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Dram
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 04:59 AM
Hello everyone,

I am new here, first post as a matter of fact. I hope I am not posting this in the wrong area, if so, moderators please move.

I am trying to learn more about the history of one of my family surnames: Clausson. It is possible the original spelling was Claussen.

My ancestor was listed as being from Prussia, occasionally they appeared in records and listed Germany as birthplace.

It has been suggested by many that Clausson is a Danish name. Can someone give me a more substanial understanding of the surname please?

I have noticed that many Claussons to the U.S. list Holstein-Schleswig as place of birth I however, don't know specifically where my Clausson are from.

Thank you very much for any information you might provide.

GeistFaust
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 06:36 AM
Here is a good site on the Clausen family. http://www.houseofnames.com/clausen-family-crest/German

Stanley
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 07:28 AM
My first thought was that it was odd for a -ssen ending to be changed to an -sson ending. Then again, odd things happen to surnames upon naturalization.

In light of that, I searched for Clausson, Claussen, and Clausen to thoroughly account for all the possibilities. The results:

Clausson
http://i1227.photobucket.com/albums/ee427/JH9020/Screenshot2011-09-13at10512AM.png
As expected, the -sson ending gives a Swedish origin. It doesn't appear to be a very common surname however. It indeed didn't strike me as particularly Swedish, and you mentioned your ancestor was Prussian; so clearly, this ancestor likely wasn't Swedish--as you probably already know. More importantly though, I think this is proof that "Clausson" wasn't the original spelling of the surname.

Claussen
http://i1227.photobucket.com/albums/ee427/JH9020/Screenshot2011-09-13at10553AM.png
Schleswig-Holstein is the top result for this version of the surname, and since you said you believe this may have been the original form of the surname, if I had to call it, I'd say the answer lies with this one.

Clausen
http://i1227.photobucket.com/albums/ee427/JH9020/Screenshot2011-09-13at10627AM.png
Decisively Danish, but I don't see how Clausen would ever be Anglicized to Clausson, so I think this makes a Danish origin unlikely for your ancestor.

Given all of this (especially the distribution of "Claussen" and the records of a Prussia/Germany birthplace), it is reasonable to assume your ancestor was from Schleswig-Holstein.

Dram
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 08:07 AM
Thanks! Do you think the name originated in Denmark? Perhaps centuries ago? The -sson or -ssen is that traditionally Scandinavian or did that originiate in Germany?

Stanley
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 03:44 PM
Thanks! Do you think the name originated in Denmark? Perhaps centuries ago? The -sson or -ssen is that traditionally Scandinavian or did that originiate in Germany?

If you're talking about the ultimate origin it may actually be from Denmark, yes. It's tough to say for sure, but because it's so close to a common Danish surname and of course because Schleswig-Holstein borders Denmark, I'd guess there is something ultimately Danish about it.

Even if it were to have a Danish origin, I don't think that's enough to say your ancestor was any more ethnic or racial Danish than the average person from Schleswig-Holstein. The problem with surnames is that they only represent a single tiny line of the many lines that you have. It may be the case that this ancestor had 15 great-great grandparents with ordinary German surnames and then one great-great grandparent with this Danish-inspired one.

It's my opinion that people put too much stock in surnames when trying to discover their ethnic origins. For instance, my Irish grandmother's surname means "Son of the Scandinavian" and I have two other, slightly more distant Irish surnames that likewise suggest Scandinavian origins. I however don't consider her to be any more Scandinavian than the average Irish person. To me it's simply a commentary on the makeup of the Irish people as a whole and not evidence that she somehow has more Norse input than most other Irish people. Despite this, I have noticed this seems to be enough for people to claim Scandinavian ancestry, even sometimes going so far as to say it's genuine Norwegian ancestry. :-O I see your case as something similar, where just because your ancestor has a surname of Danish origin doesn't mean he/she is somehow more Danish-influenced than the typical German from Schleswig-Holstein. Being so close, you'd expect Danish influence in the region, but it's probably related to the overall makeup of Schleswig-Holstein populace and not the result of your ancestor being a Dane in Schleswig-Holstein.

