Norwegian Farmer’s Son…February 4th


Little Elliott stands dwarfed by the handsome Norwegian family of Edwin and Marie Noorlun.  Two of my father’s siblings are missing from this photo…….Gaylord and Ileen.

As a tiny boy, I’d listened with eager ears, on many an evening, as the fragrant smoke from the paternal pipes of my father, Russell, and grandfather, Edwin Noorlun, would curl upwards into the kitchen air as my father would enjoy the fellowship of his father.  As a little tike, I really enjoyed getting cozy near my parents, grandparents and their elder generation of friends as they would reminisce about our Norwegian cultural heritage and the lineage of family fathers that migrated to America from the north lands of Norway.  Stories unfolded that in the mother country of Norway, our descendants were actually called by the last name of Bredeson.

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Our family name, Noorlun, is modified from the two words “North” and “Land”.

If I heard correctly, from an old gentleman who came from Norway, in the old country when you were born, you were given the customary first name.  Then, your middle name came from your father’s family name with “son” added to it.  Your last name was either geographically related or identified with the family you lived with, at the time.  If you moved, then your last name changed;  reflecting your new location and/or the new family you were then associated with.  I picked up this knowledge of our Norwegian heritage from a dear old Norwegian gentleman who emigrated from Norway when he was a mere 16 years of age (which just happened to be MY age at the time of this sharing).  So, to continue, this man’s first name was Trigve.  His father’s first name was Tolak.  To honor his father’s lineage, Trigve’s middle name was Tolakson (or, you could say, the son of Tolak).   Before emigrating to America, Trigve lived with a family by the last name of Lening.   He chose to adopt that family’s name as his permanent last name when he started a new life on the shores of our United States of America.  My sister found out, when trying to trace family history, that it was not easy to find the roots of our family much past the 1890’s or so, since the Norwegian family surnames in the old country changed so much with each move to a new family or locality.

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I guess, if we used the old Norwegian role model for naming someone, then I’d be known as Elliott (first name) Russellson (basically, the son of Russell) Kaneohe (because that’s where I live (as of 2018) here in Hawaii.

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Elliott wonders how the Norwegians got their way of naming children.

I have often mused on the perchance that ancient Norwegians, having been introduced to Christianity, MAY have gotten their practice of this naming ritual from the Bible.  There are some common parallels to ……Jesus (His given first name), Christ (honoring his Father), and “of Nazareth” (the hometown where Jesus grew up).

#17.1 Grandpa Edwin Noorlun, Dad Russell and Elliott
Three generations of Norwegian Noorluns 😉

From what I gleaned, in those story times with Dad and Grandpa Edwin, was that when the Bredeson family came to America, the male family leader (or patriarch), at the time, decided to signify to other Norwegians, in this place called America, where our family hailed from in the “mother country”; therefore, our family name NOORLUN was born from two words….NORTH and LAND…transliterated to Noorlun.

Be this accurate, or not, it is what is remembered as being shared with this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.  Yah shure yew betcha!! 😉

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