WANDERINGS FROM YOUR PRESIDENT
BY GAYLE STUART
These are some things to think about when you are looking for family. Recently, I was searching for a certain family and reading at least 6 different censuses, both state and federal. I found the name spelled 6 different ways. You have to use first names, wife and children.
The following are some first names that you might run across in looking at old records from Scandinavian countries and western Europe: Regitze, Otteline, Edvardine, Ditlevline, Roewitha, Vermund (his last name was Gotwik), and Kunigunda. Sometimes a female name was created by adding ine to a male name.
The name of a family farm was sometimes used as a family name. Bjørndal was a farm name in Norway, which means “the valley of the bear.” It was my father’s middle name, his mother’s last name and is my given middle name. Occupations also became names, like blacksmith was Smith and a baker became Baker.
We have been looking for the family of my husband, Leo’s great-grandmother for a long time. This was in Wisconsin back in 1850-1860. The last name on the marriage certificate was Go(a)tmann, which we finally found under Yortmann. It did not help that we could not read the first name of her father for sure.