Sunday, June 5, 2011

Norwegian, Swedish, Danish equals Scandinavian genealogy

The Norwegians aren't the only ones that have unusual naming traditions that make it challenging for a genealogist to trace their ancestry back to that country or even Sweden or Denmark. I've finally managed to organized each of the surnames so that I can create some family history reports. This of course would be much easier had my great-grandfather, Albert just kept his biological father's surname of Oleson instead of honoring his step-father by taking his (Ring).

Its funny but I think I can understand why Albert and his three brothers DID take Fred's last name of Ring instead of keeping Carl Petter's of Oleson. Since it looks as if Carl pulled some sort of disappearing act after Martin was born in 1878 and Julia married again around 1881 or at least after the 1880 census, and proceeded to have several children with Fred, it makes sense that since Fred was probably the only 'father' they knew growing up, especially Martin, that they would feel it was only right that they take his name of 'Ring' as their own. I admire them for doing that but much like my other great-grandfather Joseph Cowden who was actually born Cowden Roxberry, it would've been nice if somewhere, ANYWHERE, Albert or one of his brothers would've explained this for their descendant and family genealogist. None of my cousins EVER knew about this and they all thought that it had been Fred that changed his name and not Albert or James or Martin.

It should be interesting to get their reaction to this discovery I've made and the research that I've put into tracing Julia's and Carl's families back to the countries of their birth. We all knew that my grandmother, Rose Julia (Ring) Gentzen was part Norwegian and that Julia was as well, but Fred Ring is DANISH, yet in the census records, Albert, Martin, James and even Anton acknowledged that their father was SWEDISH. I doubt anyone of my cousins will react badly to the news that their great-grandfathers surname wasn't originally RING but OLESON, but at least I've cleared but the mystery surrounding just WHO changed their name when they came to America. The truth is NO ONE changed their name until after Julia married Fred A. Ring in 1881.

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