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Germanic & Indo-Germanic Origins General historical, social, linguistic, political and cultural topics pertinent to the development and origin of Germanics and to early (Indo-)Germanic tribes and groups, for the purpose of understanding our Germanic heritage.

Were the Normans Danish, Norwegian or Frankish?

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Old Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006   #1
Ulfhednar
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Question Were the Normans Danish, Norwegian or Frankish?

I've been trying to do a little research on my ancestry. Two of the surnames mentioned the Normans. Were the Normans Danish and Norwegian vikings that settled in the Normandy region? Or are they Frankish? I apologize for the newbie question and hope it hasn't been covered a million times before. Thanks.
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Old Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006   #2
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Re: Normans

There is still some academic dispute as to whether they were Danish or Norwegian, but Vikings they were!

They occupied the northern coast of Frankia during the reign of Charles the Simple and due to their constant raids on Paris he offered them the Northern region they held as theirs permenently if they disisted their raids.

This was accepted and this region of the 'Northmen' eventually became known as 'Normandy'.
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Old Monday, March 28th, 2011   #3
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Rollo's origins are contested by historians as to whether he was Danish or Norwegian.
Copied from Wikipedia "Rollo was a powerful Viking leader of contested origin. Dudo of St. Quentin, in his De moribus et actis primorum Normannorum ducum (Latin), tells of a powerful Danish nobleman at loggerheads with the king of Denmark, who had two sons, Gurim and Rollo; upon his death, Rollo was expelled and Gurim killed. William of Jumièges also mentions Rollo's prehistory in his Gesta Normannorum Ducum, but states that he was from the Danish town of Fakse. Wace, writing some 300 years after the event in his Roman de Rou, also mentions the two brothers (as Rou and Garin), as does the Orkneyinga Saga.
Norwegian and Icelandic historians identified Rollo instead with Ganger Hrolf (Hrolf, the Walker), a son of Rognvald Eysteinsson, Earl of Møre, in Western Norway, based on medieval Norwegian and Icelandic sagas. The oldest source of this version is the Latin Historia Norvegiae, written in Norway at the end of the 12th century. This Hrolf fell foul of the Norwegian king Harald Fairhair, and became a Jarl in Normandy. The nickname "the Walker" came from being so big that no horse could carry him. "

The Normans were Scandinavians. Normandy was given to the Viking chieftain Rollo in 911 by the Frankish king Charles the Simple in the treaty of Saint-Clair-Sur-Epte. Some regions were more heavily populated by Scandinavians. I found these 2 maps online :
http://www.viking.no/e/france/normandy_map1.htm
http://www.viking.no/e/france/chronology.html

I also found a list of Norman surnames of Viking/Scandinavian origin. I found one of my ancestor's surnames on this list and that Héroux is derived from the Scandinavian name Herulf.I then made researches and found out that Herulf is a male first name mostly used in Norway. It was also an old Danish name
http://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Herulf

I am myself doing researches on this part of my heritage after my grandfather wrote my family's genealogy.It is the main reason why I joined this forum. I am French Canadian and sadly I cannot trace my ancestry before the 17th century. Several of my ancestors came from Normandy, especially in my maternal family.

I hope these webpages can be helpful. I also found this page called: The Vikings in Normandy : The assertion of Norman power
http://www.viking.no/e/france/power.html
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Old Tuesday, September 27th, 2011   #4
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Vikings with Franks

They're a mixture between Vikings and Franks (who were mainly Frence peoples) ...hence, Norman as in Normandy. However, the % of viking is believed to be traditionally higher and stemmed more on the male's side since the vikings would typically take white maidens of other tribes around the areas that they settled but it is hard to tell for sure because it really depends on if Normandy was settled on purpose or as the area was developing. Another words, if the area was originally going to be used as a local refuge for the vikings, they would've used more of the local woman. If they purposely set out to take the land for themselves and settle, they would've brought their own woman with them. You should find out as much as you can about your own family and try to pin point the place in Normandy and then try to look up their local historical records. Otherwise, you could always do a DNA test and try finding out that way.
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Old Friday, November 11th, 2011   #5
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The Normans were from Denmark. Normandy was named after the "north men" who inhabited the land there that was given to them as a part of a treaty. Not the other way around. They weren't called Normans because they were from Normandy. They were descendents of Danish Vikings. And they whooped "the unbeatable" Englands ass. I love the Normans .. but they were one of the first to convert to jesus loving. Maybe the worlds greatest warriors of all-time.
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Old Saturday, November 12th, 2011   #6
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Wulfsige shows some promise.

