform".

Histform gives instructions and a format for the registration of the Norwegian censuses from 1865 to 1910, but the system is also very suitable for the registering of other sources, like the passenger lists. The idea was to find a common computerizing format for the censuses. What we have adopted from the standard is the usage of the special signs.

Special signs:
?? signifies that the handwriting in the original is indistinct or illegible. Part of a name, or an entire name might not be possible to decipher. Example:

Ref Name Patronymic Farm/surname Age Sex status
1 !! !! Holfeldt 29 f Mrs.
2 Wilhelm !! Ant??ick 29 m  
3 Hendrick !! Sandemo?? 30 m  

!! signifies that this information in the source must be wrong for obvious reasons. !! alone in a field means that the information is missing, see example above

@ is used as a separator between two alternative readings of the original when it is impossible to decide which is the correct one.

% indicates stricken out text in the source. If a word or a sentence is stricken out it is marked with a % in front and behind the stricken out word.

* after a piece of information, e.g. a patronymic or surname/farm name, indicates that the information is not given in the original, but included by the registrator on the basis of other information given in the source, like in the example below. Martha is not mentioned by surname, but she is the wife of Torkel Sjursen Opstvedt, and the Opstvedt* name is added to Matha's information. Sjur is noted as son, so the patronymic should be Thorkelsen*, and surname Opstvedt*:

Ref Name Patronymic Farm/surname Age Sex Status
1 Torkel Sjursen Opstvedt 44 m  
2 Martha Johannesdatter Opstvedt* 39 f wife
3 Sjur Torkelsen* Opstvedt* 8-½ m son
Keep in mind that extractions and transcriptions may have errors or may be missing certain portions of the original source material. Always refer to the original source material whenever possible and only use extractions and transcriptions as a starting point to help guide you in your research.


This last little section is a bonus for those reading the article to the end. It is a list of nicknames used by criminals in Christiania (now Oslo) in 1874. Trond Austheim found it in Morgenbladet while searching for emigrant ships. It is quite interesting, the names are from a court hearing. I will do my best to translate the names to English, but will not guaranty that I get them all right.

newspaper notice from 1874 Morgenbladet January 19th, 1874;

(Nicknames in Christiania.) When reading through a court process from Christiania, one will, in particular when it concerns the town's regular criminals, see that just about every one of them are know by nicknames, and will always be addressed by his mates by that name, as their legal name almost never are used. These nicknames does of corse have their origin from some kind of characteristic with the person, of from a event involving the person. One will from many of the names see that the ingenuity is great. Below is a selection of 100 Christiania nicknames, almost all of males, except for the few last ones.

The whale, the corp (crow/raven), the Old, the Falcon, Fatty, Swede, Triple, the Otter, the Ass, Fret-Svend, the Candidate, the Flea, Sweet-soup, Tramper?, the Bank, Nixie, Broom, Wood-Cat, the King, ?, Shorty, Stocks, Crooked, the Lion, Easy, Garibaldi, Scamp, Mad?, Clumsy, ?, ?buck, the Calf, ?, Lazy, Cheeky, Sooty, Brother-in-law, ?, Seven mark and one, the Kid, the Lamb, the Cub, Cat-owl, Nonsense, the Fizzler, ?, the Toad, the Chunk, Coffee-sack, Coffee-cnob, Nothing, the Grouse, Ginger, the Bag, Straight, Wally, Valdeser, the Troll, Minced fat, the Christian, Bent, ?, Sinny, Crow, Nail, Dive-keeper, Code, Spout, the Baker, Egg-nincompoop, the Taste, Pig's totter, Boar, Shrimp, Stuffing?, Doll, ?, Flie-Pedersen, Matches, the Painter, the Smith, Whimpy, the Wizard, Sea Scorpion, Budd, Birch, Manikin, - Pepita, Entangle, Chop, Death.

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