Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ove Oveson, or Ovesen or Overson or Oversen or Jensen?

My father has a blog with a genealogy theme, Genealogy's Star. He posts about notable sources, new records, updates in New Family Search, legal issues involved with genealogy, and other related topics. In a post yesterday mentioning the variety of name misspellings in New Family Search, he said:
It might help to know that Ove Christian Oveson changed his name to Overson when he came to the U.S. from Denmark.
One of his readers saw that and replied:
If Ove Christian Oveson was Danish, then I'll eat my nose if his original name was indeed Oveson. No way. Either -sen or in older times -søn, not -son.
Well, okay. But "JP" didn't stop there. He or she continued:
Just looked a bit around. If it's the person mentioned in - which it very much looks like it might be - then his original name in Denmark was Ove Christian Jensen, named after his father Jens Andreas Ovesen ( who again was named after his father Ove Andersen.
Scans from the parish registers (found at and
For all my interest in the Overson line, I don't recall if I have made any but the most cursory look into the Danish records, and I have not been planning on returning to the Tanner (Overson) line on this blog until 2012. Here is the comment I wrote after my father sent me a link to JP's comment.
Wow. That's so cool, JP. I've done Swedish research on the other side of my family, but I don't know if I've ever gotten around to looking into the Danish records. Thanks for sending those! I'll have to put up a blog post tomorrow or Friday with those two records and a link to your comment.

As far as the -son and -sen problem: it was not unheard of for Danes to change their name to -son when they came to America. One notable example was Mormon Church Historian Andrew Jenson. He was Danish through and through, but used the -son spelling his whole life. I've assumed the immigrants changed to -son because it was the more American spelling and they were interested in assimilating and having their children be as American as possible.

Here is a post with Jens Andreas Ovesen's death notice:

The death notice uses the spelling "Oveson" and "Oversen." His gravestone says "Ovesen."

(Make up your minds, people!! :)

The descendants of his sons Lars Peter and Ove Christian use the spellings Oveson and Overson, although as you note in your comment, it should probably be Jensen.

Thanks again for the info!

Amy (James's daughter)

Here is a summary of the information in this post:

1. Ove Oveson was born as Ove Christian Jensen, before the Danes switched to a non-patronymic name form. At some point, he began using his father's patronymic as a surname, with the Americanized -son ending instead of an -sen ending. An "r" was also added in the middle of the name. He used that until his brother Lars Peter convinced him that it would be more respectful to their father to use the "Oveson" spelling. (Why not go all the way back to "Ovesen" as a show of respect to their Danish heritage?) Some of Ove's descendants go by "Overson" and some by "Oveson." I believe that Lars Peter's descendants go by "Oveson." 

2. Here is a summary of patronymics that my father linked in a subsequent post:
Sørensen, John Kousgård. Patronymics in Denmark and England. The Dorothea Coke memorial lecture in Northern studies, 1982. London: Published for the College by the Viking Society for Northern Research, 1983. (PDF)
3. JP pointed out Statens Arkivers Arkivalieronline. This is a site containing Danish parish registers and censuses. The State Archive has certain minor restrictions on the use of the records, but it is a wonderful site.

4. Here is Ove's birth record. I have not had the time to sit down and decipher it yet, besides making sure that it is the correct person.

5. Here is his father Jens's birth record. I have not translated it either. (I'm going to have to pull out my Scandinavian research and handwriting guides. I'm a little rusty!)


  1. JP is a he. I didn't mean to be all anonymous, but didn't think a link to my page mainly in Danish would make much sense, so it just ended that way. ;)

    Couldn't stop looking at the family when I had started, so here's one more (last) record, the birth of Kirsten Marie Pedersen (or Kjersten Pederson as you call her).

    Ugilt Parish, 1813
    If I read it correctly, it says:
    "Kirsten Marie
    Novemb[e]r 14de confir. Gaardmand Peder Nielsen Møjen og Kirsten Christensdatter fra Lørslev, deres hjemmedøbte Barns Daab, fød den 7de Septemb[e]r..."

    November 14th farmer Peder Nielsen Møjen and Kirsten Christensdatter from Lørslev confir[med] the baptism of their home-baptised Child, born September 7th...

    Lørslev is the biggest village in Ugilt parish.
    Møjen is very likely the name of a place used to avoid confusing this Peder Nielsen with all the others. There's a farm just south of Lørslev called Møjen and in the old land register card (1811-1862) it actually says "Peder Nielsen" (but not anything about "Møjen") just at that place, so it's most likely the correct spot even though there's also a Møjen in Tårs and other places.

    Jens Peter

  2. Tak skal du have, Jens Peter! :)

    When I come across websites in a language I can't read, I put the web site address into Google and click on the "Translate this page" option. It usually makes the page usable.

    Very nice website. I have started to find the need to collect all my genealogical information and not just the stories, as I am doing here, and will have to look at creating a site like yours.

    Thank you for the links. Despite how many parish records I've seen, it is always amazing to see the original hand-written records of my ancestors' births. And the location of the farm, and the land register card? Thank you! So kind of you! Is the land register card from one of those two sites you mentioned?

  3. The land register card is from
    It looks as if they are going to close free access direcly to that page though, but you should still be able to get to (some of) the same maps from /
    There's a number of different card types there, and different ways to search them.

    To find the land register card, you could start here, then choose to search for a placename by selecting "Stednavn" under "Vælg søgefunktion", write "Møjen" in "Indtast stednavn" and try the different cards. It's the second "Møjen (Hjørring)". Under "Vælg kort" you can then choose "Historiske kort" and in the next box choose between different historical maps. But not the land register card. For that, click "Matrikelkort" in the top right corner. Then you get the current register card, but if you click on "Find stedet i historiske matrikelkort" a new window will open. There you can finally get to the 1811-1862 map. Phew, that was quite a few steps. ;)

  4. Thanks again, JP. This has been a great tutorial in doing Danish research, and you've provided some very important background information and context for the Ove Oveson Diary. Thank you for all your comments.