Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Overson/Oveson/Ovesen or Jensen?

I received a very good comment to my last blog post. I often get knowledgeable and informative comments but this is one is particularly so. Here is the comment since some of you probably don't read all the comments to a post, JP said:
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.

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
Here is my daughter Amy's response to this 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)
 I might mention that I have a photo copy of Ove Oveson's biography, which he wrote himself and he spelled his name "Oveson" or "Overson." I might suggest the following:

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.

I might also mention that slægtsnavne or surnames became mandatory in Denmark in1856. Ove Christian Ovesen (or Overson) was born in 1840. 

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