Hope that makes sense.

Dram
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 07:41 PM
If you're talking about the ultimate origin it may actually be from Denmark, yes. It's tough to say for sure, but because it's so close to a common Danish surname and of course because Schleswig-Holstein borders Denmark, I'd guess there is something ultimately Danish about it.

Even if it were to have a Danish origin, I don't think that's enough to say your ancestor was any more ethnic or racial Danish than the average person from Schleswig-Holstein. The problem with surnames is that they only represent a single tiny line of the many lines that you have. It may be the case that this ancestor had 15 great-great grandparents with ordinary German surnames and then one great-great grandparent with this Danish-inspired one.

It's my opinion that people put too much stock in surnames when trying to discover their ethnic origins. For instance, my Irish grandmother's surname means "Son of the Scandinavian" and I have two other, slightly more distant Irish surnames that likewise suggest Scandinavian origins. I however don't consider her to be any more Scandinavian than the average Irish person. To me it's simply a commentary on the makeup of the Irish people as a whole and not evidence that she somehow has more Norse input than most other Irish people. Despite this, I have noticed this seems to be enough for people to claim Scandinavian ancestry, even sometimes going so far as to say it's genuine Norwegian ancestry. :-O I see your case as something similar, where just because your ancestor has a surname of Danish origin doesn't mean he/she is somehow more Danish-influenced than the typical German from Schleswig-Holstein. Being so close, you'd expect Danish influence in the region, but it's probably related to the overall makeup of Schleswig-Holstein populace and not the result of your ancestor being a Dane in Schleswig-Holstein.

Hope that makes sense.

Thank you Stanley. I agree with a lot of what you wrote. You are quite correct about surnames representing a small portion of what makes up the average person, and this of course is found quite prevalently in countries such as the United States where so many have immigrated.

I myself have so many surnames in my lineage that it's almost difficult to attempt to identify with one. An example in my own line is that some of my ancestors have been in the United States since the 1600's. Some came from Scotland, some Wales, some were Scotch-Irish, and many were English. As time went on new ancestry began to enter in the predominately British lineage. By early 1800 a French family married in, my German line married in (Clausson and Schutte) in the mid and late 1800's new Welsh, Irish, and Swedish lines became established.

So, as you can see, I have experienced first hand how little a single surname can represent your ancestral or ethnic make-up.

What interested me about the Clausson surname, was that my ancestor recorded Prussia as point of origin on certain documents. They arrived in the U.S. sometime after 1830. It is my understanding that Schleiswig-Holstein (or at least parts-there-of) were at various times part of Denmark or Germany.

So my thinking thus far has been: if Clausson is in fact, a Danish surname did they live in a part of Denmark that was "land-grabbed" during the height of Prussian rule? This would truly make them Danish-German if it is the case.

Naglfari
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 08:24 PM
Thank you Stanley. I agree with a lot of what you wrote. You are quite correct about surnames representing a small portion of what makes up the average person, and this of course is found quite prevalently in countries such as the United States where so many have immigrated.

I myself have so many surnames in my lineage that it's almost difficult to attempt to identify with one. An example in my own line is that some of my ancestors have been in the United States since the 1600's. Some came from Scotland, some Wales, some were Scotch-Irish, and many were English. As time went on new ancestry began to enter in the predominately British lineage. By early 1800 a French family married in, my German line married in (Clausson and Schutte) in the mid and late 1800's new Welsh, Irish, and Swedish lines became established.

So, as you can see, I have experienced first hand how little a single surname can represent your ancestral or ethnic make-up.

What interested me about the Clausson surname, was that my ancestor recorded Prussia as point of origin on certain documents. They arrived in the U.S. sometime after 1830. It is my understanding that Schleiswig-Holstein (or at least parts-there-of) were at various times part of Denmark or Germany.