Its just that you seemed to enjoy the fact that the normans whooped the english ass as you put it, in fact it took the normans many years to conquer england and wales. We all admire the normans to some degree where ever we stand on the subject. I dont and have never considered myself british, i am a west saxon from wessex and until someone can prove otherwise i have no reason to think otherwise. Thats not to say i dont like the scots, irish and welsh.
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Old Saturday, November 12th, 2011   #7
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Originally Posted by Wulfsige View Post
Its just that you seemed to enjoy the fact that the normans whooped the english ass as you put it, in fact it took the normans many years to conquer england and wales. We all admire the normans to some degree where ever we stand on the subject. I dont and have never considered myself british, i am a west saxon from wessex and until someone can prove otherwise i have no reason to think otherwise. Thats not to say i dont like the scots, irish and welsh.
I don't enjoy that it had to happen a thousand years ago .. but I enjoy swatting down pompous assholes. You know how many times I had to correct someone who says "England has never lost a war!"? Also, tell them that they have Germanic blood and watch how angry they get. I posted a recent study entitled "How German are the British?" You should have seen that reaction. On a British Nationalist forum.
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Old Sunday, November 13th, 2011   #8
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Originally Posted by Kauz R. Walter View Post
The Normans were from Denmark. Normandy was named after the "north men" who inhabited the land there that was given to them as a part of a treaty. Not the other way around. They weren't called Normans because they were from Normandy. They were descendents of Danish Vikings. And they whooped "the unbeatable" Englands ass. I love the Normans .. but they were one of the first to convert to jesus loving. Maybe the worlds greatest warriors of all-time.
The Norwegians where the ones called the "Northmanni".
But then again, no scientist know for sure WHO the Normans descended from.

Anyhow, can we keep this thread on topic please?
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Old Sunday, November 13th, 2011   #9
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Originally Posted by Granraude View Post
The Norwegians where the ones called the "Northmanni".
But then again, no scientist know for sure WHO the Normans descended from.

Anyhow, can we keep this thread on topic please?
I read in a few different places that the Normans were descendents of Denmark. Once I read something more than twice from multiple, reliable sources I consider it fairly accurate at the very least.
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Old Sunday, November 13th, 2011   #10
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They were certainly partly descendants of Norwegian and/or Danish settlers, the question is how many of the Normans, say in 1066, were of Scandinavian ancestry and how many were of other (Frankish) ancestry.

One could look at culture here, most Normans had (usually) latinized Frankish names, such as Henry, William, Richard, Robert etc. In other areas where the Norse settled, they would often use their own names for centuries to come, even if the form changed somewhat over time. However this may not reflect the actual number of Norse that settled, it can have more to do how 'strong' the local culture was. In areas with fairly low populations like parts of Britain, it was easier for the Norse to dominate the local culture than the other way around (even though they would be assimilated even in those parts in the end). France must surely have been different, being very close to Paris, and having a more developed and centralized society, with close ties to the Pope and so on. They were in the middle of the 'elite' culture of the Western world. Also, thhe Norse in France were not their wholly on their own conditions, since they hade signed a treaty with the French king, so they probably felt some urge to adapt to his ways.

We know for sure, that Normans with notable Norse ancestry, like the son of Rollo, had Frankish and not Norse first names, and thus we can see that the names of the people did necessarily not reflect their ancestry.

So the conclusion of all this, is that it would be difficult to know the ratio of Norse ancestry in the Normans later on, and their names and culture won't give us alot of clues. Maybe some modern DNA tests could give us some clues.
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