Photo credit: Ludovic-Bertron (Flickr)

Danish Family Names

Did you know that there are more than 1.5 million Americans in the US today with the surname Jensen, Christensen, Rasmussen and Nielsen? Those are all Danish surnames which are carried by descendants of Danes who immigrated to America. Are you one of them? In this article you can read more about Danish surnames and Danish heritage.

Family holiday

The meaning of common Danish family names

There are hundreds of Danish family names and the most commonly used family name in Denmark today is the surname Jensen with an occurrence of 260.000. There are almost as many Nielsen's and the surname Hansen, the surname Pedersen, Andersen, Christensen and Rasmussen are also very popular. What these surnames all have in common is that they all derive from patronymics but were passed on as family names for generations. Other names occur from an occupation such as Møller (the operator of the mill) or a nickname such as Nørgaard which means that the person derives from a farm called "the northern farmstead". 

Dannebrog girl

How Danish family names changed

If you are in the process of investigating your Danish roots and Danish origin remember that many people changed their given name when they arrived in the US. For instance if your ancestor's name was Dorothy you can be quite certain that was not her original name. Instead it could have been Dorthe or Dorthea. Many Danish emigrants changed their names because of pronunciation. So if you are looking for your Danish ancestors in different databases, it is important to know their original Danish names and family names.

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Danish Immigration to US

1.5 million Americans lists themselves as having Danish ancestry. Are you one of them?