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Gjest Taryn Flolid

[#44927] Nesne, Nordland, the Zahl name

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Gjest Taryn Flolid

I am doing some searching on the digitised parish registers in Nesne and I notice that quite a few of the children baptised have the middle name of Zahl. Is there some significance to this? I've also seen that in Bergen searching, where a seemingly German surname keeps popping up in families as a middle name. Other names that pop up in Nesne are Bang and Dahl as middle names. But mostly the Zahl name interests me.I wondered if these were descendants of German Hansa merchants who were proud of their family roots? Or some other explanation?

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Gjest Gisle Johnsen

Hi Taryn, I am very interested in the same subject. I know that Mr. Svein Edvardsen is contemplating issuing a book regarding the Zahl family in the future (which I am looking forward to very much). He could certainly shed some light on this issue. However, my only contribution to your question is that Svein E. informed me a few years ago that it was quite common to take a name, e.g. Zahl, as a middle name.Regards Gisle.

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Gjest Knut Inge Apesland

To Taryn,Through genealogy i Nordland / Northern Norway as a general, I have like you discovered numerous examples of children being baptised with certain family names as a middle name.Very often these are names from significant families in the local area, often local merchants / clergymen and so on.Sometimes - but not always - the child baptised are related close or distant to persons of this particular family (i.e. Zahl).It seems to have been a local custom or hip thing to do in some parts oft the country during the 1700s and 1800s, renaming well-known families, relatet or not.I can't give a more professional explanation,Knut Inge.

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Gjest Knut Skorpen

I cannot answer your question excactly. But I know that Zahl is a family name amoung families that hade 'trade-houses' (handelshus, handelsfamilier). You will find the family all over Northern norway, specially in the north Helgeland district (including Nesna and Rana).But you will also see that 'husmenn' (labour people) have given their children this (and other 'fine family names') as a middle name. Sometimes they later used the name as a familyname, other times as a first name - or they didn't use it at all.See also http://www.slekt.net/home.php .

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Gjest Øystein Lillegaard

As far as I can see concerning my own family names there are two different reasons to this.1. Familynames like Zahl, Winther, Grønbeck and so on was very popular, so they was used as middle names.2. Descendants from this families used this names as middle names since they did not have them as surnames any more.There are probably other reasons as well.

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Gjest Taryn Flolid

Wow! Thank you everyone for explaining some different reasons for this naming practice. Taryn

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Gjest Knut Skorpen

I have thought of this as a tradition belonging to Nordland county (specially the southern part 'Helgeland' that i know best). They called these given middel names 'tittel' or 'tittelnamn'. It was said that if you were poor and couldn't afford to give the child any excpensive gift for their christening, you could always give them at fine 'tittel' (-name).Among farmers and richer people you will not find this tradition, if you find the same middle name in these families you may expect that these middle names are familynames (from the mother or the father), or they are (more seldom?) renaming friends of the family.Excuse my poor English. It could be interesting to read other comments on this.

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