So my thinking thus far has been: if Clausson is in fact, a Danish surname did they live in a part of Denmark that was "land-grabbed" during the height of Prussian rule? This would truly make them Danish-German if it is the case.

I have an ancestor from there also. When he was born it was part of Denmark. Last name was Alverson so same situation as your ancestor. Did he see himself as German or Danish? It is in one of my intermediate lines so what ever ethnic self-identity from him was lost over the past couple hundred years.

Dram
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 09:09 PM
I have an ancestor from there also. When he was born it was part of Denmark. Last name was Alverson so same situation as your ancestor. Did he see himself as German or Danish? It is in one of my intermediate lines so what ever ethnic self-identity from him was lost over the past couple hundred years.

Glad to hear someone else is in my position. Since posting this I poked aroung a little more on google and found a town or area in south-west Germany named Clausen. This is of course far from the Danish border. Where this town got its name I haven't been able to locate, and I don't know how old the town is.

I also found a person living in the same county as my ancester here in the United States with the surname of Clauson. Only difference in the spelling of my ancestor is minus one "S". He lists his country of origin as Denmark. I have no reason however, to suspect he is related to my Claussons.

I suppose some things may never be learned.

Naglfari
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 01:21 AM
Glad to hear someone else is in my position. Since posting this I poked aroung a little more on google and found a town or area in south-west Germany named Clausen. This is of course far from the Danish border. Where this town got its name I haven't been able to locate, and I don't know how old the town is.

I also found a person living in the same county as my ancester here in the United States with the surname of Clauson. Only difference in the spelling of my ancestor is minus one "S". He lists his country of origin as Denmark. I have no reason however, to suspect he is related to my Claussons.

I suppose some things may never be learned.

But looking at the bigger picture they were both Germanics.

Dram
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 09:03 PM
But looking at the bigger picture they were both Germanics.

That is true!

Interestingly, last night, I was doing a little more research trying to find the exact location of the Clausson's in where they were located in Germany when they immigrated to the U.S., and came across another Claussen family that described their ancestor as changing his origin between Denmark and Germany on various censuses.

So, I suppose Clausson, Claussen, Clausen etc... could best be described as a German-Danish name with its originis probably originating in Denmark. I emphasize probably, becuase we can't be certain. Unless a scholar who know's for sure where the name began...besides the fact that it started with a fellow named Klaus :thumbup

Thanks for all of the help everyone.

Æstridh
Saturday, June 30th, 2012, 05:00 AM
My great-great grandfather came to America from Germany as a John C. Claussen. Most everything I had read suggests that Claussen (with that spelling) is Danish and of course, some parts of Germany did used to be part of Denmark. Unfortunately, any relative that I have traced to Germany, including the Claussens, seem to have very little information available about them and in many cases, I've not been able even to pinpoint what area of the country they came. Do you know where your Clausson ancestors might have originally been from? I'd certainly be interested in any information on that.

Pless
Saturday, June 30th, 2012, 09:08 AM
Hello Dram!

My sister is a married CLAUSSEN and their family stems from Hamburg and Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein near the danish border. They all are tall, blond to reddish, athletic appearance and slender.
They did a lot of genealogy and found their roots back to 1495 to Pommerania and Prussia (Küstrin and Danzig / now polish occupied and renamed Kostrzyn and Gdansk).

The name itself is of scandinavian origin, presumably swedish, as Pommerania was swedish country for nearly 200 years (1630-1815):
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwedisch-Pommern
This surname can be taken apart into Claus-Sen or Claus-Son meaning The son of Claus which is a still valid way of designating successors in Scandinavia.

The name is quite common in northern Germany. In Hamburg (1,9 Mio inhabitants) the name Claussen/Claußen has 140 entries in the telephone directory.

Best regards,

Pless