Sunday, September 13, 2009

Haugens of the World: Bred on Small Hills for Greatness

If you are a Haugen, then Garrison Keillor's words apply: all the women are strong; all the men are good looking; and all the children are above average. Of course, I kid you! I always love Keillor's phrase, though, when he tells stories about the people in Lake Wobegon. And one thing they have in common with me is having Norwegian origin.

For those who may not know, Haugen is a place name. In Norway they had a patriarchal system for surnames: take the first name of your father and add "sen" or "datter" to the end, depending on whether you are male or female. Under this surname method, I would be Astrid Rogersdatter since my father's name is Roger. Around the turn of the 20th century, people stopped the system (for the most part). So you can bet that if your surname is Andersen, and you are of Norwegian ancestry, you have an ancestor whose name was Anders, and the patriarchal naming system stopped there. The other type of surname Norwegians used was the place name -- like Haugen. In many cases the patriarchal name and place name were combined; for example, Andreas Andersen Haugen -- my great-great-great grandfather. Over time, in my case, the place name remained the surname for future generations. Haugen means small hill or mound, so if you are a Haugen, then you have an ancestor who lived on a hill somewhere in Norway.

When I started this genealogy journey, I was determined to find my hill. I have always wondered where it was. One thing I knew was that I would have to look through the ancestors on my grandfather's side. This would take me to Oestfold, Norway -- the Fredrikstad area. One of the first records I found was the birth/baptism record for my great-grandfather Thomas Alexius Haugen. The most interesting clue on the record was the column for "place of residence." Written in that column was "Moum," a farm in Borge, Oestfold, Fredrikstad area. Underneath the word "Moum" was written "Haugen" in very small letters. This was my first clue that Haugen -- the hill -- might be located on Moum farm. Another hint I found to tell me where exactly in Moum the hill was located, was the 1900 census. The family is listed as living in Moum Soendre (South Moum), so this narrowed down the area of the farm considerably. Interestingly, getting back to the name thing, Thomas's parents were using Samuelsen as a surname for that census, and also for son Thomas. Samuelsen is the patriarchal name for Thomas's father, Emil Georg Samuelsen. In fact, on most records for Emil Georg, he is a Samuelsen, but I did find a few later records with the name Emil Georg Samuelsen Haugen. At some point, his son Thomas used Haugen exclusively, rather than Samuelsen or even Emilsen (as I found in one record). As I alluded to earlier, the turn of the 20th century was a time of transition in surnames in Norway. But the name Haugen was pretty much set by the time my grandfather was born.

So where is Haugen? It is definitely in Moum Soendre farm, Borge, Oestfold. I met a man named Odd Marthinsen over the internet, and he happened to also be a friend of my father's cousin, Ellinor. He was able to dig up the deed for Haugen on the Norwegian National Archives internet site. I have attached a screen shot of this exciting find. So here is a simplified story of how my Haugen name was born:

My great-great-great grandfather Andreas Andersen leased a parcel of land from John Johansen Moum on April 1, 1867. The name of the land was Haugen, the hill -- Moum Soendre No. 19. Andreas Andersen was the father of Hanna Andreasdatter. She later married Emil Georg Samuelsen who also leased another parcel on the same hill in 1895. Two adjoining houses were built on the hill. We were told the houses, along with the barn, were torn down after WWII. However, we were able to obtain an aerial photo taken in 1945. The photo is of Tangen Teglverk -- a brick factory constructed after the Haugen houses were built. It surely must have ruined their pretty view of the river, and this may have contributed to them eventually abandoning the homes and moving on to greater things and places.  Above is a picture of my small hill with the houses; I cropped out the brick factory for better viewing.

My great-great-great grandfather, Andreas Andersen, never had the name Haugen on any of his early records, but his death record has the name. His daughter Hanna married Emil, and they eventually used the name Haugen, too, as did their son Thomas. The rest is history. I hope to pinpoint the location of Haugen today when I visit the area next summer.

More on Haugen on a future post.

1 comment:

  1. Astrid
    In honor of the newly discovered ethnicity of an unknown Grandfather and because your Blog is lovely I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award.
    Kathleen Carrow Ingram