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Norwegian Name Generator
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About Norwegian Names
The naming system used in Norway before around 1850 used three separate names, none of which were a hereditary surname in the way we understand them today. Firstly, there would be the unique 'given' first name – this would be followed by a patronymic name, which would show the name of their father (as in Danish names, this would be gender specific with '–datter' (daughter) and '–sen' (son) suffices). Finally, there would be a 'farm name', which would simply be the name of where a person lived and worked, although this could change if they were forced to move. This system was very common mainly because up to the beginning of the Nineteenth century, almost ninety per cent of Norway's population lived on farms, so before then only immigrants, travelling labourers, or members of the nobility would not possess farm names.
Norwegian names began to change through the nineteenth century, as adopting a hereditary surname was seen as more modern, finally being enshrined as a law in 1923. Often, families would simply choose to adopt their most commonly used patronymic name as their new surname, but other options were sometimes used as well. There were place names, basically adapting the 'farm name' into a more stable hereditary name, or utilising elements of the local landscape – such as 'Berg' (mountain or hill) and 'Hagen' (enclosed pasture). Place names could sometimes be complicated by the farm in question being divided up into several areas, since many Norwegian farms were initially quite large but were then split up between different farmers over the centuries. A larger farm named Skyrud could be divided up into smaller areas called Skyrudsbraaten (slope), Skyrudsteppen (plains), Skyrudsmoen (moor), and Skyrudshaugen (hill), and farmers who worked in these areas could take any aspect of the farm name to make their own surname (such as 'Moen' or 'Haugen').
There were also a wide variety of occupation names, such as Snekkeren (carpenter), Møller (miller), Smed (smith), and Kusken (driver). A less common option were characteristic names, which could potentially be used to describe any aspect of the family, but were often characteristics attributed to the patriarch at the time, such as Svarte (black) and Rask (fast). These characteristic names would also be used by members of royalty, aristocrats or military officers who had achieved any significant victories. Until the 1923 law was passed to fix hereditary names, high levels of illiteracy meant that there were frequent variations in name spellings, sometimes due to mistakes, but also sometimes due to local traditions.
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