Family Group Sheet

Friday, March 25, 2011

Why Was the Name Changed?

With the maiden name of Petterborg, I had always been curious about the origin of the name. I was told that it had been changed from Olsen to Petterborg when the family came from Norway and that the name had some connection to the farm the family lived on before coming to America.
The Scandinavian countries all practiced "patronymics"--each person's surname was the first name of their father with "sen" added for boys and "datter" added for the girls in Norway and Denmark and "son" and "dotter" in Sweden and Finland. Each generation had a new surname. When women married, they didn't change their surname to their husband's. Just by this naming practice, I knew Ole Olsen's father's name was Ole and Maria's father's name was Erik. I had already done research in Sweden and I was familiar with this pattern.  I thought it would be very hard to figure out and find people but it turned out to be just the opposite--I could follow people and keep couples separated quite easily.
As the population really grew, some men were assigned a "new" name to be added to their patronymic name. This helped to differentiate several men with the same names.
I have read in one of Ole and Marie's daughter's journals (another post to come) that when the Olsen family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they lost their farm because of the local persecution. I noticed that in the LDS Church records they were listed as Olsen Petterborg.  I am not sure if they took the name Petterborg to differentiate themselves from the other Olsen families or if they took the name because of the love they had for the farm they lost and that would be a way to remember.
I may never know the answer until I can ask Ole and Maria themselves.

About Sept. 2008 I was able to take a Norwegian research class at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  One of my main goals was to find the correct name of the farm where they lived. I found a book entitled, Norsk stedsfortegnelse (Norwegian place name index). It shows the community, county, ZIP code, post office name, and the telegraph office name for all most of the villages and farms. As I was looking through the book, I found lots of names that looked familiar--Petersborg, Petersburg, Petraborg and Pettersborg. The reason these all looked so familiar was they were all the different ways my last name had been misspelled my whole life. Imagine how excited I was when I saw Petterborg listed. How was I ever going to know which one, if any, was the correct place where Ole, Marie and their children had lived?
I was then introduced to using the "farm books" or "bygdebøke". They are Norwegian books, arranged by large geographic areas, then broken down into smaller areas.  I found one volume, Utgitt av Nes Historielag ved Gunhild Kolstad (A genealogy and a history of the people and their farms in Nes and Helgøy, Hedmark County, Norway). I checked the book for the area where I knew the family had lived--Nes. Then within Nes, they had lived in Hovinsholm.  I found Hovinsholm-eie on page 56. The book was all in Norwegian, which made it hard to know exactly what I was reading. I am pretty sure I had help from some of the consultants at the Scandinavian desk at the Family History Library. As I am writing this, I am looking at the same pages and it is not as easy to figure out as it was that day. It all just fell into place so easily then. As I looked at the information, I could tell it was in chronological order, so I checked until I found when the family lived there and there they were--listed on page 58! They really had lived on the farm named PETTERBORG!!!!! Wow, my maiden name had been correct all along.
The book listed Ole, Marie and their 8 children. It also gave the year and place they were born and the year of Ole and Maria's marriage.
The following is the information listed in the book: Utgitt av Nes Historielag ved Gunhild Kolstad (FHL Call #948.23/N1 D2k volume 2 part 1), page 58.
Ole Olsen f. ca. 1826 (Toten, pä Vien da han giftet seg) g. 1850 m. Marie Erikdtr. (Hovelsrud-eie).
1. Gine f. 1850 (Hovinsholm-eie)
2. Ole Johan f. 1851 (Hovinsholm-eie)
3. Anne Mathea f. 1853 (Hovinsholm-eie)
4. Emil f. 1856 (Hovinsholm-eie)
5. Even f. 1858 (Hovinsholm-eie)
6. Oleane f. 1860 (Prestegardsmoen)
7. Beate f. 1862 (P.g.moen)
8. Beata f. 1864 (Peterborg)
Ole og Marie var husfolk i Øvremoen under Prestegarden i 1865.

There is another book, Utgitt av Nes Historielag ved Gunhild Kolstad (FHL Call #948.23/N1 D2k volume 2 part 2), page 109-110. It gives a one page history of the farm and then gives information on the families who have lived there. The information on Ole and Marie is a little different than in part 1. I am showing it below. The reason I am going into so much detail is because as a genealogist, I have tried to find all the information I can about a person or family. That way I can try and recreate the family as accurately as possible. I never know what information will be in any source. If I had only looked at this book, Part 2,  I would have missed two of their children and where they all were born.
Ole Olsen f. ca. 1842 (Toten) i var husmann med jord 1865. G. 1850 m. Marie Erikdtr. f ca 1844. Han var jeger og hadde tjent på Vien. I 1865 ble denne plassen kalt  Øvermoen av Petterborg ikke ble nevnt.
1. Johan f ca 1851
2. Anne Mathea f ca 1853
3. Emil f 1855
4. Even f 1857
5. Oleane f 1859
6. Beate f 1864
I am going to get the information from these two books translated and I will add that as a later post.

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